If you read my previous post about my summer vacation plans, I’m sure many of you have some advice on what to do in different cities, where to sit in the new ballparks and what food / drinks are a requirement at certain locations. I would really love to hear suggestions of real baseball fans. Since I live in arlington and go to Ranger games all the time and sit everywhere from a corporate box to the bleachers, I can give you some ideas if you come here.
Before I tell you some of the bad things, here is the good part. The ballpark in arlington (BPIA) is great. The architecture has some southwestern roots and the design is similar to the modern retro parks like Camden Yard. It’s hard to believe it already 12 years old. Be prepared for a big offensive game as the ball carries very well, particularly to right center field and to the right field home run porch. Rainouts are rare because it rarely rains and when it does, the field drains very well. It’s worth the price of admission to see Mark Teixeira, Michael Young and Hank Blalock, who make up the most powerful infield in the majors.
It’s hot here! If you are going to a game from May through September, you will need to hydrate and use sunscreen if you are in the sun. First base and right field tend to be in the shade more. Upper deck in left field and the third base side get the most sun and should be avoided lest you spend half the game staring into the setting sun and burning to a crisp. Day games are death unless it’s an abnormally cool day (very rare). There are very few day games scheduled after May, but if there is one, do not go there. During the summer it will still be in the high 80’s at night, so be prepared for a hot night.
Getting to the ballpark – arlington is the largest city in the country without public transportation. You have to use a car or a shuttle to get there unless you are at one of the few hotels in walking distance – Courtyard by Marriott and larger Marriott.
Parking – Considering the lack of development around the ballpark, parking is a ridiculous $10 to park a loooonnngg way from the ballpark. Valet Parking isn’t too expensive but getting your car after the game can be a problem. If your hotel has a shuttle, use it even if you have to pay.
Seating – As the Rangers fall off the pace, good seats will become more plentiful but don’t count on them for a Yankees or Red Sox series. For me, the best value is the upper deck in the 6 or so sections behind home plate, but in the first 4-5 rows. You can usually get 2 for 1 during week days with a promotion. I think April and May is with Dr. Pepper. If you bring an empty can to the park you can get these seats 2 for 1. If you choose the first base side, you will be some of the few people who can see into the visitors bullpen. I like behind home plate toward the third base side so I can see in the Ranger dugout and it’s easier to see the Jumbotron. The view picture of the ballpark on this page is from the upper deck. Don’t sit under the home run porch or in the bleachers because you won’t be able to see the main scoreboard or the Jumbotron.
Food – The cost of food at the Ballpark has skyrocketed of late and the quality has declined. They used to have really good Bar-B-Q, but it’s not that great anymore. I recommend the Ranger tater – a baked potato with cheese, onions and Bar-B-Q on top. Since water costs the same as soda at over $3 a pop, drink beer! If you wrangle a ticket on the club level or a season ticket with rights to the Gold club (it will be stated on the ticket), you need to eat and drink there. Real Margaritas and better nachos are only the beginning of the better food. In the club level, workers will take your order and bring food to your seat. If you like being waited on, go for it. These tickets are usually available because they are expensive and are discounted less often.
Ballpark secrets –
- The legends of the game museum in the ballpark is worth your time. It’s not cooperstown, but then again what is?
- Rawlings Resaturant in Right field – avoid at all cost. Seats are the worst in the house and the food is only slightly better than ballpark fare.
- If you are in the cheap seats and need either shade or a breeze, there are 2 places to go 1) The upper deck, particularly in the last few rows will get you any breeze that exists. Most areas also offer a lot of shade. 2) After the lower bowl section, there is another section with numbers in the 100’s. If you are behind home plate, you will notice a few stairwells leading up one level. Head up there and see if there’s an available seat. You will have to move down a section or two away from the Gold Club on either side. There is a lot of room to stand behind these sections and still get a great view and a good breeze. In addition, you may be able to grab a vacated seat.
Please give me your advice on visiting Wrigley, Comerica, Skydome, Jacobs Field, PNC, Comiskey and New Busch Stadium. Thanks for your help!