In 1972 the Washington Senators moved from Washington. It must have been quite a shock from playing in Robert F Kennedy Stadium to the Spartan looking minor league stadium that was now called Arlington Stadium. Although it had grown, having been expanded to 35,700 seats after it was announced that the Senators would be moving to Texas, it was still not like their former friendly confines.
Anyone who ever went to Arlington Stadium will probably remember two things, the huge number of blue bleachers with outfield billboards that were above them and the insane heat. I can remember seeing the Marlboro billboard when I would go and we never sat in anything but the bleachers so they were almost home. While the now politically incorrect smoking billboards are gone and the last of the bleachers are gone from RBiA the heat remains. But nothing like the heat that was in the bleachers was during the summer you would fry on the bare metal.
Three traditions that have continued from Arlington Stadium to RBiA are singing of Cotton Eyed Joe during the 7th inning stretch, the dot race and nachos. Selling nachos in a major league baseball stadium never occurred before 1974, where they first were sold in the outfield sections. The dot races that are now performed by living people in costumes were shown on the jumbo-tron and were made by a computer. Looking back I feel robbed because the races were fixed. Finally the singing of Cotton Eyed Joe while done first by the Rangers has been taken up by other clubs in other forms, but for the Rangers it is a mandate.
Eventually the old ballpark even with many upgrades and expansions could not live up to the demands of a major league team. It was decided that the club needed a new ballpark and it was chosen to be placed nearby and called, at the time Ballpark in Arlington. The old stadium hosted its last game on October 3, 1993 against the Kansas City Royals. In a great way to end its existence the Rangers won 4-1.
In 1994 the stadium was torn down, although there are parts of the stadium that have survived. In this 40th year of the franchise being in Arlington the stadium must be remembered as must as any player or personnel. Because the stadium is part of the team, and part of the fan base, just like RBiA is today.
Thanks for taking this trip down Texas Rangers memory lane.
As Always, Go Rangers!