RLINGTON - As Tuesday afternoon melted into the evening, Rangers officials invited fans up to the top of Globe Life Park for a little get-together to talk about the ballpark going up across the street.
It was on-point messaging.
The observation deck of the current ballpark was like a broiler. Across the way, there will be a nice climate-controlled, retractable roof palace opening in 2020. There will be no sweltering. Point made.
But the question that remains as the construction project continues is will the Rangers exchange one antiquated, unfriendly element (the heat) for another (artificial turf)? Surprisingly, it wasn’t the first question asked by the group of 25-35 fans who listened to the club’s executive vice president of business Rob Matwick and V.P. of project development Jack Hill provide updates.
Ticket prices (nobody knows), the relative speed of the opening/closing of the roof (about 10-12 minutes), the future of the current stadium (officials are adamant it will remain) and the dimensions (still to be determined, but similar to the current ballpark) all came first.
But the turf question came and it’s almost like Matwick was sitting on a fastball and got one right down the middle.
“We’re still studying both,” Matwick said of the grass vs. turf debate. “It’s on everybody’s minds. The only reason we are studying turf is that there have been some real advancements in it. We are still considering both.”
There is no timetable on this decision but given the Rangers’ poor start and relative lack of tradeable commodities, the grass vs. turf question might be the most-anticipated Rangers’ decision of the season.
Matwick knows he’s going to get the question whenever he speaks publicly. He explains that the stadium construction, from glass plate placement to the positioning of the field is all being done with the idea of growing grass. There is some degree of confidence that Paspalum grass, which isn’t a very high maintenance variety, could be grown. It’s the current grass of choice in the retractable roofs of Houston, Miami and Arizona, the three retractable roofs in climates closest to that of Arlington.