ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Opening Day at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington marked the first time that fans were able to check out some of the building’s new amenities. And while the improved safety railings and added concession stands were met with high praise, two of the biggest changes garnered mixed reactions.
The most noticable addition comes in the form of the Batter’s Eye Club, an exclusive suite that spans center field. Windows looking into the room are tinted black, and the doors are guarded by groups of staff members in Vandergriff Plaza. A private party was being held there on Opening Day, so fans were unable to peek inside and check out the suite firsthand, to see what its hefty price tag will buy.
Also located in the newly remodeled Vandergriff Plaza is an air-conditioned KidZone, replacing the small-scale diamond that previously let kids smack homers and run the bases. Children in the KidZone prior to the first pitch seemed to really like the new playground, which features a climbing wall, a ball pit, a large slide and even video games.
Brothers Cole and Cain each enjoyed different things.
“The ball pit,” said Cole, picking a favorite part of the KidZone.
“The big slide,” said Cain.
But both kids agreed that the KidZone was “awesome!”
Parents, on the other hand, were less than impressed. Brenda Marshall is the grandmother of Cole and Cain. “It’s very nice,” she said about the new KidZone, “but I will tell you, the first thing the boys said when they walked into the ballpark was, ‘We don’t get to hit anymore?'”
Mother Kelly Dawson, armed with a stuffed Rangers bunny in her hand, had another concern. “It’s cool. We’re disappointed that we had to pay to get in,” she said, referring to the fee of $10 per child. “We’d read all the hype. We didn’t realize you had to pay to get in. It’s free at the Astros, but we love the Rangers!”
“It’s worth it today,” Dawson added. “We probably won’t do it in the future.”
The other concern about the KidZone, Marshall said, “It’ll be packed [later in the season].” Of course, if the Rangers play as well as they have the past two seasons, pretty much every part of the ballpark — from the parking lots to the stands — will be packed in 2012.
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