Even though I’ve been a Yankees fan since 1977, I am first and foremost a fan of watching a pro baseball game live, no matter who is playing. I can sit still for the whole duration because I really enjoy the sense of pastoral action that takes place on a ballfield.
For the first time in my existence, I experienced Major League Baseball Texas Rangers style at the 191 million dollar Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (compare that to the $1.5 billion monstrosity to utter greed and arrogance called New Yankee Stadium, eight times more costly than the Rangers’ home that was opened 15 years ago), as I got to see some of the best baseball players ply their trade for about three hours one Sunday evening as they contested against the Chicago White Sox. The clouds were hovering over the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, but the baseball gods kept them from raining on the baseball game, though the breezy and low to mid 60’s temperature made me glad I bundled up!
Before the game started, I was asked something that I had never been asked before during a baseball game by a young girl who wanted to take my picture and post it to the team’s website – for free. I politely declined from my Lower Box seat in Right Field which is angled toward home plate to give the sense of being closer to the action. From my vantage point, Rangers Ballpark has an intimate feel to it, and the friendliness of the ticket takers and ushers made the place feel even homier.
Furthering that feel, Dallas Cowboys legendary Wide Receiver Michael Irvin threw out the first pitch before 20,132 fans but it hit the ground before bouncing into the catcher’s mitt. Soon after, children from the Dallas-Fort Worth area took the actual fielding positions to mark their honorary lineup status, which got some cheers from those sitting in the right field upper deck “All You Can Eat Porch,” where for $34 for most games, you get admission plus all the food you want, including the baseball game standards of hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, etc. If you’re really hungry during a game, this is a great deal when you consider that hot dogs and soft drinks are several dollars each.
The Rangers fans were basically well behaved, and really got into the singing of Texas-themed songs during the middle of each inning, especially when the song Deep In The Heart Of Texas blared through the loudspeakers. I told the local I was with that no matter where you go in this state, you are constantly reminded that you are in Texas, to which she commented that the people here are proud of being Texans to the point of broadcasting it a lot. I pondered this as I savored a tasty hot dog and half a plate of gooey nachos.
The Rangers scored one run in five of their innings and won 5-1, but the most exciting inning was the 5th, when the announcer told us fans that if the Rangers scored, we’d all get a free taco from a local taco stand. Ian Kinsler scored on a Michael Young single to left field; and thus, we all got our tacos, with the ushers going up the aisles and handing out several to the person sitting at the end of the aisle, expecting them to make sure that everyone in the aisle got their prize. And sitting in front of me was a couple of fathers with their sons, who got to spend quality time together, something that many kids don’t get to experience enough of with their parents.
Legends of the Game Baseball Museum and Ballpark Tour Is A Must!
No Texas Rangers baseball experience is complete without visiting the Legends of the Game Museum and Ballpark Tour. The latter is conducted by friendly guides, such as the one I had, who took our group on a 45 minute tour that gave us temporary access to such normally fan-forbidden places like the press box, club level seating (which offers waiter/waitress service for one’s hot dog and beer). I found out that people who own Lexus cars get free ballpark parking! Now that’s a great reason to go shell out tens of thousands of bucks on a luxury car, eh?
The Rangers luxury suites are quite spacious and currently cost a tidy $1,500 per game (which includes free parking), but if one has $34,000, he or she can rent one out for the whole season (81 games, making the average price per game a bit over $400). Additionally, we toured the club house of the Rangers, and even got to sit in the locker areas of the players of our choosing and were then taken to the Rangers dugout to see the field from the players’ and managers’ vantage point. I also learned on this tour that 30 miles of tubing have been employed to deliver soft drinks to the concession areas around the ballpark.
As for the museum itself, it covers two floors and is spacious, housing the biggest collection of Hall of Fame memorabilia outside of Cooperstown, New York, over 100 items. As a Yankee fan, I wasn’t disappointed in viewing the numerous artifacts of Babe Ruth, including his King of Swat Trophy that was presented to him by his admirers in 1921, as well as one of his bats and jerseys. The museum has some great exhibits on the history of baseball, covering such areas like uniforms and equipment. I learned that a baseball glove in 1905 cost $2.50-$3.00 and that ‘mushroom’ bats were in demand circa 1920 because of their mushroom-shaped handles. The old Negro Leagues get some great attention, too, showcasing uniforms and an old scorecard of a game between the Philadelphia Stars and the Black Yankees. I was impressed with seeing an old ticket booth and seats from the long gone Polo Grounds.
On the third floor is the Learning Center, which has been designed with interactive exhibits for the kids, where they can touch and feel the manufactured stages of a baseball and even ‘virtually’ catch a Nolan Ryan fastball. I tried this out, sitting down and looking at a video of Ryan pitching while putting my left hand on a catcher’s glove. Ryan threw the ball, and suddenly, my body felt jolted ‘catching’ that fastball!
For more information about the Texas Rangers, check out their official site.
Roy’s other Bootsnall articles regarding the Dallas-Fort Worth Area:
Baseball fan Roy A. Barnes is a frequent contributor to Bootsnall.com and writes from southeastern Wyoming.