My daughter , Sarah, is a member of the Junior Rangers Club, and with that membership she was given 8 free ticket vouchers for this season. If I want to purchase additional tickets with her voucher, they are $12.50, instead of the normal $25 price. The vouchers are for specific dates, and the next date was this one. Sunday, June 28 against the Padres.
They are section specific also. We can use them for sections 201-210 on the second level, which 201 is the first section in straight away left field, then it goes progressively around toward the LF foul pole & 210 is just inside the foul line. Our seats for this game were in 206 row 1, straight down the 3B line.
It was a 7:05 start, so that means the gates would open at 5:05, which also means that batting practice would be going on right in the heat of the day. Great. I can handle it, but Sarah can’t take it that well, and I was also there with my friend Dirk & his daughter Kaitlyn, who is 7, and she doesn’t need that much heat either.
The weather in Texas has been between 99-101 for the last week or so, & I thought about skipping this game, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to go again (for financial reasons), so we went anyway.
We got inside the stadium and over to the left field seats just minutes after the gates opened, and saw this….
What you can’t tell from this photo, is that no one was hitting. And, these were the only players on the field. I don’t know why, surely it wasn’t too hot for them!
Thankfully, when I got to the LF seats and looked down into the gap, I saw this….
What a beautiful sight!
Now, to be honest, that photo is actually of a ball that Dirk got a little while later, but since I was clueless and didn’t get a pic of mine, I’ll use his instead.
When I looked down, the ball was actually up against the base of a wall, so I had to fling my glove down there to try and knock it out into the open to get a clear shot for the glove trick. (Thanks Zack Hample!)
It took me a few tries (more than a few actually), but I finally got the ball where I needed it. Here’s a photo I took afterwards to show where the ball was….
Remember: You can click the photos in the entries to get a closer look. In case you can’t read the text in the photo, the top one says “where ball was originally” and the bottom one says “where I nudged it to”. The drain actually made a good resting spot for the ball.
This ball took me a lot longer to get than it really should have, mainly because I am a true glove trick rookie. I’ve known about the trick since last summer, but haven’t had a good opportunity to try it until now. Once I had the ball in a good spot, it was just a matter of reeling her in. A couple different times, I had the ball in the glove and was pulling it up, only to have the ball fall out about 2 feet from my hand. After one of those drops, I noticed that something didn’t look right, so I raised the glove up to realize the Sharpie had fallen out. Good thing I had extras with me. Finally, after about 20 minutes or so, I had it. 1st glove trick ball ever!
There really wasn’t that much fanfare, except for all of the elation I felt inside.
After the glove trick conquest, Sarah and I ran over to the visitors’ dugout to get a close up of this….
That’s Padres closer Heath Bell, and if you look just in front of his left foot, you’ll see his glove that he stood up on the tips and is getting ready to kick it like a football through the uprights. Cool! He did that a few times. The first was toward a security guard in front of the dugout. The guard held his arms straight up, and Heath kicked it through. The 2nd (pictured above), is toward a fan about four rows behind the dugout. Heath would kick it, and the fan would throw it back. Great stuff!
We weren’t able to get his autograph, which is what I really wanted, so after I took this photo of Sarah….
…. we started to make our way back around to Dirk in LF.
Along the way, Sarah did get an autograph….
Padres pitcher Luis Pedromo.
I had never heard of him before this, but others were gathered around getting his autograph, so naturally Sarah wanted one too.
Here’s the only shot I was able to get of Sarah getting the autograph….
You can just see Pedromo’s head above the kid in the gray shirt’s right shoulder, and Sarah is in the center in the red shirt. He’s actually looking down to sign Sarah’s ticket when I snapped this photo.
While we were getting this autograph, Dirk called me & asked where I put my Sharpie & rubber band for the glove trick, because apparrently a Padres pitcher (I believe it was Cla Meredith, and yes that’s how he spells his name) had thrown a ball to a guy in LF and he dropped it in the gap. Now, my backpack is not real practical. Yes, it holds my glove and other things I may need during a game, but it also has about 12 zippers, which makes it real difficult to explain to someone over the phone where something is.
