We end 2019 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Ballpark Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #4: the Texas Rangers draw closer to the 2020 opening of Globe Life Field.
A new era has been taking shape in Arlington, as the Texas Rangers gear up for next spring’s opening of Globe Life Field. Construction on the ballpark made considerable progress over the course of 2019, setting the stage for what will be one of the biggest facilities stories across professional baseball in 2020.
The Rangers have spent the last several years planning the new ballpark, receiving voter approval for funding on Election Day 2016 and breaking ground the following September. Construction has continued since, and the progress made in 2019 marked some of the most notable developments to date, as the Rangers spent much of the year disclosing the amenities and design features of their upcoming home.
Globe Life Field will feature nine LED video displays, part of a partnership between the Rangers and Daktronics. Additionally, the Rangers moved forward with plans to install a synthetic turf playing field, announcing in January that they had chosen the Shaw Sports Turf-manufactured B1K system. Among Major League Baseball ballparks, Globe Life Field will not be unique with its use of B1K, as the turf was installed by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field prior to the 2019 campaign and is set to replace a natural-grass surface at Marlins Park ahead of the 2020 season.
Along with some major announcements on the ballpark’s features, 2019 also yielded a bit more details about the playing conditions at Globe Life Field. The ballpark’s dimensions will include a number of touches that honor the team’s history, from 329 feet (a nod to Adrian Beltre’s retired #29) down the left-field line to 326 feet (Johnny Oates’ #26) down the right-field line.
At this point in time, Globe Life Field remains on track to open in the spring, with a number of notable events set for March 2020. The ballpark’s first major event will be a concert headlined by Chris Stapleton on March 14. Then, the Rangers are scheduled to play exhibition games at the ballpark against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 23 and Rangers minor leaguers on March 24, before facing the Los Angeles Angels in the regular-season home opener on March 31.
Next year’s opening of Globe Life Field will be notable in a number of respects. In the broader context of MLB, it will be the first new ballpark to open since the debut of Atlanta’s SunTrust Park in 2017, and the first new retractable-roof ballpark since Marlins Park opened in 2012.
For the Rangers and their fans, the move to a retractable-roof ballpark will bring relief from the Texas heat that was never provided at the franchise’s two previous Arlington homes–Arlington Stadium and Globe Life Park. The opening of Globe Life Field will also come at a point of development in the surrounding area, as Arlington officials have been pushing to draw more visitors into the area that includes the Rangers’ upcoming home and other nearby amenities, such as the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. Last year’s opening of an eSports arena is part of that objective, as is the bold plan to convert Globe Life Park into a mulitpurpose venue that will be used for a variety of sporting events, including XFL football games and matches for professional soccer’s North Texas SC (USL League One) beginning in the spring. There has also been emergence of new amenities with the Texas Live! development, and a recently opened Live! by Loews Arlington hotel. With more development plans in the works, the area surrounding Globe Life Field should continue to evolve over the next several years.
Renderings courtesy Texas Rangers and HKS.