Rangers to make ballpark upgrades

Rangers to make ballpark upgrades

ARLINGTON -- The famous dot race, a staple at Rangers home games for over 20 years, will finally be seen from every seat at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

So will a replay of that great catch by Josh Hamilton or a game-winning hit by Michael Young.

That's the main motivation behind $4 million of improvements -- authorized by owner Tom Hicks -- that are being made at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Four new full-color scoreboards are being installed for the 2009 season, including one that will replace the manual out-of-town scoreboard on the left-field wall.

That scoreboard will have a video screen for the dot race, replays and other video features that were currently shown only on the scoreboard atop the right-field porch. That video wasn't visible to people sitting underneath in the Home Run Porch. The left-field scoreboard will take care of that while still having out-of-town scores.

"I really feel what we've done under the current economic conditions is that Tom is committed to making the ballpark experience better for fans," Rangers president Nolan Ryan said on Tuesday. "Hopefully, fans will come out and see the new scoreboards and seats and see that we're committed to the experience at the ballpark. Hopefully, by enhancing the experience, we'll have more fans come out to the ballpark."

A second full-color scoreboard will be installed on the second level of left field, just below the Diamond Club. That will replace the old scoreboard that had pitch counts, speed of pitches and other baseball information.

"It will have the same information and more because we will have more room," Rangers vice president Chuck Morgan said.

Two other new scoreboards will be installed. These are both linear ribbon boards. One will run from foul pole-to-foul pole on the face of the second deck just below the lower-level suites. The other will be on the façade of the second deck on the Home Run Porch in right field.

Both will be used to convey baseball information, scores and advertising.

"We think from an architectural design, our ballpark is as pretty of a stadium as there is in baseball," Ryan said. "We're trying to balance having the best up-to-date scoreboards that are available to enhance the fan experience, while maintaining that step-back-in-time feeling that you have at Wrigley. We feel like we've accomplished that."

The Rangers are also installing 91 premium seats in front of home plate and another 66 seats with the addition of a "Commissioner's Box" just beyond the third-base dugout where the tarp used to be.

The 91 seats in front of home plate will be in two rows running from dugout-to-dugout. This is the first time the Rangers have installed premium seating that is available in every other ballpark. Both the home plate and Commissioner Seats will be available in February after current season-ticket holders have a chance to upgrade.

The Rangers also announced they are widening the home-plate screen an extra 50 feet so that it will run from one photo well to another next to the dugouts.

"We want to make sure that fans sitting in the locations closest to home plate are adequately protected from foul balls and broken bats," Ryan said.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.