When the Texas Rangers released the first renderings in January of their proposed new ballpark in Arlington, the team's fans were unimpressed. The new stadium looked a lot like the Astros' Minute Maid Park, thanks largely to the series of arches backing the stadium's left-field stands. HKS Architects, the firm behind the recently christened Globe Life Field, revealed its newest renderings of the stadium Thursday afternoon. They mark a drastic change in course for the new park ahead of its groundbreaking Sept. 28.
Here are five things you need to know:
Globe Life Field will have a smaller capacity than Globe Life Park.
HKS said it expects the Rangers' new home will have about 42,000 seats, compared with the current stadium's capacity of 49,115. The move will bring the Rangers in line with stadiums like PNC Park in Pittsburgh and AT&T Park in San Francisco, both of which are viewed as more intimate than the Rangers' digs. The closest seats, including new field-level suites, will be much nearer to the action than those at Globe Life Park.
The Minute Maid Park look is gone.
In the nine months since HKS revealed its first renderings of the new stadium, the architecture firm has turned the park into something unique. The left-field arches have been turned 90 degrees, dumping the Houston feel. The stadium's upper-level concourse will feature open views of the field, a feature that's been reserved for the lower concourses at current major league parks. By splitting seats into five levels in the field, the stadium has a much more vertical look between the foul poles than its predecessor.
There are no personal seat licenses.
According to the Rangers, no seats in the new park will require the purchase of seat licenses. Commonly used to help pay for new stadiums, seat licenses require season-ticket holders to pay a fee each year simply to retain the right to purchase their tickets at the new stadium. That's not happening at Globe Life Field, Rob Matwick, the Rangers' executive vice president of business operations, said Thursday.
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The open roof will shade some parking lots.
Globe Life Field's essential feature, its roof, will open to the east and toward the infield. That will allow it to shade the east side of the park — the sunny third-base side — as it opens, as well as shading the parking lots on the east side of the stadium when it's fully open, according to HKS. The roof will feature a massive skylight, giving the stadium an open-air feel even when it's closed.
The biggest potential problem: grass vs. artificial turf.
Matwick said the Rangers are still trying to figure out whether they can sustain a grass playing surface in the new park. Because of the shade provided by the roof and the field's proposed elevation — 70 feet below street level — the team may have to resort to artificial turf. Only two stadiums — the Rogers Centre in Toronto and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, use the fake stuff.