Globe Life Park in Arlington
|Former names||The Ballpark in Arlington (1994-2004)
Ameriquest Field in Arlington (2005-2006)
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (2007-2013)
|Address||1000 Ballpark Way|
|Public transit||Collins Street at Andrews Street|
|Owner||Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority|
|Operator||Rangers Baseball Express|
|Field size||Left Field Line - 332 feet (101 m)
Left Center - 390 feet (119 m)
Deep Left Center - 404 feet (123 m)
Center Field - 400 feet (122 m)
Deep Right Center - 407 feet (124 m)
Right Center - 377 feet (115 m)
Right Field Line - 325 feet (99 m)
Backstop - 60 feet (18 m)
|Surface||Latitude36 Bermuda Grass|
|Broke ground||April 2, 1992|
|Opened||April 1, 1994|
|Construction cost||$191 million
($315 million in 2017 dollars)
|Architect||David M. Schwarz Architectural Services, Inc.
HKS, Inc. (architect of record)
|Structural engineer||Walter P Moore/Datum|
|Services engineer||M-E Engineers, Inc./Dunn Consulting|
|General contractor||Manhattan Construction Company|
|Texas Rangers (MLB) (1994-present)|
Globe Life Park in Arlington is a baseball park in Arlington, Texas, located between Dallas and Fort Worth. It is home to the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball and the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. It was constructed as a replacement for nearby Arlington Stadium and opened in April 1994 as The Ballpark in Arlington. Ameriquest bought the naming rights to the ballpark on May 7, 2004, and renamed it Ameriquest Field in Arlington. The Rangers severed their relationship with Ameriquest on March 19, 2007, and announced the park would be renamed Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Globe Life and Accident Insurance Company, a subsidiary of McKinney, Texas-based Torchmark Corporation, bought the naming rights for the facility on February 5, 2014.
Voters in Arlington approved extending the sales and hotel taxes in November 2016 to fund Globe Life Field, a new ballpark set to be built in the area adjacent to the current ballpark and open in 2020.
In April 1989, Rangers owner Eddie Chiles, sold the team to an investment group headed by George W. Bush. The aging Arlington Stadium was outdated and did not have amenities that helped make other baseball franchises more profitable. As a result, the team could not compete with other big-city teams for good players. In an effort to fund the project through public money instead of private financing, the Rangers threatened to leave Arlington. The city of Arlington spent $150,000 on an advertising campaign to persuade voters to approve the funding through a referendum by printing brochures, placing telemarketing calls, and planning a "Hands Around Arlington Day." On January 19, 1991, over 65% of voters approved the deal, allowing the city government to cover 71% of the costs ($135 million out of $191 million) of building the new ballpark. The deal called for the city to raise the sales tax by half a cent to go toward construction. Both houses of the Texas Legislature unanimously approved the public purpose of the ballpark, and Texas Governor Ann Richards signed it all into law.
As part of the deal, the city created a separate corporation, the Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority (ASFDA), to manage construction. Using authority granted to it by the city, the ASFDA seized several tracts of land around the stadium site using eminent domain for parking and future development.
Construction on the stadium, which was dubbed The Ballpark in Arlington, began on April 2, 1992 a short distance away from Arlington Stadium, the stadium it would replace, and 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.
On May 20, 2016, the Rangers announced that they intend to move from Globe Life Park to the new Globe Life Field for the 2020 season. The new air conditioned stadium will feature a retractable roof, which many argue could increase stadium revenue from those who would otherwise not want to sit in the heat during games as the season progresses throughout the hot Texas summer, in particular those that occur in the afternoon. Voting for the new ballpark began on November 8 (the same day as the 2016 presidential election) for residents in the city limits of Arlington. On November 8, 2016, the ballpark was passed with a 60% favorable vote. It will open as early as the 2020 season.
The new stadium would be built south of Globe Life Park, on the site of a current surface parking lot between Randol Mill Road and Cowboys Way. Space between the new stadium and Globe Life park will be an entertainment complex called Texas Live!, developed by The Cordish Companies, which is expected to include sports bars, restaurants and a 300-room hotel to be developed in three phases. The first phase, dubbed "Rangers Republic", would be a two-level venue with multiple restaurants and providing interactive games and authentic memorabilia; the second phase is the Live! Arena, a multi-level venue providing restaurants, a performance stage for concerts, and an outdoor beer garden; Arlington Backyard, the third venue to anchor the entertainment district calls for a large, covered venue that could host concerts, charitable functions, and community events.
Unlike Arlington Stadium, city officials will not bulldoze Globe Life Park, but will redevelop the structure as part of the Texas Live! complex. The redevelopment would retain the ballpark's outfield office complex and retain the facade and most of the concourse would be repurposed. Potential uses include repurposing the concourse for condos and retail, as well as turning the current field into an amphitheatre. This will be the team's second move to their third ballpark in Arlington since they began in 1972 (their first ballpark was Arlington Stadium).
