Dr. Anthony Fauci was nowhere near Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Monday, but he still struck out.
The White House’s coronavirus expert was aghast when he learned the Texas Rangers were planning to have 100 percent capacity for their home opener after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott removed capacity limits.
“I don’t want to be critical of that, but that’s — I would not start off with 100 percent capacity,” Fauci said in a March interview with The Washington Post.
“But, you know, Texas has been always a bit more — what’s the right word? — daring when it comes to the kinds of things that they want to do in regards to this outbreak,” he said.
Fauci’s carping was a distant voice Monday as 38,238 people packed the sold-out, 40,300-seat stadium to watch their beloved Rangers fall to the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2.
Even so, the home opener crowd set a record for the largest crowd to attend a U.S. sporting event since the dawn of the pandemic more than a year ago.
“I love baseball. I love the Rangers,” said fan Margie Landrum, who was in the crowd, according to WFAA-TV. “I didn’t think I’d ever get to see them again.”
“We’re glad to be back,” fan Brent Armstrong said. “It was tough last year not getting to watch it.”
“We ran immediately to the railing and my fiancé said, ‘Oh my god, the outfield is so big,” said Brandon Coots, who drove roughly four hours to watch the game in person. “I said we get to play here? This is our ballpark?”
A packed Globe Life Field for the Texas Rangers’ home opener.
It’s the first full-capacity sporting event in the U.S. in over a year.
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) April 5, 2021
President Joe Biden had joined Fauci in voicing his disapproval of filling the stadium.
“I think it’s a mistake,” Biden said. “They should listen to Fauci, scientists and experts. I think it’s not responsible.”
“I think it’s great,” Pug Landrum said. “We can’t stay shut up forever. I’m not going to live in fear my whole life.”
— Fergie Jenkins (@fergieajenkins) April 5, 2021
Rangers Manager Chris Woodward said he was proud to be part of a milepost along the road to recovery.
“People are on both sides of that issue,” Woodward said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Nothing is black and white. You can have your concerns about it, but I’ve asked our fans if they show up today to be responsible. They’ve got to do their part.
“I think it’s a good thing. It really is. You can have your opinion on it, but at the same time our country is moving forward. It symbolizes a little bit of hope,” Woodward said. “We haven’t had a full crowd in a long time in any sport. To be the first one, as long as it’s done right and responsible, we should be fine.”
Fans at Monday’s game were supposed to wear masks, which many did until they reached their seats.
Abbott was scheduled to throw out the first pitch, along with essential frontline workers being honored. Abbott pulled out of the event, saying he would not participate in Major League Baseball events as his response to the league moving the All-Star game out of Atlanta after Georgia passed an election reform law that has been denounced by Democrats.
Lawrence Christian, 49, of Fort Worth, said Abbott was acting out of principle.
“I think he’s standing up and trying to get people to live life again instead of living in fear,” Christian said. “I love our governor.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.