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Globe Life Field's dimensions honor key players

@Sullivan_Ranger
December 4, 2019

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers paid tribute to former manager Johnny Oates by making it 326 feet from home plate to the right-field foul pole at Globe Life Field. Outfielder Joey Gallo took his first look at the dimensions of the new ballpark and decided honoring Oates was a great idea.

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers paid tribute to former manager Johnny Oates by making it 326 feet from home plate to the right-field foul pole at Globe Life Field.

Outfielder Joey Gallo took his first look at the dimensions of the new ballpark and decided honoring Oates was a great idea. The distance is in honor of the No. 26 Oates wore as manager of the Rangers when leading them to their first division titles in 1996 and '98-99.

“Honestly, you’ve got to love seeing 326 down the line,” Gallo said after taking his first left-handed cuts at the park on Wednesday afternoon. “That’s nice. That’s good to see.”

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The Rangers revealed the playing field dimensions to the new park on Wednesday morning. All of the dimensions were created to honor iconic players and moments from Rangers history:

Left-field foul pole: 329 feet (in honor of Adrian Beltre, No. 29)

Left-field seats: 334 feet (in honor of Nolan Ryan, No. 34)

Left-center field power alley: 372 feet (in honor of the franchise's first season in Arlington in 1972)

Home and visitors' bullpens: 410 feet (in honor of Michael Young, No. 10)

Straightaway center field: 407 feet (in honor of Ivan Rodriguez, No. 7)

Right-center field power alley: 374 feet (in honor of the 1974 “Turnaround Gang”)

Right-field foul pole: 326 feet (in honor of manager Johnny Oates, No. 26)

Distance behind home plate: 42 feet (in honor of Jackie Robinson)

Pitchers will be glad the Rangers elected not to honor Elvis Andrus and place the foul poles 301 feet from home plate. Honoring past heroes is still a nice touch. Rangers executive vice president of business operations Rob Matwick said that the dimension recognitions was an idea that came up early in the construction planning.

But deciding on dimensions is only part of the process in finding out whether Globe Life Field will favor hitters or pitchers. That is still to be determined.

The Rangers got an early indication on Wednesday when Gallo, Willie Calhoun, Delino DeShields, Shin-Soo Choo and Jose Trevino assembled on the field and took batting practice for the first time. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu did the pitching and manager Chris Woodward was among the many watching from the sidelines.

“The dimensions are fair,” Woodward said. “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the dimensions. It’s actually kind of deep in center. [The] ball seems to have a little carry, a little life to it. It could be the baseballs, but overall it will be fair.”

Other factors will come in to play once the Rangers begin playing games next season. The foul territory is relatively shallow and that should help hitters. But having the roof closed will shut out the prevailing south prairie winds that were a huge factor at both Arlington Stadium and Globe Life Park.

The winds that blew in from the outfield at Arlington Stadium were a nightmare for power hitters like Jeff Burroughs and Richie Zisk. Globe Life Park was originally built to be fair for both pitchers and hitters, but that didn't turn out to be the case, especially after multiple renovations. The ballpark became much more hitter-friendly than the original designers expected.

Globe Life Field’s actual playing conditions are yet to be determined, especially on days when the roof is open. Closing the roof will not only eliminate the heat but also the wind factor.

“We have taken the design and done testing in wind tunnels,” Matwick said. “But in fairness, until we start playing games, we won’t really know.”

The Rangers will pay close attention as the season progresses.

“I think we are going to have to compile some data,” Woodward said. “Get the turf on and hit here. It’s so hard to tell because guys hit home runs in BP no matter what building you are playing at. We’ll see how it carries in games, how the ball is, how it all plays out in foul territory. Our analytics team is going to have to do some digging every week if there is anything that stands out. If anything, it might be more pitcher friendly than our old ballpark.”

The outfield walls are eight feet high from foul pole to foul pole. The batter’s eye in center will be 120 feet in length and 40 feet high.

The most conspicuous feature will be the video board high above right field. It will be 58 feet high, 150 feet long and hang 131 feet above the right-field warning track.

That will make for an inviting target for a hitter with Gallo’s power.

"Yeah, I’ll answer for him,” Calhoun said. “I think he’ll do that.”

“I didn’t say that,” Gallo retorted. “Obviously, the big thing is the scoreboard. But in a game, you are not going to be shooting for that. I feel the righties will have some things to aim at.”

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.