Globe Life Park: Baseball Gameday GuideWhile most fans still don't feel comfortable referring to its sponsored name, the convivial atmosphere at the sightline-friendly, classically designed Globe Life Park makes any visitor feel instantly at home (renamed in 2014, it remains for most "The Ballpark," or "The Temple," as christened by the hosts of the dominant local sports station, "The Ticket"). Although The Ballpark doesn't benefit from a chummy, urban neighborhood with fan drinking holes on every corner, it is one of the anchors of an entertainment-focused district in Arlington, Texas, and the intense summer heat is one of its few negatives.
Parking lots and an expansive youth ballpark with a small lake and walking paths put space between the stadium and local bars. The streams of fans strolling from the parking lots surrounding The Ballpark are overwhelmingly good-natured and, generally, extremely well behaved.
During the height of the summer tourist (and baseball season), the district is abuzz with chattering kids lining up at the "Atlantic Panic" and "Black Hole" water slides at Hurricane Harbor across I-30. Next door to the stadium, at Six Flags Over Texas, kids of all ages scream full-throttle as they travel at 65 miles per hour on the Texas Giant, the tallest steel "hybrid" roller coaster in the world. The neighborhood's biggest roars, however, emanate from the 49,115-person capacity park once the "Play Ball" command flies.
A concentration of bars and eateries—chains such as Pappasito's Cantina, On The Border and Texas Land and Cattle—is within a short pre- or postgame walk of the park (the heat making "short" a relative term). Many of the families attending the games commute from a wide swath of the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs, so the pregame bar crowd is predominantly young and single. Some restaurants in the Lincoln Square Center on Collins near The Ballpark allow paying customers to leave their cars in their parking lots and ride complimentary shuttle service to the games.
How early you arrive in Arlington depends on how much you want to cram into your day. You can go very early, get in a few frames at the Bowling Hall of Fame complex, tackle Six Flags over Texas, or visit the best of mostly chain eateries within a short distance of the park. Rule of thumb coming from Dallas or Fort Worth: Get on the road before rush hour and enjoy your evening. Here are our picks for places to start your Rangers game day. Gates open 2 hours before night game times, 1.5 hours before day games.
WHERE TO GET A BEER
Bobby V's Sports Gallery Café | Although it's more than 20 minutes away from the ballpark on a good traffic day, Bobby V's Sports Gallery Café—a franchise of former major leaguer and Texas Ranger manager Bobby Valentine—is a sports fan's nirvana. More than 50 TVs and walls covered with memorabilia make it a solid pregame brew stop or meeting place. Try the fried pickles ($7.99).
WHERE TO GO WITH A GROUP
Hyundai Club | Before you head out to the ballpark, check whether a group has reserved the Hyundai Club, a large-group party suite located above Greene's Hill, overlooking center field. If no group has reserved it for the game, grab your friends and bring your tickets to one of the ballpark's sales windows to ask that they be applied toward admission to the club. (Prices start at $65 but can change due to demand.) Here, you and other in-the-know fans can enjoy the air-conditioned view of home plate as you help yourself to an included buffet (hot dogs, Old World Bratwurst, smoked sliced brisket) and bar.
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD SPOT
Sherlock's Baker St. Pub & Grill | While the Brits may not be too keen on baseball, there is more on the menu here than fish and chips or shepherd's pie. Fans pile in not just for its good beer selection and proximity to the ballpark, but also because anyone who spends $40 on game day can place the receipt on his or her dashboard and trolley to and from the game (the alternative 10-minute walk might be daunting for some in the Texas heat).
WHERE TO GET ROWDY
Humperdinks Restaurant & Brewpub | If you like a boisterous prelim to your baseball, this bar about half a mile from the park is just your ticket. Whether you fancy American-style golden lager or a German-style Hefeweizen, tap the home brews. Humperdink's attracts a younger, more boisterous following than its neighbors. Order some wings, and join in the celebration.
WHERE TO HAVE A SIT-DOWN MEAL
Sprouts Spring Roll & Pho Restaurant | You may not want to eat the "Souper Bowl Challenge"—5 pounds of Pho in 8.5 minutes—like "Man Vs. Food" host Adam Richman did here, but this restaurant in the same Lincoln Park Shopping Center as Sherlock's can meet your pregame hunger fix without all those ballpark nacho calories.
GET A GLIMPSE INTO JERRY'S WORLD
AT&T Stadium | If you want to be multicultural in your sports day, the enormous glass-and-steel AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys and an ambitious large-scale art collection, offers daily tours inside The Ballpark's gaudy neighbor ($17.50-$27.50; must be booked a week in advance). The last tours of the day end just in time to go tailgate or catch pregame happy hours at nearby establishments.
CAN YOU TAILGATE AT GLOBE LIFE PARK?
