Major League Baseball’s 2021 season begins on Thursday, and it will be the first regular season games with fans in the stands since 2019, as stadiums around the country are only available to a small number of fans due to local regulations.
The only exception is in Texas, where the Rangers can open the season with a full house after the governor of the state lifted all COVID-19 restrictions.
Only the Rangers are fully filling the stadium; the Astros will continue to work at a reduced capacity, and while masks will be needed, it is far from the CDC’s recommendation for how to manage events as the vaccine rollout continues across the world. On Wednesday night, ESPN aired an interview with President Joe Biden in which Sage Steele asked him about the Rangers’ decision to allow a full stadium of fans, and he expressed his displeasure with the decision.
“That’s a decision they’ve made, I think it’s a mistake,” Biden said. “They should listen to Dr. Fauci and the scientists and the experts, but I think it’s not responsible.”
Other issues mentioned in the interview included the vaccine rollout, with Biden urging people who are interested to get the vaccine, and him offering his help if Major League Baseball tries to move its All-Star Game out of Atlanta due to Georgia’s current voter restriction rules, which Biden dubbed “Jim Crow on steroids.”
Biden hopes to return to full-capacity stadiums in the future, when he was asked about the NFL’s initiative, which he states is months out and provides at least more time for the vast majority of the population to get vaccinated, but advises teams to pursue science and expert advice before we reach that point with limited capacity to limit another outbreak of the virus.