Jul 21, 2020 - Sports

Texas Rangers' Globe Life Field set to make soft debut

Globe Life Field.

An aerial drone view of Globe Life Field in April. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

When photos of Globe Life Field first surfaced, the internet roasted the aesthetics, likening it to a Costco. But the Rangers are confident that they will have the last laugh, sticking true to the old adage that "it's what's on the inside that counts."

Why it matters: The Rangers' new home, which will host an exhibition game today before Friday's home opener, could usher in a new era of ballpark design.

  • The backdrop: Ballparks have followed a logical evolution over the past 160 years, transforming from temporary wooden structures to unique parks that fit their surroundings ("Jewel Box" era), to concrete doughnuts (multi-use era), to modernized versions of classic designs (retro era).
A baseball field.
Courtesy: Texas Rangers

Details: Globe Life Field, which replaces Globe Life Park (across the street, built in 1994), was designed with both the past and future in mind.

  • Seat placement: With revenue-generating suites becoming more of a priority in recent years, seats have been moved higher up and farther away from the field. In an attempt to reverse that trend without the drawback of view-obstructing support columns, architects cantilevered the upper decks.
  • Smaller capacity: Fewer seats means more common areas, where fans can socialize and turn a sporting event into a night out with friends. This trend has been gaining steam for over a decade, as teams try to bring young people back to the ballpark.
  • Stadium location: The average retro era park is just 3.17 miles from the nearest City Hall, per FiveThirtyEight, but Globe Life Field is 16.8 miles away. Like Atlanta's Truist Field, it is meant to be the anchor of a larger development plan, rather than a standalone ballpark.

The bottom line: Ballpark construction has long been a product of external factors — where does it fit, how else can we use it, etc. — but Globe Life is more focused on optimizing the interior and could provide a glimpse of the future.

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