Take Me Out to the Ballgame!
Nothing heralds in the spring like the smell of popcorn, the crack of the baseball bat and the feel of the air conditioning on our cheeks. Wait – air conditioning? Yes!
The journey to the air-conditioned ballpark started in Washington, D.C.
Bob Short, owner of the Washington Senators baseball team, was selling the team to play elsewhere in 1970 and was especially receptive to an offer brought up by Arlington, Texas, Mayor Tom Vandergriff, who had been trying to obtain a major league sports team to play in the Metroplex for over a decade. Arlington's hole card was Turnpike Stadium, a 10,000-seat park which had been built in 1965 to house the Double-A Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs of the Texas League. However, it had been built to MLB specifications, and only minor excavations would be necessary to expand the park to accommodate major league crowds.
Vandergriff's offer of a multimillion-dollar down payment prompted Short to make the move to Arlington. On September 21, 1971, by a vote of 10–2, American League owners granted approval to move the franchise to Arlington for the 1972 season.
From there, the Texas Rangers became a pivotal member of the North Texas sports community producing eight National Baseball Hall of Fame players, winning seven American League West Division titles between 1996 and 2016, and hosting the first World Series ever in North Texas in 2010 and 2011.
The Texas Rangers continue to play in North Texas to this day resulting is millions of dollars in tourism, thousands of jobs, community camaraderie and Texas pride. This also resulted in The Ballpark in Arlington (now Globe Life Park) opening in 1994, following by the new Globe Life Field debut in 2020.
Yep, that’s where the air conditioning comes in. Many historians cite the availability of air conditioning as the catalyst to the state’s population growth, and that led to the building of a retractable roof stadium to house the Texas Rangers as well as many other events.
And, while the original opening was postponed due to COVID-19, Globe Life Field had a chance to shine in the national spotlight hosting the 2020 National League Playoffs and the World Series in front of the only fans to attend Major League Baseball games in 2020. Despite that, we’re looking forward to the day that we can all lean back in the seats, hot dog in hand, cool (A/C) breeze on our face and the announcer’s proclamation, “Play Ball!”.