ARLINGTON -- The first seats have been put in place at Globe Life Field, the covering panels are being installed on the retractable roof and that 3,000-ton giant crane is being shown the exit door.
All signs point toward the Rangers' new ballpark being ready by March 14, when it will host the first big event. The first baseball game is still the March 23 exhibition against the Cardinals, but the Rangers will host a concert on that mid-March day that will be headlined by Chris Stapleton of the All American Road Show and Willie Nelson and Family
“Get your boots and hats on, come on out, the party is getting started,’ said Danny Eaton, senior vice-president of Live Nation, which is putting on the concert.
Stapleton has co-written over 170 country songs, including six No. 1 hits. He has won five Grammy and 10 CMA Awards. Nelson is … well, he is Willie Nelson. Jamey Johnson and Yola, two other acclaimed musical artists, will also be a part of the concert.
“This just goes to show that Globe Life Field will be more than just the home of the Texas Rangers,” Rangers vice-president Rob Matwick said. “It will be a 365-day-a-year sports and entertainment venue. Much more to come. But March 14 now gives us a date to shoot for.”
Construction is over 80 percent complete, according to Jack Hill, the Rangers' senior vice-president for project development, and it's on track to be completed by the beginning of March.
“We’re good,” Hill said. “Obviously, we have a lot of work to do. There has been great cooperation between the work force and the city of Arlington. It is really starting to come together. The roof is in good shape. We have hit all our milestones.”
The big crane was an early symbol of the construction project, but the dismantling is another sign that the job is coming to an end.
“Getting it out of here will give us a lot more room to work with and finish other areas,” Hill said. “The seats should come quickly.”
The Rangers held a ceremony on Wednesday to install the first seats. They were placed in Section 114, Row 18, Seats 1-4. They are padded, theater-style seats and not the hard-plastic variety from Globe Life Park.
“They feel great,” said Michael Wang, a Colleyville, Texas, resident and season-ticket holder for the past 19 years. “These are going to hold up well. They won’t be getting beaten down by the hot sun. They should hold up for a long time.”
Wang and David Chapman, another long-time season ticket holder, were invited to be a part of the inaugural seat installation. So too was Arlington mayor Jeff Williams and his daughter Suzanne. They have been season-ticket holders since 1991, which dates back to Arlington Stadium.
“Exciting days are ahead as we move forward,” Williams said. “So looking forward to that first Opening Day game because I think it’s going to be an, ‘Ah ha,’ moment from the sightlines, the ability to have the air conditioning and to know that we are not going to be rained out.”
The Rangers also introduced a Globe Life Field patch that will be worn on uniforms during the season.
Pence wins TSN Comeback Award
Rangers outfielder Hunter Pence has been selected the American League’s Comeback Player of the Year by the Sporting News. He was selected through player voting.
Pence hit .297 with 18 home runs and 59 RBIs over 83 games for the Rangers. He had a .358 on-base percentage and .552 slugging percentage and was also named to the American League All-Star team.
Pence is the eighth Rangers player to win the award. The others were Ferguson Jenkins (1974), Jose Guzman (1991), Jose Canseco (1994), Kevin Elster (1996), Ruben Sierra (2001), Vladimir Guerrero (2010) and Prince Fielder (2015).