Almost 40,000 people packed into a stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Monday in "the largest publicly documented attendance at an event during the COVID-19 pandemic," per the Dallas Morning News. Health protocols "proved difficult to enforce" as 38,238 people streamed into Globe Life Field, which has a capacity of 40,158, to watch the Texas Rangers' home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays, the outlet reports. Attendees were required to wear face masks "except when actively eating or drinking at their ticketed seats" but many people did not. "I'm excited to not have to wear a mask and see live baseball," said one attendee who'd traveled from Las Vegas, per the Morning News. "If it means I die tomorrow, OK, God needed me there," said another.
It was the first time fans were allowed to watch a Rangers regular-season game inside the stadium, which opened last year. "It felt like it was my debut all over again," Rangers infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa told CNN. "I think the introduction when I first came out early in the game, that was probably one of the coolest moments of my career to this date." Rangers manager Chris Woodward said it felt like "a real game" as it "resembled some sort of normalcy." But President Biden had criticized the decision to open the stadium to full capacity, telling ESPN it was "not responsible." "I don't know why we don't just follow the science and beat this," he added, noting vaccinations were not yet available to all Americans. The Blue Jays ended up beating the Rangers 6-2. (Read more Texas stories.)