Brian Wilmer
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September 10 - At The Ballpark: The Ballpark in Arlington, Arlington, TX

Major League Baseball has a 35-year history in north Texas, beginning with now-demolished
Arlington Stadium.  That venue hosted the 1972 Rangers, which was an unremarkable club after
relocating from Washington, save for its manager, Ted Williams.  Arlington Stadium closed after the
1993 season, having seen a Nolan Ryan no-hitter among its many historic moments.

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington has seen many names and taken just as many blows from the public
regarding its hitter-friendly reputation and the recent lack of success of its inhabitants.  Several
division champions have taken up residence in the park, though, and a new generation of Ranger
history has been made here.  Does the slogan "everything's bigger in Texas" extend to this ballpark?  
Let's find out.

Concessions: A
Concessions at Rangers Ballpark are not the most economical, but considering the fact that this is a
big league park, this development is hardly a surprise.  Where the club makes up for it is twofold.  
The selection of food at the park is ridiculous — you can literally have almost anything you would want
in this park, from ballpark standards like hot dogs and popcorn all the way up to Tex-Mex and other
local favorites.  The portions are also extremely big, as I got what was termed a "boat" of garlic fries
and could barely finish them.  The fries and a Diet Coke were $11.75, but they were more than a
meal.  Come hungry, but have deep pockets.

Atmosphere: A-
(Ed. note:  You will notice this is a new category.  This replaces "Between-Innings Entertainment" and

If a song ever existed with a Texas mention in the title, chorus, an offhanded comment that was barely
caught by a microphone, whatever, it is played at this ballpark.  Little Texas' "God Blessed Texas",
Tanya Tucker's "Texas (When I Die)", Willie Nelson's 40-year-old recording of "Beautiful Texas" and
"Deep In the Heart of Texas", among many others, played on the night I visited.  The musical selection
made me feel more as though I was at a honky tonk than a ballpark, which is not necessarily a bad
thing.  The PA speakers are very loud, except for a couple of dead spots in the outfield plaza, and this
contributes to that feeling.  My father called me during the game, and despite my sitting in the front
row of seats, he could hear all of the activity over the PA system as though he was right next to me.
Most of the between-innings activities were generic enough, with the much-publicized Dot Race being
the most memorable.  There were some giveaways to fans in certain seating sections, various
contests, and the always lame Kiss Cam.  The Rangers have a beautiful video board, and it is terrible
to waste it on this.  They did redeem themselves, however, by showing video highlights of other
games going on around the big leagues.

Sight lines: B
I truly wanted this to be better than it was, especially given some of the views one sees when entering
the park.  However, there are a few problems.  There are some obstructed seats in the park, as
support beams and rails block the view of some of the seats in the lower bowl, and the front rows in
the second and third decks are obscured by the rails.  Also, while it is a nice touch to have standing
room over the visitors' bullpen, the view is slightly obscured there as well, as the left field seats jut out
past the bullpen.  The ballpark and its sightlines are beautiful, but I suggest checking a site such as when buying a ticket, just to make sure.

Parking: A
Of any problems that may be encountered at Rangers Ballpark, parking is certainly the least.  The
Rangers maintain a number of surface lots surrounding the park, and ingress and egress appear
tremendously easy.  The park is near Six Flags Over Texas, and this helps with the flow of traffic.  
Texas highway 360 and Interstate 30 are both within minutes of the park, and a number of surface
streets also surround the area.  

Should you not wish to pay $12 (which is, admittedly, a bit steep) for parking, there are a number of
lots off surface streets for less money — I paid $9 — and they are just as close to the park.   The
Arlington Trolley also services the ballpark, along with a number of other public transportation options.

Quality of baseball: C
I knew the White Sox were bad before I even walked through the gates.  I had no idea they were as
bad as they demonstrated on the night I attended.  White Sox third baseman Andy Gonzalez had three
of the four White Sox errors — in the same inning.  The Sox were 0-7 with runners in scoring position.  
Mike Myers came in to pitch late in the game, and was throwing between 69-71 miles per hour.  This
club is really bad, and has a number of people (Danny Richar, Andy Gonzalez, etc.) who have no
business being in the big leagues at this point.  

Texas, on the other hand, looked relatively decent, and I can now say that I was in attendance for a
Sammy Sosa home run.  Kevin Millwood is not gracefully aging, as he was struggling to touch 90 on
the radar gun, and did not appear to have a ton of movement.  Ranger catchers, however, had a good
night, as Gerald Laird and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (who played first base on this evening) both had
two hits in four at-bats.  Texas will be good before long if they can ever get some consistent pitching.

Overall grade: A-
There were a lot of things I really liked about this park, but the obstructed seating areas and other
minor things kept it from being perfect.  One nice thing about this park is the large gift shop in the
outfield plaza.  They stock — obviously — a large amount of Ranger merchandise, but also stock a lot
of other MLB gifts.  The prices are also quite reasonable.  Come to the park expecting to have fun and
to be in a very Texas-centric atmosphere, but watch where you get your seats.

How to get there:
There are a few ways to get to the park, including surface streets, but your likely best bets are Texas
360 or Interstate 30.  The Randol Mill exit off 360 (and, really, the one before it) are easy paths, and
there is an exit directly off 30 for Ballpark Way.  Be careful to follow the signs to and from the ballpark,
and check the team's website for up-to-date traffic and construction information around the park.  
Another easy way to find the park is to look for Six Flags.  

You may also want to see:
--Six Flags Over Texas. (Stunning that I mentioned this here after talking about it throughout the
review, eh?)  Six Flags Over Texas is the oldest park through all of the Six Flags chain, having opened
in 1961, and contains two of the more infamous wooden roller coasters in Judge Roy Scream and
the Texas Giant.  The park also features theatrical shows and live entertainment including not only
park-specific shows, but national acts as well.
--Dallas. One of the top ten largest cities in America rests just 15 miles to your east from your seat in
Rangers Ballpark, and is one of the more diverse city centers you will find in this country.  There are
honky tonks and aquariums, art exhibits and hockey games and everything in between in Dallas, and
the sights in the Metroplex alone could occupy you for a week.  Be honest — you're going to pass
through Dallas anyway getting here, whether you fly into DFW or Dallas Love Field, so go check out
one of the more spectacular cities in the Southwest.