By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
That is the sound of me swallowing hard in anticipation of what I hope doesn’t happen … if that makes sense.
They’re going to play some hardball tonight down the road a piece from us in Collin County. The Texas Rangers are staging their American League home opener at their brand new ballpark in Arlington, which they built right next to the park where they played for about 20 years.
Why am I gulping? Because the Rangers are going to play before a full house. Fans will be packed in there, about 40,000-plus of them. Sitting shoulder to shoulder. Yelling for their guys to win a game. They’ll be high-fiving each other, slapping each on the back, yelling their brains out!
Oh, did I mention that we’re still in the grip of a killer pandemic? I just did. Which makes me very nervous.
The Texas Rangers are the only Major League Baseball organization to open their venue up to everyone who can squeeze into it. The other teams are limiting ticket sales. Same thing for minor-league organizations — such as the Amarillo Sod Poodles up yonder in the Panhandle; Hodgetown will be three-quarters full when the Soddies open their home season soon.
To be clear, the Rangers are going to require fans to wear masks. I presume they’ll have hand sanitizer available.
However, social distancing is not at all possible when you jam fans together in a venue where they’re sitting right next to each other. We’ve had these spikes in infection rates and hospitalization, in case you hadn’t heard. They have occurred just as states and local governments lift restrictions created by the outbreak of the COVID virus which has killed more than 550,000 Americans — and that number is still climbing, albeit at a slower rate.
My goodness, I hope this isn’t a mistake.