Baseball From Chicago To Houston, Part 5: Dallas

Dallas, Texas (Map)

Spring 2015



About a month previous to this day, I was listening to a podcast where Bill Burr declared the drive down the middle of Oklahoma to be one of the most boring interstate drives anywhere.

We had 5.5 hours of this drive today, but then again, I like flat farmland. I have to say the drive was pleasant overall, except for a bit of traffic in Oklahoma City; a drive that passed quickly as we only stopped for gas in horse and cattle country, ho-hum ice cream at the chain restaurant Braum's after seeing about the 50th Braum's, and lastly for Taco Bell in Gainesville (Texas).

There was one impressive section near the end of Oklahoma that even the most staunchly anti-flat scenery soul would enjoy. Here the interstate dipped down an elevation step at the Arbuckle Mountains, providing a couple of minutes of fine curving roads through forested lands and limestone landscapes. This isn't my love for obscure places taking over either - I think you could vacation in southern Oklahoma and come back with pictures that surprise and evoke jealousy.

Shortly after Gainesville, the traffic picked up and wouldn't quit. We left plenty of time, but it was steadily growing later and later because of overwhelmed highways and their stop-and-go patterns. Clarkman isn't the most patient when it comes to traffic & I'm not a big fan of stop-and-go either. I wanted to get to the Texas Rangers game already.

Along the way I happened to cut off about 100 cars because I thought the left lane was what we wanted, but then was forced to squeeze back in near the lights. And the lights were only allowing about 5 cars per green because of the quickness in turning amber & the traffic volume. I mention this because we arrived about 10 minutes before first pitch with this arguable driving maneuvre, but without cutting off those cars, we would have arrived in the 2nd inning or something. What a debacle.

If you happen to follow in our footsteps - or seemingly travel to this game from any direction because why would it only be slow and poorly-designed this one, obscure way - then leave yourself more than enough time. Maybe drive in at 5 a.m. because there's no other way around the ridiculousness.

Driving 5.5 hours on flat interstates is nothing, but when it balloons to 7 or 8 hours because of unnecessary traffic slowdowns, well then you accept that you're going to miss a bit the game to have a celebratory, reserved Shiner Bock in the parking lot.

By this point, most everyone around us was already gone, or getting into rickshaws in order to be transported over to the park.

Only a couple of weeks ago, on election Tuesday 2016, the residents of Arlington Texas approved funding for a new stadium. While Globe Life Park is only 22 years old, in 1994 they didn't have retractable roof technology or the foresight to think that people wouldn't enjoy sitting out in the Texas afternoon sun in an open-air stadium.

So taxpayers approved the owners getting $500 million dollars to build a new stadium with either A/C or a retractable roof. This new stadium is expected to open in 2020. (Hilariously enough, the pro-stadium owners outspent the volunteer opposition crowd 200-1 when it came to advertising and campaigning.)

I have to admit, I found it hot. Clarkman & I took our 2nd deck seats out in left field and I was pouring sweat, while putting my cold beer on my forehead and forearms. I thought it had to do with being Canadian and not conditioned to the Texas heat, but I guess Texans can't handle this either. And apparently the best solution is to build a 1-billion dollar replacement instead of moving game times.

The initial news of a possible Globe Life Park replacement broke soon after I returned home - i.e. I didn't know at the time that this was likely my only visit to this park.

Thankfully I thought Globe Life was a fantastic stadium, so I ended up taking my fair share of photos (but sadly, I had a focusing problem that ruined many of them though! damnit!)

When the news broke of Globe Life's possible replacement, I texted Clarkman and he had a very similar reaction to mine; that Globe Life was a beautiful, sparkling park that was crazy to replace.

Unfortunately we ended up staying in our seats more than normal, on account of Clarkman still not feeling the best & my fatigue from all of the driving today. Especially with how this park is going to be destroyed in 4 years, I now wish I would have went for an explore.

We even ended up leaving in the 8th inning because of how far we were from Dallas.

Initially, I was thinking that we'd drive to Dallas, park the rental, then take public transit out to the ballpark and back. That is until I Google'd the directions and saw that the awful public transit here would have taken 1.5 hours to get to the park. Even if Clarkman wanted to get blotto, I didn't need to drink so badly that I'd ride the bus for 3 hours.

After the game we drove close to 30 minutes into downtown Dallas, feeling like we were back in Detroit going to a basketball game out in Auburn Hills. Thankfully the interstate wasn't jam-packed anymore, but by the time we parked, checked into our hotel and relaxed a little, it was 11-1130pm. I convinced Clarkman that we should go out because I was really excited about going out in Dallas, but trying to guess which way it was to a bar area, we ended up at some awful place that felt like a Boston Pizza. It was the worst waste of precious Dallas time ever.

