Globe Life Field
Review by Gary
When The Ballpark in Arlington (now Globe Life Park) was designed in the early 1990’s, the owners of the Texas Rangers spurned the idea of constructing a roofed replacement to the legendary Arlington Stadium and erected a marvelous open-air stadium that was a joy to visit, regardless of the weather. In 2020, just 26 years after “The Temple” was built, the new owners of the Rangers built a third ballpark in Arlington, rising out of the Texas clay in the form of a massive steel, glass and brick building that looks more like a giant aircraft hanger than a traditional baseball stadium.
This venue is the centerpiece of a larger entertainment complex built right across the street from Globe Life Park, which will be reimagined as a football and soccer complex. Note: The Dallas Cowboys’ 120,000 seat football stadium lies just a mile down the road, making for a potential parking adventure. This megaplex features a hotel, convention center, courtyard, retail stores, restaurants and clubs.
Greeting fans at the main entrance is the bronze status of Nolan Ryan, which once stood in the concourse of the previous ballpark. Once you make it past the gauntlet of glitzy lights and overly loud music, you enter a building that is constantly 72 degrees and rises 250+ feet to the roof, which was closed on this rainy Sunday afternoon. With the ability to walk completely around the building from practically any level, fans will see the artificially carpeted field below from numerous angles and heights. The Rangers are one of only five major league teams to play their home games on fake turf.
The 5.5-acre retractable roof is the most prominent feature of Globe Life Field (GLF). It is the largest single-panel operable roof in the world and weighs 24 million pounds. 223 clear panels provide sunlight without roasting the 40,300 seats below. Catering to the bourgeois, the building also boasts 120 executive suites. For those looking for the closest opportunity to view the game, fans can sit near the field behind a screen in a sunken seating area directly along each dugout stretching to the foul poles. For the typical 21st century shaped American, GLF has installed 19-inch-wide seats compared to the 18-inch ones across Ballpark Way. For anyone who could not see either of the 45’ tall video scoreboards in the outfield, there are numerous smaller screens lining the ceilings of the upper decks so the game could be seen in three ways from the seats.
The new owners cited weather as the reason why attendance at Globe Life Park was lower than in other baseball stadiums in major metropolitan areas, as the area is prone to high temperatures and frequent rain. The fact that Texas had not finished higher than third place in the AL West for the past five years was seemingly ignored.
The distances from home plate to the outfield walls were designed to honor the five Rangers whose numbers have been retired by the club. For example, the Center Field straightaway is 407 feet in honor of Ivan Rodriguez’ #7. In addition, the distances in the left field and right field power alleys recognize two early seasons in Rangers’ history. The five retired numbers are on 5 pillars, making one wonder if Texas would add a sixth monolithic pillar when they retire another number
There are plenty of homages to past Rangers and their successes on the field. Huge, sculpted jerseys of those retired numbers can be found in lit frames with their photos as you walk around the park. Giant images and artwork showing notable moments of Ranger history certainly remind you that you are in Arlington.
On the field, there is retractable mound for easy storage during non-baseball events or if the umpires feel the need to give the visiting pitcher a disadvantage should the Rangers need some help. This would not be the case today as the home team first blew a 2-0 lead, but then rallied in the bottom of the 10th to beat the Houston Asterisks, 3-2, before a full-blown, post-Covid crowd of 36,444.
Chuck Morgan, the longtime stadium announcer, could be seen through glassed walls announcing the play on the field below. Morgan deservedly has his own booth, albeit massive in size for one person. He oversees scoreboard and video production for all Rangers home games and has been with the Rangers since 1983.
On the whole, Globe Life Field is a suitable stadium. While not a fan of indoor ballparks, the experience may have been better if the game was played under the skies with the roof open, as it’s meant to be. Our tickets were in the second-highest level of the building, 240 feet above the field, requiring me to use those plentiful video screens frequently to see the action. However, with the perfectly grand old 1994 Ballpark sitting in plain view beyond the glass walls outside, I found myself wishing that I was watching the game there instead.