I got over to him as quickly as I could, and set up the glove for him. He said he wanted to give it a shot, so I let him. While he was going for the ball, I was trying to get Sarah cooled off. Her face was as red as her shirt, and she was looking drained, so I basically forced her to drink a bottle of water and got her out of the sun. We walked up the stairs and went into a tunnel behind us, where I had her sit so I could go back & get my stuff.
As I was going back down to get everything together, I saw Kaitlyn walking back over with a ball in her hand. It had only been about 2-3 minutes, so I was really surprised when Dirk told me that was the ball from the gap. Apparently, he was able to get his on the first try. One drop of the glove, boom, he had it. It was his first glove trick attempt, let alone ball. I was happy for both of us at that point.
We got everything packed back into our bags, and went up to where Sarah was sitting. By this time, she was in the shade for only about 2 minutes or so, and she already looked better. So, we wanted to make sure that whatever we did next was in the shade!
Sundays at the Ballpark in Arlington are $1 ice cream days, so we all got $1 drumsticks and popsicles to cool us off, and man did they hit the spot!
By this time, it’s only around 5:45 or so, and the reason there was no BP for the Padres was that today was dog day at the ballpark. So they had to clear the field for the pre-game dog parade around the warning track. Yippee. Oh well, what can you do?
After the ice cream break, we (slowly) made our way to the second level where our seats were, but before that we got some food and drinks. Cheese fries & Dr. Pepper, I’m not sure that there’s a ballpark combo I like more. Here’s a couple photos from our break time….
That sun was a lot more brutal than it looks in this photo.
And this was the view to my left….
That’s the centerfield sports park off in the distance, and I walked over to the last section and got a photo of that too….
All kinds of stuff for the kids to do there. Like hit a wiffle ball off of a tee….
Or use a giant sling-shot….
There’s other games too, but those are the only ones the girls wanted to do. We found some much needed refuge under some misting fans while we were out there as well.
As for the game itself, we didn’t really miss much. The Rangers were held to just one hit for the first time in the history of the ballpark. Since 1994, they have had at least 2 hits in every home game, until tonight. I like being there for history, just not that kind of history.
We decided to leave at around the bottom of the 7th, since everyone was pretty much drained.
Padres 2, Dirk/Kaitlyn 1 & Brian/Sarah 1, Rangers 0.
Here’s some other photos from during the game and while we were leaving….
Here’s a photo of the ball we got with the glove trick….
And here’s Sarah’s autograph….
Time of game: 2 hrs. 26 mins.
Attendance: 27,000 humans (I’ve never seen an even number like that), & 300 dogs
Next game: Fri. 7/17 vs. the Twins
PLUS — Here’s a photo I had someone take of all of us on our way to the truck….
The Blue Jays were in town for a 4-game series, the first two went to our neighbors from the north, and the third was postponed due to rain (sound familiar anyone?). Although, it was not moved to the next day for a double-header, instead, it was moved to September 1st for a double-header. Oh well, it didn’t matter to me, I just wanted the rain to hold off enough so we could have just one game.
Due to the previous night’s rain-out, they pushed back the start of Kevin Millwood to this evening. Cool! He’s been pitching really well lately, & the Rangers need to stop this 2-game losing streak they’ve started.
I attended this game with my friend Dirk, and my daughter Sarah, and was without my camera once again. I mentioned in a previous entry that I felt naked going to a game without a camera, and after I wrote that, I thought it was a little odd myself, but after my 2nd game without it, I must say I stand by that statement. There’s just too many photo opportunities at a game to be there without one. But I was, and life must go on.
