Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers fans will loom large and close to action at Globe Life Field

Nomar Mazara wiped the sweat off his face and stepped into what will be the batter’s box at Globe Life Field next season.

Mazara, along with manager Chris Woodward and a few teammates, toured the construction of the Texas Rangers’ $1.2 retractable roof stadium, including a view of where home plate will sit when construction is expected to be completed by March 1. It’s about 65 percent complete.

At the moment, however, a gravelly rock path leads visitors to home plate, which sits in tiny contrast to the oversized crane sitting in the middle of where center field will eventually be. The first piece of the retractable roof, which weighs 1.1 million pounds, was taking up most of the third-base line while it’s prepared for installation next week. It’s the first of three total lifts for the roof truss. All three pieces weigh more than 3.3 million pounds combined, according to the Rangers. The entire 5.5 acre roof structure will use 19,000 tons of steel.

Wednesday’s event included a celebratory barbecue lunch for 1,400 construction workers in a large tent set up south of the site. They were marking three million man hours on the job, which started in October 2017.

The biggest revelation for the players and manager were just how closely the fans will be to the field.

“You can tell how on you the crowd is going to be,” Woodward said. “That’s kind of inspiring for me because it could get really loud in here. Especially when we start winning and we get the fan base in here to support us, that could be a real advantage for us.”

The other big point of interest, of course, was the roof.

“I’m excited. We’re going to have the roof so we won’t sweat like we are right now,” said Mazara, who along with his teammates and manager signed autographs and took pictures with workers during the luncheon. “It’s special. If we’re sweating, we can’t imagine what they’re going through. It’s crazy how quickly they’re doing this.”

Woodward echoed the sentiment of the Rangers’ players and front office when the retractable-roof stadium was announced.

“You can feel the heat right now,” he said. “We’re not going to feel that next year. It’s going to really help us.”

Updated renderings of the completed stadium, including images of the Rangers’ clubhouse, weight room and training area, impressed the players.

“It looks amazing. It’s going to be like a five-star hotel,” Mazara said.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.