Well, this was going to be the last regular season home game for the Rangers. It was also Fan Appreciation Day, which means every half inning the video board would show a section, row, or specific seat that would win anything from autographed memorabilia to discounts at the gift shops. It’s always fun to wait and see if you win something. This will be my third consecutive year to go on this day, and I have yet to win anything (today included).
I attended this game with my daughter Sarah, my friend Dirk, and his daughter Kaitlyn and son Connor. I had purchased these tickets last weekend at the Angels game, and bought upper deck seats knowing we would be bringing the kids and expecting to be in the shade.
This is what it looked like from our seats….
Looks like I made the right choice!
Here’s our view of the action….
Yes they’re tiny, but we knew what was going on.
I was really hoping to add to our ice cream helmet collection today, being the last game of the season and everything, but today the Rangers decided to do away with using all the MLB teams as they have done recently and use only red Rangers helmets.
We already have some of those, but I noticed something different about these. Here’s a picture that I took later to show what I mean….
I have never seen an ice cream helmet with the MLB logo on it. I thought it was pretty cool, and worthy to be included in this entry.
The game was good. The Rangers jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held it most of the game.
Here’s some more shots from the upper deck….
I love that last one.
And here’s one of the kiddos….
At the end of the 7th inning we moved down to the third base side to try one last time for a foul ball, but got nothing. This was our view though….
The Rangers lead 5-0 until the top of the 8th when the Rays cut that lead down to 5-3. Marlon Byrd added a solo homer in the bottom of the inning, which brought out Frank Francisco to save the game in top of the 9th. Sounds easy enough right?
He allowed the tying run to score before Ron Washington pulled him with the bases still loaded and only one out. Rookie Neftali Feliz came in a got a ground-out, but the go ahead run scored on the play. The Rangers would go 3 up, 3 down in the bottom of the 9th and lose 7-6.
That one hurt.
It should have been a sweep, but instead they fell another game behind the Angels in the west.
Here’s a picture of a helmet I found after the game that I have absolutely no idea what it was used for, but I thought it was cool so I kept it….
Time of game: 3 hrs. 3 mins.
Next game: Playoffs? Or April 5, 2010. Opening Day vs. the Blue Jays
I decided to change things up a bit for this entry. Instead of doing two separate entries and detailing each one, I decided to combine two games and share pictures from both.
The two games are Friday 9/18 and Saturday 9/19.
Friday I went to the game with my aunt Lori and daughter Sarah. It was fireworks night, so there was a lot of people there. It was also rally towel night. The towel is white and has the “T” logo with the words “Let’s Go Rangers” on it. Eh. It’s okay, I can see what they were trying to do, inspire the fans to get excited during the game.
Here’s a photo I took as we walked from the car to the stadium….
The cool thing about that lot is, it’s normally $12, but on Fridays it’s $5. Sweet!
I had bought the tickets the day before on my lunch break and the best they could give me was behind homeplate in the upper deck. So while we were up there before the game, I took this picture of Lori and Sarah….
That’s Dallas Cowboys Stadium in the back ground.
You can see that Lori is holding a plastic bag. We had already hit the gift shop where she bought Sarah a Josh Hamilton bracelet, and herself and I a Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez red t-shirt.
Here’s some other photos I took of the Cowboys’ stadium….
(Remember: You can click on any picture to get a closer look.)
In the above photo do you notice the red arrows? Those are pointing to a video screen. For those that may not know, there is a video board in the Cowboys stadium that goes from one 20 yard line to the other. That’s 60 yards long! That board that the arrows are pointing to is on the end of that big board. As big as that one seems, it’s considerably smaller than the main one.
I know those last two photos are blurry, but I really wanted to show them because I like the way the light shines through the glass on the sides.
And here’s one from our seats….
The vibe in the stadium was really cool, especially when the rally towels were flying. I tried to get an action shot of the towels, but my camera wouldn’t allow it.
As for the game it was fun, even though the Rangers lost 2-0. They got 0 runs on 8 hits, while the Angels got 2 runs on 6 hits, bringing the losing streak to five and putting the Rangers 7-1/2 games back in the west.
That’s not going to work fellas.
The fireworks were cool, though the loss still stung.
