During his playing days, no one could bring the heat like Nolan Ryan. Now, the newly minted owner of the Texas Rangers would like to take some away. But adding shade to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is being deemed unfeasible.
"You can't justify putting a retractable roof on this stadium at the current cost of doing so," said Ryan on Thursday, less than a week after he and partner Chuck Greenberg purchased the Rangers with a winning bankruptcy auction bid of $385 million. "We've looked at sun screens that would reduce the temperature in the ballpark by 15 degrees, but we haven't come up with something that is economically feasible on that yet."
Wednesday's game against the Yankees started shortly after 7 p.m. local time, with the temperature at 99 degrees under partly cloudy skies and a "breeze" blowing in from right field at 3 miles per hour. A near-sellout crowd of 48,676 attended, but the box score doesn't say how many lasted the full three hours and 45 minutes to see a five-run Texas lead melt away in a 7-6 loss.
Rangers' ace Cliff Lee, for one, couldn't go the distance. "It was one of the hottest games I've ever played in," said Lee, who struck out 11 batters before being pulled in the seventh inning. "But it's hot for both teams. That's just part of playing in Texas. You can't change the heat or the environment."
Well, you can - for a price. According to The Dallas Morning News, the Rangers two years ago looked into the type of sun-screen apparatus found in some European soccer stadiums, but found that it would cost roughly $70 million to shade 40 percent of the Ballpark and $100 million to shade 60 percent.
Exactly how much the Ballpark's current sauna-like qualities are suffocating the gate is anybody's guess. Only one team in the American League has more home wins than Texas this season, yet the Rangers rank sixth in the AL in home attendance.
Mark Cuban, the Dallas Maverick's owner who was outdueled by Ryan for the Rangers, weighed in on Ballpark market economics earlier in the week, stating in a Morning News Q&A, "The Rangers are always at a disadvantage just because of the heat factor out there. You're never going to be able to charge quite the same as Boston just because of the comfort factor in going out there. A big part of what we wanted to be able to do was try to find leverage points with the city of Arlington to try to come up with some solution for sitting out in the bleachers. It can be brutal out there."