Yes. A favorite spot is at the back of the Cash D lot under the shade of the scattered trees along the walkway to the ballpark. Prime parking spots are gone by 4:30 for most night games. These are mostly laidback affairs with fans sipping beverages and gnawing on grilled meats in folding chairs while others play catch in the open areas of the adjacent parking lots. No open flames, but grills are fine.
- International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame
- Six Flags Over Texas
- Hurricane Harbor
- Planetarium at UT-Arlington
INSIDE GLOBE LIFE PARK
Come to The Ballpark to try snag a ball during batting practice. The Rangers conclude their swings about 20 minutes after the gates open and are followed by the visiting team. Ushers generally give ball-seekers leeway until batting practice ends.
WHERE TO SIT
Almost every seat at Globe Life Park has a clear view of the field; there aren't any sections with limited sightlines. If it's a night game—and because of the heat most are—and you don't want to squint into the setting sun, consider seats along the first-base/right-field side. Consider Sections 39 and 40 along the right-field line, which sell for significantly less than the adjacent 37-38 but have similar sightlines. If legroom is an issue, avoid sections on the curve of the park: 9, 209, 240, 243, 309, 325, 327, 340 and 343.
The Home Run Porch in right field is aptly named (but be forewarned that you can't see the main stadium scoreboard from here). Sections 51 and 52, on either side of Greene's Hill (insider tip: call it the "grassy knoll") in center field, are prime ball-catching seats when the jetstream is right, but the competition is fierce (although longtime season ticket holder and record-breaking ball snatcher Trent Williams—nicknamed "Greene's Hill Kid"—has mostly graduated to other pursuits). For foul balls, here are the best bets: third-base side, Sections 12-20; and first-base side, 32-40.
Ranger Tater | Bypass the run-of-the-mill barbecue sandwiches and turkey legs at Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ, outside Sections 16 and 34, and zero in on the Ranger Tater, a baked potato topped with savory brisket ($9.75).
BEST LOCAL VENDOR
Homeplate Butcher Block | It's anybody's guess how long the Rangers will keep the food vestiges of former star and team president Nolan Ryan throughout the ballpark, but his image and Texas-raised meat products remain prevalent. Homeplate Butcher Block (outside Section 125) offers a tasty rib-eye on a Ciabatta roll ($15.50) and a humongous slab of Bacon on a Stick ($7.50).
BEST BEER IN GLOBE LIFE PARK
Frozen Beer | If you want to try all the beers in the world, here's a curveball that will fan you: Frozen Beer (Section 46) serves up a 16-ounce cup ($7.75) that starts with a half-glass of unfrozen, cold Kirin Ichiban, then tops it with 20-degree frozen beer that's swirled on top as if it were soft-serve ice cream. It hits the spot on a hot Texas night. In a comparison of major league parks, MLB-teams.pointafter.com ranks Globe Life Park's beer prices as the third most affordable in the majors, averaging 31 cents per ounce. If you can't tolerate the Coors, Miller, Michelob Extra or Bud Light Lime served by the strolling beer vendors, however, here are a few high-brew options: Dublin Up Irish Pub (Section 211), Ale House (27, 51, 241), Beers of Belgium (115), Beers of Texas (26,46,52, 209, 328), Beers of the World (11, 39, 325).
WHERE TO EAT HEALTHY
Centerfield Market | Healthy is a relative term outside the private club or suite fare here, but the Centerfield Market provides gluten-free hog dogs and buns, veggie dogs, fresh fruit and salads in convenience-store packaging. For season ticket holders, the Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Club offers roast beef and grilled veggies.
BEST STADIUM BAR
Captain Morgan's Club | The Capitol One Club, limited to certain season ticket holders, and Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Club, open only to season ticket holders, offer cool respite to those fortunate enough to qualify. For the rest of us, the Captain Morgan Club in the Centerfield Plaza offers a full menu in air-conditioned comfort, although most seats don't have a stadium view (TV screens abound). The Fox Sports Southwest pregame crew broadcasts from a perch here.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE WHILE YOU'RE HERE
While you're not likely to catch former team president Nolan Ryan at Globe Life unless the Houston Astros are visiting, you can still pay your respects and snap a selfie in front of a statue of the Hall of Famer in Vandergriff Plaza in center field (he stands on top of an Oklahoma Flagstone pitching mound, encircled by a marble ring detailing many of his Major League achievements).
Globe Life Park Tours
RANGERS GAMES ON A BUDGET
While tickets to the All You Can Eat Seats ($48 to $53) might not seem like a deal, they can be a good value if you've got an appetite. The seats include unlimited grilled chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks, served in the renovated-for-2015 air-conditioned grill behind the Upper Home Run Porch. Food service begins when gates open, and shuts down two hours after scheduled game time.
WHERE TO GET A CHEAP BEER BEFORE THE GAME
J. Gilligan's Bar & Grill | About a 10-minute drive from The Ballpark, this bar offers $2 well drinks and $6.75 pitchers of Coors Original and Pabst Blue Ribbon Monday through Thursday starting at 5. The club also offers shuttle service to the games for $8.
