The Texas Rangers are opening the 2021 MLB season at Globe Life Field at 100 percent capacity, though sections of the ballpark will be reconfigured to allow for socially distanced seating.
The announcement came after Gov. Greg Abbott declared Texas open for business with a lifting of venue capacities and state mask mandate, going into effect yesterday. Last week the team filed a plan with MLB to open at full capacity when Abbott announced the lifting of restrictions, and after some discussions between the team and baseball officials, the Rangers announced they would operate at full capacity, but with some restrictions remaining in place: for instance, mask mandates will be enforced.
In addition, the team will offer socially distanced seating sections beginning with the second game of the season on April 6; the April 5 opener will be wide open. And there will likely be other restrictions in place, as the team says it is still working with MLB to determine a final ballpark operating plan. For instance, MLB guidelines calls for rows nearest the dugouts to be cordoned off from fans to cut down on any possible interactions between players and the unwashed masses. Those specific ballpark configurations still need to be finalized. The stated capacity of Globe Life Field is 40,518, but with socially distanced sections implemented and the loss of some bowl seating per MLB guidelines, it’s not clear whether that number will be physically possible to implement. And, of course, just because you can open at full capacity doesn’t mean the fans will automatically follow.
Otherwise, the team is operating within MLB safety guidelines. Here’s a list of restrictions planned by the Rangers:
- Masks will be required for all fans except when actively eating or drinking at their ticketed seats. That includes all concourse areas and when entering Globe Life Field.
- Globe Life Field will again be cashless, as it was for 2020 events. All tickets will be digital and only credit cards will be accepted at concession stands and retail locations.
- No bags will be permitted except for those that are carried for medical reasons or manufactured diaper bags that accompany infants and young children.
“We’re very confident we won’t be a super-spreader event,” Neil Leibman, the team’s president of business operations, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “With all the protocols that we’re following, we’ll be extremely responsible and provide a very comfortable environment for somebody to enjoy the game without worrying we’re going to be a spreader event.”
Photo of 2020 play courtesy Texas Rangers.
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