The Globe Life Field roof can’t get here fast enough.
On Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park, about 15,000 fans braved a first-pitch temperature of 102. And that kept going up, topping out at 108 before the game ended around 4:40 p.m.
Most fans found refuge under the overhangs and other shaded areas with the approval of ushers who helped direct fans to open seats in the shade. And the Rangers rewarded them with a 5-0 win against the Indians.
Some fans, however, braved the direct sunlight, at least for a while.
Clint Whitaker, his two sons and nephew, drove in from Fruitvale (about 60 miles east of Dallas) to celebrate son Cash’s 10th birthday. They were sitting in the seats they bought, in the sun behind home plate on the lower level.
“I’ve been fanning them. Got the back of their necks [covered in sunscreen],” said Clint Whitaker, who didn’t think the group would last the whole game. “We live so far away and I have to work so early. If it was just me and my brother we probably would.”
Cannon, 4, was handling the heat just fine in the second inning, but didn’t hold back about the heat of his stadium seat.
“My butt is on fire,” he said.
Fox Sports Southwest dugout reporter Emily Jones McCoy recorded a temperature of 150 degrees on one of the plastic stadium seats during the game, so Cannon had a point.
The Rangers’ Globe Life Field, which is set to open in 2020 with a retractable roof, was a topic of conversation for the Whitakers on the drive to Sunday’s game. The four gave the roof plan an enthusiastic thumbs up.
“I love it. Look at all the empty seats,” said Whitaker, who thinks a roof will bring more fans on really hot days.
Another family in town from Midland for the game to celebrate a birthday was also braving the sun early.
“We’re from West Texas so we’re used to 110, 112,” said Michael Aaron, who was celebrating his birthday along with wife Lana and sons Tanner (17) and Tucker (12).
“We’ll be here the whole game,” Lana Aaron said. “The sun is going that way [points to the south of her seat]. It’s hot, but we’ll live for the Rangers.”
Nadel prefers to have his booth window open for every game, not only to be more connected to the game, but also so he can track the ball better. He decided to close them for the first time after gutting it out in a booth that was sitting at 92-93 degrees the previous two nights.
“In some of the northern parks when it’s really cold, windy and snowy we’ve done it,” Nadel said. “I really don’t like it. I don’t feel connected to the game.”
The only time he’s closed his windows during a game is the few times it has been raining and the rain is coming into the booth.
“The heat makes it really hard for us to concentrate. By the end of the game we’re just wasted,” he said. “At the end of that five-hour game on Friday we could barely think straight.”
The Rangers used two cooling units in their dugout in addition to the cool air they have pumped in from an air conditioning unit in the roof of their dugout.
“We’ve got them in the bullpen also,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “Biggest part is limiting the exposure to these guys pregame. We have smart people talking to them about hydration and how to hydrate the proper way and try to stay on top of that.”
Banister joked that the only ones affected by the heat were Rangers clubhouse manager Brandon Boyd and his crew for all the laundry they had to do.
“There’s a breeze every now and then, so it’s not that bad,” said Will Born, 17, of Frisco. Born and friend Ben Steen, 17, were two of the few fans sitting in the left-field stands right next to the visitor’s bullpen. No shade for them.
“You just have to hydrate the whole time and make sure you have water so you don’t pass out,” Steen said.