We got a late jump on this game, because I was not able to leave work as early as I needed to in order to make it when the gates opened. It was a 7:05 start, so the 1st and 3rd base gates would open at 5:05. We got to the stadium at around 5:20ish, and made our way to the ticket window, got 3 seats on the 2nd level behind the 3B foul pole (that we never sat in), and went to the nearest gate (home plate). The home plate and centerfield gates open 30 minutes later than 1st & 3rd. We got in line at about 5:25, so we only waited about 5 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. We could hear batting practice going on inside the stadium, so I was getting restless.
The gate finally opened, and after having my bag checked, we raced to the left field seats while the Blue Jays were in the middle of BP.
Thankfully, the Stankees were gone so the crowd was back to normal. The competition in the LF stands for batting practice was minimal, which was good because we would have more room to maneuver. Sarah and I didn’t get any HRs on the fly, but when an unknown pitcher tossed a ball to a little boy next to me, he bobbled and dropped it into the gap between the stands and the field. I was going to attempt the glove trick, until I noticed that the ball was in a precarious position.
A little back story….
In years past, the LF wall was a manual scoreboard, until this past offseason when it was changed to a digital video board, which you can see in some of my previous entries. The board is supported by a secondary wall of fans that are there to keep it from overheating, I assume. The wall of fans has 6-8 inches of dead space underneath it, and that is where the bobbled ball came to rest. (It was a long trip, but we finally made it to the point!)
I leaned over to the boy and told him to go over to the corner of the LF wall and the foul line wall, because that’s where the grounds crew enters the field, and I figured he could tell them that he dropped his ball & then ask them to get it for him. His eyes lit up, and he took off running in that direction, then passed it up & kept on running to the visitors’ dugout!
I told Sarah the same thing and she went over to the correct spot and gave me gesture to say no one was over there. I held up one finger and mouthed, “hold on”. In just a minute or so, a man appeared, and Sarah pled her case. He walked over, grabbed the ball, and tossed it up to Sarah. Ball # 1 on the day! Yeah baby!
During the Jays’ batting practice, everyone that was in the LF/3B foul line vicinity, was entertained by a specific pitcher….
This guy is my new favorite Blue Jay (not that I had a favorite Blue Jay to begin with, but you get the idea).
He was so fun to watch, and so giving with baseballs. If he threw one back to the bucket, the very next ball he got would go somewhere in the crowd. He would scan the crowd and pick out a specific person he wanted to throw one to, then he would go through all of his normal pitching motions. Set up, shaking off signs, wind up , pitch, everything. It was amazing, and if someone caught a ball that he didn’t intend to throw it to, he made them throw the ball back to him, so he could throw it to the person he meant to have it in the first place. Unbelieveable!
One kid in particular, a teenager I think, was on the railing on the foul line holding his glove down over the rail to get Downs to throw him one. Downs finally noticed him, and had him hold his glove steady over the railing. He was about 25 yards away, and on about 6 consecutive throws, he hit the wall just inches under the kid’s glove. Then he would walk over to the ball and motion like he messed up, back up and do it again. It was great to watch, of course he ended up giving it to him, but it was good for a few laughs.
I didn’t know his name at first, because his warmup jersey was covering his name and #, and I hate asking for balls and not knowing their name. I won’t do it. Finally, I asked a guy next to me if he knew his name, and thankfully he did. So, when everyone else was yelling, “Scott, Scott, hey pitch!”, I told Sarah to wait until they stopped, then call out “Mr. Downs”.
And she did, and when she called out, he responded with a playfully exasperated sounding “WHAT!!” He turned to face us, and I held up my glove and pointed to Sarah. Then, he proceded to go through his pitch routine and threw the ball right in my glove for ball # 2!
Awesome! What a guy, I fully believe that EVERY team needs a player like Scott Downs. If you ever have the chance to go to a game that the Blue Jays are in, you need to take advantage of it. If for no other reason, than to just see Downs in action during BP. You’re almost guaranteed a ball.
Those 2 balls would be the only ones we got for the rest of the game. Dirk was able to catch a homerun on the fly, so we all did good!