The stadium was designed by David M. Schwarz Architectural Services of Washington, D.C. 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. 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 (replaced prior to the 2016 season), and bleachers were originally at Arlington Stadium. The Home Plate was inserted into place by Richard Greene (then Mayor of Arlington), Elzie Odom (Head of Arlington Home Run Committee and later Mayor of Arlington), and George W. Bush (former part Rangers owner, later Texas Governor and President of the United States).
The stadium's 810-foot (250 m)-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.
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.
Prior to the 2012 season, the visitor bullpen was reconfigured to be parallel to the field after the previous visitor bullpen configuration had an excessive amount of heat during hot weather games. To allow construction, a few rows of bleacher sections were removed.
Greene's Hill is a sloped section of turf located behind the center field fence at the home field of the ballpark. The Hill serves as a batter's eye, providing a contrasting background behind the pitchers which enables hitters to more easily see the baseball after the pitcher's release. It was originally designed as a picnic area for fans but the Rangers have never initiated this policy. It was named after former Arlington mayor Richard Greene in November 1997. For a couple of years in the 2000s, the Rangers had the "T" from the Texas Rangers logo mowed into the grass, but this is no longer done. In 2010, the Rangers started a tradition where they had four girls run around on it with giant Texas state flags when the Rangers scored, similar to what many football teams do when their teams score. Unlike most batter's eye, fans are allowed to run onto the hill to catch a home run.
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 (6.7 m) below street level.
With a combination of the park's design and the naturally good hitters who've played for the Rangers, the team has put up some rather high home run totals. In 1996, the Rangers hit 221 home runs. They eclipsed 200 again in 1998 (201), 1999 (230), 2001 (241), 2002 (230), 2003 (239), 2004 (227), and 2005 (260, four short of the all-time record of 264 by the 1997 Seattle Mariners). Many of the Rangers' already-skilled hitters take advantage of this, some even racking up multiple 30+ Home run seasons, such as Ian Kinsler, Adrián Beltré, and Josh Hamilton. The longest home run recorded was 491 feet to right field by Rangers RF Normar Mazara on May 25, 2016.
|Left Field||332 ft (101 m)|
|Left Center Field||390 ft (120 m)|
|Center Field||400 ft (120 m)|
|Right Center Field||377 ft (115 m)|
|Right Field||325 ft (99 m)|
Despite being hailed as a wonderful venue in its infant years, 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 in summer 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.
That being said, it is questionable that retractable roof technology was a good candidate at the time the stadium was constructed, when modern mechanical retractable-roof ballparks like Chase Field, Safeco Field, Minute Maid Park, and Miller Park would not open until several years after it.
On December 3, 2010, the Rangers announced that extensive renovations to the stadium would be made and ready for the 2011 season. These renovations included:
On April 11, 1994, the first game at the ballpark, Holly Minter, who was posing for a picture while intoxicated, fell 35 feet over a railing in right field, fracturing several bones and causing the team to raise the height of the railings.
On July 6, 2010, firefighter Tyler Morris, leaning over the rail to catch a Nelson Cruz foul ball, fell 30 feet onto the section below him, causing a head injury and a severely sprained ankle to himself and minor injuries to fans he landed on. The game was stopped for 15 minutes while paramedics treated him.
On July 7, 2011, firefighter Shannon Stone, from Brownwood, Texas, was attending the Rangers game against the Oakland Athletics with his six-year-old son, Cooper, when outfielder Josh Hamilton threw him a ball, as he had asked. Reaching for it, he flipped over the railing and fell 20 feet, head-first, onto the concrete behind the out-of-town scoreboard in left field. He was conscious and talking as paramedics tended to him, but he died en route to the hospital. The cause of death was identified as blunt force trauma. This was the fourth fall in the stadium's 17 years of history. A moment of silence was held for him prior to the next day's game, both the Rangers and Athletics wore black ribbons on their uniforms, and the flags at the stadium were flown at half-staff in memory of him. The Rangers Foundation set up a memorial fund for Stone's family.
A tarp was placed over the opening through which Stone fell. Rangers team president Nolan Ryan said the height of the railings exceeds the requirement of the building codes but said the team would do "whatever it takes" to ensure the safety of the fans; on July 20, 2011, the Rangers announced they would raise all railings in the front of seating sections to 42 inches. On August 10, 2011, the team announced it would erect a statue memorializing Stone. Cooper helped unveil the statue on April 5, 2012. It depicts him and his father wearing baseball caps. They are holding hands and looking at each other as if they were talking. The inscription on the statue reads "In memory of Shannon Stone and dedicated to all fans who love the game".