The eyes of the sports world are going to be on the state of Texas for the next few weeks.
In what amounts to essentially a live experiment, Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers decided to swing the doors wide open for their home-opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday afternoon.
How? Well, Texas is one of the states down south that has allowed teams to do so if they wish, Florida is another. Up until this point, no team in either state had taken their governments up on the offer in the name of safety.
Though, some relatively large crowds did assemble for events like the Super Bowl, NCAA football’s national championship, Bowl games, and another will gather for Wrestle Mania in Tampa Bay in a few weeks.
The Rangers — for one day only — decided they’re going to open it up, before lowering capacity again for the time being.
Whether it was a smart and safe decision by the Rangers is an entirely different question that I don’t intend to get into here. All I’ll say is I wouldn’t personally feel comfortable attending an event, even an open-air one, with over 40-thousand other people.
No matter what one might think about the Rangers decision, what happens in the next few weeks could go a long way in determining policy for teams across North America, and especially in Canada where we’ve been much slower at allowing fans to attend events with crowds of any discernable size. (Which I haven’t had a problem with.)
While this game is unlikely to sway decision-makers to allow fans to attend events indoors, as the evidence is beyond obvious at this point that groups of people together inside just isn’t good, especially as the B117 variant spreads across Canada.
If after a few weeks the Arlington, Texas area doesn’t see any large spikes in cases, and few if any are linked to this game, this could be positive news for teams that play outdoors, including the CFL.
By no means do I think CFL teams should be able to open the season in June with 100 percent capacity, baring a massive jump in vaccination levels. The argument definitely could be made for a certain percentage of capacity to be allowed in.
The argument could probably already be made as the NFL has said that none of their games with fans led to local outbreaks.
However, if the Texas experiment doesn’t go well, pro teams might have to return to the drawing board.