Last Call: Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Rangers Ballpark \r\nin Arlington\r\n1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington. 817-461-1994.
Opening Day Eye-Openers

You know what? There’s just not enough day-drinking going on in Fort Worth. You go to Austin, and you’ll see hipsters cracking open cold ones before Whataburger even stops serving breakfast. Same in Big D. Almost every balmy afternoon on Lower Greenville, all of the little cafés over there are plush with lushes, lounging on patios, enjoying the weather, and quaffing mimosas. Every once in a blue moon here, you’ll come across a few sloshed souls, mainly at Sunday brunch, sippin’ margaritas at Blue Mesa or drinking Shiner from frozen schooners at Fred’s Texas Café. Otherwise, day-drinking here isn’t the staple it should be — you’re in bed by 7 o’clock and not hung-over the next day! — and its anemic presence is a damn, dirty shame.

Good thing the Texas Rangers’ home opener is Friday, Good Friday — but it’s not all good. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington has a lot to offer, namely comfy seats and good sight lines, and watching baseball in person outdoors is light years better than staying holed up in some smoky dive watching America’s pastime on the tube. But like every ballpark, the Rangers’ is infected with the dreaded Beer Problem: way too little for way too much.

One possible solution is sneaking in your own, but in this post-9/11 world, you’d have to be a selfish, heartless sonofabitch to waste the security detail’s time — a terrorist in the crowd may go undetected because you and your flask have attracted the attention of several lawmen.

Another solution is robbing a bank beforehand, but again, cops have bigger fish to fry. Don’t waste their time.

The most realistic way to handle the Beer Problem may be that old standby, tailgating. This Friday, the Ballpark’s gates will open at the glorious hour of 6 a.m., giving “Rangers fans” (a.k.a. local day-drinkers who happen to like baseball) ample time to get good and loaded before Michael Irvin’s ceremonial first pitch at 1 p.m. Not all of the parking areas will be open, just north lots F, G, H, and I. The rest go online at 10 a.m., at which point tailgaters will just be getting their second wind, meaning that by game time, they’ll be in sobering-up mode. The best part: the Ballpark’s water fountains. Or should I say, free water fountains.

What’s in a Name?

Last week, I wrote about Froggy Bottoms and how the relatively new place has changed names three times now, from Froggys Beach Club to Big Dawg’s to Rock Bottoms and to now its current name. Changing names, I said, was an effective and inexpensive way to create the illusion of newness, which is great for attracting new crowds, namely college students, who love to break in new places. Owner Mark Walden, who wasn’t available for comment last week (he travels a lot), called to tell me that he changed names not necessarily to lure new customers but to let former regulars know that he still owned the place. Apparently, they thought he had bailed. Plus, he said, “I had a bartender walk out Friday night because she had $13 in her tip jar,” implying that students aren’t the most generous bunch. “Do I want the college crowd to be all my business? No. Seventy-five percent of TCU students can’t even legally drink, but I do want to cater to them. I also want the Cheers environment, the kind of place where Cliff and Norm can walk in every day and holler at the bartenders. ... That’s what I want.” So far, so good for Walden. Froggy’s has been as busy as ever. Now if only customers weren’t so cheap ...

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