Pandemic World Series draws smallest crowd in over century

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The Los Angeles Dodgers line up during during the national anthem and a fly over before Game 1 of the baseball World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Julie and Lance Smith walked through the mostly empty concourse of Globe Life Field.

Tampa Bay infielder Joey Wendle is married to one of their cousins, and they weren’t going to miss his World Series debut.

“It’s so weird,” said Julie Smith, 38, from Gadsden, Alabama.

“It’s kind of nice in a way, too,” Lance, 39, said before they headed to their seats in the first deck behind home plate.

They wore masks, but many fans ignored the requirement for facial coverings except while eating or drinking at their ticketed seats.

A crowd of 11,388 attended the Los Angeles Dodgers' 8-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Tuesday night's World Series opener, spread in groups of up to four, mostly in alternate rows and none directly behind each other among the forest green seats.

That was the smallest Series crowd since 10,535 attended Game 6 in 1909 between the Tigers and Pittsburgh at Detroit's Bennett Park, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Major League Baseball planned to make about 28% available of the 40,518 capacity at the retractable-roof stadium of the Texas Rangers. The new $1.2 billion venue opened this year and replaced Globe Life Park, the team’s open-air home from 1994 through 2019. During batting practice, through the new stadium’s glass walls, the sun glistened off the red brick of the old stadium across the street beyond left field, a field now used for high school football.