Today was another early rise for me to catch a 6:20 AM Greyhound to Dallas. If any of you have never taken Greyhound in your life, please do so at least once. It is a really ‘interesting’ and ‘unique’ experience. Especially when you take them before the crack of dawn.
The ride to Dallas is around 3 and a half hours up I-45 North. We passed some really beautiful Texas farmland and cattle ranches along the way. Just as I was nodding off into a peaceful slumber, we stopped at some truck stop in a city called Buffalo which was packed with good ‘ole fashioned Texas truckers. There were about 20 or so passengers (including the bus driver) who all got off to smoke – not one but many cigarettes each. After about a 30-minute smoke, chew and beef jerky break we all boarded again. About 10 miles down the road the driver announced that since there were so many smokers on board – that they could all just feel free to “fire ‘em up” on the bus. They all ‘hooted’ at the news and proceeded to light up, which kind of sucked for me.
We got into Dallas around 10:30 and I grabbed an Uber to my hotel. It was already about 85 degrees and humid. I dropped off my bags and set out to explore Big-D.
I started off in the West End which has lots of worthy attractions (Perot Museum, Dallas Aquarium, etc.) and then headed to Dealey Plaza and visited the infamous 6th Floor Museum of the book repository. I then took a pretty cool 60-minute tour that retraced the path of the Kennedy Assassination which followed the route of the motorcade and then onto Oswald’s escape route. This was really well done if you are into history and/or conspiracy theories. The driver/guide was really enthusiastic.
Reunion tower is a great spot to get an amazing view of the iconic Dallas Skyline (one of the absolute best in the US – especially at night) and the Margaret Hunt Hall Bridge is one of the most remarkable in the country.
The Bishops Arts District is a laid back, chic, trendy, bohemian, etc. neighborhood with lots of great pubs, restaurants and shops. But my favorite neighborhood was Deep Ellum an entertainment district known for its vibrant street murals, quirky art galleries, great brewpubs and Tex-Mex eateries. Two of the best watering holes here – in my opinion – are The Deep Ellum Brewing Company and Stirr
Just like in Houston – I ran out of time long before I got to see anywhere near all the things that I wanted to. I grabbed an Uber to the game around 4:15 trying to stay ahead of what I was told would be brutal rush hour traffic on I-30 into Arlington. Driving in Dallas isn’t for the faint of heart. Aside from the traffic and network of highways, there is constant road construction in the city and potential closures on any given day.
Globe Life Stadium is located in Arlington – about 18 miles West of Dallas on I-30 and mid-way to Ft. Worth. The ride without traffic is only about 20 minutes – but the ride ‘without traffic’ rarely exists. It took us a little over an hour to get there which I was told wasn’t bad.
The park itself is huge with 5 levels of seating and close to 50,000 capacity. The park has some nice features – There is a huge roofed home run porch in right field, modeled after the one at old Tiger Stadium. Greene’s Hill is a sloped section of turf located behind the center field fence which serves as a batter’s eye. Vandergriff plaza in center field is an open court with good views of the game and some of the park’s best eateries. The Nolan Ryan statue situated there serves as a central meeting point for fans. The park has a nice Rangers Hall of Fame museum but content is limited since the team has a relatively sparse history (in existence since 1972 – formerly in Washington from their inception in 1961)
If “healthy eatin’” is your thing, well, maybe Texas isn’t the place for you. Globe Life food options are substantial and most of the offerings are huge! – Two that stand out are – The Wicked PIG – A sourdough roll layered with pulled pork, thick cut Danish bacon, a split andouille sausage, prosciutto, thick cut ham and topped with Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce, coleslaw and pork rinds. The Beltre Buster – One pound of fresh ground beef covered in a half pound of bacon, grilled onions, and Monterrey Jack cheese on a pretzel bun. Either of these will run you a hefty $27 and a permission slip from your cardiologist. Another one of their more popular offerings are Chicken and Donuts Sliders – Mini Glazed Donuts sliced in half with a hand breaded fried chicken breast.
All of the popular Texas beers can be found at Globe Life (Lone Star, Shiner Bok) but my favorite was Axis IPA by Real Ale Brewing which has strong hints of tropical fruit and a pale golden body.
The team mascot is a bit lame by MLB standards – ‘Rangers Captain’ is a horse that isn’t very interesting or entertaining. The 7th inning stretch song, ‘Cotton Eyed Joe‘, got much of the crowd on their feet to sing along. The fans were fun and friendly, but I’m not sure whether that is the case come June-July-August when the oppressive humidity kicks in (It’s hard to understand why they didn’t design this place to have a retractable roof). I sat next to 2 middle-aged women who were hard core baseball and Ranger fans and who gave the opposing players and umps grief from first pitch to last. It was great talking baseball with them all game long.
The crowd didn’t have a lot to cheer for this evening as the hated Yankees jumped out to an early lead via HRs by Jacoby Ellsbury and Starlin Castro. Hard throwing Nathan Eovaldi shut the Rangers down giving up only 2 hits over 7 innings (he had a no-hitter through 6). The Rangers got a lone run on a solo shot off Dellin Betances in the 8th before Andrew Miller came in the 9th to seal the deal. There were plenty of boos from the crowd whenever former Ranger Mark Texiera came to the plate, but these were nothing compared to what was offered by the crowd back when A-Rod would come to town from what I was told.
Globe Life offers reasonable ticket pricing although it is dynamic, based on opposing team and day of week. For this game, since it was Yankees, there was a bit of an uptick in price.
Overall a fun experience. Would have been much better if the park was somewhere in Downtown Dallas.
Tomorrow it’s off to some cooler climate in Denver.
Fans – B – Pleasant, knowledgeable and very opinionated. Maybe wouldn’t have been so friendly if they knew I was a Yankee fan.
Features – C – Decent hall of fame, some nice statues. Nothing terribly special.
Location – D – A long, slow drive on the expressway from downtown Dallas. Nothing at all to do in the area before or after the game.
Food – A – Lots of interesting options if you love BIG food!
Game – C – Not very exciting. Yankees had it in hand all the way.
Overall Experience – C – Not a bad park but nothing especially notable about it either. I may have enjoyed myself more if beating the crowd and getting back to Dallas wasn’t on my mind constantly from the 7th inning onward.