Tonight the Texas Rangers will mark the 20th anniversary of the first game played at the Ballpark in Arlington with a game against the Houston Astros.
Aside from serving as the 20th anniversary game for the Ballpark, tonight will also mark the first game of the season between the two in state and, as of last season, American League West Division rivals in what is known as the Lone Star Series.
In recent years the Lone Star Series has been leaning heavily towards the Rangers but with both teams heading into tonight’s game with an equal amount of victories for the season anything is possible in the quest for the silver boot trophy.
While the teams have similar records heading into tonight’s game I tend to think the Rangers have the edge.
In a could not have planned it any better for the anniversary twist the Rangers will send their ace Yu Darvish out on the mound in a night honoring the past and the future of the team.
As far as the Ballpark in Arlington goes, it marked the 20th season with a new 10 year corporate naming agreement as it enters its third decade of service.
While the Ballpark may have a new corporate name as of this season for me it will always be the Ballpark in Arlington.
While players have come and gone throughout the history of the Texas Rangers franchise the current Ballpark marks only the second home for the Rangers since they made the move from the east coast.
The Rangers begin their baseball life in Washington D.C. as the second team known as the Washington Senators following the exodus of the first Washington Senators to Minnesota.
Like the Senators before them who became the Minnesota Twins, the second version of the Senators also pointed their wagons, err moving vans, west in search of greener pastures and more suitable Ballpark amenities.
The Rangers first stop in Texas was Turnpike Stadium, a 10,000-seat Ballpark which had been built in 1965 to house the AA Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs of the Texas League.
After it was announced that the Senators were moving to Texas, improvements were made to Turnpike Stadium which after being renamed Arlington Stadium served as the home to the Rangers from 1972 to 1994.
In 1991, two years into George W. Bush’s tenure as Managing General Partner of the Rangers, ground was broken on The Ballpark in Arlington.
The Ballpark in Arlington opened in 1994 which was also the same year that Bush left the team after being elected Texas governor.
While George W. Bush went on to be President of the United States for eight years, the Ballpark he helped create has hosted two World Series among other notable events since it opened its doors.
While it currently is dwarfed by its new neighbor Cowboys Stadium the Ballpark still mixes the charms of an old time Ballpark with the conveniences of a modern Ballpark.
One thing that the Ballpark does not seem to have though is adequate air circulation in the hot Texas summer heat.
Unlike Minute Maid Park, and many other Ballparks built after it, the Ballpark in Arlington does not feature a retractable roof.
While the lack of a roof would not be as big of a deal in places such as Minnesota where the original Washington Senators turned Twins recently left a domed stadium behind for the open air comfort of Target Field, the lack of a roof in Arlington is definitely noticed on most game days.
In fact, studies were done to look into the feasibility of placing a roof over the Ballpark in Arlington to help protect fans from the blistering heat and frequent thunder storms that the area is known for.
The study found that retrofitting the Ballpark with a roof would cost more than the cost of building an entirely new Ballpark so the issue was tabled leaving fans to continue to be exposed to the elements.
It is likely that in 10 years when the current team lease on the Ballpark is up there will be more studies looking into the options of building a retractable roof Ballpark in the Dallas area.
In Atlanta the Braves are abandoning Turner Field after only 20 years so it would not be unheard of to trade in a 30-year Ballpark for a younger model.
Despite the battles with the elements I hope that the Rangers do choose to stay in their current facility since it really is a nice place to catch a game and a tan.
As a word of advice though if one does decide to venture out to see a game in Arlington I would suggest drinking plenty of water before the game and definitely wearing light colored clothing.
You can also try to schedule your visit around one of the t-shirt giveaway days which will give you something dry to change into for the drive home.
And try not to pay too much attention to that thermometer in center field.
It may say it is only 99 degrees in the shade but it will definitely feel a lot hotter when you are shoulder to shoulder with 30,000 of your closet friends.
Needless to say this is one anniversary game that I will be catching from my couch where there is plenty of elbow room and the temperature is always a pleasant 72 degrees.
Now if only I could find a hot dog vendor to avoid having to go to the kitchen it would be just like being at the Ballpark.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a game to watch.
Copyright 2014 R. Anderson