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  • Writer's pictureMichael Davis

Globe Life Park in Arlington – Texas Rangers


Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Globe Life Park in Arlington 1000 Ballpark Way Arlington, TX 76011


Year Opened: 1994

Capacity: 48,114

 

Globe Life Park’s Final Season

Globe Life Park, originally called the Ballpark in Arlington, has been the Texas Rangers’ home since 1994. On April 11 of that year, a sold-out crowd of 49,119 witnessed the Texas Rangers beat the Milwaukee Brewers in their brand-new ballpark. The Ballpark was a welcome sight, replacing the old minor league stadium turned MLB venue, Arlington Stadium. The new ballpark was designed to be retro-style, incorporating features of baseball’s classic ballparks. The right field Home-Run Porch was designed in honor of the old Detroit Tigers Stadium, while the white steel frieze that surrounds the upper deck was from pre-1973 Yankee Stadium. The out of town manual scoreboard was taken from Fenway Park, the non-symmetry was classic Ebbets Field, and arched windows come from the White Sox’ previous field Comiskey Park.

The Rangers added their own unique features in Greene’s Hill, a sloped section of grass beyond center field to be used as the batter’s eye and named after former Arlington mayor Richard Greene. The signature office spaces complete the center field corner of the ballpark. The Ballpark has changed over the past 25 years with renovations, but for the most part has remained true to its original state. There have been four name changes over the years, although local fans still use the original name or call it Rangers Ballpark.

Globe Life Park has become the home that the Texas Rangers envisioned when it opened in 1994. Since the ballpark opened, the Rangers have won seven division titles and two American League Championships. Four of the five players that have worn the retired Rangers uniforms called Globe Life Park home. There was also an All-Star game here in 1995, Kenny Rodgers’ perfect game, Rafael Palmiero’ s 500th home run, and Adrian Beltre’s 3,000th hit, although arguably the biggest moment ever here was the last out in the American League Championship Series versus the New York Yankees; Neftali Feliz’s strikeout of Alex Rodriquez to send the Rangers to their first World Series in 2010.

The Ballpark has hosted numerous events besides Rangers baseball. The Big 12 Baseball Tournament was held inside the ballpark in 2002 and 2004, and other local college baseball teams from the University of Texas-Arlington and Texas Christian University have played regular season games inside the Globe. The 2019 season at Globe Life Park is the Final Season for Texas Rangers baseball here, as the Texas Rangers and their fans will soon move into their newly updated ballpark, Globe Life Field. Globe Life Field will provide the Texas Rangers and their fans with the most updated amenities – the new facility will have a retractable roof for those brutal summer temperatures in North Texas, the field will be turf instead of grass, and the safety netting will extend down the foul lines. In addition, the new Texas Live! will bring outside atmosphere to the new ballpark that was lacking during the warehouse days.

Food & Beverage 5

The Texas Rangers and Delaware North Sportservice are pioneers in the improvement of not only Globe Life Park but all sport venue food services, leading the rest of Major League Baseball in upgrading its game menus to be more than just traditional hot dogs and ballpark nachos. Although the nachos staple was introduced to the sports world by the Texas Rangers at the old Arlington Stadium, that same company, Ricos, continues to provide the chips and has a production plant nearby Globe Life Park.

Besides nachos, the Texas Rangers in 2015 unleashed the Boomstick – a two-foot-long hot dog slathered in chili and cheese that costs $27. The Rangers have made unveiling new concessions offering an annual tradition; last year the Dilly Dog (a hot dog nestled inside a cored-out dill pickle and fried in corn dog batter) was the headliner for $10, and this final season highlighted a 2-lb chicken strip, vegan offerings including a burger and street tacos, and the visually striking RWB dog – a ballpark frank lined with red and blue relish.

