July 7, 2020
NEW! At long last, I have finished preliminary work on a diagram for Globe Life Field, the new home of the Texas Rangers which is scheduled to open in a little over two weeks. As yet there are no separate diagram versions for the upper and lower decks, roof open vs. closed, etc., but I expect to do those in the next few days. I must say, it was every bit as challenging as I had imagined (or feared?) it would be, with four main decks arranged in a rather chaotic way so as to accommodate the retractable roof. But it was worth it, and I gained some appreciation for the stadium, which has interesting angles in the outfield wall and many interesting seating areas. For example, there is a very high (and small) third deck of seats overlooking left field. They could have lowered that deck by 10 or 20 feet, and I don't quite understand the point of making it so high. In right field there are two very large decks, evidently catering to lower-income fans who resist insane ticket prices. If so, it's a small step in the right direction. Bucky Nance, the guy who sent me the aerial photo of construction at Globe Life Park, expressed displeasure that public money is being used to create a luxury palace out of reach of common folk. Indeed, I remain deeply skeptical of the need to replace the Rangers' old home, Globe Life Park. It had major flaws, but it could have been improved, at least. According to the Rangers' website, the total cost of the project is about $1.2 billion, of which the city of Arlington will provide up to 50% of the funding. Seating capacity is about 40,300 -- about 8,000 less than the Rangers' old home Globe Life Park!
With two weeks to go before the baseball season (hopefully) starts, I figure I can get at least a couple more of the "top priority" diagram revisions completed by Opening Day, and the other two during the next couple weeks after that.
Just when we were gaining confidence that this season would be saved after all, we learn that for some teams there are big delays in the tests for the covid-19 virus mandated by MLB. Both the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros canceled Monday's workouts because test results were not back yet. Monday's Washington Post describes the arduous process for getting results from the labs, which are evidently over-worked. Previously, I wondered why they needed four full weeks to prepare to play, since they had almost finished spring training when the quarantines went into effect across the nation in mid-March, but I guess there are limitations with health services.
That article mentions that the Braves' Nick Markakis has opted out of playing this year, in addition to David Price and Felix Hernandez, both former Cy Young winners. Angels superstar Mike Trout is on the fence, as is the Nationals' closer Sean Doolittle. Ryan Zimmerman, as noted before, was among the first to opt out. The photos accompanying the article show a guy picking up baseballs with rubber gloves, a grounds crew worker wearing a plastic face shield, etc. More signs that this "new normal" is going to make sporting life, and life in general, strange and awkward for the indefinite future...
Among other sports, Major League Soccer is getting underway, and both the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League are preparing to do so under extremely tight "bubble" arrangements, rather than using the teams' own arenas. For such contact sports, those extra precautions make sense. But what about football? Getting up close and personal with your opponent is the whole point of the game, and I really wonder if they can actually hold either college or pro football games this fall.