Reporting Joel Thomas
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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – For the third straight year the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd has been replaced by the clangs of hammers and whirs of saws at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Year one brought high-def to the right field video board.
Year two saw new food, a centerfield club and a new play space above Greene’s Hill.
Year three will bring more concessions, less foul territory and a new vista all behind home plate with a price tag of about $12 million.
“Its an area that needed an upgrade,” said Vice President of Ballpark Operations Rob Matwick. “It gives us more flexibility here to serve customers with more concessions. A major retail store on this side which previously you had to walk around centerfield.”
The retail store and two concession stands will occupy the area where home plate ticket boxes and the season ticket holder lounge once stood.
Across the concourse, a small concession stand and cement wall have been knocked down opening up a view of the field as people enter the ballpark from the home plate gates.
“The biggest change for fans will be being able to walk through home plate gate and look out and see the plaza in centerfield, which you couldn’t do before,” Matwick said.
Matwick only laughed and said, “I don’t know,” when asked if the large space behind home plate would alter the wind flow nicknamed The Jetstream that often carries homeruns out in right field.
Upstairs above the concourse improvements, the private club is getting a facelift and a name change. The Cuervo Club is now the Capital One Club. The improvements will offer multi-tiered food service and add more seats to view the game.
The changes in 2013 won’t just affect the fans. Players will have a much wider dugout and new benches. An extra row of seats has been pushed even closer to home plate on the front row of the sections between the two dugouts too, shrinking the foul territory behind home plate from three to five feet.
And 10,000 new seats installed between sections 18 and 35 will begin a four year process of replacing every seat in the ballpark.
The goal is to modernize without losing signs of the ballpark’s past.
“One of the things I think we’ve done a good job of maintaining is the aesthetic of the park,” Matwick said. “That’s something you’re always concerned about anytime you touch a building like this. But I think the changes have been well received and we certainly think its better for our customers.”
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