Next season, the Rangers and Delaware North Sportservice will continue to be together; this agreement will carry over the menu from Globe Life Park and create new opportunities. The biggest announcement showing that these two identities will continue in creating a better food and beverage atmosphere for fans is from Delaware North general manager Casey Rapp. He mentioned that the upper deck food options at the current Globe Life Park are “pretty generic” – in the new ballpark however, he said the food options will be more diverse. Baseball and food lovers should be prepared for the Globe Life Field food options as being the best in baseball starting in 2020.

Although the food menu here is creative and pricey, Globe Life Park has plenty of the normal stadium food fare, with plenty of options on every level of the stadium. There is barbecue, burgers, pizza, garlic fries, and chicken tenders, but visitors who want to visit the Texas State Fare stand can also get deep-fried Oreos and Twinkies among other items; some of these food items are in the $10 to $25 range, and this is where the Dilly Dog was offered to fans.

Globe Life Park allowed outside food and drink items, however, rumors have it that this will no longer be in place for Globe Life Field. Overall, Globe Life Park provides the best food options in Major League Baseball – the only problem is that they came needing a Texas-sized wallet.

Texas-Sized Food at Globe Life Park, Photo by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey


Atmosphere 4

There is no doubt that Globe Life Park is a great venue for baseball; the groups of Rangers fans entering through the large red-brick facades and trellises hanging from the rooftop bring memories of the ballparks of old. Also, the large concourses with murals of past Rangers players generally bring a great energy of anticipation, and when there are large crowds the atmosphere is one of the best in sports. The fans that arrive early as the gates open have plenty of things to do – the large pro shop in centerfield is a good place to start, or get a table inside the air-conditioned Rebecca Creek Saloon next door. Or, just outside both the pro shop and restaurant, fans can take photos with a statue of Nolan Ryan. There is also something special in hearing the Rangers PA announcer Chuck Morgan announce, “It’s Baseball Time in Texas”; this is one of the sweetest things to hear in the ballpark. Chuck will continue to be the PA Voice of the Rangers at Globe Life Field.

Besides Chuck Morgan, the Rangers employ in-game entertainment with the Texas Six Shooters, a group of young ladies that send t-shirts into the crowd, wave Texas flags after a Rangers score on Greene’s Hill in centerfield, and dance to Cotton Eye Joe on the dugout during the 7th inning stretch. In addition, the team’s mascot, Ranger Captain, a horse in a Rangers uniform, is visible throughout the ballpark and the community; these will continue when the Rangers move to Globe Life Field next year. But overall the atmosphere depends on the fans, and there have been plenty of games where the atmosphere has been the best and then stale later. Nevertheless, the memories at Globe Life Park are second to none for Rangers fans, and that means a better atmosphere than most MLB ballparks.

Neighborhood 3

The immediate neighborhood around Globe Life Park is warehouses, office building, and parking lots – anything outside of those was on the outskirts, on the other side of AT&T Stadium on Collins Street. There is no public transportation in the city of Arlington so there is plenty of foot traffic, but no nearby gathering places until last year when Texas Live! opened across the street.

Texas Live! is a $250 million world class dining entertainment district which opened in 2018 across from Globe Life Park – this entertainment venue will become an extension for the Rangers’ new home Globe Life Field which is set to open in March 2020. There are plenty of food and drink options inside Texas Live! such as Lockhart Smoke House, PBR Texas, Pudge’s Pizza, and Troy’s, as well as the outdoor concert venue Arlington Backyard. In addition, Loews Hotel opened in August 2019, providing a close luxury hotel besides the Sheraton-Arlington.

If you prefer to be away from the congestion of Collins Street, but still want to find a couple of restaurants that would be a good pre or postgame hangout, you can visit the old downtown area of Arlington between E. Abram Street and E. Division St, only a couple of miles from AT&T Stadium. In this small area there are plenty of options such as Flying Fish, Twisted Root Beer Company, J Gilligan’s Bar and Grill, Babe’s Chicken, and Grease Monkey Burger Shop. There are also two local craft breweries to visit here as well; Legal Draft Beer Company and Division Brewing.

Globe Life Park is in the Arlington Entertainment District which consists of Six Flags over Texas, Hurricane Harbor, and the Dallas Cowboys’ ATT Stadium.

