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Globe Life Field plans to host '20 HS graduations

Ceremonies could serve as trial run for hypothetical start of baseball season
@Sullivan_Ranger
May 20, 2020

ARLINGTON -- There are at least 49 high school graduation classes getting ready to march through Globe Life Field over the next 40 days. The Rangers are prepared to welcome them with open arms. First of all, the Rangers want the graduates to have a positive experience. Rangers executive vice

ARLINGTON -- There are at least 49 high school graduation classes getting ready to march through Globe Life Field over the next 40 days.

The Rangers are prepared to welcome them with open arms.

First of all, the Rangers want the graduates to have a positive experience. Rangers executive vice president of business operations Rob Matwick has a daughter who is among the high school class of 2020.

“We want it to be a great experience for the graduates and their families,” Matwick said. “What we are hearing from the districts is it will be truly memorable experience.”

Second, those graduation ceremonies will serve as a trial run for how the Rangers might handle a limited number of fans later this summer, if baseball was to resume during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think that is a fair assumption we’re looking at it that way,” Matwick said.

Globe Life Field meets the Texas Education Agency’s guidelines for high school graduations. The roof will be open, so the ceremonies will be outdoors. The large stadium allows for sufficient social distancing among family and friends.

Those could also be the guidelines if baseball resumes and, eventually, allows a minimal number of fans in the stadiums.

“We are going to ask they wear masks,” Matwick said. “We are going to ask they socially distance around the facility. We are going to have hand sanitation facilities available. Our cleaning staff will focus on making sure the surfaces are wiped down consistently. It will be deep cleaned, obviously, before the ceremonies begin. We have cleaning crews that are set to come in and do multiple cleanings.”

Globe Life Field will host as many as four graduations in a day. If games are to be played this season, Globe Life Field will be helped by the fact that it's climate-controlled and features a retractable roof.

“So, with distancing and the way we will have fans access the building, our cleaning programs and restrooms, yes, I would say [graduation] is a pretty good precursor for what a game with fans will look like,” Matwick said. “Obviously we don’t know if we will get to that point, but we are trying to treat it like what a baseball game will look like.”

There was great anticipation for the opening of the $1.2 billion Globe Life Field, which has been delayed because of the pandemic. The Rangers are offering tours of the new ballpark through June and July, and tickets are available at www.texasrangers.com/tours.

But those tickets are going fast, as fans are eager to get a front-row view of the long-awaited ballpark.

“It has been different, that’s for sure,” Matwick said. “Nobody could have anticipated this. For a couple of weeks, I woke up thinking it was a bad dream and then, in thirty seconds, it would kick in that this is the reality we are in right now. It is the new normal right now.”

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.