ARLINGTON, Texas - Right now, the Texas Rangers would be about 70 games into the regular season and playing inside the brand new Globe Life Field.
Instead, games are on hold and the first major event at the ballpark will be socially distant, open-air high school graduations.
There are 40 graduations in the books at Globe Life Field. Crews were busy Wednesday making final preparations before graduation day.
It’s not the way the Rangers were originally going to open up their new ballpark, but it’s a big celebration nonetheless.
“Graduations weren’t exactly what we had in mind,” said Sean Decker with the Texas Rangers. “But the opportunity it presents the kids, if you’re going to have a second thing behind baseball, the opportunity for the kids is right at the top of the list.”
It’s happening while baseball is still on hold.
“Looking out to the field, we’re ready to go today,” said Rob Matwick, Executive VP for Business Operations. “The building’s ready. The facility’s ready. We’re obviously waiting for direction from Major League Baseball as to when we can start.”
Forty senior classes will get to have their moment on graduation day.
“Our school actually had prom scheduled here, and they didn’t get to have prom,” said Grand Prairie High School Principal Laigha Boyle. “So they actually get to spend something as a class here in the building.”
Other educators, like Everman ISD Superintendent Curtis Amos, have been struggling to try and make graduation special. He thought of several options that didn’t pan out — until Globe Life Field.
“This is certainly an honor for all of our kids because they deserve this. They deserve it,” Amos said. “So we wanted to see them go away with a blast and basically hit a home run out the park.”
When graduates and their families walk into the ballpark on graduation day, they can expect to be screened.
“We’re going to require all students, per the TEA, to wear a mask. We’re recommending that all family coming to the ceremony wear a mask as well,” Decker said. “Also, no bag checks. We’re not offering food or beverages.”
Families will be spaced apart and dismissed by section to avoid overcrowding the exits. The ceremonies will be five hours apart to allow for the ballpark to be cleaned in between.
Students will also be spaced apart in the lower bowl and get to walk out from the dugout across home plate as their names are called.
“This is a great moment of closure for our kids,” Boyle said. “The school year kind of ended suddenly for them with not being able to come back to campus. So to be able to see their classmates and their friends and be in the same building with family, that’s the biggest thing for our kids.”
The first graduations at Globe Life Field are set for May 29 with Irving ISD. Fan tours will start June 1.