A Tribute to Globe Life Park
The calendar has turned over to the new decade, but before pitchers and catchers report in 32 days, I wanted to pay tribute to the ballpark where I started watching the Rangers.
I was reminded of the nostalgia I have for this ballpark on my way to the first night of the Rangers Winter Caravan on Thursday night. As I turned from I-30 onto Ballpark Way and crossed the bridge over the highway, the "old" ballpark was beautifully lit up, illuminating the Arlington sky.
In a matter of seconds, all of the memories I have of this ballpark came rushing back to me. My first game back in 2001, the many nights spent at the ballpark in a very special 2010 season, witnessing Adrian Beltre's three-homer game in 2012, taking my son to his first game – it all came back to me in an instant.
When it comes to baseball, I can be very analytical. I can also be very old school. But I'm also a romantic. I love baseball movies, and romanticizing baseball is a very easy thing for me to do. My two favorite baseball movies are The Natural and Field of Dreams, two of the most sentimental baseball movies ever.
When I moved to Dallas from Pittsburgh in 2000, I moved away from a team in the middle of one of the longest losing streaks in modern sports to a team that was coming off three division titles in four years.
As we know now, the early 2000's weren't so kind to the Rangers. The Alex Rodriguez signing never paid off (pun intended) and the team struggled to put something special together, despite a very nice core of Michael Young, Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira, and Alfonso Soriano.
No matter how low or how high things got for the Rangers, I knew there was always a place to go to enjoy a ballgame between April and September. Yes, even the afternoon games in July and August were fun to attend. Some of my favorite memories are from those games where I swore I would never attend a 2:05 first pitch again between June and August.
My favorite memory of all has to be Game One of the 2016 ALDS against the Toronto Blue Jays. Go look at the box score. It wasn't pretty. It was flat out dreadful. But I sat for all nine innings for a reason. It was a game of three firsts.
It was the first time my wife, who is a dedicated member of our country's military, got to hold the huge flag on the field for the national anthem. I was so excited for her, getting to hold the flag she proudly helps protect, while the national anthem is sung and jets fly overhead. If there's ever a time to shout, "MURICA," it's then.
It was also my first playoff game. Despite the double-digit games I attended in 2010 and 2011, unfortunately, not one of the them was a playoff game. I was actually laid up in bed recovering from surgery when Neftali Feliz struck out Alex Rodriguez to win the A.L. pennant in 2010.
Just getting to finally go to a baseball playoff game was worth the wait, even though the score didn't go the Rangers' way.
Last, and definitely not least, it was my son's first game, who was only about five months old at the time. I didn't care if he had no idea what was going on. I was so proud to have my son at a baseball game, starting the tradition that my dad did with me growing up in northern New Jersey, attending games at Shea Stadium. I even remember just a flash of seeing Barry Bonds as a Pirate in the visitor's on deck circle.
I have a picture of my son and I together, watching that playoff game. He'll always get to brag that his first baseball game was a playoff game and it took me 29 years to get to my first one.
This whole story to me, is exactly what baseball is all about. It is what we watch in the movies, romanticizing the game that millions and millions of people have watched for well over 100 years. Kids get to idolize their heroes and loyal fans get to cheer for their teams.
I'm blessed to get to write about baseball for a living. I've always loved baseball. It's a very special game and it's stood the test of time.
The games I've watched at Globe Life Park have helped me fall in love with the game of baseball. I attended games there for 20 years. As I passed the ballpark on my way to Texas Live! on Thursday night, I was reminded that I never got to say goodbye.
It's a funny idea to want to say goodbye to a bunch of brick, concrete, and steel, but it's similar to moving away from a home. You make memories there. The home my wife and I currently live in is where our children were born, said their first words in, took their first steps in, and where we first played catch with in the backyard. If and when we move from there, it will be extremely hard to leave knowing we're leaving the place where all those things happened.
When it comes to leaving Globe Life Park, for myself and many fans alike, it's the only place that's housed Rangers baseball for them. And now, the Rangers' fans, media, players, coaches, and club officials now have a new place to call home in 2020, ushering in a brand new era of Rangers baseball.
It's not easy leaving a place that witnessed Kenny Rogers' no-hitter, the 1996 division championship team, the 2010 American League championship team, and many other moments that are cemented in Rangers' history. But this new era of Rangers baseball in Globe Life Field can be where millions of old and new fans make new memories.
The only exception is they'll be much more comfortable in the air conditioning.
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