Game 1 –
Time of game: 2 hrs. 57 mins.
On to Saturday…
Saturday’s game was preceded by a pre-game concert by MercyMe, a contemporary christian group.
So that meant two things, (1) there would be a LOT of people at the game, and (2) would there be batting practice? We didn’t think so, but if there was BP, it would go on during the concert (more on that later).
I went to this game with Sarah (my daughter), my friend Shawn from the Houston trip, and his wife Amy and daughter Abby.
We walked in the homeplate gate, went around to right field. When we got there, we went down to the railing and stayed there because there was indeed batting practice!
Here’s a shot of some guys right in front of us….
On the left, reliever Jason Grilli. Light blue shirt, pitching coach Mike Maddux. #61, rookie catcher Kevin Richardson.
Mike Maddux is a stud. He has been my favorite offseason acquisition by far.
I was a little out my element being in right field. 99% of the time, I’m in left., but after being in the shade in right field today I might have to change my strategy.
After about 10 minutes or so, Hank Blalock lifted one in our direction, that I got a late jump on. It hit about 2 rows behind me to my left and Shawn beat me to it. Oh well, I was happy for him because he gave it to his daughter (I would have done the same).
There were quite a few balls that rolled to the wall in front of us, that I kept trying to get Grilli to toss up, but to no avail. I guess he thought the teenaged boys on my left were better recipients than my 10 year old daughter. I don’t sound smug do I? Totally unintentional.
One ball in particular I thought for sure was mine, but Grilli kept it in his hand and later on gave it to one of those same boys. In the meantime, Shawn had told me that I just missed a ball falling into the gap just five or six feet to my left. By the time I realized where it was, someone else was all over it.
When 4:00 rolled around, the concert was about to start and Sarah knew it. She proceded to tell me that the concert was the only reason she came back today. This was after I said that I wanted to stay for BP. Well, needless to say, she won that round so it was off to the concert we went.
I wanted to head up to the upper deck and take a look at how many people were already over there. The upper deck has an open air concourse that has some pretty cool views. It’s a good thing I looked before we went over there, because this is what we saw….
And the band was just taking the stage.
So, we watched and listened from up there which (thankfully) was fine with Sarah. Here’s as close as I could zoom with my camera….
For perspective, this is a view of the field from where we watched the concert….
If you look closely at the last photo, you’ll notice how open the stands are for BP (and also why I am going to be in right field from now on!). I had to keep myself from looking down at all the balls hitting empty seats. Sarah was happy, and that was good enough for me.
For all of you football/stadium fans, here’s some more photos of the Cowboy’s stadium….
If you click on the one on the right, you’ll see a Dr. Pepper sign about halfway up the photo. That is the party deck. You can pay $29 and stand up while watching the game. I say “you” because I will not be doing that.
Here’s some shots from our seats….
As you see can, it was packed!
The Rangers won this game 3-2, giving Scott Feldman his 17th win of the season. Frank Francisco picked up his 23rd save after loading the bases in the ninth.
Game 2 –
Time of game: 2 hrs. 31 mins.
Next game: Sunday 9/27 vs. the Rays
Here’s a couple photos I took after the game, when the stadium was almost empty….
You can read in the description of this blog, “the ramblings of a devoted Rangers fan”. I was devoted in April and I am still devoted now, and will most likely stay that way.
I made that statement to make a point. I don’t let myself get swayed when it comes to something that I believe in, and I believe in this team.
I was listening to the post game show on the radio following the game between the Rangers and Oakland Monday, September 14th, and was surprised by what I was hearing. The two hosts, along with a myriad of callers, were stating opinions that ranged from “it’s just a fluke” to “the season’s over”. What they were refering to, at that time, was the Rangers losing two out of three to Seattle over the weekend and losing to Oakland Monday night. The last two games were shutouts, to make matters worse.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by what I heard, given the fact that this team hasn’t reached the playoffs since 1999, and haven’t generated any real post season possibilities since 2004.
To say that this fan base has been bitten would be an understatement.
As you read this, the Rangers have gone on to play one more game against the A’s, losing once again. They finish the three game series with Oakland tonight, have an off day tomorrow, then welcome in the Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles, and whatever other California city wants to adopt them.
