GLF finally home; Dak Prescott a Solak fan?

May 24th, 2021

Globe Life Field was set to open its gates to great fanfare in April of 2020. But we all know what happened -- the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of the 2020 season and when the season did begin, fans were not permitted in the stands.

It was a weird way for the Rangers to open a new ballpark, with the novelty of a new home sans the electricity of the fans. But now, the club is finally getting to experience the home-field advantage that had been spoken about since construction began a little over three years ago.

On Saturday, a sell-out crowd of 38,055 packed the park to watch the Rangers take on their in-state rivals, the Astros. It was the second-largest crowd in the park’s history, trailing only the Opening Day count of 38,238 on April 5.

“Amazing,” said Isiah Kiner-Falefa when asked to describe the atmosphere at the ballpark during the current series against Houston. “This series has been awesome. It’s probably the closest to a playoff experience a lot of us get to have, just because it’s the ‘Silver Boot Series.’ It’s crazy, I think the atmosphere is just pretty cool. It’s surreal. It feels like the big leagues again.”

Kiner-Falefa called Globe Life Field “a palace” and affirmed that it is, indeed, significantly louder inside the new park than it was at the club’s prior home, Globe Life Park.

“It’s insane,” he said. “I’m glad the organization did what they had to do to get this stadium up and running, because it’s a blessing. Playing here every day is something special. Everybody that comes into this clubhouse and everybody that puts our uniform on just never wants to leave. I think that says a lot about the atmosphere here.”

Following a stretch during which Texas lost nine of 10 games, the Rangers completed a series sweep of the Astros in a 3-2, 10-inning win on Sunday with an electricity in the stands that had been unparalleled to this point in the venue’s brief history. Manager Chris Woodward said there could definitely be an enhanced home-field advantage for the Rangers in the early going this year, since Texas has had full-stadium capacity for the entire season.

“If there are some young players or some guys who haven’t been in those situations with a full-capacity crowd [due to the pandemic], it’s a little different,” Woodward said. “A lot of our guys hadn’t dealt with it until this year, and now they’re getting used to it. When it’s on your side, it’s in your favor, it gives you a little extra boost, and maybe rattles you a little bit if you’re on the other side.”

Wood to have MRI on elbow

Right-hander Hunter Wood had to exit his relief appearance against the Astros in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 8-4 victory due to right elbow tightness. He retired the first two batters he faced, but then walked Alex Bregman and enabled Bregman to advance to second base on a wild pitch. He then came out of the game due to the injury.

“He’s probably going to get an MRI at some point, and we’ll see from there,” Woodward said prior to Sunday’s series finale against Houston. “Afterwards, he felt like maybe he wanted to stay in [the game], but any time you’re dealing with the forearm near the elbow, there’s no reason to even try. It made no sense to even try to throw another pitch there. It was an easy decision, and he understood.”

Woodward said there won’t be any roster moves made Sunday to compensate in the bullpen, but that one may be coming prior to Tuesday’s series opener against the Angels in Anaheim if Wood needs to go on the injured list. He hinted that it would probably be the club’s No. 27 prospect, right-hander Demarcus Evans, who made his MLB debut last September but was sidelined with a lat injury that prevented him from making the Opening Day roster this year.

In five appearances at Triple-A Round Rock this season (7 2/3 innings), Evans has given up two runs on five hits. He has been missing bats exceptionally well, walking four and striking out 16.

Dak swaps threads with Solak

It may not be surprising that Dak Prescott, the star quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, is a Rangers fan given the city he calls his football home. But among all the jerseys he could have worn to Friday’s series opener between the Rangers and Astros, he chose to go with … Nick Solak’s?

According to the Rangers’ television broadcast Saturday, the reason for the Solak selection is that Prescott is a college friend of Solak’s wife, Roxanne, and when Prescott attended another Rangers game earlier in the season, Roxanne posted on social media that he needed a powder-blue Nick Solak jersey. Prescott replied that he wanted one, and the Solaks made it happen this weekend.

Nick ended up swapping one of his powder-blue jerseys for a Prescott Cowboys jersey prior to Friday’s game.