I mentioned earlier that we never sat in our ticketed seats, and we didn’t because the crowd was so small, we just stayed in left field until the top of the 6th, when we moved over into foul territory just foul of the 3B line pole.
We didn’t get close to one homerun or foul ball all night. It was a good game though, that is if you like pitchers duels. The one and only run came off the bat of Marlon Byrd of the Rangers, by way of a sacrifice fly in the second inning. That was it.
Brian & Sarah 2, USA 1, Canada 0.
Here’s a look at the 2 balls we got….
A look at the smudges….
And here’s the extra tickets we found after the game….
Time of game: 2 hrs. 41 minutes
Attendance: 16,073 (That’s more like it!)
Next game: Fri. 6/12 vs. The Dodgers….
This post is going to be, I assume, primarily for my fellow Rangers fans out there. Although, I would welcome the opinion of any fan to this entry, just keep it clean!
We’ve now reached the end of June (close enough), and the Rangers have let their 4.5-5 game lead in the division slip away. They have the worst team batting average in the majors for the month of June, and now they have a 5 game losing streak. The only player in the lineup with an average over .300 is Michael Young, who on the flip-side is batting only .218 with runners in scoring position.
The last time that the Rangers had a 5 game losing streak, was back in April when they started 3-0 then lost the next 5 and everyone was writing off the season. You can read what I wrote about that here . Since then, the Rangers have gone on to lead the division most of the way thanks to the Angels dealing with their own injuries and lack of run production. During that time, manager Ron Washington was given a contract extension after some fans wanted him gone in April.
Adding to this sudden quandry is Josh Hamilton. He started off the season slow, and talk began to spread of him over-extending himself last year. Then, he seemed on his way out of whatever “funk” was holding him back, then came the injuries. Groin strain, abdominal tear, hernia scare, multiple stints on the disabled list, now here we are less than three weeks away from the All-Star break, and it doesn’t look too promising that Josh will participate. As of today, 6/24, he has said that he could possibly play in the game, but most likely will pass on the Home Run Derby, the main event that everyone wants to see him in.
Don’t read anything into that. I’m not voicing any opinion there, just stating the facts as I know them at the present moment. Personally, I think Josh should do what is in the best interest of himself and the Texas Rangers, which is probably what will transpire anyway. He can’t afford to take the chance of playing and getting hurt worse, when his team is currently fighting for the division lead and in desperate need of his bat in the lineup.
With all this being said, the Rangers are still ahead of schedule. The mentality of the coaching staff and the front office heading into this season, was they were planning on 2010 being the year of the pennant run. 2009 was a toss up, a crap-shoot, and here they are with the opportunity to head into the All-Star break with either a tie or the lead in the division.
All of you “it’s the same ‘ol Rangers” fans out there that think the worst after one loss, or want Chris Davis gone, stop for a minute and think about the last time we were able to complain about a first place team.
So, I want to hear from you. What do you think?
As of this moment, I have 2 entries to post:
6/11 vs. the Blue Jays and –
6/12 vs. the Dodgers
The problem is, I have pictures of both games that I had taken with my digital camera, that my wife uploaded to her laptop (it’s the only computer we have at our house), and now her laptop is not working. I would upload them to my computer at work (which I normally do anyway), but she deleted them from the camera.
Oh well, she didn’t know her computer was going to act up.
The plan is to get a new router and see what that does. Hopefully, we’ll have it up & running soon, because aside from wanting those photos, our kids are getting restless without it. Teenagers, what are you gonna do?
So, as soon as I can retrieve them, I’ll post my latest entries.
To be continued…..
I wanted to go to this game for a couple different reasons. First, it was a Monday afternoon game, and I was off work (Memorial Day). Second, the Stankees were coming in for three games, and this one was going to be the easiest to make (I was taking my daughter Sarah, and the other two were going to be on school nights). With all that said, on Fri. 5/22, I bought the two cheapest tickets I could find online ($11.00 for mine and $3.00 for Sarah’s). The seats were in the upper deck straight down the 1st base line, but I really didn’t care ’cause I didn’t plan on staying there for the whole game anyway.