Trying to convince him to walk to another place was met with steadfast refusal. I kicked myself for not bringing along or referencing my GPS, which I had pre-loaded with worthwhile Dallas nightlife while back in Corner Brook.

On the walk back there was a nightclub that looked straight out of a Paul Wall/Slim Thug video, with beautiful women and guys in fancy cars all over the place. Clarkman said we should have went to this place instead of the wack 'Boston Pizza' bar, but I knew that we'd be in that line and never move. As if the bouncer was going to let us two dweebs into the club, haha.

Dallas would redeem itself in the morning. Using Priceline in Dallas like in Kansas City, I knew I wanted to get the Dallas Sheraton while I set certain settings and put in a specific price.

Why did I covet the Sheraton exactly?

Rooftop Pool!

The funniest thing was that it was only 68 or 70°F (~20°C) this morning, so it was just Clarkman, myself and two girls who showed up after a while. I wondered if it was too cold for Texans to go swimming, but regardless, I loved having the space and water to ourselves.

I also facebook 'checked-in' to the Sheraton and confused a bunch of people since I'm usually found in grimy motels or funky old places. My ex-gf even thought it was a joke, pfft.

Today was my first time in Dallas proper, so even though we had a 3.5 hour drive to Houston with a newfound fear of Texas traffic ahead, I wanted to at least see Dealey Plaza where JFK was assassinated & also take a quick stroll around downtown.

In the above picture you see the Texas School Book Depository Building, now in reuse as the Dallas County Administration Building. It's from this building's 6th floor that Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed president John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 as the president was travelling along in his motorcade.

In addition to the Texas School Book Depository Building, there is also the grassy knoll, where a dead or dying JFK was sped away as police rushed up the grassy embankment. Meanwhile, Walter Cronkite interrupted television coverage with a CBS bulletin declaring, "some of the Secret Service agents thought the gunfire was from an automatic weapon fired to the right rear of the president's car, probably from a grassy knoll to which police rushed."


Nowadays the secret service agents are gone & all you'll find on the grassy knoll is goober tourists.

Of course there's much more detail that I could go into here, especially with 60% of Americans thinking there was a conspiracy and more to it than Lee Harvey Oswald acting by himself. Neither Clarkman or I are political history or conspiracy buffs, and we didn't even make time for the 6th floor museum at the depository building. Therefore I'll leave it with the same basic information I knew going into this day.

One other funny thing happened at Dealey Plaza in that a mother was trying to take a picture of her husband and 4 kids. Clarkman then went up and asked if she wanted to get in the picture and offered to take the camera from her. The mother was excessively grateful and told Clarkman to tell his own Mom, that she raised a "good, thoughtful young man."

I laughed as I stood off on my own and concerned myself with taking pictures.

Dallas is also home to a wigsphere-like observation ball called Reunion Tower.

This was high up on the my to-do list as well, but we just didn't have the time. The tower is connected to the Hyatt and it made me consider the Hyatt instead of the Sheraton, but c'mon, rooftop pool or wigsphere?

In the previous picture you can see the old Dallas County Courthouse, which we happened to walk by without planning the route. I guess I now have Dallas County amongst all my other Texas courthouses visited. Although, we didn't go out of our way to go see its modern replacement1 (the above building is now a museum).

1 - Whoops! As I took this picture, the new criminal courts were right behind me &
the new courthouse is that grey thing you can see on the far left.

We headed back towards the car, walking down Main, myself appreciating the sprinkle of old buildings here amongst the giant, glass towers.

I included this picture of the Wilson Building because Clarkman was unimpressed with stopping here when there were girls in sundresses ahead. Of course there's a reason Drake's line about "your big ass in that sundress, ooh!"2 resonates with most, but I was happy with catching a glimpse and going back to picture taking. Haha, poor Clarkman.

Anyway, the next picture I have is of Minute Maid Park in Houston, because from this point we got into the car & zoomed off towards our final destination on this trip.

Continue to Houston (Part 6)...

2 - Drake's corny as f, but that line is good.


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Southwest Detroit's Hotel Yorba

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Baseball from Chicago to Houston,
Part 4: Kansas City


Newer Update:
Baseball from Chicago to Houston,
Part 6: Houston

1 - November 22, 1963: Death of a President - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
2 - "Smoke" on the Grassy Knoll, Jerry Organ

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