Susanna Frare said her family decided to take a “calculated risk” attending the home opener of the Texas Rangers, the first major U.S. pro sports event to approach capacity in a stadium since the coronavirus shutdown more than a year ago.
All tickets at 40,518-seat Globe Life Field were for sale, and the retractable-roof stadium was about three-fourths full at first pitch against Toronto on Monday. The roof was open on a 75 degree day with 15 mph winds.
“Since it’s at full capacity, that was something that we gave a lot of thought about,” said Frare, holding one young child with another sitting next to her at a table behind seats in the upper deck in left field about two hours before the game.
“But since masks are required and we’re doing our part and we know that the ballpark is doing their part to keep everything clean and sanitized as much as possible, we just thought it was worth it to come on out here,” she said.
The Rangers gained national attention with their announcement last month to make all tickets available for the home opener, drawing criticism from President Joe Biden that it was a “mistake” and “not responsible.”
The club’s decision came not long after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state’s mask mandate and cleared businesses to operate normally. The Rangers said masks were required. Compliance was strong on the concourses, but not nearly as good in the seats.
The Republican governor sent the Rangers a letter saying he wouldn’t throw out the first ball, citing Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s sweeping new voting laws.
Frare wasn’t going to miss this chance to see the game.
“It’s opening day,” she said. “We’ve never had an opportunity to go to an opening day. We just felt like it’s the kind of time to get back out there. It’s a calculated risk. But something that we wanted to do, a fun experience.”
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