Now is the time for this team to decide what it’s truly made of. What it really wants out of this season.
The Angels have lost to Boston the last two games, but the Rangers have also lost to Oakland the last two games. Granted, we have had some very odd weather in this area for the last four to five days, but to me, that shouldn’t change how you play the game. It shouldn’t change your preparation for or drive to play the game either.
I know I’m no expert, and I have no way of knowing what goes on behind closed doors, but given what they have been running out on the field the last four or five games, they’re not convincing me that they even want to play in October.
With all of that being said, I’m not jumping ship. I stand by my initial statement in this entry, “the ramblings of a devoted rangers fan”.
They still have seven games against the Angels in the next week or two, and anything can happen. If they haven’t made up any ground after those seven games, well, we’ll deal with that later if we need to.
Right now, I am going to enjoy every minute I can of this team, this season.
This game, just like the one I went to on Saturday, was attended strictly from a game watching standpoint only.
The weather was better this day, but not good enough to offer any batting practice. That makes at least three games in a row that I have been to that have not had BP.
Oh well, at least there was baseball!
Now that you know that, this entry is going to be shorter than normal. I took some photos at this game, but not of the stadium. This game I decided to take some photos of some of the players.
But first, a look at the field from our seats….
…. and the centerfield message board just prior to gametime….
“It’s baseball time in Texas!” Quoting the great Ballpark in Arlington announcer, Chuck Morgan.
The next one is of Rangers left fielder David Murphy….
Is it me, or does he look like he was just caught relieving himself on the grass? Probably just me.
Those are the only pictures I took from those seats. Our seats were pretty good, by the way, straight away left, first row. Not bad, but we moved after the third inning to our new favorite foul ball spot on the third base side.
Here’s Marlon Byrd at the plate….
I mainly took this one, because I was wearing his t-shirt at this game.
This next guy should not need any introduction….
…. but just in case you still don’t know who this is, it’s perennial gold-glover Omar Vizquel.
That guy is amazing in the field. I’ve personally seen him play three different infield positions this season and do superb at all of them. He’s awesome.
Speaking of awesome, what about this guy….
….come on, don’t tell me you don’t know who Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is!?
10-time gold glove winning catcher. World Series winner. Definate first ballot hall of famer.
The pictures of Pudge were mainly so I could have proof that I watched him play in person.
By now you should be able to tell the camera angle has changed. We moved behind homeplate at the end of the eighth inning.
Here’s another that I like, it shows David Murphy at the plate with Nelson Cruz on deck….
We didn’t have any close calls in our original foul ball spot, and for the first couple batters, we didn’t have any behind homeplate either.
Until the top of the ninth.
Oakland A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki stepped into the batter’s box, batting right handed, and proceded to foul off the very first pitch. I was one seat over from the aisle seat and this foul ball came screaming back over the screen, and I had just enough time to jump out of my seat and reach across my body with my glove while jumping as high as I could (which isn’t very high I might add) only to miss the ball by mere inches. It didn’t touch my glove, but it came as close as it could without hitting it.
I turned around to see where the ball went, and it hit something; a step, wall edge, I’m not sure, all I know is that I had my back to the field and the ball hit whatever it hit and ricocheted over two sections to my right.
So close, so very close.
That was it for this game, Rangers lose 8-0. Two shutouts in a row.
Time of game; 2 hrs. 45 mins.
Next game: Fri. 9/18 vs. the Angels
BTW — There was ice cream to be had this game, and here are the helmets I came away with….
I only had one, the other two I found. I promise!
Originally, I was supposed to attend this game with my aunt Lori and daughter Sarah, but through unforeseen circumstances (rain/car issues) my aunt had to back out. We will instead go to the Fri. 9/18 game vs. the Angels.
So, the next plan was for just Sarah and I to go, then on Saturday morning, my friend Dirk decided to go with us. The next course of action was to see what the weather would do. It had been raining constantly since late Thursday night, moving Friday night’s game to a Sunday doubleheader, so we wrote off BP early in the day.
At around 3:00 or so that afternoon, we came up with a plan of action. We would leave at 6:00 and get to the ballpark at around 6:30, at which time we would decide if we would purchase tickets or turn around and go to Cabela’s. When we arrived at the ballpark, the rain had let up substantially, so we purchased some cheap tickets and made our way inside, after we received our free salsa bowls….
