Baseball has always been the people’s game. In the early part of the 20th century, crowds would gather by the thousands to watch base-ballers play the American pastime and the beautiful part about it was that as soon as you walked into the stadium, all sense of social status evaporated. It didn’t matter if you were a construction worker or the President of the United States, everybody sat in the stands together with shared purpose: root, root, root the home team to victory. And if they didn’t win, it was ok, because, even if it was only for a couple of hours, humanity came together as one and erased the stratified barriers based on wealth and status that usually separate people.
Thank God the luxury suite was invented so that we don’t have to deal with that bullshit anymore.
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, like every proper stadium or arena in America, offers the opportunity to watch the game from what is generally referred to as the luxury box or suite. It offers concessions,
restrooms, souvenir stands, elevators, special club access, entire concourses and many other amenities that the commoner who buys an individual seat does not have the opportunity to enjoy. The Ballpark very smartly separates the haves and have-nots almost from the moment you enter the stadium as they quickly direct suite guests towards their very own elevator. Credentials are rigorously checked at the entry and exit of this elevator, which gives you a sense of relief that you won’t accidentally engage in conversation with someone that is not in your tax bracket.
Once you are on the concourse, you are free to leisurely stroll to your exclusive area free from the sweaty masses below. The Ballpark’s suites are all named after Hall of Famers or historic baseball stadiums. We made our way to the Ebbets Field suite and were kindly serviced by the impressive Rangers staff all along the way.
We arrived at our private box slightly exhausted and a bit famished, but our spirits were immediately lifted by the table of spirits that greeted us. I don’t care who you are, a bountiful buffet of free beer just makes your entire day. Almost (but not quite) better is the actual free buffet that is available for your grazing pleasure. No pesky waiting in line behind some guy who is agonizing over the most exquisite array of culinary choices he’s seen in his entire life (two pound hot dog or super nachos?), simply select from the best options the stadium chefs have to offer at your own leisure. I went with the Thanksgiving dinner approach and got one of everything: gourmet hot dog (gourmet because it has grilled onions), chicken tenders, chicken soft tacos with guacamole, assorted cheeses, fruits, nuts and what I believe was a
barbecue beef sandwich.
Now properly outfitted with food and drink, it is time to find to find a seat to watch the game. Here is where the real genius of the modern stadium suite comes into play. In the beginning, the luxury box was a completely separate part of the stadium, enclosed in glass and air-conditioned. While there are obvious advantages to watching sports in a germ-free environment, it can also make for a more sterile game-watching experience. So stadiums began attaching a section of seats on the outside of luxury boxes to give their more affluent guests the opportunity to enjoy a more robust sporting experience while still maintaining an appropriate level of separation from the common fan. Because no gentleman (or gentlelady) wants to accidentally get some proletariat on them now, do they? That will definitely take some Lava to wash off.
Once you have settled in to watch the game, the experience is actually not all that different from what the common baseball fan enjoys. Well, except for the private bathrooms, additional free beer, free popcorn, in-suite TVs, even more free beer, designated wait staff and parting gifts. After the game ends (I’m mostly sure the Rangers lost), you are actually strongly encouraged to power through any remaining beer and food while watching the fireworks display since everything has already been purchased (wait, you mean someone actually has to pay for this stuff?)
Finally, the evening’s proceedings come to an end and the stadium staff rather politely encourages you to get out of their suite, post haste. It’s time to leave the luxury box, walk along the exclusive concourse and take the special escalator back down to the main entrance where you merge into the throngs coming from all parts of the stadium. The crowd of people from every walk of life, united by their shared experience of the game, slowly leaves The Ballpark. It was a beautiful night.
The author would like to give a very heartfelt thanks to Becca Watkins, whose generosity allowed this story to happen.