Opening day parking woes for baseball fans

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on March 31, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 31 at 6:20 PM

ARLINGTON — Their screams of excitement were no doubt due to the Rangers, but the crowd waiting to get inside Globe Life Park on Monday afternoon might have also been squealing with relief.

They had made it through traffic and around barricades and had found a place to park.

Or so they thought.

Tow trucks hit the Walmart lot on Randol Mill Road, moving cars parked illegally for the first Rangers game of the season. Signs are clearly posted in every corner of the lot that it is for customers only.

But every year during Cowboys and Rangers games, some fans press their luck.

The Final Four this weekend will be no different.

The NCAA basketball championship is taking over part of the parking lot at AT&T Stadium. That leaves one fewer lot for Rangers fans on opening day.

Donna Peavler of Keller hobbled into the stadium on crutches seconds before the first pitch, after having trouble finding any disabled parking.

"We parked about a mile down the road," she said. A bicycle taxi gave her a lift.

"No thoughts of staying home, but apparently we should have started this at 8 a.m.," she joked.

There were also long lines and big crowds, but that can't deter baseball fans.

"We waited all year for this!" screamed one fan. "This is our year!"

A healthy dose of optimism infects the crowd this early in the season. "We're making it to the World Series," said Lee Davis of Arlington.

But there wasn't a lot of love for the stadium's new name.

"It will always be Rangers Ballpark," said Steed Outler of Flower Mound.

Darien Mooney of Grapevine said the same thing. "It is 'The Ballpark.' I was here when it opened, used to go to games in the other park. It's always 'The Ballpark.'"

And perhaps Mike Ellis said it best when asked about the stadium's new moniker. "It's Globe-something... I don't even know," he admitted.

This was the 20th opening day at the stadium, but the first as Globe Life Park. Most of the fans said they don't care what name is on the field... they'll still call it "The Ballpark."

"It's a change and I don't like change," Outler said.

There was change on the field too. Ian Kinsler, Joe Nathan and Nolan Ryan are gone; Prince Fielder is in.

That kind of change is inevitable, but one thing never will: A love of the game that keeps seats filled, and fans thrilled.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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