We felt very welcome at Globe Life Park — quite literally. The Texas Rangers were the only Major League Baseball team to recognize Home Run On Wheels on their stadium message board. We were included among the visiting groups and our group consisted of Ron, Patti, Ron’s mom Karen, her husband Marc, and their friends Pete and Lynne.
Globe Life Park, which will be the Rangers’ home for just one more season before they move into a new retractable roof stadium, was also the only stadium where Patti and Ron made a Jumbotron appearance. Doing our usual walkabout at a new stadium, we started dancing behind the left-field bleachers between innings. A cameraman spotted us and, boom, there we were. Ron’s mom said she was laughing too hard to get her phone out to take a picture. Lynne told us we were on the screen longer than anyone else during the between-innings dance segment.
One random woman even recognized us as we were leaving the stadium after the Rangers’ 4-2 victory over the Angels and said, “Hey, you guys are good dancers.”
We think she was being nice.
There are plenty of large lots around the stadium in Arlington and you are allowed to tailgate. It is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and other than Uber there aren’t many transportation options other than to drive.
The Dallas area can be confusing to drive with all of the freeway interchanges. With Karen, Marc, Pete and Lynne in Marc’s vehicle, we followed behind and lost them for a bit as we got closer to the stadium. We met up in the lot by the Arlington Convention Center. Parking there was $20 and, because Lynne recently had foot surgery, we spent another $20 for a golf cart ride to the gate.
There is only one real public transportation option for Globe Life Park — a trolley that stops at nearby hotels and runs 90 minutes before first pitch and stops shortly after the game.
Globe Life is a great stadium. I love the openness and the good views from around the field. Those fans who were there and the friendly staff truly had pride in their team and stadium. However, it was pretty empty and that of course takes away from the excitement and atmosphere. What was truly exciting was receiving the Fan of the Game swag bag. This was my 3oth lifetime stadium and the Six Shooters squad rewarded me with a soft-sided cooler, two bobbleheads, a shirt, and some baseball cards. The pièce de résistance was the “House Banister” bobblehead with Jeff Banister sitting on the Iron Throne.
While it’s understandable why the Rangers are getting a new stadium — an open-air venue in the mid-summer Texas heat can be unbearable — it is kind of a shame Globe Life Park will be shuttered. It is actually a pretty nice stadium and, when we were there on Sept. 4, it was a cool 85 degrees with a nice breeze.
While Globe Life Park has several nice features, attendance was not great for a last-place team playing the team directly above them in the American League West standings. Some fans were really into the game, but it was largely a stale environment.
They say everything is bigger in Texas and that is true of some of the concession options at Globe Life Park. After passing on the $28 Carne Asada Dog in Houston, we did decide to share the Most Valuable Tamale (MVT) Dog in Arlington despite its $27 price tag.
The MVT Dog is a two-foot long frankfurter encased in a tamale instead of a bun and topped with chili and nacho cheese. We made sure we grabbed a couple of forks and plenty of napkins before we returned to our seats with the giant coney.
We couldn’t finish it and our friendly usher, Doug, told us the MVT Dog is meant for four people. Neither Karen, Marc, Pete or Lynne offered to help.
Globe Life Park offers all the same ballpark fare you’d expect to see at any baseball game, but also unique items like the MVT Dog and the Dilly Dog — a hollowed-out pickle with an Angus beef hot dog stuffed inside. It really is the state fair of MLB ballparks.
Tickets for a Rangers game are not cheap.
Ron was fortunate enough to go through a third-party site that offers free tickets to veterans or tickets at significantly reduced prices. There weren’t any free tickets available for our game, but Ron did get six tickets in Section 37 for a total of $73. The face value of those tickets was $65 each. All that for a team that isn’t very good. But sites like StubHub or VividSeats do offer affordable tickets for the average fan. The concession prices aren’t that bad, but one vendor did tell us the team will “have a different clientele” once they move into the roofed Globe Life Field in 2020 as prices are expected to increase exponentially.
Then there is the parking and costly shuttle service. While a few lots do have a free shuttle, the golf carts at the other lots charge as much as $10 per person.
Like just about every other MLB stadium, Globe Life Park has a kids zone. Unlike almost every other stadium, the kids zone is not free. The Rangers, for some inexplicable reason, charge $5 to enter the air-conditioned section. It has a slide, play area and video games, but charging parents to bring their children to an area to blow off some steam after sitting in their seats seems unreasonable.
The Rangers Hall of Fame, which we wanted to see, was closed for renovation. Why renovate an area of a stadium the team is vacating in a year? The items in the Hall will be stored before being installed somewhere in the new stadium. The current Hall of Fame space will be used as an interactive display for season-ticket holders (and presumably other fans) to get a preview of the new stadium.
One feature that does stand out behind the center-field batter’s eye is the giant Nolan Ryan statue and the huge screen behind it. While the adjacent stands were closed because of the thin crowd on the night we attended, the area is prime for those who want to admire one of the franchise’s greatest players while watching the game on the screen and relaxing by the bar.
The City of Arlington is home to the sports hub of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Cowboys and various NCAA events, is right next door to Globe Life Park. Texas Live, an entertainment complex that houses various bars and restaurants, is right outside the main gate to the Rangers stadium. Also sharing the massive parking area with the Cowboys and Rangers is the Six Flags amusement park. There are also multiple hotels and a few stores nearby, but that is about all Arlington has.
For visitors new to the area, Dallas is the place to see. When AT&T Stadium hosted Super Bowl XLV, every media event was held in downtown Dallas while reporters were shuttled to the stadium for the Tuesday media day and then Sunday’s game. The Mavericks of the NBA and the NHL’s Stars both play in downtown Dallas. The Kennedy Museum is downtown at Dealey Plaza.
We had both visited Dallas multiple times and even went to Fort Worth once to see the Stock Yards and “Cattle Drive” — which is more of a Cattle Mosey. The one thing we had not done was go up in Reunion Tower and get a bird’s eye view of The Big D skyline from the observation deck. Because of heavy rain and cloudy skies on each of the two days we had hoped to see the tower, we altered our plans.
Dallas also has several museums worth seeing, including the Museum of Art and George W. Bush Presidential Library. Even if Ron didn’t have family in the Dallas area, it’s a city we’d still want to visit in the future. We have to see that new stadium as well.