The last baseball game of the 2020 season was the first baseball game I attended in 2020.
I went to see a World Series game. I had seen two World Series games before. They were both in St. Louis. Games 6 and 7 in 2011. I don’t recall what happened. And, figuring there won’t be a World Series in Arlington for at least the next decade or so, I decided to go.
Mainly, though, I went to see the new ballpark in action. It was a better experience than I had expected. The outside, of course, has been ripped to shreds in social media. But to be honest, you don’t see the overhead shot of it driving up to it. That said, the walk up is not awe-inspiring, though. It looks more like you’re walking in a corporate events center. There’s no joy in the architecture.
Once inside, the concourses are huge and open. It helps that there were much fewer people than it was designed for. But The Shed needs to get used to hosting 11,000 fans. That’s really about all the Rangers can hope for the next few season. This is not a baseball town. It’s a winner’s town. And, unless you are the Cowboys, who have been mostly bad for 25 years with no consequence, the Rangers can expect mostly empty concourses in the coming years.
Our seats were the second-to-the last row. Yes, the very top of the stadium on the first base side. You are much closer to the action here than you would have been at the old Ballpark in the second-to-last row. But it’s so much steeper. The walk up is no picnic.
There wasn’t much in the way of food offerings beyond the standard ballpark fare. But I suspect that’s because the real vendors aren’t going to show up until the real fans do.
Interestingly, I ran across two reviews of The Shed in the last two days. One scathing. One much less so but not all that flattering.
The latter was on ESPN. They asked three reporters who covered post-season games here their impressions.
Here are some of the responses. Cons first.
“Unnecessary.” “Nothing particularly inspiring about it.” “If you have fear of heights, this is not the park for you.” “Where are the areas where kids can get close enough to the field to ask for autographs during batting practice? They don’t seem to exist.” “Corporate.” “Eh.”
Pros: “Video scoreboard.” “The outfield fence with different nooks and crannies.” Because of its size, it “facilitates balls in play and action.” One liked that the ballpark played big so there was more offense. That’s when there are teams playing here that can hit.
You can read the ESNP article here.
Now for the bad news.
It comes in this article from BallparkRatings.com. It’s a lengthy read. But well-thought out.
Baseball Ratings calls it a mallpark. With amenities that are not fan friendly. Built for revenue generation and not necessarily excitement generation.
“While not completely lacking in redeeming qualities, Glove Life Field is ultimately a $1.2 billion failure of imagination and the most disappointing new Major League venue since New Comiskey Park opened in 1991.”
Okay. That’s not nice.
My impression is not nearly that negative. But it’s hard to compare this park favorably to the old one. I remember walking up to the Ballpark for the first time in 1994 and being stunned by how amazing it looked. And that was the outside. When I got in, I instantly fell in love with the place. Everything about it cried, this is a place I want to watch baseball.
My impressions of The Shed were, “So this is the place I’ll be watching baseball.”
It’s like trading in your Porche 911 that didn’t have air conditioning for a Subaru that does.
Here are photos from Tuesday night.