Wilonsky won't say it, but I will: One week after the World Series title slipped from grasp, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is a sad, sad place. It was quiet this afternoon, empty, and the weight of Texas hope had all but evaporated.
Instead of announcing an $11.5-million upgrade on the heels of a giddy victory, a presser with subdued chief operating officer Rick George was held in the theatre inside the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. As noted in an earlier post, the plans include a new Batter's Eye Club (name apparently subject to change) with four rows of seating for 100 that can be rented for groups or reserved individually, a restaurant-sports bar with a box in the mezzanine for the radio guys, and an upgraded Kid's Zone -- all of it air-conditioned.
"There wasn't much time to prepare and bring it out to the public before now," said architect Mike Barnett of Sterling Barnett Little, Inc., who drew up the plans for the upgrade.
It will be the first in a multi-phase face lift, the Rangers COO says, perhaps in an effort to quiet those who keep hoping the Rangers will move into downtown Dallas sooner than later.
"This is one step we're going to take in the next two or three years at our ballpark at our ownership's direction," George said -- one that is, apparently, already selling seats. Batter's Eye, executive vice president Rob Matwick tells us, sold out for the April 6 opener next season. Demolition had already been completed Thursday afternoon, and construction looked like it was ready to get under way.
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And in case you were wondering: No, Nolan Ryan wasn't there.