Leanne Rand has seen her fair share of ballparks and believes few compare to the home of her favorite team, the Texas Rangers.
"My son and I travel all around to visit different ballparks," said Rand, who lives in Arlington. "We're trying to hit all of them at some point and we've been to about 18 of them. And we always say it's not better than our ballpark."
That's why she was less than thrilled when she drove by Globe Life Park just before Opening Day and saw a large, blue Globe Life sign on the back of the video board staring down at her.
"I had a physical reaction to it," said Rand. "My stomach flipped a little bit. And I thought that's just not right."
The sign was installed as part of the new naming rights deal with Globe Life Insurance. It replaced a green sign that read "The Home of the Texas Rangers."
"It didn't fit in with the architecture of the ballpark," said Rand. "That's what upset me about it."
She snapped a picture of the sign and asked her friend Mark Joeckel if he would post it to his "Arlington, Texas – Proud to Call it Home" facebook page to see what others thought about it. The post received more than 750 comments -- the vast majority of which were also displeased with the sign.
"That bolstered my confidence to go ahead and write the letter," said Rand. "I felt like I had the support of my community."
Rand then decided to write a letter to executives of the Rangers and Globe Life, asking them to change the sign. A few days later, she received a response.
"I thought maybe they would understand what I was saying about the historical significance of the ballpark," said Rand. "But honestly, I didn't expect to hear anything. I was very surprised when I got the letter."
She was even more surprised by what it said. Signed by Globe Life President Bill Leavell and Rangers Executive Vice President Joe Januszewski, the letter stated they had "missed the mark" on the sign and would be replacing it.
“I was thrilled,” said Rand. “I couldn’t believe they decided to change it.”
The Rangers say they're currently working on designs for the new sign, which will be green and more in line with the exterior of the ballpark. In an email to NBC 5, a team spokesperson wrote, "We admit that we should not have gone with the original design and we thank Globe Life for working with us to make it right."
The Rangers say it will likely take some time before the new sign is installed.
You can read the full text of Rand's letter and the letter she received from the Rangers and Globe Life below:
I am an Arlington resident and have always been a huge supporter of our public schools, our communities, and our local sports teams. I am a long-time Rangers season ticket holder and supporter of the Ballpark project from day one. My son and I are attempting to travel to all of the MLB ballparks and we have actually made it to about 18 of them. We are always so proud of our own ballpark and how beautiful it is. It remains our favorite, of course! I was so disheartened this week when I drove home by the ballpark. As I rounded the corner coming up Ballpark Way from Division Street, the new signage on the ballpark caught my eye and I am pretty sure I let out an audible gasp. The sight of the new blue sign which reads "Globe Life Park" caught me by surprise. Let me first assure you that I am not upset about the sweet deal we signed for the naming rights to the ballpark (Congratulations, Joe). However, the choice to replace the traditional green "Home of the Texas Rangers" sign with the blue sign is quite upsetting to this baseball traditionalist. The original architects of our ballpark visited our country’s best historic and traditional ballparks when they were working on their design. The owners of the Rangers at that time had requested that the ballpark be designed to evoke the sense of history and tradition associated with baseball and its great old-time parks. The exterior colors were carefully chosen; the Texas pink granite, the red brick, the deep green paint. From the architects gallery on their website: "The facades are further articulated with an assortment of detail employing both Texan and baseball imagery, including longhorn steer heads, lone stars, baseball light fixtures, and sculptural relief panels depicting the history of Texas."
I wondered if others shared my disappointment so I sent a before and after picture to Mark Joeckel who runs the "Arlington – Proud to Call it Home" facebook page and asked him to post it to see what fan reaction would be. The reaction was immediate and it was strong. The picture almost immediately received over 700 negative comments and the picture is being shared over and over on several community sites creating quite an angry response each time. My community is upset about the blemish this sign has left on what we have always considered to be the crown jewel of Arlington. Even the Wal-Mart down the street was held to a higher standard when it was built and signage of this sort would not be permitted on that property. The taxpayers of Arlington voted for and supported the construction of this ballpark through an increase in our sales tax, which I believe financed about 70% of the construction. I am disappointed because my neighbors and I have so much pride in the ballpark we helped to build. This is “OUR” ballpark and it feels almost as though it has been desecrated by this offensive sign. Mr. Davis, you were quoted last month in a blog post written by T.R. Sullivan assuring the community that the naming rights deal included a provision to retain "Arlington" as part of the name. You said, "Arlington has been an excellent partner, and we are in Arlington. We wanted to honor that. There has been 20 years of history here. We don’t want to forget our history." It seems a more appropriate sign would be a green sign which says "Globe Life Park in Arlington". If there was a way to incorporate the Texas logo or a "Home of the Texas Rangers" that would be even better. I would respectfully request that you work with the community to resolve this. The sign, as is, is not creating any goodwill in the DFW area and I have to think they would be eager to resolve this as well. Thank you for your consideration.
Dear Ms. Rand,
Thank you so much for your thoughtful letter and for bringing your concerns to our attention. We want to assure you that being an involved, responsive community partner is of utmost importance to all of us here at the Texas Rangers and Globe Life And Accident Insurance Company.
Throughout our brief relationship, we have worked collaboratively to make this transition as smooth and as seamless as possible for our neighbors and Rangers fans. It is our mutual desire to keep these changes and additions as tasteful as possible. With respect to the sign on the back of the main board in right field, we have missed the mark and we agree that it is not in keeping with the traditional architecture and color scheme of the exterior of the ballpark.
Both of our organizations have discussed this at length and we agree that we should change the sign to something more appropriate to the classic, timeless look of the facility. To that end, we are currently working on alternate designs. Please know it may take some time to create and finalize a new design and to have the sign produced and installed.
Again Ms. Rand, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to respond to your concerns. We are confident we will arrive at a design that will make Rangers Republic and the entire Arlington community proud.
Bill Leavell and Joe Januszewski