….”because people like to say salsa!”. (That’s a Seinfeld reference for those of you that may not know)
When we walked in through the homeplate gate, I went to the closest tunnel to take a photo of the field….
If you look at the video board on the upper right of the picture, you’ll see some text in gold. It says — #38 Ron Washington, Manager. They had just announced the starting lineups for both teams. Cool, we’re gonna have baseball after all!
This was the view to my left….
….and my right….
Oh my goodness! We had bought bleacher seats but had no intentions of sitting in them. Tonight was going to be all about the foul ball, and it was looking really good!
It was still about 15-20 minutes before first pitch, so we went to get food. While we were eating, I made my way over to a booth that was selling game-used items and took the following photo….
Don’t ask me why I took that, just felt like it I guess. I also took this one of the concourse….
I love how that looks!
Once the game started we found some empty seats on the third base side. Section 14, row 28ish on the aisle. That has slowly become our favorite foul ball spot.
Here’s what our view of the action was like….
Sorry, that’s the best I can get my camera to zoom. Can’t tell who’s at the plate? Let me help you out….
Future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. I didn’t realize how old he is. Do you think he still goes by his old nickname “The Kid”? I wonder.
I don’t care what team he plays for, that guy is a stud. Plain and simple.
From a foul ball standpoint, the beginning of this game was kind of weird. There were foul balls hit the first few innings, but they were rolling grounders down the base lines. The first foul hit into the stands wasn’t until the third or fourth inning, and it went into the second level.
We started to get some fouls in our general direction in around the fifth inning, but all of those were a section or two over in either direction.
After the end of the fifth, we decided to go for ice cream. I had noticed a specific helmet before the game that I knew I wanted to get my hands on. You’ll see it on the right in the following picture….
If you’re wondering the importance of that helmet, it’s mainly because from what “The Ice Cream Helmet King” tells me, Baltimore doesn’t even offer ice cream helmets. So, it’s been somewhat of a mission to find one, and ta-da! Mission accomplished. Take that Todd!
By the time the game reached the 6th inning, we were officially wet. It had lightly/not-so lightly misted the entire game, but around the 6th it turned into light rain.
In the eighth inning we moved behind homeplate and this was our view….
See, I told you it was raining.
And just in case you need more proof, look at this photo of Sarah as we were leaving….
Yes, she was wearing a coat in the seats.
We had some closer foul ball action back there, but they were still a section over.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Rangers were down 8-3 and they got the first two batters on base, but the rain came down harder, and Don Wakamatsu, the Mariners’ manager, came out of the dugout to complain about the playing conditions. Within five minutes the game was called. Who knows what might have happened?!
Time of game: 3 hrs. 10 mins. (1 hr. 23 min. delay)
Attendance: 22,468 (Yeah right!)
Next game: Mon. 9/14 vs. Oakland
Here’s one more picture I took before we got in the truck to leave….
My friend Sam, who I attended this game with, invited me to join him and his company to this game. The company he works for had rented a suite for this game, so all but parking was free. I love free!
To those that may not know, Dr. Pepper Ballpark is home to the Frisco Roughriders, the AA affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Frisco is approximately two to two and a half hours from where I live. It’s always seemed too far to go for a minor league game, but “free” changes everything.
Thankfully, I work about halfway between my house and Frisco, so Sam and his neighbor Kevin picked me up on their way to the game. After taking two different toll roads and about one hour of driving, we made it. We found a parking spot and started walking towards the stadium and this is what it looked like as we got to the gate….
From that view you would never know there’s a ballpark in there. (“Except for the fact that it says “ballpark” on the sign”, I know what you’re thinking!)
We made our way from the gate to the field level concourse and this was our next view….
I had driven by this ballpark a couple times over the past few years, but I had not yet been inside. I didn’t know what to expect, or if I should have any expectations, but after this first view of the field and walking around a little, I was impressed.
The next plan of action after taking that photo was to find the suite we were supposed to be in, and since none of us had been there before, we wandered for a bit before asking someone for help.
It’s a good thing we asked too, because we never would have found it. I wish now that I would have photo-documented this better, but to give you an idea, there are basically an inner and outer concourse.
