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Rangers launch 2021 season with large crowd

The Texas Rangers began the 2021 season at Globe Life Field with a bang, as 38,238 fans showed up for the season opener after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted state capacity and mask-usage mandates.

Technically, the game did not feature a full house–the new ballpark holds 40,158, even though the Rangers announced it as a sellout–and the Rangers did warn that mask usage would be mandatory, although it was clear that rule would not be enforced. Still, it’s regarded as the largest crowd for a sporting event since March 2020, when major sports leagues shut down for business.

For fans at the game, the large crowd was seen as a step toward normalcy. From the Dallas Morning News:

Large clusters of fans congregated in long lines at the stadium’s entrance around 3 p.m. when the game began. Many attendees sat without masks as the game progressed.

“If you’re not comfortable being in the crowds yet, don’t come,” Missy Walker, 40, of Plano, said, adding that she was vaccinated weeks ago and wasn’t worried about the game potentially acting as a superspreader.

“Those that are comfortable with it come. It’s time to get back to life, you can’t shelter forever.”

One notable political act: After agreeing to throw out the first pitch, Gov. Abbott canceled his appearance in protest of MLB’s decision to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta after Georgia’s passage of new, restrictive voting regulations.

The Rangers are not planning on hosting full houses for the time being; beginning today the team will be offering scaled-back pod seating.

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