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Texas Rangers host capacity crowd for Major League Baseball opener

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A capacity crowd of 38,238 was allowed in for the Texas Rangers’ home opener in Arlington on Monday night, despite there being almost 70,000 active cases of coronavirus in Texas.

The Rangers’ Globe Life Field stadium is currently the only Major League ballpark that will allow 100 per cent capacity.

“We know there is going to be a lot of attention on us,” Rangers’ executive vice president of business operations Rob Matwick told the Dallas Morning News before the game between the Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Baseball was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, with the season reduced from 162 to 60 games and clubs suffering a revenue drop of as much as 70 per cent, according to Reuters.

The Rangers-Blue Jays match is being seen as an experiment for other teams on how to approach the opening few games of the season.

The home fans did not have a happy return, as the Blue Jays ran out 6-2 winners.(

AP: Jeffrey McWhorter

)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, lifted restrictions in Texas last month, paving way for the Rangers to open up the doors to fans for a regular season game at its Globe Life Field stadium for the first time.

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The stadium was built and opened for the 2020 season, during which fans were locked out until the post-season.

The $US1.2 billion ($1.57 billion) stadium hosted playoff matches last season, as well as the World Series, but those did not feature the Rangers, meaning Monday was a chance for many fans to watch their team live for the first time since 2019. 

Opening the stadium fully was a move that was criticised by President Joe Biden, who called it a “mistake” and “not responsible” in an interview on Friday.

Only one stadium outside of Texas, the Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field, will permit any more than 33 per cent capacity for its opening games (it will host a maximum of 21,400 fans, 42.6 per cent of capacity).

The Houston Astros, the state’s other MLB side, will allow 50 per cent capacity — some 20,500 supporters — at its Minute Maid Park. 

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