Fans 3

Texas will always be a football state. However, there are plenty of Rangers fans that come out to the ballpark, and just like most baseball fans, to be a constant force for 81 game seasons depends a lot on how the team plays on the field. The cliché that everyone loves a winner is true – the Texas Rangers attendance was the highest the season after the team won back to back American League Championships. Yet, the final season of the Ballpark brought in 16K less per game, and the MLB scheduler didn’t help the Rangers either, scheduling the popular teams like the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and New York Yankees on days that could have brought in the same number of fans, giving the other lower games a higher attendance rate.

There are those loyal Rangers fans that have been coming out since Arlington Stadium in the 70s, however, and Globe Life Park is “a cathedral”, a word used by former President and Texas Rangers owner George W Bush. The Texas weather was a mighty deterrent though for fans during those afternoon day games, but for the fans that did show up you see a ton of team apparel – Rangers red, white, and blue being heavily present; Texas Rangers jerseys, shirts, and caps are everywhere. Rangers fans are also vocal and supportive, and become some of the best in baseball – just ask the fans that have experienced Rangers playoff games, or those back-to-back American League Championship years.

Access 3

Globe Life Park in Arlington is easily accessible off Interstate 30, and between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is only 15-20 minutes away. The constant killer on access is the lack of public transportation; Arlington, Texas is the largest populated city in the state that does not have good public transportation for its citizens. This leads to ridesharing ($25 Uber ride from DFW), or taxis and rental cars. The good news for drivers, however, is that there is plenty of signage leading up to the park from the highway.

Parking is ample around the field, with prices ranging from $10 to $40. For fans staying in the area around the ballpark, however, there is the Arlington Trolley, which makes stops at nearly all the hotels in and around Globe Life Park in Arlington, and shuttles you from attraction to attraction and back again.

Return on Investment 5

The 2019 Texas Rangers average ticket was $54, which ranks them in the lower 1/3 of MLB pricing charts. Single game tickets start as low as $17 for upper level seating and can run as high as $300 for the Commissioner boxes near the infield. That said, the secondary market is a great place to look for those non-premier games during the week, where tickets can be found for as low as $10 including fees. The prices are sure to increase next season with the move to Globe Life Field, and the option of bringing your own food and drinks may also change. Globe Life Park is a gorgeous and perfect venue for baseball; the ROI here for the Rangers continues to be the best option when compared to the other sports teams in the DFW area.

Extras 5

Arlington’s “Cathedral for Baseball” gave millions of Rangers fans 26 seasons of incredible memories; the ballpark’s infrastructure is one that truly represents the state of Texas and is one of the best in sports. A main concern for the future of Globe Life Park is because of the architectural masterpiece that has been a staple in Arlington for almost 3 decades. The ballpark has been renovated inside many times over the years to provide fans different amenities, and the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame near centerfield was a staple that provided the history of Rangers baseball as well as an educational place for young campers during the summer.

The Rangers, the innovator of the original dot on the old Arlington Stadium videoboard, changed to live human dots, Texas Legends, and mini dots. The creation of Texas Live!, the new mixed-use entertainment complex which opened last year, also brought a better atmosphere to Globe Life Park on game days, and will continue into the future at Globe Life Field.

Final Thoughts

The erection of Globe Life Park revitalized baseball in North Texas. Although, the Texas Rangers were playing two decades prior to Globe Life Park, the Texas Rangers weren’t a national interest in baseball outside of the Dallas – Fort Worth area. There are many die-hard fans that loved Arlington Stadium, but realized that the new ballpark in Arlington would give the Texas Rangers instead credibility, among the other MLB ballparks and fans. For a quarter-century, Globe Life Park did more than just make baseball in North Texas creditable. Globe Life Park became place that represented the very heart of all Texans. Although, many fans will enjoy the new amenities of Globe Life Field, it will always be bittersweet not being in Globe Life Park.

Final Opening Day 2019, Photo by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey

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