Texas Rangers to Allow Full Capacity Crowd on Opening Day

MLB's Opening Day takes place in April, kicking off a stacked schedule of games. One team, the Texas Rangers, will mark the occasion with a major change at Globe Life Park. The stadium will allow a 100% capacity crowd for the first game on April 5 — although all attendees must wear masks.

Levi Weaver of The Athletic broke the news on Wednesday and confirmed that the Rangers plan to have 40,518 people in attendance for Opening Day. The team will also allow this size of the crowd for the final two exhibition games prior to the season's start. There will be no tailgating at the stadium, and there is a mask requirement in place. Though the team is hoping for "voluntary compliance" from those at the ballpark.

"We always seek voluntary compliance," said Rob Matwick, executive vice president of ballpark operations. "So the first thing we're gonna do is ask to please help us in complying with the rules … that's a constant challenge, and we have to constantly reinforce and educate people. But as we're appealing to you here today, we'd like to get cooperation — compliance in a responsible way. If nothing else is taken away from this session today. I think that's the biggest message is we need fans to help us."

The plan moving forward beyond Opening Day is for the team to have socially-distanced sections available for the fans. There is not a set number of socially-distanced sections, per The Athletic. Weaver also reported that there will be additional guidelines in place for the entire facility. Fans will have to observe social distancing while waiting to purchase concessions or team merchandise.

The decision to allow fans follows a major change by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He ended the state-wide mask mandate and opened all of the businesses while citing the number of vaccinations and the coronavirus recovery numbers. Though Abbott also recommended continuing to wear masks. "Removing state mandates does not end personal responsibility when it comes to caring for family, friends and the community," Abbott said.

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The Rangers will officially become the first team to allow a full-capacity crowd at the team's ballpark. Many other teams are beginning to allow fans into stadiums around the country but are still limiting the numbers. For example, the St. Louis Cardinals are only allowing a 32% capacity crowd.