Rangers 'going to be pumped' for park's debut

March 30th, 2020

ARLINGTON -- Rob Matwick woke up Sunday morning and checked the Arlington weather forecasts.

The Rangers’ executive vice president for business operations saw rain coming on Monday, but Tuesday is supposed to be 67 degrees and partly cloudy. Matwick knew it would be great weather for opening up a new ballpark.

“It was a day when we would have been playing with the roof open,” Matwick said Monday afternoon. “It’s tough.”

It’s tough because…

The Rangers expect a packed house for the opening of Globe Life Field.

They expect it to be a day to remember attended by prominent citizens, former players and those who made the massive undertaking possible. The Rangers are counting on everyone to be impressed by the climate-controlled, retractable-roof atmosphere, the state-of-the-art fan experience and the vast variety of food and drink options spread out through unique sections of the park.

Above all, the Rangers are counting on their fans to be widely enthusiastic about their team and the opportunity to watch baseball being played at the highest level.

It just won’t happen right now. Globe Life Field will be silent and empty on Tuesday as the Rangers join the rest of Major League Baseball in waiting for the end of the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“All dressed up and nowhere to go,” Matwick said.

The Rangers should have played four games against the Mariners in Seattle by now. The home opener at the $1.2 billion Globe Life Field was scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday against the Angels.

“Well, we are certainly disappointed we won’t be able to open [Tuesday],” Matwick said. “So many people put in so many hours over the last three or four years to bring this to life. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control won’t allow that to happen.”

Shortstop said he has been dreaming all offseason about moving into the new ballpark.

“I had so many dreams about opening the new stadium and how pumped we are,” Andrus said. “We are still going to be pumped up until the actual Opening Day. Not only for us but for the fans. Going to social media, you can see how sad they are. We are all in the same boat, not only as a player, but fans, they are having an even harder time than us.”

The Rangers had other events planned at Globe Life Field leading up to Opening Day. Chris Stapleton and Willie Nelson were scheduled to give a concert there on March 14, followed by exhibition games last week against the Cardinals and against Rangers Minor Leaguers. All were canceled.

Matwick said the Stapleton/Nelson concert would have been great but was designed to set a construction date to finish the project. The exhibition games were trial runs for all ballpark operations.

“Our intent was not to oversell those things,” Matwick said. “We wanted to save all the pageantry for Opening Day.”

The main focus now is to catch up on some roof tests that were put on hold, not by health concerns but because of rain over the past 10 days.

“There was a ton of excitement and anticipation of opening the new ballpark prior to this outbreak. Now you will have to add uncertainty to that excitement and anticipation,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Our main focus right now is keeping everyone and their families safe and healthy, but it is exciting to know we do have a beautiful, brand new stadium waiting for us when we return to action.”

The Rangers never had the chance to reveal their pregame ceremonies for Tuesday, but Chuck Morgan, Rangers vice president for ballpark entertainment, and his crew put a lot of work into preparing for it. Matwick said the Rangers still expect special ceremonies when Opening Day does come. Some changes are likely to honor the many people like health-care workers and first responders who are helping the North Texas community get through the crisis.

On that day, Andrus said he is anticipating the same excitement that would have been present on Tuesday.

“Oh yeah, I think even more, actually,” Andrus said. “This time we are going through, the excitement and energy is going to be double, even triple. The fans will be there, and the energy will be crazy, hopefully something close to what it was in the World Series.”