You could see it in their eyes! Of course, all you could see was their eyes. The lower two thirds of their faces were covered by masks, the top of their heads, covered by caps. Baseball caps. They wore the colors of their favorite team, there were Dodgers and Braves and others. But mostly Rangers. It was game one of the National League Championship Series. Even though the Rangers were not in the playoffs, even though the Rangers are not in the National League, Rangers fans were all over the NLCS.
After spending 60 days this summer in the beautiful new Globe Life Field with no fans, I was so eager to see the reaction of real fans to this fantastic structure. So I watched their eyes. When they entered the roof was still closed, so they looked up to see the largest single-panel retractable roof in the world. Then they looked down to see a field that was lined and manicured and ready for baseball. Then they looked around to see a stadium that they will be proud to call the home of the Texas Rangers.
From the life-sized bobble heads of Pudge Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre and Michael Young in centerfield to the larger-than-life rocking chairs in left, this place is full of Rangers history and all the comforts and character of today. It was well received by the fans who raced to the railings to have pictures taken or to take selfies with baseball’s newest cathedral in the background.
The World Series was in our new ballpark, too. By the time it was played the number of visitors to Globe Life Field had grown exponentially. In fact, to get a real feel for this place you must visit. If you were able to do so during the playoffs, good for you. If not, you are in for a treat when fans are allowed back.
The world was watching baseball’s best battle in a bubble. Major League Baseball made the right choice when Globe Life Field was picked as the host of baseball’s biggest games. Not surprisingly, World Series tickets sold out quickly, and the new stadium had the attention of sports fans everywhere.
Globe Life Field looked great on TV and it sounded great, too. As real fans entered for the first time they were informed that there would be artificial crowd noise tracks used to enhance the “sounds of the game.” But from game one of the NLCS the Rangers realized that the taped crowd noise was not as necessary as they thought. Ten thousand fans who are excited about the games and excited about the stadium can fill this place with noise. I can’t wait to hear 40,000 blow the roof off this joint! Next opening day? I hope so!
Oct. 12 was opening day of the NLCS. On that day Chuck Morgan said, “Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor and a pleasure to say for the first time, ‘Welcome, baseball fans, to Globe Life Field.’” The crowd cheered. Soon after that he said, “It’s baseball time in Texas.” And the crowd roared.
Those who watched the NLCS or World Series on TV got a glimpse. Globe Life Field was celebrated. Joe Buck said more than once, “Welcome back to the new Globe Life Field; it is a beauty.”
Buck is right. It is a beauty. Here’s hoping that very soon the World Series is decided here again. Not as a neutral sight. Not as a part of a baseball bubble. But with the home team winning the ultimate prize in front of a full house of frenzied fans.
If that happens, and if the fans are still wearing masks, I will be watching the eyes. And I know what I will see: tears! Tears streaming down faces and soaking masks as we all celebrate what we have waited nearly 50 years to experience. It is going to happen. I don’t know when, but when it does, we will all agree it was worth the wait.