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The Texas Rangers made a “mistake” opening its ballpark to full capacity for the start of the 2021 season, President Biden said in a taped interview Wednesday night.
Globe Life Field can seat 40,300 people. Fans packing the ballpark for the Rangers’ home opener will still need to wear masks and only remove their masks when actively eating or drinking. The team is installing plexiglass barriers on top of the dugouts and along the back and sides of the bullpens. For fans, all concession and merchandise stands will be cashless, and the tickets will be digital.
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Biden told ESPN he didn’t think it was a good idea.
“Well, that’s a decision they made. I think it’s a mistake,” the president said on the eve of Opening Day around MLB. “They should listen to Dr. (Anthony) Fauci, the scientists and the experts. But I think it’s not responsible.”
The Rangers’ home opener is set for April 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Texas played all 30 home games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season without fans, but the team hosted the National League Championship Series, as well as the World Series, and they allowed 28% capacity for those two series.
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Rangers CEO Neil Leibman said in March he was confident the ballpark wouldn’t be hosting a “super-spreader event.”
“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,” he said.
Rob Matwick, the team’s executive vice president, emphasized the need for fans to willingly comply with any requirements but said they will be enforced if need be.
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“We will need fan cooperation, there’s no doubt. The good news is the numbers are trending down,” Matwick said. “Can we drop our vigilance? No. We need their cooperation.”
Fox News’ Dan Canova and the AP contributed to this report.
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