Over 38,000 people attended the home opener game of the Texas Rangers in Arlington’s Globe Life Field on Monday, in one of the first full-capacity in-person sporting events since the coronavirus lockdowns began last year, according to CNN.
The crowd for the Rangers’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays saw an attendance of approximately 38,238, which is just shy of the stadium’s maximum capacity of 40,518. This comes after Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) lifted all state-mandated restrictions in Texas, including mask mandates, social distancing, and limits on capacity. The Rangers are thus far the only Major League Baseball (MLB) team allowing full capacity at their events.
Chris Woodward, the manager of the Rangers, remarked that the game “resembled some sort of normalcy” and felt like “a real game.”
“It’s amazing how quickly we get used to certain things and not having that, was ‘Oh, this is what it felt like,’” he added.
Rangers infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa similarly expressed his relief at returning to normal, saying “It felt like it was my debut all over again. It was a good feeling to just have the crowd there cheering us on.”
Despite the widespread praise from residents of Texas and MLB fans, federal officials and Democrats have criticized Texas’s decision to ease restrictions. Joe Biden called it “a mistake,” and instead argued that Texas “should listen to Dr. Fauci, the scientists, and the experts.” He had previously referred to the decision by Texas, as well as Mississippi, to end their mask mandate as “neanderthal thinking.”