MLB looks to keep fans cool during hot Texas All-Star Game

The MLB and the Texas Rangers created a comprehensive plan designed to "arm" fans with the tools they need to stay cool, an executive told WFAA.

arlington, Texas — Major League Baseball and the Texas Rangers spent years devising a strategy to keep fans cool during MLB All-Star Game festivities. 

Tuesday, crews were nearly finished constructing All-Star Village, a sort of theme park spanning Choctaw Stadium, Mark Holtz Lake and its northern lawn, and Esports Stadium Arlington. The village will host dozens of attractions, including youth baseball clinics, art exhibitions, video gaming experiences, carnival rides, and food trucks. 

The village's layout will be key to keeping fans protected from the Texas sun, MLB Global Events vice president Jeremiah Yolkut told WFAA. 

"Obviously, it's an individual's decision on how they handle themselves," he said. "We wanted to arm them with everything they need to stay cool, stay safe, and really enjoy the festivities."

Every attraction in the village will have its hydration station. By design, patrons will never be more than a few feet from free water and sunscreen. 

The league also plans to leverage unused, air-conditioned space inside Choctaw Stadium. 

"We're trying to take advantage of areas like our former team store," Rangers vice president of business operations Rob Matwick said. "If someone gets food out in the Vandergriff Plaza area, they can step inside into an air-conditioned space to eat." 

Arlington Fire Department medics will be stationed around the village. Matwick said the MLB has also trained event staff to seek out people who might need help instead of waiting for those patrons to ask for assistance.  

"If we see somebody who maybe doesn't look comfortable or is sitting off to the side, we've told them to go out of their way to ask that person if they need help," Matwick said. "Even if they say they don't go ahead and call the medic just to be sure." 

Shade is key to the MLB's plan, too. Crews have erected 12 shade structures around the village. 

Most of Choctaw Stadium's turf playing field, once considered too hot for major league athletes, is shaded with tents. The old stadium has been converted to "Play Ball Park," which will host youth baseball clinics, hitting and pitching challenges for fans, and youth batting cages. 

Baseball challenges tailored for children younger than 8 years old will be inside a fully air-conditioned tent in the old ballpark's right field. 

"We'll keep them on a rotation, in terms of being on the field, so they'll not be out there for a couple of hours like our major leaguers were previously," Yolkut said. 

DFW has only hosted one MLB All-Star Game, which happened at the Ballpark in Arlington in 1995. 

It was 101 degrees during the game's first pitch. Earlier that week, the heat ended an old-timers game after just one inning. 

For decades, most DFW baseball fans believed the All-Star Game did not return to the ballpark because of the July 1995 experience. 

"The good news is: The Rangers built a stadium with a roof," Yolkut laughed. 

Matwick said the Rangers haven't forgotten how to manage the Texas heat since the team moved across the street to Globe Life Field. 

"Having played only outdoor baseball in Arlington since 1972, we have a long history of dealing with the heat," he said. "We're going to be entertaining guests from around the country and around the world. We want to make sure, as we always do, to put our best foot forward and provide that Texas hospitality we're known for." 


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