05/17/08 9:06 PM ET
Youth ballpark improvements unveiled
Ryan, Rangers happy to lend full support to youth baseball
By Tim Wills / Special to MLB.com
The new improvements to the ballpark, located just north of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, include a tall retaining wall in left field and greater distances from home plate to the outfield fence.
Fans can now watch games at the Dr Pepper Youth Ballpark from the sidewalk along Baird Farm Road through see-through screening in the left-field wall.
The modifications to the ballpark were necessary because of the reconfiguration of roads surrounding Glorypark and Cowboys Stadium. The Rangers and the city of Arlington worked to make sure the ballpark would remain a part of the Rangers Ballpark experience.
"A ballpark like this gives youth a chance to pursue their dreams," Rangers team president and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan said. "A lot of those guys who play over in that big park over there started in a park of this kind."
Ryan was present at the ceremony, along with Rangers vice president of communications Jim Sundberg, Arlington mayor Robert Cluck and Dr Pepper vice president Bill Spicer.
Cluck said it was important for the city to continue its partnership with the Rangers and work to find a solution to keeping the ballpark.
"The Texas Rangers are a part of this city, and the city is a part of the Texas Rangers," Cluck said.
The 20-foot-high retaining wall highlights the upgrades. It features the same proportional length and height as the Green Monster at Fenway Park. The distance from home plate to the left-field foul pole measures 160 feet, which is closer than before, but a ball hit out of that part of the park must travel at least 210 feet in order to clear the new structure.
"They've raised the bar to make this one of the best youth-league ballparks in the nation," Spicer said. "And we're proud to have our name on the ballpark."
Four youth-league teams played on Saturday afternoon, two from the D-FW area and two from the Houston area, while the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros were to resume their Lone Star Interleague Series later.
The two D-FW teams were the Burleson Longhorns and Team Texas. The two Houston area teams were the Cypress Cavemen and the Cy-Fair Bobcats.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.