Joe Biden: Texas Rangers Opening Season with Capacity Crowd 'A Mistake'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2021

President Joe Biden delivers a speech on infrastructure spending at Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/Associated Press

President Joe Biden expressed reservations about the Texas Rangers' plans to allow a capacity crowd for their home opener April 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

"That's the decision they made," Biden said during an interview with ESPN's Sage Steele. "I think it's a mistake. They should listen to Dr. Fauci and the scientists and the experts. I think it's not responsible."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 he was lifting the state's mask mandate and allowing businesses to remove any restrictions on capacity.

The Rangers are taking full advantage, at least for their first game. Remaining games at Globe Life Park across April and May will have "distanced seating" and thus a reduced attendance.

While COVID-19 vaccinations are rising across the country, some are wondering whether it's appropriate to stage such a large public event. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned of an incoming fourth wave of COVID-19 cases.

The New York Daily News' Bradford William Davis also spoke to Rangers employees who are concerned about how fans will adhere to masking requirements inside the stadium:

"'They're not going to just take this rolling over,' the stadium staffer said of Rangers fans. '"Oh, well, the governor said we could do this,"' the staffer said, already preparing herself for the conflicts they'll face at their job. 'Well, you know, the organization still has rules. Major League Baseball still has rules in play. Like, you can't do whatever you want.'"

One front-office worker told Davis the Rangers "at every turn ... prove that they were more interested in finding ways for the club to make money, rather than protecting the interests of their employees there."

While the Rangers are the only MLB team welcoming a full house, UFC already sold 15,000 tickets for UFC 261 on April 24 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also told reporters he's expecting to have stadiums fully open for the 2021 season.