07-09-2012, 10:03 AM #1
Highlights from Trip to Rangers Ballpark
I spent the weekend at the Twins-Rangers series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Twins return there in August, so in case someone is going to that series, here are some of my observations and advice.
- Basically, it's a great time to be a Rangers fan. The place was packed every night, and there was nary a fan not wearing a red or blue Rangers shirt. I've never seen such a high percentage of fans in a stadium wearing a team jersey. Very kid-friendly.
- Of every stadium I've been to (15), Rangers fans were the most glued to the game. Very few fans seemed to stray from their seats. It seemed everyone's eyes were completely on the action and everyone paid very close attention to every pitch. Of course, that may just come with the territory being back-to-back AL champs.
- It was HOT. Very, very hot during the day. The heat during BP was too much to handle for many. But with that said, when the sun goes down it gets moderately comfortable. The temps were in the low 80s by the time Saturday's game ended.
- Mike Napoli is absolutely beloved there. He seems to be riding his strong World Series play well into this season despite some lesser numbers across the board. I saw almost as many Napoli t-shirts and jerseys as Hamilton.
- There was a scattering of Twins fans in the crowd. I was taunted a number of times, but overall treated pretty well as an opposing fan. One drunken Ranger fan got up in my face and screamed "YOU SUCK!" and some residual saliva landed on me as he walked out of the pro shop.
- The giant bold of lightning Sunday night was the single loudest noise I've ever heard. Kids were crying. I don't think TV did it justice. Just glad I wasn't on a coaster at the Six Flags behind the stadium when it struck!
- The stadium is nearly 20 years old now and, although still nice, doesn't quite compare to some of the newer ones. I wasn't able to see the game from the concourse in 90% of the stadium. The concourse walkways were very packed and at times narrow. Not quite Metrodome, but definitely not Target Field in that aspect. The video board is only visible to about 75% of the stadium, and it was somewhat difficult to follow the pitch count and player stats.
- Same as anywhere, beer was expensive. Not a lot of interesting or unusual beers sold here. I didn't see many tempting local concessions either, but the cracked black pepper sausage was pretty good.
- The Rangers PR department is sure reveling the large number of All-Stars on the roster. Every player was introduced multiple times as "2012 American League All-Star." Well, I guess if you have a dozen people going to the game including coaches and staff, why not?
- The stadium is built in a very entertainment-oriented part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. It is surrounded by Cowboy Stadium, Six Flags, and Hurricane Harbor. There were free trolleys from all the hotels, but they were packed. Parking was expensive but convenient and not ridiculously jammed getting in and out of the stadium area. I didn't realize how far out of both Dallas and Fort Worth the city of Arlington is. It's a 10-mile drive to Dallas and 20 to Ft Worth. The JFK museum in Dallas was worth the time though. And for the ladies, my wife found a famous yarn store in Ft Worth she thoroughly enjoyed. There were nothing but chain restaurants near the stadium though, not much local or ethnic.
- If you ever have the chance, definitely do the Cowboy Stadium tour. For $17, you have free range of the entire field. There were kids climbing the field goal post and grown men playing a 2-on-2 game at midfield. Very cool experience!
07-09-2012, 10:10 AM #2
Enjoyed your post. Thanks.
The Twins could have made it so much more enjoyable for you, though. Heartbreakers!
I'm sure TV didn't do the lightning bolt justice but it was loud enough to make me look up from something else I was doing at the moment. And interesting to see the players scurry off the field.
07-09-2012, 10:22 AM #3
Nice. I appreciate the review.
07-09-2012, 10:39 PM #4
1) Amazing what winning can do. I went to a Friday night game and a Sunday afternoon game in 2005 and it sure wasn't full. In fact, on the Sunday game, the few people there had left most of the lower bowl to fill in the top where they could be under the shade of the overhanging deck. We went and sat right in the front row, right behind the Twins dugout and there was hardly anybody sitting anywhere near us! I looked up the attendance numbers and they were 28,877 and 20,882 but I would be shocked if there were nearly that many people actually there for much of those games, if at all.
2) As mentioned in 1), I wonder how much of that is because of the recent winning. When I was there, the concourses were as full as the seats, it seemed. Part of that could be because it was, as you say, HOT!!!! Which brings me to...
3) I don't know the normal cycles, but we were there in late August and even the locals were talking about the heat. Wow. Took your breath away. As you said, even then the night game was fairly tolerable, but the afternoon game was ridiculous (hence the aforementioned abandonment by most people of the seats in the sun). They offered unlimited refills on some drinks, including a wonderful lemonade that I had about 8 or 9 20 oz glasses of, which I thought was a nice touch to help combat the heat.
4) Aren't people wonderful? How in the world do you even react to something like that? Ugh.
5) Very much agree with you about the ballpark. I don't know why it annoyed me as much as it did, but I hated the concourses, how small and closed in they were, and that you couldn't watch the ballgame from there. It may have been touchier for me because I waited for a concession for innings. Yes, innings. Basically all of the "new wave" of ballparks are nice, but I just don't think it's quite in the class of many of the others.
6) Also agree that the location is "middle of nowhere-ish" and my personal preference would be to have more unique and interesting food and entertainment options around. I'm sure there are those that would prefer what is there, though.
7) Cowboy stadium tour sounds pretty sweet! Love the thought of guys just breaking out into a game!
Thanks for the recap. Good stuff.
07-09-2012, 11:09 PM #5
Thanks for your comments on your games in Texas. My son and I made the trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in June and had a great time. I was thinking of making another trip next year to see the Twins play the Rangers and Astros since they will be in the American league in 2013. I thought the 90's were too much for me in both Pittsburgh and Cincy, I guess I will just have to hope MLB sends the twins down there in April or September.
07-10-2012, 07:51 PM #6
07-10-2012, 10:45 PM #7
I was at an Astros-Reds game a few weeks ago as well, and I like Minute Maid Park. It feels so much more open than Rangers Ballpark. It, of course, was a totally different experience with a sparse crowd and a poor home team. We were easily able to move from the upper deck to the lower deck in the early innings.
07-11-2012, 12:31 AM #8
This is an interesting and fun thread. May we assume that you were wearing Twins cap and shirt?
07-13-2012, 02:25 PM #9