May 27, 2014

Texas Rangers ‘where they should be’ in Arlington

The stadium lease has 10 years to go, but decisions loom sooner

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck has the only proper response to the concerns flying around his city for months.

The Texas Rangers, the rumors say, could move elsewhere when the lease on their stadium expires 10 years from now.

The Rangers, Cluck says, are “right where they should be.”

Nobody takes these concerns lightly. As Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told Star-Telegram writer Susan Schrock for a story in Sunday’s newspaper, Rangers owners will do what’s best for their financial interests, even if it means moving.

Cluck expects rumors to fly, and he won’t be moved by them.

Decision time for the team’s owners will come in four or five years, Cluck says, and that’s when Arlington must be prepared to respond.

Or, as City Manager Trey Yelverton put it, “When the time is right to talk more specifically about whatever needs they have and how we might be able to assist them, we will stand ready to have that conversation like we always have.”

Globe Life Park in Arlington, designed and built exactly as the then-owners, led by future President George W. Bush, wanted it 20 years ago, is a wonderful home for a baseball team. Summer nights don’t get any better than when the Rangers are at home and playing well in the open air.

A player like Elvis Andrus can be poetry in motion when he moves fast, snags a hard-hit grounder and leaps in the air to throw the runner out at first.

Fans love the ballpark. Last year’s attendance averaged 38,759 per game, fifth best in baseball.

Televised games from many other major-league cities show a lot of empty seats, but not in Arlington.

Still, there’s no hiding it: This can be a brutally hot place in the summer sun. Many fans love it; some can’t stand the heat. Players are affected, too.

Shade and even air conditioning at a new stadium could be a big draw for some.

Construction on the stadium began in April 1992 after a controversial election when Arlington voters approved $135 million in bonds to pay for it. The Rangers pay $2 million a year for their lease.

The team has paid for a range of improvements over the years, spending $40 million just since 2011.

Arlington is the Rangers’ home. Changing that would be hard on everyone.

When it’s time to talk about the team’s needs, Arlington will be ready.

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