By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Realizing 15 percent of their total attendance comes from Dallas' sweet spot—from Uptown to the Galleria—the Rangers customized their catering. With "You Could Use Some Baseball" billboards. With an airplane flying over downtown last week advertising games against the Chicago Cubs. And, especially, with the new branch office.
The month-old satellite is a 4,400-square-foot reminder that baseball can be two things Dallas is convinced it can't—cool and convenient. You can't buy a short-cut commute to Arlington, but you can get upscale clothing, original 1972 pennants, golf bags, poker chips, game tickets and a ball signed by fantastically flaky former center fielder Mickey Rivers.
Or you can just gawk at the murals of Nolan Ryan's fight and Hicks getting doused with championship champagne, examine Jim Sundberg's '78 Gold Glove, play the MLB 2K7 videogame and generally wallow in high-end ambience nowhere close to befitting the worst team in baseball.
"The idea was to have it be urban, airy and lofty," says Fine, overseeing the centerpiece of the team's five-year, $2 million investment in Dallas. "We want to establish our brand awareness, and we've got exclusive items with a little higher price point. Best of all, we're a full-service ticket office."
It's Dallas' most inspirational bridge this side of the twinkle in Calatrava's eye.
But you know what? Until the Rangers start winning, it might as well be built with papier-mâché.