Name: Globe Life Field
Opened: 24 July 2020
Architect: HKS Ink, VLK Architects
Cost: $1.1 Billion
Surface: Shaw Sports B1K Synthetic
It's hard to do a review of a ballpark that has yet to open to the general public, but we'll do our best. (We've actually been there and seen it first-hand, so that's something.)
There were a lot of jokes when the first photos of Globe Life Field started to be released that it looks like a Walmart. Having been there and seen it in person, I can say that these comments are way off base. It looks much more like a Home Depot than a Walmart.
What can we say about Globe Life Field? Frankly, having seen games at the charming Ballpark in Arlington (Globe Life Park) right across the parking lot, this looks like a football stadium in comparison. The old Ballpark was of intimate scale, with retro-traditional brick and a unique and cool old-school three-story colonnade in center field. It felt (and still looks) like a ballpark. (The old park has been converted to a football/soccer layout, and will host minor-league soccer for the time being.)
One may ask why a park as functional and well-loved as the old Ballpark in Arlington -- less than 30 years old -- needs replacing at all. My best guess is that the people of the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex didn't enjoy sitting outside in the Texas heat in July and August, and had more than ONE BILLION DOLLARS burning a hole in their collective pocket.
The result is a sterile-looking, enclosed stadium (hard to call it a 'ballpark') with artificial turf and fluorescent lighting. Sure, the artists' rendering (see above) showed a day game with the roof open and puffy white clouds, but the stark reality is that Dallas, like Houston and Miami, will almost certainly always play with the roof closed.
The dimensions of the playing field are comparable to the old park, being slightly more hitter-friendly down the lines and to straightaway center, but a little longer in the power alleys. The Rangers' marketing team has come up with a clever explanation as to why the measurements are what they are, presumably retrofitting the field dimensions they decided on to quasi-historic facts from the team history. (For example: Right Field Power Alley is 374', honoring the "Turnaround Gang" going from 57 to 84 wins in 1974.)
(They also have a marker in left field that is 334' from home plate to honor Nolan Ryan's #34. Couldn't they just have made the left field line 334' instead of 329'?)
If it seems like I'm picking on them, it's because I am. I'm not a fan of indoor baseball. I'm not a fan of artificial turf. And I'm not a fan of spending more than a billion dollars on a sporting facility when there is an above-average ballpark literally across the street that was built more recently than 1/3 of the currently-active parks in baseball.
But, that's Texas being Texas. You do you, Texas.
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