Passan: Inside MLB's plan to have fans in the stands starting with NLCS opener

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Jeff PassanESPN

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ESPN MLB insider
Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

ARLINGTON, Texas — Every day last week, about 20 Texas Rangers employees fanned out to different parts of their glistening new ballpark, Globe Life Field, armed with what they hope will be vital in preempting the potential spread of the coronavirus at Major League Baseball’s first game with fans in 2020: zip ties.

For months, as it became clear that Globe Life would host neutral-site postseason games in this oddest of seasons, the Rangers had been planning for this moment, which will take place Monday at 8 p.m. ET when the Los Angeles Dodgers play the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series and as many as 11,500 fans patronize the stadium. The Rangers teamed with MLB on a protocol that would rely on three tenets: mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing. As a precaution against those who might be tempted to run afoul of an assigned-seat rule, Rangers employees folded up more than 30,000 seat bottoms and used 5-foot-long zip ties to adhere them to their seat backs.

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