Commentary

Great moments at Rangers Ballpark

Here are some memorable moments in Arlington as World Series makes its first visit

Updated: October 29, 2010, 1:45 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

As the rest of the world now realizes, there's a Major League Baseball team located in Arlington, Texas.

There's a pretty nice ballpark on Randol Mill Road, too. It's just down the street from Jerry Jones' $1.2 billion football palace, which has received infinitely more publicity in one year than Rangers Ballpark in Arlington has in 16.

OK, so it's been pretty easy to ignore the Rangers until recently. But there have been some memorable moments in the ballpark, which was built a few years after Nolan Ryan threw his last no-hitter in a Rangers uniform.

Here's a look at five days in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington that stand out over the rest:

Nelson CruzElsa/Getty ImagesAfter being showered with cheers throughout the ALCS, Nelson Cruz reciprocated by drenching Rangers fans with ginger ale after clinching the franchise's first World Series berth.

Game 6, 2010 ALCS

Could the way the Rangers punched their ticket to the World Series possibly have been scripted better?

A strikeout of Alex Rodriguez -- whom the recently bankrupt Rangers still owe millions of dollars -- sent the Yankees home and confetti flying in the Arlington air. The 6-1 win allowed Rangers fans to release almost four decades of frustration. The celebration started in the fifth inning, when the Rangers broke the game open with Vladimir Guerrero's two-run double and Nelson Cruz's two-run homer. Colby Lewis dominated the Yankees, who scored their lone run on a wild pitch.

"Let's do this every year!" new owner Chuck Greenberg shouted as ginger ale sprayed in the infield.

[+] EnlargeKenny Rogers
AP Photo/Eric GayKenny Rogers is mobbed by teammates Pudge Rodriguez (7) and Will Clark after his perfect game vs. the Angels in 1994.

Kenny Rogers' perfect game

The crowd rose to its feet and roared as Rogers took the mound in the bottom of the ninth on July 28, 1994. Anticipation of history was in the air.

Moments later, a sinking line drive off the bat of the Angels' Rex Hudler was in the air. It appeared that Rogers' bid for a perfect game would be ruined with no outs in the ninth.

But rookie Rusty Greer made a diving, back-handed grab in shallow right center. "I never thought he was going to get it," Rogers said. "I thought that ball was going to drop, no matter what."

Rogers retired the next two batters, needing only 98 pitches to record the 12th perfect game in modern baseball history.

Game 3, 1996 ALDS

Finally, a home postseason game.

More than 50,000 fans packed the ballpark, some of whom had been watching and waiting for a chance to watch playoff baseball since the Rangers came to town in 1972. They witnessed a gem by starting pitcher Darren Oliver, who pitched eight strong innings.

Alas, the Yankees ripped the hearts out of the home crowd by rallying in the ninth inning for a 3-2 win. Oliver was pulled after allowing singles to the first two batters. Reliever Mike Henneman couldn't get out of the jam, allowing both inherited runners to score.

Game 2, 2010 ALCS

Finally, a home postseason victory.

It took eight tries. It came on the heels of an epic bullpen collapse, with the Rangers blowing an eight-run lead against the Yankees, the franchise that swept four postseason games in Arlington while dominating the Rangers in the late '90s.

None of that mattered when the Rangers reported to the ballpark the next morning. Shortstop Elvis Andrus made it clear there was no carryover affect by leading off the bottom of the first with an infield single, moving to second on a wild pitch and stealing two bases to score. The Rangers added two runs in each of the next two innings, handing Colby Lewis a five-run lead that the bullpen protected for a 7-2 victory.

"This team has been resilient all year long, so it's no reason it should be any different now," said outfielder David Murphy, who homered into the second deck in the second inning.

Original Opening Day

April 11, 1994, marked the first time the Rangers played a home game in a major league-quality stadium.

Old Arlington Stadium, originally built in 1965 for less than $2 million, was a Triple-A park beefed up with a bunch of bleachers. It was basically a 40,000-seat frying pan.

The Ballpark in Arlington, as it was originally named, was quite a contrast. Built for $191 million, it was a modern ballpark with a retro feel, resembling classic Ebbets Field with its red brick facade and big arches.

The grand opening of The Ballpark featured classical pianist Van Cliburn playing the national anthem. The game itself wasn't as spectacular from the perspective of Rangers fans.

The Brewers beat the Rangers 4-3. The sellout crowd was silenced when Texas star Juan Gonzalez grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning.

Tim MacMahon is a reporter and columnist for ESPNDallas.com You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his mailbag.

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