Baseball is back in America! After the COVID-19 pandemic hindered much of the 2020 season, Major League Baseball has kicked off the 2021 season with a bang. The Texas Rangers started their season with a three-game series in Kansas City, Missouri last week. Taking one game out of the three-game series, the Rangers headed home to the state of Texas for their home opener. The struggling ball club fell 6-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays in front of more than 38,000 fans. Yes, you read that correctly. In a stadium that can fit approximately 40,000 fans, 38,238 people attended the team's home-opening loss.
The Texas Rangers did not violate any state protocols during their home opener. Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted the statewide mask mandate last month and has allowed businesses to operate at 100% capacity. In fact, Abbott was supposed to throw the opening pitch at the baseball game, but he decided not to do so after the MLB moved their all-star game out of the state of Georgia due to the passing of S.B. 202.
Yesterday, the Rangers hosted one of the first full-capacity sporting events since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the country last spring. Over the last year, approximately 555,000 have died from the coronavirus. According to John Hopkins University, Texas ranks second in the country with 2.8 million COVID-19 cases in the last year. Furthermore, the state ranks third with 48,881 COVID-19 related deaths.
Fortunately, COVID-19 infections and deaths have decreased recently in the state of Texas. On April, WFAA reported that the state recorded 887 COVID-19 cases. That marks the first time daily COVID-19 infections had been kept under 1,000 since June 8. Furthermore, COVID-19 related deaths have declined since January. Unfortunately, the New York Times still reports that the state has averaged more COVID-19 related deaths over the last seven days than 49 other states.
Nationwide, COVID-19 numbers continue to spike in most states. While nearly three million vaccinations are administered each day, COVID-19 infections have spiked in nearly two dozen states. Still, Major League Baseball continues to allow teams to host games at full capacity. This is a move that President Joe Biden has publicly pushed back against.
"Well, that's a decision they made. I think it's a mistake," Biden told ESPN.
"They should listen to Dr. (Anthony) Fauci, the scientists and the experts. But I think it's not responsible."
The Rangers are expected to play before a packed house yet again as the Blue Jays return for the second game of their three-game series on April 6.
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