The Texas Rangers have mostly seemed fine with Globe Life Park over its 22 years of existence. Yeah, the brain-melting midsummer Texas heat probably kept some paying customers away from the former Ballpark in Arlington, but put a good product on the field and people will show up. In the three years that followed the 2010 season — when the Rangers made their first World Series appearance — the team ranked 10th, third and fifth in average MLB home attendance, finishing behind only the New York Yankees in AL attendance those last two years.
But then late last year, a business group called Downtown Dallas said it already had picked out “five or six different locations” in — you guessed it — downtown Dallas for a possible new Rangers stadium when the team’s Arlington lease ended after the 2023 season. Never mind that Downtown Dallas didn’t mention how the new ballpark would be financed or where exactly it would be located or anything like that. The fact that someone else nearby wanted the Rangers scared the city of Arlington, years before such fears were warranted.
And so on Friday, the Rangers and the city of Arlington are expected to announce plans for a new $900 million, retractable-roof stadium that will keep things cool in the summer and hopefully draw even more fans.
According to the Star-Telegram, the stadium’s costs will be split between the team and the city, with a half-cent sales tax that’s currently paying off the recently built Dallas Cowboys stadium — about a mile away from the MLB team’s current home — shifted over to fund the new Rangers stadium once the JerryDome is paid off in 2021 (seven years ahead of schedule, according to the Dallas Morning News). Voters would have to approve the funding plan. The team and the city already are partnering on a $50 million entertainment, convention and hotel complex called Texas Live!, which will be built catty-corner to the team’s current stadium. Neither the team nor the city have announced a prospective location for the new stadium, but the Rangers have purchased the parking lots that adjoin the current stadium from former team owner Tom Hicks. One would assume that the new stadium will going there, close to the current stadium.
Ah yes, the current stadium. The Ballpark in Arlington opened in 1994 — it’s younger than all but one player on the Rangers’ active roster — and “still feels new” to many fans, the Star-Telegram reports, but it’s also the 11th-oldest stadium in the majors. Retro ballparks were all the rage when it was proposed, and thus a domed or retractable-roof stadium was rejected for the Rangers back then even though it would keep out the aforementioned blast-furnace heat in the summer months. Fast forward 22 years, and suddenly getting an enclosed stadium has become a top priority. I wonder why?
“We need to show love for the Rangers right now, y’all, ” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams told the Rotary Club of Fort Worth last week, the Star-Telegram reports. “The Rangers don’t want to leave, but there are other cities, and we know one that starts with a D that wants to take it. … Right now is a key time for us.”