I made a trip to see the Yankees on the road against the Texas Rangers. The game was one of the last games ever at The Ballpark at Arlington. I know it’s Globe Life Park, but I’ve called it the Ballpark at Arlington for over 20 years. So for as far as I’m concerned, it’s still The Ballpark at Arlington.
I’ll always compare every ballpark’s pricing against Yankee Stadium, so most other ballparks feel like a bargain. I snagged tickets down the right field line, 15 rows back, prime foul ball territory for a fraction of what they would be at Yankee Stadium. No foul balls came close, but I’ll come back to that point later. All in all, pricing was a great deal. Now with the new stadium opening next year, those ticket prices are going up despite the unlikeliness of the Rangers going up in the standings.
The ballpark itself was nicer than I expected it to be. The seats were comfortable but they weren’t angled towards home plate. Any stadium built after Camden Yards should have its seats facing home plate so that was a design flaw. Walking inside the stadium could get a little crowded at times near some of the concession stands. It was fairly open, not too bad, but not as wide open as Yankee Stadium. Not everything is bigger in Texas.
The Rangers do a good job with concessions. We got food at the State Fare booth. There were a lot of fried options at that booth. I ordered the fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It was absolutely delicious. In all fairness, I’m a big peanut butter guy so it might not be for everyone, but in my opinion, it was great. It’s actually two fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but one was plenty. Definitely a good option to split. We also got the funnel cake fries and a corn dog with fries. The funnel fries were good, but a huge portion. So those could be split between two or three people. The corn dog was a footlong with really crisp fried batter. The hot dog itself was just ok, but the fried batter was great.
Later on, I tried a red, white, and blue dog. A hot dog with a red relish, a blue relish, and sauteed onions. I rarely eat relish on my hot dog. However, it was a great combination of flavors. I would definitely recommend a red, white, and blue dog if the Rangers have those at their new stadium next year.
There was a Blue Bell ice cream stand, which is a Texas staple for ice cream for good reason. Blue Bell ice cream is top notch ice cream. There was a stand for Cheetos flavored popcorn. I didn’t try it, but I feel like it should be noted. There must be some people out there whose interest I just piqued. Overall, I give the concessions options a definitive thumbs up.
We covered the ballpark. We covered the concessions. Now it’s time to cover the fans, which is my favorite part. We’re Yankees fans. We’re better than everyone else. It’s a hard truth for some, but it’s just the way it is. Obviously I was going into this game recognizing that Rangers fans are not on our level. We’re Yankees fans, we’re at the top of the fan ladder. We’re so far up the ladder that we can’t even see the second tier beneath us, which is Red Sox, Mets, and Phillies fans. And be perfectly clear, they are beneath us. I’ll say that one more time not only to ensure clarity but because I enjoy saying it: Red Sox fans, Mets fans, and Phillies fans are beneath us. Beneath those clearly wrong, yet passionate fanbases, are everyone else. They don’t share the passion that both Yankees fans and those second tier losers have, and they definitely don’t have the history and championship pedigree that we have. We’re Yankees fans. In all fairness, Rangers fans don’t even hold rank.
Honestly, as Yankees fans we may ask, do Rangers fans even exist? I wasn’t sure myself, but now I can say from firsthand experience that yes, Rangers fans exist. Heck, they even made up 50% of the fans in the stands!!
Are you catching my point? I went into this expecting a fanbase that isn’t even on the Red Sox level. And they proved me right, which makes sense because I’m usually right about these things.
Rangers fans made up a mostly friendly crowd. There was one jackwagon in my section, but I grew up in old Yankee Stadium. One jackwagon in a section is nuthin. The majority of Rangers fans seemed to understand that Yankees fans were blessing them with our presence. Red Sox fans could learn something from Rangers fans.
Another reason I can’t jump on Rangers fans as a whole is because I saw years and years of visiting fans get abused coming into old Yankee Stadium. Though, in all fairness to us, who did they think they were coming into Yankee Stadium as a visiting fan??
I mentioned the lack of passion that other teams have. I need to explain this: the Rangers fans were passionate in wanting their team to win, but there is so much more to being a true fan than that. Anyone can love their team. It takes a true fan to be truly enraged at their team. Let’s play some word association.
Randy Johnson, specifically as a Yankee.
I guarantee reading each of those names made your blood boil as you thought about how much you hated them. Rangers fans? They love their underperforming players on bloated contracts. No way. That is not acceptable. You cannot cheer for guys that are holding down your team. You either perform up to your contract, or you get booed out of the building. There is no in-between. A real fanbase doesn’t show unlimited patience just because nine years ago they went to a World Series that they lost. Even worse, some of those guys that were enjoying patience from their fanbase weren’t even on those World Series losing teams! That is simply not acceptable, even foolish Red Sox fans know that.
One thing that gave me a good chuckle was the scoreboard operating team attempting a crowd rallying cheer. The scoreboard operating team was doing some “make some noise” mid-game. It went something like “Guys only”, “Ladies Only”, “Upper Deck”, “Lower Level”, “Bandwagon Yankees Fans. Not!”. Half the stadium erupted in a cheer. I actually chuckled out loud at the absurdity of that! There were so many Yankees fans in that stadium that they felt the need to acknowledge us! Yankee Stadium wouldn’t call out Rangers fans as a way to rally the crowd because, as far as our crowd is concerned, those Rangers fans aren’t even real fans anyway. They probably just came to a game at Yankee Stadium to pay homage the greatness of the Yankees.
Despite sitting in prime foul ball territory, not a single foul ball came close to me. That fact did not deter the man sitting next to me who either had his glove on or very ready to be put on for the entire game. I understand a kid bringing his or her glove to a game, but a grown man should be confident and capable enough to use his bare hands. If a grown man needs a glove to catch a foul ball, he doesn’t deserve the ball in the first place. No debate about it.
Overall, visiting The Ballpark at Arlington was a positive experience. The stadium itself was nice, and it was certainly an enjoyable experience, though it would have been more enjoyable had the Yankees won. As I said before, the food was really good. I normally wouldn’t eat a fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so that was a cool snack to try. There were a lot of options outside of what we had. The Rangers do a great job on concessions. As much as I just ragged on the fans, they were a good bunch, friendly and enthusiastic about their team, but they didn’t change my opinion on how I rate them as a fanbase. I am glad I got to watch a game at The Ballpark at Arlington before it closed, and I look forward to catching a game at their new park in the future to compare the two stadiums.