ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Officials with the Texas Rangers, Major League Baseball and the City of Arlington broke ground Thursday on the new Globe Life Field. The ballpark will become the new home of the Rangers just in time for the 2020 season.
The new stadium will feature 41,000 seats, walls of glass and a transparent retractable roof. The design took architects time to perfect, but they promise that the $1 billion ballpark has been designed to give baseball fans a more intimate experience while watching the Rangers games.
The seating decks will be stacked more vertically, putting fans closer to the field — and any foul balls or broken bats. With this closer view will come additional safety measures. This was a focus in the ballpark’s design. Architects have developed a way to extend nets down the entire lower seating bowl.
After extending the netting at the current Globe Life Park beyond the MLB’s recommendations in 2016, the Rangers also later raised the height of those nets from eight feet to 12 feet, so that the wires would not block the view of the games. The Rangers also raised the railing heights after a fan fell to his death in 2011.
“It gave us another layer of protection and also mitigated the fan concerns,” said team executive vice president Rob Matwick.
Part of the excitement in all of the construction is getting local fans involved. Arlington families were offered free tickets to the Rangers game on Thursday night, to commemorate the groundbreaking. Former players Ivan Rodriguez and Kenny Rogers will be taking part in the ceremonial first pitch. The free tickets were limited and have all already been claimed.