BEST CHEAP BITES AROUND THE STADIUM
Fuzzy's Taco Shop | The father-and-son Fort Worth eatery that now has 13 locations in the D-FW area serves up Baja-style tacos (think feta cheese and special sauce) at very reasonable prices ($1.99 each). It's a 5-minute drive from the stadium.
BEST CHEAP RANGERS TICKETS
Shop around, and check the Texas Ranger site for discount tickets, usually more available for Monday through Wednesday games, especially before school gets out for the summer. An Ozarka Online Ticket Tuesday promotion offers half-price rates in Upper Reserved, Upper Box, Lexus Club Terrace and Lower Reserved for most games. Dr Pepper also offers a can (bring an empty to the sales window at The Ballpark) and online discount to many sections for most Sunday-Thursday games April through July.
GLOBE LIFE PARK WITH KIDS
The ballpark has some great family-friendly offerings before, during and after games.
Section 335 is designated as nonalcoholic for all regular-season games. Sales and consumption of alcohol are strictly prohibited in this section, so it's the best place to make sure your child doesn't get sloshed with a beer.
After every Sunday-afternoon game, young fans are encouraged to line up on the first-base ramps so they can test their speed around the bases. Many Friday-night games are followed by an extensive fireworks show.
The Rangers also offer a birthday ticket deal that allows groups of 10 or more friends access to group game tickets, $5 in food and beverage vouchers for each guest and a Kid's Zone wristband for those 13 and under.
WHERE TO GO BEFORE THE GAME WITH KIDS
The Kid's Zone, on the first floor of the office building in left-center field behind Vandergriff Plaza, provides an interactive experience for young Rangers fans, with arcades and climbing, sliding and jumping games for older youths and opportunities for little children to stack boxes, turn a windmill, make crafts and meet Rangers Captain, the club mascot.
BEST FOOD FOR KIDS
Wednesday Dollar Hot Dog Nights | Special vendor set-ups on Wednesday dollar hot dog nights throughout the season are the best bet for young families.
WHERE TO GET AUTOGRAPHS?
The Rangers feature several games a season with players and coaches available for pregame autographs. On most nights, if you arrive when the gates open and make your way down to Sections 32-34, over the Rangers dugout, you might get a Ranger to sign as they leave the field when batting practice ends. You may have even better luck getting opposing player signatures in Sections 17-21 on the third-base Visitors Dugout side. Ushers usually are lax about access unless the crowd gets too large.
NEED A BREAK DURING THE GAME?
Centerfield Plaza offers several diversions if the kids need to let off some steam. Sometimes the popular and somewhat random Presidents' Race replaces the Dot Race. These usually feature oversized-head contestants representing Abraham Lincoln, Republic of Texas president Sam Houston and Davy Crockett, plus a Texas sports figure such as Nolan Ryan or legendary running back Earl Campbell. The characters come to the Plaza area after the race for photo ops. Sign your children up for the Junior Rangers Club in a kiosk off the Plaza.
WHERE TO BUY GEAR FOR THE KIDS?
The center-field Majestic Grand Slam Shop is the best stocked shop at the park, but there's a youth-specific store in the Kid's Zone, a kiosk called The Bullpen behind Lower Home Run Porch and an upper-concourse gift shop on the 300 level behind home plate.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A RANGERS GAME
After a game, most people leave the stadium like a snaking river on the journey from parking to the interstates. The row of familiar restaurant chains along the I-30 access road just north of the park offers plenty of places to allow the crowd to thin. Avoid the heavily congested area on The Ballpark Way just to the east of the stadium, as pedestrians and valet parking snarl things up there.
WHERE TO KEEP THE PARTY GOING
Captain Morgan's Club | The center-field club can accommodate only a few more than 200 fans for postgame drinks and food—it fills up quickly toward the end of the game and stays open for 1 hour after the game. The Fox Sports Southwest crew broadcasts its postgame report here.
WHERE TO GET A POSTGAME MEAL
Joe's Crab Shack | This chain restaurant on Nolan Ryan Expressway serves food until midnight. Snag some Crazy Good Crab Dip, a sampler tray or a bucket of king crab cooked with garlic and herbs and let the crowd outside thin.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO NEARBY?
If you like your bars dark, with a smidgeon of collegiate impropriety, Caves Lounge is just the place to let the postgame highways clear. The self-proclaimed "unapologetic dive" is a hop, skip and long jump from the ballpark on West Division (it was formerly the site of the legendary Skippy's Mistake). You won't find any baseball paraphernalia here. (And beware: walls of smoke can be prevalent.)
Dallas writer John H. Ostdick attended his first Rangers game in the old Arlington Stadium in 1972, the year the Washington Senators franchise was moved there. In 1994, he made the jump to a new stadium, the Ballpark in Arlington (now Globe Life Park), and later flew his son home from college so they could attend a game during its first World Series, squinting into the sun during the early innings from Section 4, Row 4, in 2010.