Arlington councilmembers upset that Rangers stadium design is too rectangular

Looks like we’re not the only ones complaining about the wacky renderings of the Texas Rangers‘ planned new publicly subsidized stadium, as some members of the Arlington City Council griped about them at their meeting last night. Specifically:

  • Councilmember Robert Shepard: “When I saw the slide of Lucas Oil Stadium [in Indianapolis], I thought, ‘Oh, no, that looks like a field house.”
  • Councilmember Charlie Parker: “This looks very much like our library that we’re building. There’s a lot of glass. It looks like you hit a home run with your design on the inside, but on the outside it seems that it is wanting for some other details.”
  • Councilmember Victoria Farrar-Myers: “It looks like a field house. If that’s what we’re going for, then perhaps we’ve hit it. I’ve just seen some of the other ballparks, and quite frankly, this looks like a cold place to me.”

I’m honestly not quite sure what they’re complaining about here — field houses are cold-looking compared to baseball stadiums? — and also don’t really think anyone cares much about what stadiums look like from the outside so much as what they look like when you’re inside watching a game. (Quick, what does the outside of Fenway Park look like?) Maybe by “shed” they just mean that it’s squared-off, but that’s going to be the case for just about any stadium with a retractable roof, and a retractable roof that allows for air-conditioning is the whole reason the Rangers are building this stadium, so what did they expect?

The Rangers also released a fan survey about the ballpark experience yesterday, and the Dallas Morning News noted that in included the finding that “the No.1 thing fans said they liked about Globe Life Park was the in-game entertainment. The game itself finished second.” Which either means that modern sports fans would rather watch Kiss Cams than the game on the field, or that they’d rather watch Kiss Cams than the Rangers finish 4th, which is maybe a more reasonable proposition.


19 comments on “Arlington councilmembers upset that Rangers stadium design is too rectangular

  1. On the bright side, these futuristic renderings are never what the final product looks like once the inevitable cost overruns have the owners cheap out on the amount they actually have to pay for.

  2. The councilmembers seem far more concerned with what it will look like when they drive past it than the value of spending $1.1 billion to replace a 23 year old stadium.

  3. The Rangers also released a fan survey about the ballpark experience yesterday, and the Dallas Morning News noted that in included the finding that “the No.1 thing fans said they liked about Globe Life Park was the in-game entertainment. The game itself finished second.”

    Something Jim Paul figured out decades ago when he ran the El Paso Suns of the Texas League and that many teams at all levels have picked up on since. I just posted an interview on my Mexican baseball weblog this morning with the Tijuana Toros’ team president. The Toros drew 10,872 fans per game this year (second in MiLB to Monterrey) and Uribe freely admitted that the team targets NON-baseball fans by offering ballpark amenities that have nothing to do with the game. They’re HOPING these folks become fans but his main thrust comes in four words: “I fear empty seats.”

    As a more-or-less baseball “purist,” I don’t personally like a lot of the high-volume stuff you get inside ballparks these days but I understand why teams are doing it. Even a perpetually hapless franchise like the Seattle Mariners can still draw two million people a year and it ain’t because of baseball. Pro baseball, MLB and MiLB alike, is now an entertainment industry with the actual games merely an ancillary facet to generating revenue.

    • A sports economist (and baseball fan) once told me that he was complaining to a baseball marketing guy about all the non-baseball entertainment at the games, and the guy said, “You know, you’re what we call a ‘traditional fan’: You want to watch the game. There aren’t that many of you.”

      I get the case for this, but it also risks a fan base that’s a mile wide and an inch deep, so if your baseball team suddenly sucks, they’ll happily go watch basketball instead because the music and the food are the same. There’s some evidence that modern stadiums have more volatility in attendance (higher highs and lower lows), and I have long wondered if this is why.

      • I think that is exactly the case. In the madness to expand their game’s “appeal” beyond actual fans, many sports are turning off the traditional hard core fans on which they once depended.

        What happens 20-25 years out when the ‘old school’ fans are gone and all the teams are left with is the ones that like the unrelated attractions, or maybe just come to bet on the giant presidential caricatures race?

  4. “[I] don’t really think anyone cares much about what stadiums look like from the outside so much as what they look like when you’re inside watching a game.”

    That might be true for people going to the game but it sure isn’t for people who live or work near the ballpark. The Fenway comment aside, the exterior of Wrigley Field is probably as famous as the inside–I mean they didn’t show Balki and Cousin Larry in the stands.

    Of course all the stadiums where people care about the exterior are places where people walk by the stadium in their daily life. I admit I’ve never been to Arlington TX but in my mind that city is one giant parking lot in front of a TGI Fridays.

  5. I actually feel sorry for the older fans who really love the game and have to allow themselves to get juiced along with the balls while having to stomach gansta rap and a parade of top 40 samples every time a player steps out of the box.

  6. The Texans should do a carbon copy of Kauffman Stadium but with a dome. Get that 1970s cookie cutter look but with the added benefit of being built for baseball & with a dome.

    • Funny note, Kauffman was actually designed to have a sliding roof that it shared with Arrowhead. But it was too expensive to build in the 1970 and the voters of the city refused to issue bonds to add it 2006.

      I don’t believe Kaufman’s roof would of allowed for AC though.

  7. By “in game entertainment” do we mean the specifically selected crap music that the 19yr old batter (who has never played an inning at the major league level, but has already been paid $15m just for signing a contract) walks from the on deck circle to the plate to?

    If so I wasn’t aware I was supposed to be entertained by this. In fact, along with the increase in ticket pricing, this is one of the main things that will ultimately stop me from going to games.

    And is there a reason why the batter in the hole (you remember them) doesn’t have music to walk from the dugout to the on deck circle to?

  8. I get what a lot of people are saying about this stadium, but what people who are not from North Texas don’t understand is that this was going to happen whether it was in Arlington or any other local city. The lease on the Ballpark in Arlington is coming up in 2024, and the team was going to shop around to get a retractable roof stadium. The City of Arlington had the first rights to negotiate with the Rangers while they were still locked in this lease, and that’s what they did. Not only that, but the citizens of the City that bothered to show up decisively voted for this ballpark. It was either this ballpark opening in 2020 in Arlington, or one in Fort Worth, Dallas, or possibly even Frisco in 2026.

    I will agree that this ballpark is lacking when it comes to looks. That overhang on the third base side makes me claustrophobic, and the roof looks like it was tacked on in the end. There is also rumors that because the roof overhang on the third base side when it is open will cause such a shadow that they won’t even be able to grow real grass. This is becoming a real black eye for the Rangers, especially since they are having to throw in another $100 million in overruns that are already starting.

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