In September, there were 6,913 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tarrant County, Texas, including 447 reported on Wednesday, the final day of the month. That brings the cumulative tally for the county to 46,527 people stricken by coronavirus, with 721 dead from the pandemic.
Tarrant County is where the Cowboys play, and on Sept. 20, Arlington played host to the first of eight scheduled superspreader events as Dallas came back to beat the Atlanta Falcons, 40-39, in front of 21,708 fans, many of whom “took pride in ignoring [mask protocols] altogether,” something that wasn’t just an anecdote in a Dallas Morning News story, but plainly observable to anyone watching the game on television.
Major League Baseball hasn’t been allowing fans in the stands, but Atlanta did have a plaza for fans to gather for Game 1 of the National League wild-card series on Wednesday afternoon, with the predictable result being that a whole bunch of people showed up to not really socially distance and not really wear masks.
The National League Championship Series and World Series are being played at the Rangers’ new ballpark in Arlington, so seeing the continued rage of COVID in Tarrant County, the behavior of Cowboys fans in Arlington, and the actions of Atlanta fans, it sure is a good thing that MLB decided to make its postseason a bubble, with no fans in the buildi— what’s that now?
Oh, come on.
Yes, Major League Baseball will be selling tickets to the NLCS and World Series, approximately 11,500 per game.
According to MLB’s announcement, “tickets in the seating bowl will be sold in groups of four contiguous seats, called pods. … Each pod will be a minimum of six feet from each other.”
Well, that doesn’t seem so bad, right? Well…
“No seats will be sold within 20 feet of where a player can be located on the field, in the dugouts or in the bullpen.”
That’s the line that lets you know MLB doesn’t give a damn what happens to the people who come to these games, so long as their money is green.
“You can be six feet from each other, but you’ve got to be at least 20 feet away from us” says a lot more than they want it to. Because just like another line in the press release — “Masks will be mandatory for all fans except when actively eating or drinking at their ticketed seats.” — they know damn well that people are going to be in that stadium, unmasked, and not socially distancing, because adhering to basic public health protocols has become a polarized political issue in this extremely stupid country where the president makes fun of his challenger for regularly wearing masks and it isn’t even in the running for the top five worst things he did at Tuesday night’s debate.
This will end badly, but because the virus is everywhere, because fans will travel to and from Tarrant County, and because contact tracing in the United States is more of a concept than an organized process, Major League Baseball will get away with it entirely, and by the time anyone figures out what went wrong, they’ll be sitting on a beach, earning 20 percent.