Videos and pictures showed a packed house a Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the home of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers on Monday to play in front of a big-time crowd since the pandemic started last year.
The Rangers opened their home schedule with a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The video showed pre-pandemic crowds flooding the ballpark as the team played. All of the tickets at the 40,518-seat ballpark were for sale and the retractable roof was open for the game.
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The organization said that masks were still mandated when fans were walking around the stadium and in their seats when there was no eating or drinking going on. It was the first chance for Rangers fans to see their team play at the stadium. The park was a neutral-site host during the MLB postseason. There were a limited number of attendees for those games in the fall.
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“It was definitely cool, that extra little adrenaline warming up and getting into the game,” Blue Jays pitcher Steven Matz said after the 6-2 victory. “It was fun. It felt really good to have fans in the stands.”
The Rangers announced a crowd of 38,283 for the home opener. The announced attendances does not include complimentary tickets.
“It felt like a real game. It felt like back to the old days when we had full capacity,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said afterward. “Was hoping we’d see how loud our stadium got if we gave them something to cheer about. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that.”
President Biden had previously criticized the idea of opening up the ballparks, especially after Gov. Greg Abbott removed the government-required mask mandate. Biden called the decision a “mistake.”
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Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said a 100% capacity crowd was nothing more than a one-off. Officially, the Rangers’ ballpark was not sold out on Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.