Thoughts on the Naming History of the Ballparks the Rangers Play in

ARLINGTON TX - OCTOBER 30: Fans wait to enter the ballpark prior to the Texas Rangers playing against the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 30 2010 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

I can't quite tell if the Rangers or the people of Arlington, Texas, or whatever have a supreme failure of imagination or an almost minimalist sense of aesthetics or obligations I can't pin down. With a brief exception, the Rangers have played in ballparks with bizarrely tongue-clipped names. For a state that likes to talk about how grand it is, it's all very understated and almost eastern. Almost eastern, because they've still managed to sound pretentious and vain glorious most of the time, rather than self-effacing.

  • 1972-1993: The Rangers played in Arlington Stadium. Yep, that was the name of it. Arlington. Stadium. I suppose this was an upgrade over Turnpike Stadium, the previous name. That era was rife with basic, utilitarian stadium names, across all sports. The Baker Bowls were gone, replaced by endless variations of Memorial and Veteran and County Stadiums. In a way, it was nice. Now, everyone wants to wrap themselves in the flag as often as possible to show how patriotic and supportive of the troops they are... but naming your stadium for them, nah, isn't happening. There's money to be made, Jack.
  • 1994-2005: The Rangers move in to The Ballpark in Arlington. Baseball nostalgia is in full swing. People think that having advertisements everywhere is actually cool looking. The Rangers still go with a straightforward stadium name, but somehow they manage to express the smallest concept in the most words possible. Naming it "The Ballpark in Arlington" is like a sophomore stretching a two-page essay into five pages with extra spacing, redundancy, a huge font, and needless block quotes. Make no mistake, this is an annoying name. It looks decent on a plaque, but it's a mouthful to say and annoying to write in complex sentences. I've seen Lone Star Ball adopt a "TBIA" shorthand. It works for brevity but looks odd and is also awkward to say. The forced "the" is pretentious yet pointless. "Ballpark" isn't much better. More empty nostalgia, a distinction without meaning. The look of the past without anything resembling the structures that naturally produced the look. Why didn't they also build unused trolly and rail lines to the park? That would have looked cool. All those wires and exposed metal and heck, build a depot. Oh yea, it's 1990s Texas and public transportation is socialism. Anyway, older parks had odd features because they were built around existing structures. I've been to Arlington many times, it's an ocean of parking lots interrupted by chain stores, gas stations and gigantic sports complexes dropped down from space. There's room.
  • 2005-2007: The Ballpark in Arlington becomes Ameriquest Field in Arlington easily one of the worst names of the corporate naming era. So the Rangers rammed "Ballpark" ("The Ballpark" actually) down our throat for over a decade, then switched to [Corp name] Field well... just because. I bet Michael Young loved working with Ameriquest. Probably thought they were real solid people. A perfect analog for the era, everything just humming along with a financial conglomerate telling everyone to get out of the way. And that name. My God. Let's combine Amurica and quest into one word... yea... perfect. So powerful, so heroic. I'm miffed they didn't go with Ameriquestkillinterroristshellyea as the name. Restraint. Anyway, the Rangers ran with this, because, hey, Nolan Ryan appearance money isn't going to pay for itself. There was even a random liberty bell type thing for awhile. Makes sense. Well, not quite a perfect analog for the era, as the building wasn't foreclosed and left vacant in 2007. Though Michael Young is still an unrepentant jerk.
  • 2008-Present: So now we come to the glorious Rangers Ballpark in Arlington era. The "the" is gone, mercifully, and the name of the team is now occupying the branding slot. Shouldn't there be a possessive there? Apparently the park is named for the Rangers, but it is not theirs. Except, you know, for the part about it being their stadium.
  • The key question is, are the Rangers running out of word combinations for Rangers/Ballpark/Arlington? Obviously, there's only one play left, and that's to begin with Arlington. Can "The Arlington's Rangers Ballpark" be far behind?

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