August 6, 1994: Fred's 40th Birthday
July 16-18, 1994: A Trip to San Antonio and the Hill Country
Return to the Index for 1994


July 25, 1994
At a Rangers Baseball Game

 

On Monday, July 25, Ron Drew called me and asked me if I would like to go to a Rangers game on Tuesday. He said he had some free tickets from GTE, and I said sure, I'd go. I took my camera with me as this was the first time I'd been in the new Ballpark in Arlington, and I took four random pictures around the Ballpark of it, the game and Ron and Lowery.

I met Ron and Lowery at the Ballpark, which is out in Arlington just southwest of Six Flags Amusement Park. For me, getting there is easy- after a trip down Inwood/Hampton to I-30 then west to the exit for the Arlington Entertainment District.

The Ballpark in Arlington is home to the American League's Texas Rangers, and the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. Funding was approved for a new home for the Rangers in 1991 by the City of Arlington, and construction began on April 2, 1992 a short distance away from Arlington Stadium, the stadium it would replace. The new Ballpark in Arlington opened on April 1, 1994 in an exhibition contest between the Rangers and the New York Mets. The first official game was on April 11 against the Milwaukee Brewers.


At left areRon and Lowery at the Ballpark in Arlington. I have never been to a professional baseball game, and of course have not been to the brand new stadium, and was interested in seeing both. The Ballpark is nice and new and very spacious, and I know it cost a lot of money. We had to hike a pretty far piece to find our seats.

Of course, you are reading this page sometime after 2015, so you know it's no longer called The Ballpark in Arlington. In 2004, a mortgage company named Ameriquest bought the naming rights to it and renamed it Ameriquest Field in Arlington. In 2007, the Rangers severed their relationship with Ameriquest and announced that the stadium would be renamed Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. In 2014, the Globe Life and Accident Insurance Company bought the naming rights to it again. Globe Life is owned by Torchmark Corporation, which is based in McKinney, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas. The facility is now the Globe Life Park in Arlington.

We found our seats with no problem, and the game began. We sat through a few innings and I took a couple of pictures from our seats.


Here is the view towards right field from our seats at the Ballpark in Arlington. We had pretty good seats, about twenty rows back to the right of home plate. GTE uses them to entertain corporate guests. They also have a sky box, but that was in use, Ron said. It was warm, but pleasant, and watching the game was interesting. These new electronic scoreboards flash every statistic you could want, along with full motion video, some if shot by cameras down by the field. It is all very entertaining.

The Rangers chose to build a retro-style ballpark, incorporating many features of baseball's Jewel Box parks. A roofed home run porch in right field is reminiscent of Tiger Stadium, while the white steel frieze that surrounds the upper deck was copied from the pre-1973 Yankee Stadium. The out-of-town scoreboard (removed in 2009 and replaced with a state-of-the-art videoboard) was built into the left-field wall—a nod to Fenway Park, while the numerous nooks and crannies in the outfield fence are a reminder of Ebbets Field. The arched windows are a reminder of Comiskey Park. However, it has a few distinct features of its own. Several traditional Texas-style stone carvings are visible throughout it. A four-story office building in center field encloses it, with a white steel multilevel facade similar to the facade on the roof.

As the stadium was built on one of the former Arlington Stadium parking lots, the irregular dimensions of the outfield were planned independently, rather than being forced by neighboring structures. The home plate, foul poles, and bleachers were originally at Arlington Stadium.

The stadium's 810-foot-long facades are made of brick and Texas Sunset Red granite. Bas-relief friezes depict significant scenes from the history of both Texas and baseball. The calculus of seating arrangements represented a new economic model for the sport: a critical mass of high-dollar seats close to the infield boost ticket revenue. The stadium has three basic seating tiers: lower, club and upper deck. Two levels of luxury suites occupy spaces behind sliding glass doors above and below the club tier.


This was the view down the third base line from our seats at the Ballpark in Arlington. As you can see, we were pretty near the action, and could see everything. It was also a really nice evening. I don't know what the attraction of baseball as a sport actually is, but I can report that attending a game is a pleasant experience, although I think if I did it often I would quickly get very bored.

The field is one of the most notoriously hitter-friendly parks in baseball, due to the high temperatures, relatively short fences, and the design of the stadium which has allowed the area's high winds to swirl and lift balls that wouldn't normally make it out. In truth, the park would give up even more home runs if not for the office building in center and the field being 22 feet below street level.

I wanted to get some different views of the action, so I left Ron and Lowery for a while and climbed the stairs all the way up to the highest section of seats.


Here is the view of the field from the highest, furthest seats in the Ballpark in Arlington. It actually took me a while to find my way up here, the Ballpark being something of a maze inside. There was nobody up here, and you can see why. It is very difficult to tell what is going on, who is who, or even what the score is, since you can't see the electronic scoreboard from here. There was a nice breeze, though.

The stadium has a large number of obstructed-view seats. In some cases, the view is cut off by an overhang or underhang, and others are directly in front of the foul or support poles. Also, the design of the upper deck leaves it one of the highest in baseball. The view from the grandstand reserved sections in left is particularly obstructed.

Despite being hailed as a wonderful venue when it opened, after the first summer of play articles in The Dallas Morning News began to suggest that the ballpark would have been better served by having a dome or retractable roof– much like Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros– due to the often oppressive heat that settles over Texas during baseball season, with temperatures on the field being in excess of 110°. Many argue that the intense heat is a liability in attracting players, particularly starting pitchers.

I do not know what, if anything, will be done. (I can report that as of 2015, no retractable dome has been installed.)

I eventually returned to Ron and Lowery, and we left an inning before the game (which the Rangers lost) ended. I appreciated the invitation and was happy to see the new stadium.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


August 6, 1994: Fred's 40th Birthday
July 16-18, 1994: A Trip to San Antonio and the Hill Country
Return to the Index for 1994