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The Ballpark Project

Home

Intro
The Problem
The Solution
Phase One
Phase Two
Phase Three
The Effect on the Field
Conclusion
Links
Poll, Guestbook, Contact
The Problem

The Claustrophobic Ballpark

The Ballpark in Arlington came along at the beginning of the "stadium boom" (still in progress). Old "cookie cutter" stadiums and dual-sport stadiums are being replaced with unique one-sport stadiums, most of them being built in downtown areas to re-develop downtown life. Empty seats in the outfield, usually only serving purpose for football games, are being replaced by stunning downtown skylines. Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards (opened in 1992) set the stage for a new architectural style. The "throw back" look of a stadium from 'the early days of baseball' brought nostalgia back into the minds of baseball fans as they sat through a game. This trend continues not only in baseball, but also in many of the new football stadiums and basketball/hockey arenas around the world.

The Rangers, however, faced a dilemma. Do they follow the trend and build a stadium in downtown Dallas? Or do they oblige to their Arlington and Fort Worth fans by keeping the Rangers in the "middle" of the D/FW Metroplex? Since the City of Arlington had been such a terrific host for the Rangers for more than 20 years, Tom Schieffer (former Rangers president and co-owner) decided a new stadium for the Rangers should reside in Arlington - where their first park, Arlington Stadium, stood.

They held a nation-wide search for architectural designs and plans for the new stadium. They decided to stick with the "throw back" trend and go with the proposal of Washington D.C. architect, David Schwarz. The design from Mr. Schwartz was creative, using Texas history as a guide to the style of The Ballpark. Mr. Schwarz also solved a problem the Rangers were concerned with. Since The Ballpark was not in the middle of towering sky scrapers, what exactly would line the sky over the reaches of the upper deck, scoreboard and billboards? Mr. Schwarz's solution...an office building.

Mr. Schwarz said he designed the interior of The Ballpark using ideas from various popular stadiums, new and old. For example, the "Home Run Porch" was an idea from the old Tiger Stadium in Detroit. The office complex in center field was considered a "perfect touch" to enclose the stadium. And to add another touch, the rails and arched frames of the offices were painted white, reminiscent of Yankee Stadium's white arched trusses. Atop the office complex is a myriad of advertising signs, as well as a generic scoreboard.

While the office complex answers the question of "what to look at" in the middle of a flat prairie full of one-story office complexes and warehouses, it takes away the sense of "open space," something Texas is famous for. It also "closes in" The Ballpark, creating a sense of claustrophobia on a piece of land that should have easily avoided that sensation. It even kept breezes out of the stadium, holding in summer heat and creating circulating gusts on the filed of play, often affecting games - good and bad - for the Rangers.

The Solution

The Ballpark's Office Complex:

The Ballpark Offices

Oriole Park at Camden Yards:

Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore