I returned on 9/11/02, the first anniversary of 9/11. They handed out “Never Forget” t-shirts and did a moment of silence.
Me with Curt Hahn of Filmhouse, where we used to produce all of our TV spots for Magic 106.7.
First visit: I was in Dallas for a jingle session and went to the first night game (first picture above) with Ben Freedman of Thompson Creative. George W. Bush (then owner) threw out the first pitch. It’s a nice park – largely a copy of Camden Yards but with some throwback touches in the outfield grandstand. In right field there an early1900’s-style bleacher with a pointed roof and steep pitch. Once, when Josh Hamilton was playing right field for the Rangers, someone hit a home run into the first row of the upper deck of the old-fashioned bleachers. The fan leaned forward to catch the ball and fell over the short barricade and landing on the field. The fall killed him.
On that first night game, we sat in an upper box on the first base side. Former Red Sox Jody Reed played 2b for the Brewers. Jose Canseco, who would spend the next two years with Boston, was DH for The Rangers. Adrian Beltre played short. Texas beat the Brewers 4-3 in 10 innings. Opening Night crowd of 45,000 was only 75% of the crowd that went to Nolan Ryan week at the old ballpark the previous September.
Second game, September 11, 2002. I was in Dallas for a Janine Turner TV shoot. I went with Curt Hahn, owner of Filmhouse and director of our TV spots. Get this – they had valet parking. $20. At Fenway it costs $45 to park in a private garage several blocks away. We sat in the second deck ($55 seats) behind the plate. Mariners at Rangers. A-Rod was playing short for the Rangers and homered. Future Red Sox players John Olerud and Mike Cameron, as well as former Sox 2b Jose Offerman, played for Seattle.There were some Mariners fans from Seattle sitting next to us. They mentioned that they thought that Jose Offerman was a good pickup for Seattle. Offerman was the Red Sox replacement for Mo Vaughn and fell well short of expectations. In one game against the Yankees at Fenway Park they had Nomar on 3rd representing the tying run with only one out. Jose was just supposed to drop down a bunt so Nomar could score. He couldn’t. He popped it up, Nomar was stranded and the Sox lost. So there I am, talking to Mariners fans about how their team just signed Offerman and they thought it was a good pickup and Boston’s loss. I said, “Maybe.” The score was tied 3-3 in the 9th, one out, Ichiro on 3rd. With a full count Ichiro is off on the pitch. Offerman tries to bunt and misses. Ichiro is tagged out, inning over. I wish the Seattle folks good luck with Offerman. Bottom of the 9th, first pitch, Todd Greene hit a walk-off HR. Rangers won 4-3.
Third game, September 23, 2006. I was back in Dallas for the NAB Convention. Former and future Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach was behind the plate for Texas, future Sox (only briefly) Grady Sizemore was in center. Home runs by Jhonny Peralta and Carloe Lee. At the 7th inning stretch they sing “Deep in the Heart of Texas (clap, clap, clap, clap).” The Indians beat the Rangers, 6-3.
You’ll notice that on the 2006 ticket the park has been renamed Ameriquest Field. The following season those naming rights expired and for 2007 the park was renamed Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. In 2014 the name was changed again, this time to Globe Life Park in Arlington. Even though it’s only 24 years old…three years older than Turner Field that has already been replaced, a new Globe Life Field (with a roof) is under construction and set to open in 2020.