Globe Life Park was technically sold out with 47,434 paying for Game 1 seats Thursday afternoon.
But, as expected, several thousand fans didn’t make it to the park for the 3:38 p.m. start time. Friday’s noon start probably won’t fare any better. In fact, it might be worse despite the fact that it could be the Rangers last game in Arlington in 2016. A 10-1 loss Thursday might leave some with less desire to fake an illness at work.
Where does Thursday’s crowd rank in the Ranges’ history (regular or postseason)? Doesn’t even register.
There have been at least 32 larger crowds since Globe Life Park opened in 1994. In fact, Thursday’s crowd wasn’t even the largest in 2016. It’s third behind the season opener (49,289) and a June 25 game against the Red Sox (47,559).
Loud and proud
Those on hand, however, were loud and rowdy, at least before Toronto’s five-run third inning. The empty seats (mostly up in the corners of the upper deck) thinned a little at a time as the innings passed without much to cheer for offensively.
Early, though, the crowd was loud and proud, waving red Rangers rally “Never Ever Quit” towels as the starting lineup took the field. A bunch of fans brought homemade signs, many using the famous image of Rougned Odor punching the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista. The image was on posters, shirts and hats. Wouldn’t be surprised if it was tattooed on one or two body parts through the park.
President George W. Bush and wife Laura were in attendance, sitting with co-owner Ray Davis in the Rangers owners’ box. The former President and First Lady have been to several games this season.
O Canada was sung by Michael Borts and the Star-Spangled Banner was sung by country artist Neal McCoy, a native of Jacksonville, in East Texas. After both anthems, a C-130 military transport aircraft from the 136th Airlift Wing Texas Air National Guard in Fort Worth flew over Globe Life Park.
Bobby’s final pitch
Retiring Rangers coach Bobby Jones, who turns 67 on Oct. 11, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. Jones has been in pro baseball for 50 years. The Rangers gave him a restored 1965 Ford Mustang on Wednesday as a retirement gift.
Former Rangers slugger Prince Fielder, who had to retire for medical reasons in August, was in uniform and introduced during the Rangers’ pregame introductions. The Globe Life Park crowd gave him a loud ovation. “I’m feeling good. I’m doing nothing with my time, which is nice,” Fielder said during a television interview.