Texas Rangers Will Have Full Capacity for the 2021 Baseball Season, but Will Masks Be Enforced?

(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)

Baseball season is just weeks away from officially kicking off and soon, America’s Pastime will be in full swing. After having the season interrupted last year due to the COVID-19 situation, the return of a full season of Major League Baseball will be a welcomed distraction for those who love the game.

News broke yesterday that the Texas Rangers would be following Governor Abbot’s directive that Texas is 100% open and the club would allow full capacity at their games. From the Dallas News

Citing Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order permitting Texas businesses to fully open, the Rangers became the first major professional team in North America to announce plans to allow 100% stadium capacity at games in 2021.

The club will mandate mask wearing, but it also stressed the need for “voluntary compliance” as it announced Wednesday it plans to welcome up to 40,518 spectators for the April 5 home opener at Globe Life Field. Club officials said there would be a “three strike” policy on warnings about masks before any action is taken. The governor’s orders allow businesses to determine their own policies.

“We were very encouraged that the governor’s office has given clearance for us to fully open Globe Life Field at the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball season,” Rangers president of business operations and COO Neil Leibman said. “We’re fully confident that we can do this is in a responsible and safe way. There is so much pent-up demand for people wanting to go to events in a safe environment.

There are going to be more than three strikes in the stadium than on the field of play?

One of the main problems with the government’s response to COVID was forcing private businesses to close with mandates that were not passed by state legislatures and signed by Governors. If the elected officials of each state had just encouraged businesses to do this instead of forcing them I’m willing to say that there would not be the division and backlash today this country is mired in. I’m sure not all places would have complied with the suggestions but we would be better situated today as a whole.

The Texas Rangers ballclub is a privately owned business and they may set the rules of entry to their property. That they are requiring people to have a mask on while in the park, though, with the possibility of 40,000 people in attendance creates an interesting situation of how this will be enforced. Rob Matwick who works for the club had this to say.

How the Rangers would enforce the mask policy for fans in violation of the mandate remains unclear. Matwick mentioned the team would like to take a three-strike approach during games for people who need gentle reminders. When a fan would be asked to leave — and who would enforce that — was not detailed.

“We obviously have the right to do that if they’re not complying with the rules,” Matwick said. “I mean, it’s just like using obscene language or any other of the ballpark rules that we have. We have the right to ask somebody to leave. Can we do that? Absolutely. Do we want to do that? No, we don’t. But I think there’s a simple way to avoid that: Just comply with the rule.”

So the club employees will “gently” remind you up to three times that your mask is not on or fitted properly and then you might be possibly removed from the stadium depending upon a number of circumstances? I’m not stepping too far out on a limb to say this will be a mess.

Maybe Texans who are sick and tired of being cooped up and not being allowed to attend ballgames will just be grateful to go back and watch baseball games and will grin (underneath a mask) and bear it just like the Royal Family in Britain has after that Harry and Yoko interview with Oprah.

Maybe.

I know I’m looking forward to baseball being back and I will make it a point to watch to see how my compadres in the Lone Star State handle their newfound freedom of attending games but with face diapers required.

Remember the Alamo.