I had heard that the ballpark was going to open at 10:00, with the parking lots opening at 9:00. This kind of surprised me, since the gates normally open 2 hrs. prior to game time, which today would’ve been at 11:00. Were they expecting a big crowd for Memorial Day? Were they expecting a big crowd because of the Stankees? Both? Who knows, all I cared about was the fact that I could be inside the ballpark that much longer!
I figured (or at least I “hoped”) that the Rangers would be taking batting practice today, which is a good thing, because I’ve been to a few games this year where they haven’t. We pulled into the parking lot at around 9:30 or so, and got to the gate as soon as we could. After getting through the bag check, we scanned our tickets and were handed a “Baseball in the Military” magazine (more on this later). We raced to the left field seats and were greeted by this….
That’s what I’m talkin’ about! Beautiful sight!
We were in that spot for the entire BP session for the Rangers, and the closest we came to getting a ball, were the homeruns on the fly that missed us by 20-30 feet. There were more hit to the right field side, but I just hate fighting the crowd over there. Although, today that crowd was everywhere. The closet Stankee fans were out in force. This was my competition during BP….
And this is a look at all the Stankee fans waiting behind the dugout….
Now, as you can probably tell, I’m not real fond of that team from the Bronx, but even I cannot deny the greatness of this guy….
It’s not his fault that he’s on a team I can’t stand, that guy is a stud!
Here’s one of Sarah eating her favorite snack….Combos!
See the guy to right of #58 in the following pic? He’s another great player….
Those are the only photos I took of NY players. I respect Jeter, even though he is a Stankee-lifer, he can play & everyone knows it. A-roid & Mark Deushera? Don’t even get me started on those two wastes of MLB uniforms (as well as MLB money).
There was a lot of pre-game pageantry today (as was the case everywhere I’m sure), including a fly-over by three Apache helicopters, and I’m still kicking myself for not taking a photo. I love fly-overs!
Every game I attend, I take stadium photos, and every time I upload them to my computer I notice duplicate angles. So, I almost talked myself out of taking pics this time, but we were going to be sitting in an area I haven’t really been to before, so I took some anyway. Here’s some from the upper deck 1st base side….
I kind of like the look of the stadium from up there, but it’s not the best place for actually watching the game.
We stayed in our seats until the end of the 2nd inning, when we decided to walk around. Not only were our seats way up there, we were also stuck in the middle of a row of about 20 seats. Not cool.
We wandered all the around the park, until we came to the sports park in centerfield. That’s when we got tricked into filling out a casino survey (never set foot in one in my life), just to get Sarah a set of bang sticks. Here she is….
At least she’s happy, that’s all that matters!
We took shelter from the sun in Captain’s Corral, an enclosed concession stand basically, and bought some cheap nachos and a bottle of water.
After wandering, wasting time in the sports park, and hiding from the sun, it was now around the 7th inning, so we found some empty seats behind home plate to go for foul balls and also to look for tickets and stuff after the game.
No foul balls. Didn’t even come close to any really, just the “one section over” usual. The Rangers lost this game 11-1 and only had 4 hits in the game.
Here’s a shot of the tickets we found after the game….
Time of game – 2 hrs. 35 mins.
Attendance – 48,914
Stankee fans – GO HOME!!
Next game 6/11 vs. Toronto….
BY THE WAY – Remember the magazine I mentioned at the top of the entry, “Baseball in the Military”? I hope that Major League Baseball gave this out at every stadium, and that more people took it home at other places than people did here, because it is AWESOME! It’s about 20-25 pages long and has some great stories in it of guys enlisting in the military while playing baseball. If you got one, and haven’t read it, I highly encourage you to do so. You won’t regret it.