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Pudge awed by new Texas Live! complex

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez couldn't have ever envisioned what the Arlington Entertainment District has become since his early years with the Rangers.

After over a year of construction, Texas Live! -- a $250 million entertainment complex -- opened to the public on Thursday. Texas Live! is located next to the site where the new ballpark, Globe Life Field, will open in 2020. Rodriguez said the entertainment district has come a long way since he was called up in 1991.

ARLINGTON -- Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez couldn't have ever envisioned what the Arlington Entertainment District has become since his early years with the Rangers.

After over a year of construction, Texas Live! -- a $250 million entertainment complex -- opened to the public on Thursday. Texas Live! is located next to the site where the new ballpark, Globe Life Field, will open in 2020. Rodriguez said the entertainment district has come a long way since he was called up in 1991.

"That's the beauty of life," Rodriguez said. "You can see across the street, you've got Jerry's World [AT&T Stadium] over there, and Texas Live! open, and having the ballpark now, and in 2020, we're going to have a brand-new, retractable baseball field. I think what the Rangers and Mayor [Jeff] Williams are doing for the city of Arlington has been tremendous.

"I've sat down with [Williams] a bunch of times, and he's a guy that never stops. He just wanted to get this town better, and my God, he's doing it better."

Rodriguez partnered with the Rangers and The Cordish Companies to open up Pudge's Pizza inside Texas Live!

"It's a big day," Rodriguez said. "It's not only that my pizza restaurant is opening, but just to be able to see Texas Live! a reality. Having this building done, and done in a year, which is really impressive to see. It is exciting. It is exciting to have it here, and it's exciting to have a restaurant here. I think what we're doing, it's really, pretty much all for the fans just to come in and enjoy being in the building and enjoy being inside watching games here."

Rodriguez joins former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and chef Guy Fieri in putting their names on a venue in Texas Live!

Following a private, grand opening ceremony by the Rangers and the City of Arlington, Texas Live! opened to the public, and a free public concert including The Toadies and Eleven Hundred Springs was also held at the venue.

"It's exciting to see my place open, and hopefully the fans come in and have a great time and enjoy my pizza," Rodriguez said. "And go down to Troy's place and have some drinks down there and have fun."

Texas Live! features 200,000 square feet of local, regional and national dining and entertainment venues including Live! Arena, PBR Texas, Lockhart Smokehouse and Sports & Social Arlington, as well as an outdoor event pavilion with a 5,000 person capacity, Arlington Backyard. The venue also includes retail stores Live! Shop and Baseballism.

The 14-story Live by Loews! Hotel is set to open in 2019, and Globe Life Field is still on schedule for Opening Day 2020. The new ballpark will open at a shared cost of $1.1 billion between the Rangers and the city of Arlington. The stadium has an approximate capacity of 40,000 and will feature a retractable roof for climate control.

Wesley Dotson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington.

Texas Rangers