Rangers host Blue Jays in first full-capacity US sporting event of COVID-19 pandemic

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Arun Srinivasan
·Writer
·2 min read
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The Texas Rangers hosted the Toronto Blue Jays with a packed stadium for their home opener and the results are downright uncomfortable. 

Texas opened Globe Life Field to full capacity, allowing over 40,000 fans into the park on Monday. It is the first North American sporting event without attendance restrictions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FOX 4's Sam Gannon posted a video of the full crowd on Twitter and it's somewhat anxiety-inducing, knowing that this game could very well be a super-spreader event. As one would come to expect with an event this large, several fans were found not to be wearing masks once inside the stadium.

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Texas governor Greg Abbott lifted all COVID-19 restrictions on March 2, ending the state-wide mask mandate, and allowed businesses including the Rangers to operate at 100 percent capacity. 

Abbott was even scheduled to throw out the first pitch, but reneged in protest of MLB's decision to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta, a move that came in response to a voting bill introduced in Georgia that civil rights groups say will suppress voting for people of colour and low-income voters.

"I was looking forward to throwing out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers' home opening game until @MLB adopted what has turned out to be a false narrative about Georgia's election law reforms. It is shameful that America's pastime is being influenced by partisan politics," Abbott tweeted Monday, attaching a letter to Rangers president of business operations and COO, Neil Leibman. 

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - APRIL 05: Fans stand for the National Anthem before the Texas Rangers take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Opening Day at Globe Life Field on April 05, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Over 40,000 fans were in attendance at Globe Life Field to see the Texas Rangers take on the Toronto Blue Jays. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

U.S. President Joe Biden said on April 1 that the Rangers' decision to open the stadium was "a mistake" and "not responsible," while urging citizens to defer to medical experts for how to conduct themselves in regards to the pandemic. 

There's really no way around this one, as Abbott and other states can enact policies on a state-by-state basis. The Canadian Press' Melissa Couto Zuber summed it up perfectly, as the displaced Blue Jays try to battle through the 2021 season out of relative's harm's way. 

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