No one needed to remind new Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward about the heat he and especially his players will face in the final summer at Globe Life Park.
Woodward experienced it as a player, and it almost knocked him out.
It was 104 degrees with a heat index of 111 on Aug. 9, 1999, and he had just been recalled by the Toronto Blue Jays. The heat index was 111.
The Blue Jays needed Woodward, a shortstop, to play second base and third base during this stint, and he had never taken ground balls there. So, he camped out at second and third for some extra work there.
“During BP, I made the mistake of taking 30 minutes of ground balls nonstop in 105-degree heat,” Woodward said Tuesday night during the annual (and final) Newberg Report Night.
“I get down with the ground ball and got back to the dugout and just sat down, and my world started closing in on me. I’ve never passed out before, but that was the closest I’ve come.”
He had time recover. The Blue Jays put a hurting on the Rangers, winning 19-4, and Woodward came off the bench to collect a single off his former minor-league roommate Doug Davis.
All Woodward needs to do is survive one season before getting a roof over his head at Globe Life Field, set to open in 2020.
Woodward was asked by a fan his thoughts on whether the new place should have natural grass or artificial turf. His answer might be considered foreshadowing, but it was an informed answer based on the advances in artificial turfs and things he’s experienced in his career.
“I’ve played on some really bad grass field in domes,” Woodward said. “They’re not great. The grass doesn’t play well. It’s choppy. They spray paint the grass to make it look green. If it’s going to look like that, I’d be very concerned. If they say we’re going to have nice grass for the whole season, I’d probably say grass.”