Updated: Mar 10, 2021
For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic one year ago, a sports venue in the United States plans to be open to full capacity.
The Texas Rangers announced Tuesday that Globe Life Park plans to be fully open for the team's final two exhibition games and Opening Day April 5. The venue hosted fans at 25 percent capacity for the 2020 National League Championship Series and World Series. Despite the state's mandatory mask update being lifted by Governor Greg Abbott last week, face coverings will be required inside the stadium. Tailgating outside the ballpark will also not be allowed. After Opening Day the Rangers will downsize to similar social distancing protocols as other venues. Most of MLB's 30 teams have made attendance plans for Opening Day and beyond. Many ballparks call for 20 to 30 percent capacity to begin. The Baltimore Orioles have received the go-ahead for 50,000 capacity, or up to 23,000 fans. Maryland's governor has also lifted local capacity restrictions on bars and restaurants. The Colorado Rockies got the go-ahead from state officials this week to up capacity at Coors Field from 25 to 42.6 percent, allowing for up 21,363 spectators per game. The Washington Nationals are the only team not to have announce specific plans, although they have received permission from local Homeland Security and Emergency Management agencies. The iffiest proposition involves the Minnesota Twins, who are in negotiations with state government officials to allow 25 percent capacity at Target Field. In Detroit, inside another state with dictator leadership, the Tigers will be limited to 1,000 fans per game. In Andrew Cuomo's New York, the go-ahead has been given for 10 percent attendance for Mets and Yankees games. The Boston Red Sox also plan to begin at 10 percent capacity. The Toronto Blue Jays will play the first portion of their 2021 regular season schedule at their Dunedin, Florida spring training site. 1,275 spectators per game will be allowed. Minor League Baseball's plans are still in flux, with plans of a May opening at most levels. Spring Training games are currently being played in Florida and Arizona with fans present. This is in stark contrast to a truncated 2020 season that allowed no attendance until the National League Championship Series and World Series. Compared to how the world seemingly collapsed at this time in 2020, news of fans returning to Major League Baseball venues is especially welcome.