Culture

Play Ball! Texas Rangers Become First to Allow 100% Capacity in the Stands for Opening Day

AP Feed

Mark your calendar for April 5th. A sign of normality’s return will be seen in the Texas Rangers’ new stadium. It will be filled to the max for the first time since COVID wiped away the old normal.

The Texas Rangers on Wednesday announced that they will allow 100% capacity at Globe Life Field for their home opener in Arlington. The announcement comes a week after Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced he was rescinding the state’s mask mandate and opening Texas “100%.”

“The Rangers are encouraged that the Governor’s Office has given clearance for us to fully open Globe Life Field at the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball season,” President of Business Operations and Chief Operating Officer Neil Leibman said in a press release Wednesday, according to CBS Sports. Liebman said all attendees will be required to wear a mask or face covering.

April 5 won’t actually be the first full-capacity game. The Rangers are also allowing full stands for their final two preseason games. But opening day is the real deal — big-times sports are back.

This return of normal comes on the one-year anniversary of the NBA suspending its season due to the pandemic. It’s more than welcome. It also shows one of the ways the states are approaching the pandemic and many other things differently.

Florida and Arizona opened up months ago. Their COVID case rate performance has tracked similarly to states that locked down hard, suggesting the lockdowns don’t actually accomplish anything. Texas is opening up now. Prior to the pandemic, Texas was the nation’s biggest job-creating state. We need that again.

This week marked the end of the mask and business mandates in Texas. They’re 100% lifted, though businesses are still allowed to mandate masks if they want (and that’s fine). Austin still wants to lock its people down, and the state is threatening a lawsuit if the city imposes any fines. It’s all ironic, given the city’s unbelievably stupid defunding of its police. Austin would sanction people who want to and need to make a legal living, but it’s actively allowing criminals to roam free. The Citizen app reported this week on an Austin Police Department report that car theft exploded in 2020 in Austin. It doesn’t get into why, but the fact that criminals knew the city council did not have police officers’ backs surely plays a role.

California, meanwhile, is still locked down and Gov. Gavin Newsom says normal will never return. He would deprive Californians of the one thing they all probably want most — normal life — to satisfy his extremist politics.

That’s part of why he’s set to be recalled. He’s terrible. People aren’t fleeing California in droves because life is so great there.

Texas is moving forward. Next week, any Texan 50 or over can get the COVID vaccine. Case rates are down, hospitalizations and deaths are down, doctors know more about the virus now than a year ago, and the state is opening back up. It should never have been locked down. Lockdowns caused a misery of their own, wiping out too many people’s dreams and livelihoods. Unemployment is still too high, around 7.2%. Pre-pandemic it was around half that. The lockdowns and the destruction of demand for oil and natural gas — lockdowns kept people from driving to work or recreation — made unemployment surge across the board. We need to get back to work, back to church, back to class, and back to normal life.

So next month in DFW it will be great to see crowds in the stands again, to hear real roars again. It’s good. It’s normal.

I’m not even much of a baseball fan these days, but on April 5 I’ll be like a kid again. Play ball!

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