After playing host to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres in the National League Division Series and the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, Globe Life Field -- the new home of the Texas Rangers -- is serving as the site of the 2020 World Series between the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays.
Until just a couple of weeks ago, fans weren't allowed inside the stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic. Even now, attendance is limited to about one-quarter of capacity.
Three of our reporters -- Alden Gonzalez, Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers -- have been covering the Fall Classic from MLB's newest ballpark. We were curious about a stadium few have seen in person, so we asked them a few questions.
What's your overall impression of Globe Life Field?
Alden Gonzalez: It's a modern, bigger, more comfortable, yet less charming -- and in my opinion, unnecessary -- version of the old place.
Jeff Passan: It's fine. Retractable roofs are never not cool, and the knowledge that in the hot summer months fans won't bake in the sun makes it a clear upgrade. Aesthetically, there's nothing particularly inspiring about it. Because they're operating at a quarter of capacity, the full range of amenities remains unclear.
Jesse Rogers: It's both intimate and big at the same time. There's good and bad in that assessment. It feels cozy, especially if you're in the lower bowl, but the tradeoff was going straight up. If you have a fear of heights, this is not the park for you. Five levels up makes for a great view of a hockey game -- but not for baseball. The video scoreboard screams Texas big and is easier to watch from up high than the live action.
What's your favorite thing about the ballpark? Your least favorite thing?
Gonzalez: My favorite part is the fence height: 8 feet is perfect. My least favorite part is that it doesn't feel intimate. A local reporter made this point to me, and it's so true: Where are the areas where kids can get close enough to the field to ask for autographs during batting practice? They don't seem to exist.
Passan: Favorite: Walking in from the outfield entrance, which is adjacent to the Texas Live! entertainment district, is pretty cool. You land on the outfield concourse and get an unfettered view of this massive structure. I've heard several people coming through the door for the first time say some derivation of, "It's so huge!" Least favorite: I mean, from above, the place looks like what would happen if a Costco and a barn had a baby.
Rogers: Favorite: It plays big. Or at least more normal than the Rangers' old park. Least favorite is the dome itself. OK, it's cool when it opens and closes, but this is Texas. Besides the occasional storm, what's the need for a dome? I like the conditions playing a part in the action.
Most of us have seen Globe Life Field only on TV. What's something we might not realize from watching the game broadcasts?
Gonzalez: A couple of things stood out to me. One is that the concourses are really wide, and the brick arches within them are a very nice touch. The other is that the roof is unquestionably impressive, both in how seamlessly it opens and closes and in the transparent material used so that it doesn't necessarily feel like a dome. I wish I could fully evaluate the food, but the offerings seem limited because of the pandemic.
Passan: The video board in right field is incredibly impressive in both size and information. The vertical and horizontal spin of every pitch thrown and the exit velocity of every batted ball are displayed immediately. I also dig the outfield fence with different nooks and crannies. One of my favorite parts -- though Rangers hitters might disagree -- is the size of the field and how, unlike its predecessor, it facilitates balls in play and action.
Rogers: After watching the games on TV and then coming here for the World Series, it actually looks bigger on TV, in my opinion. I know that sounds strange, but it felt more expansive before I got here.
Does it really look like a big-box store from the outside?
Gonzalez: I have made the point that it looks like a blown-up version of the garden section at Lowe's, and I'm sticking to that.
Passan: Not entirely. Blimp shots do it no service. But from the ground ... it looks similar to other parks. There are large, brick columns and glass-walled foyers. Whereas most have a round footprint, Globe Life's is rectangular.
Rogers: Only when pointed out. That wasn't the first thing that came to mind.
What makes it better -- and what it makes worse -- than the, ahem, 'old' ballpark (Globe Life Park, the Rangers' home from 1994 to 2019) across the street?
Gonzalez: Well, what's better is that it has a roof. Isn't that the whole point of this? Believe me -- as a former beat writer covering an American League West team, I have spent many warm summer afternoons in Arlington pondering my existence in this universe. I welcome the possibility of air-conditioning. But I truly liked that old place -- the arched windows, the roofed home run porch in right, the lawn in center where fans used to wrestle for home run balls. The old place had a retro look that was unique. This new place is just, well, corporate.
Passan: Climate control. I'm sure it'll have better food offerings once the world gets back to normal. Because it's a new stadium, the luxury areas are bound to be superior, too. But in terms of just going to the park, getting a hot dog and a beer, and watching the ballgame? Eh.
Rogers: I mean, for starters, not every ball hit to right-center leaves the park. It plays more true, and as has been well-documented, it plays a lot bigger with the roof closed. That's what's better. Worse is how high it is compared to the old park.
Where would you place it in your personal ballpark rankings?
Gonzalez: Globe Life Field is the 32nd ballpark I have visited (the only active one I'm missing is the Braves' new place). It is architecturally impressive, but I don't think it has either the charm or the distinctiveness to rank anywhere near the top. My top five in descending order, which nobody asked for, are: T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Oracle Park in San Francisco, Fenway Park in Boston, Target Field in Minneapolis and Petco Park in San Diego. Globe Life Field probably resides somewhere in the middle. The Dodgers, Royals, Pirates, Cubs, Orioles, Mets and Marlins all have better ballparks than this. Sorry.
Passan: Alden is spot-on. It's a middle-tier park -- probably in the 15-20 range. And there's no shame in that. Since Alden went top-five, I might as well: Oracle Park, PNC Park, Camden Yards, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. (I still haven't been to T-Mobile -- please play better and give me a reason, Mariners -- and Truist Park in Atlanta.)
Rogers: Outside the top 10 but not in the bottom 10. The video scoreboard alone means you won't miss the action. Besides Wrigley Field, Kauffman Stadium is my favorite, followed by Oracle.