(Star-Telegram) -- While promoting a plan to use tax dollars to help the Texas Rangers build a new $1 billion stadium and stay in Arlington, Mayor Jeff Williams has portrayed Dallas as a temptress trying to lure the beloved ballclub out of town.

“We need to show love for the Rangers, right now,” Williams told the Fort Worth Rotary Club the week before announcing the plan for a retractable roof ballpark. “The Rangers don’t want to leave. But there are other cities — and we know one that starts with a D — that wants to take them.”

Since then, the city of Dallas and its leaders — Mayor Mike Rawlings, developers, landowners and businessmen with deep pockets — have become the boogeymen Williams and others say can only be scared off if Arlington voters approve a new stadium deal on Nov. 8.

While stadium opponents say the threat is being exaggerated, the Rangers did hold on-and-off meetings with Dallas representatives for a couple of years to discuss the possibility of the team moving east.

Both Rawlings and the Texas Rangers say the talks — part of a broad effort by the team to study alternatives for building a new stadium — were serious, but conceptual.

“I had serious conversations with the Rangers, but they were exploratory at best,” Rawlings said.

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