ARLINGTON, Texas - President Joe Biden said the Texas Rangers’ decision to allow a full crowd at next week’s home opener is "irresponsible."
"Well, that’s a decision they made. I think it’s a mistake. They should listen to Dr. Fauci, the scientists, the experts," he said.
In an interview with ESPN, the president reminded baseball fans about the importance of wearing masks and continuing to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.
Many other teams will allow limited crowds at games to start the season but only the Rangers will allow 100% capacity. At Globe Life Field that’s more than 40,000 fans in close proximity.
Team executives said they want people to be safe but they’re excited to welcome fans to the new stadium.
"I’m thrilled. I can’t wait to get Rangers fans in the building for a Rangers game. I mean, there’s nothing better than that. There’s no better way to start than opening day. On the other hand, we recognize that we need to adhere to the good health and safety practices we’ve had in place for the past year. We need fans to cooperate and make sure that we don’t infect others. That’s the last thing that we would want to happen here," said Rob Matwick, the Rangers executive vice president.
For now, the ballpark will only be at full capacity for opening day next Monday. Other games will have optional distanced seating sections.
The Rangers open the season on the road in Kansas City Thursday afternoon. They’ll play additional games there Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
During the shortened season last year, the team struggled to a 22-38 record – last in the American League West. The 24 of their 30 road games played last season.
Still, everyone has hope opening day will be one of the great days in baseball.