Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred offered his full support of the Texas Rangers’ proposed retractable roof stadium as a way to combat the excessive heat during the summer.
Manfred was on hand Tuesday for the Rangers’ Texas Live! press conference, along with Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, Rangers’ co-owner Ray Davis, and Blake Cordish, Vice President of The Cordish Companies, which would develop the property on a site directly southwest of Globe Life Park, currently parking Lot A.
I think this stadium will be a huge boom to the players that are here now and it will make this market even more attractive to players.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
“I think the climate here, and it’s not unique, presents a competitive disadvantage,” said Manfred, who cited the heat as not only hard to play in, but also as a deterrent to potential free agents wanting to sign with the club.
“Here, the climate issues had been a problem for a very long time and different than what you see in most places,” he said. “It wears you down over the course of the season playing in heat like that. I think the contemplated new facility will really be significant in addressing both of those issues.”
Fan comfort, Manfred asserted, also makes the project advantageous.
“Our game generates fans that make a commitment to the game that’s really unparalleled in sports, 81 home games a year,” he said. “We work very hard on a variety of fronts to make sure that we present our games in an environment that are family friendly and fan friendly and I think this is a step along that road.”
Pace of play
Manfred said the owners have been open to his suggestions that the pace of play needs to be addressed. He said possible changes could be enacted at the next owners meeting in January or May.
“The idea of looking at the game, looking at how our product looks to our fans on the field, is one that has appeal to ownership,” Manfred said. “I think our owners realize that the game has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades and it’s a good time to take inventory about what we’re doing and maybe make a decision to manage that change a little more carefully.”
He said the league is researching and analyzing the best ways to speed up pace of play, including looking at the amount of pitching changes late in games and length of warmups for pitchers.
Tony Barnette had another throwing session before Tuesday’s game, including 10 from a half mound. Barnette expects to throw his first bullpen session Friday.
“Everything went well today and we’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” said Barnette, who has been unavailable since Sept. 4 with a strained oblique. “Today was an encouraging day.”
The Rangers are likely to have Barnette throw a simulated game soon if his first bullpen goes well.
“Don’t put the cart before the horse,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes Friday.”
Manager Jeff Banister is “cautiously optimistic” about Barnette’s return.
“We’re encouraged that he’s getting better and it’s a possibility,” he said. “There’s a lot in between now and then.”