Fans evacuated at Rangers game

Updated: May 25, 2011, 10:18 AM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Severe weather forced the Texas Rangers to evacuate fans into the service tunnels under Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as thunderstorms passed over the stadium.

Tuesday's game between the Rangers and Chicago White Sox was stopped at 8:23 p.m. CT by the umpires, who were told an oncoming storm cell was approaching the stadium as lightning flickered all over the sky.

The game finally resumed after a delay of 2 hours, 58 minutes, and few fans were left when the final out was recorded at 1:27 a.m. local time in Chicago's 8-6 win.

Fans went out of the stadium through the visiting and home dugouts, out through the large gates in left field and right center field and through the concourses. Rangers officials called it a precaution as heavy rain and hail had already fallen at the park.

Some fans were told to come down the stands and access the underground concourses through the dugouts.

"When the tornado sirens go off, obviously we've got threatening weather. We could see that and we've been following that since this afternoon," said Rob Matwick, executive vice president of ballpark and event operations. "Some people were OK just up on the concourse or back up underneath the mezzanine areas and stuff like that.

"We tried to get as many people as we could downstairs. I don't think we could get everybody down there. It was a crowd of 30,000 plus but you get as many as you can."

Reports say the stadium saw baseball-sized hail. Tornado sirens were going off in and around the Dallas area.

After about 15 minutes in the tunnels, some fans were allowed to re-enter the seating bowl although the game remained in a delay.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. ESPNChicago.com's Doug Padilla and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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