Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 32: Rangers Ballpark

All photos from Rangers Ballpark are available on Flickr.

Shaking off another night on Beale Street, we got an early start on the road to Texas. passing over the Mississippi River into Arkansas, I promptly feel asleep. When I woke up Peter told me that I had missed Hope, the home of President Bill Clinton. We made another quick stop at Waffle House and headed for the Lone Star State.

We had planned to meet up with our college buddy Brent and have a good Wisconsin tailgate, but an factory explosion in Dallas shut down the freeway and delayed us. We arrived in Arlington at 5:45 PM, paid $15 to park at the Sheraton a bit away from the ballpark and set up our fundraising effort near the Arlington Convention Center. Rangers fans were far more responsive than those in Memphis, despite it being dollar dog night, and we raised $52.

After waiting in the worst ticket line ever, we made it into the park in time to get some dogs and grab some seats in the Left Field bleachers. Rangers Ballpark is very nice. It was one of the first retro-style parks built and has a brick exterior with concrete panels depicting great moments in Texas history. The concourses are very wide and there are a lot of different concession stands, several of which were unfortunately closed. One bad thing about the park is that the bathrooms are hard to find and located far apart and there are not enough of them. Additionally, the outfield seats are very close to the field, located almost directly behind a 10 foot fence, not a level above the field as in most of the newer parks.

The game ended up to be a barn-burner between two last place teams. The lead changed hands several times and the Rangers ended up pulling it out with a 2-run homer by Ramon Vazquez in the bottom of the 8th. There were many highlights for Peter and I. Sammy Sosa, an old Brewers foe, now lays for the Rangers and has over 600 Home Runs for his career. He struggled tonight though, going hitless. The always exciting Ichiro Suzuki got his typical infield hit. But the best part of the game came in the bottom of the second when 40 year old Rangers CF Kenny Lofton went deep.

After the game we strolled the Center Field plaza and stopped in the team store. We then jumped into Old Yeller and drove 2/3 of the way to Houston to our home for the night - a roadside rest area. Tomorrow, we'll be passing out flyers inside Minute Maid Park in Houston.

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 7 (outside very massive, but inside is gorgeous)
views from park - 3 (can only see Six Flags from park)
view to field - 7
surrounding area - 6 (Six Flags and new Cowboys Stadium)
food variety - 7 (everything's bigger in Texas)
nachos - 5 (chips broke easily, cheese was runny)
beer - 7 (a decent variety, bonus points for souvenir cups)
vendor price - 7
ticket price - 9 (GA $6)
atmosphere - 8
walk to park - 2
parking price/proximity - 4 (quite a hike for $15)
concourses - 8
team shop - 9

best food - garlic fries
most unique stadium feature - centerfield walkways and pavilion
best jumbotron feature -
best between-inning feature - Dot race

field dimensions - 335/400/345
starters - Miguel Batista (SEA) v. Brandon McCarthy (TEX)
opponent - Seattle Mariners
time of game - 3:16
attendance - 34850
score - 7-6 W
Brewers score that day - 7-4 L

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