Picnics, fireworks and backyard barbecues—few things symbolize “All-American summer” better, except maybe baseball. The international phenomenon of soccer is drawing crowds of spectators to its stadiums for fast-paced, hot-weather action. Luckily, we have three fantastic local teams busy swinging for the fences and keeping goalies on their toes.
Sport: Class AA baseball affiliate of Texas Rangers
History: The team’s first season kicked of in 2003 after relocating from Shreveport, La., and smashed attendance records throughout its inaugural season. Ever since, it has finished first among all Double-A minor leagues in attendance, drawing more than half a million fans each year. More than 100 former RoughRiders have graduated to the major leagues.
Home Field: Dr Pepper Ballpark
Concession Stand Confessions: Though this stadium doesn’t serve up anything nearly as crazy as its Rangers counterpart, you can’t go wrong with a fistful of kettle chips, deep fried and tossed with smoked sea salt and fresh herbs. Perfect for dipping into ranch dressing or adding crunch to that hot dog.
Insider Tip: Watch the game from the cooling comfort of a swimming pool. Though this area is reserved for groups of 25, it’s worth finding a couple dozen friends to join you for a view of the field that’s like no other.
Last Home Game: Sept. 1 vs. Midland RockHounds
Tickets & Info: www.milb.com
Sport: Major League Soccer
History: The team’s origins can be traced back to 1966, when Lamar Hunt attended a World Cup match in England and became obsessed with bringing professional soccer to the states, forming his first Dallas team in 1967. It wasn’t until 1995, however, that Dallas was awarded a charter team. In 2005, the Dallas Burn became FC Dallas. Hunt died in 2006, but to this day team members wear a circular patch with the initials LH in his honor.
Home Field: Toyota Stadium (located in Frisco)
Concession Stand Confessions: Drawing inspiration from the international appeal of the sport, the concession stands present Texas favorites with a twist, whether it’s Fritos Pies, chili-cheese tater tots, barbecue or brisket nachos.
Insider Tip: On Fridays preceding weekend home matches, fireworks light up the sky.
Last Home Game: Oct. 25 vs. Portland Timbers
Tickets & Info: www.fcdallas.com
Sport: Major League Baseball, American League
History: The franchise played its first game as the Texas Rangers in Arlington during the 1972 season. The years have seen a variety of managers and owners, perhaps most famously the eventual president of the United States, George W. Bush, who helped spearhead the construction of a new, publicly funded stadium in 1991. Baseball superstars who’ve worn the red, white-and-blue uniforms include Kenny Rogers, Alex Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan and Ivan Rodriguez.
Home Field: Globe Life Park (still referred to by many as the Ballpark in Arlington)
Concession Stand Confessions: Think outside the traditional hot dog and Cracker Jacks with a two-foot-long Asian beef sandwich called the Choomungus, in honor of rising star Shin-Soo Choo. For “dessert,” how about a sausage sundae that includes mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese? Wash it all down with a frozen beer.
Insider Tip: Purchase an all-you-can-eat seat ($48-$53) and chow down on unlimited grilled chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks.
Last Home Game: Sept. 28 vs. Oakland Athletics
Tickets & Info: www.texasrangers.com