T.R.’s Memoirs: A ballpark never given a fair chance (Part I)
(T.R. Sullivan photo archives)
Editor’s note: T.R. Sullivan covered the Texas Rangers over 32 years for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and MLB.com and is sharing his “memoirs” with this newsletter. In this two-part installment, he looks at how the Ballpark in Arlington was built.
George W. Bush was standing there watching the Rangers take batting practice in the Astrodome, and I needed a lead note.
Every beat writer for every newspaper covering baseball needs a lead note every day. It’s almost always the first thing a baseball writer thinks upon arriving to work that day.
What is going to be the lead note? What’s going to be the headline on the “notes and quotes” package that’s a required part of any newspaper’s daily baseball coverage.
I needed a headline as the Rangers beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and I had a question for the Rangers’ managing partner who was running for governor of Texas. His opponent during that election year of 1994 was Democratic incumbent Ann Richards. The election was still over seven months away, but already the race was starting to turn vicious.
Dan Rather, my all-time journalism idol, said a good reporter always has a question ready. I was ready as Bush stood there chatting with club president Tom Schieffer before a meaningless March 20, 1994, exhibition game against the Astros toward the end of spring training.
“Mr. Bush,” I said. “You are about to open up a new baseball palace that was paid for by the tax payers. Are you going to invite the governor of Texas to Opening Day?”