The inner concourse, where I took the previous photo from, continues all the way around the park. The outer concourse mirrors the inner, but does not go all the way around. More like foul pole to foul pole along the baseline sides. The outer concourse walkway is not concrete either, instead it looks like what they use on the warning track. Different but cool.
All of that was explained to give you a mental picture of what we were dealing with. The usher that we asked where we needed to go, led us around part of the outer concourse to where the suite was. I didn’t take any photos along the way, because we were trying to keep up with the fast walking usher, and I didn’t think about it.
Once we got inside the suite, I snapped this picture….
And this one too….
You see behind homeplate in the first picture? I think that’s pretty cool looking. That’s where the broadcasters/media people watch the game from.
If you look behind the dugout along the first base side, you’ll see the smaller sized buildings. Those are the suites.
And that’s where we were, except on the third base side.
After taking some obligatory photos of us standing by the railing, we ate some free burgers and hot dogs, and drank some free soda and beer (not all of us drank beer). We also received complimentary caps and visors.
Pretty cool deal if I say so myself!
We watched the first inning or so of the game, and then I wanted to wander. The first photo I took was of the left field/centerfield area….
You can see in those photos that there is lawn seating in left center. They have the same thing in right center.
Here’s a view from the left field side of the batter’s eye….
I love the way that looks!
I mentioned that right center had lawn seating, here’s something else that’s in right center….
That’s the best view I could get, and that’s with me sticking my camera through the wrought iron fence. That area is the Leslie’s Pool Zone, and you can get an idea where it is in the 1st field photo in this entry. It’s right above the word “Roughriders” in the right field wall. There’s a whole deck area out there that I guess you can rent by the game. There’s a grill and everything. That would be a cool experience!
I continued wandering and took this photo from the first base side….
Do you notice people on the field in the previous photo? On the lower left, right in front of the dugout? That would be three mothers with infants, and they are about to give them their first tastes of lemon juice. They showed the reactions on the video board and it was pretty hilarious. Gotta love the minor leagues!
I worked my way back to the suite and took this photo of the ‘Riders’ bullpen….
Pretty cool! The visitor’s bullpen is in the same location on the first base side.
Next, I wanted to check out the team store that was right below us, and took this photo of Sam and Kevin just before I went inside….
I love the layout of this stadium!
The team store wasn’t anything impressive. 30% end of season sale on some items, and they were still overpriced for my taste. An “official” Texas League ball for $10? No thanks.
At one point during the game, we were visited in the suite by one of the two mascots….
This is the female mascot named Daisy. The other one is male, and his name is Deuce. Sorry if she freaks you out, she had that effect on me too.
The later in the game it got, the more I wanted some ice cream. I had noticed earlier when I was wandering, that some people had ice cream helmets. Hmmmm….
Little did I know that the “ice cream” in the helmets was Dippin’ Dots. I had never tried those before, so I wasn’t real excited after that, but after eating it I must say I still prefer ice cream, but I’ll eat Dippin’ Dots again. They’re okay. Also, the helmets were MLB teams which made it even better! I had the Indians and someone gave me a Boston helmet after the game. (My daughter, Sarah, and I are trying to collect all of the teams, just so you know why I mentioned that.)
As for the game itself, Frisco beat the Corpus Christi Hooks 4-1. This was the final home game of the season for Frisco, and it was also fireworks night, so the crowd was larger than normal, but I couldn’t tell. This was my first trip to this ballpark, and all I was concerned with was taking pictures and eating the free food. Now that I know how cool this place is, I’ll make it a point to go to a few more games next season.
Here’s my obligatory “by the railing” photo….
Time of game: 2 hrs. 22 mins.
And here’s the only shot of the fireworks that came out halfway decent….
To say that I was excited about this day would be an understatement. I was pumped for this day. Partly for the fact that this would be my first doubleheader in 5 or 6 years, but also for the fact that in the month of August, the Rangers only had 10 home games and I only made a couple of them.
I was in serious need of some baseball!
With all of the anticipation and build-up I was feeling heading into today, I would soon find out that things would take a serious downturn.
I had taken off half of the day to get to the ballpark at around 1:30 or so, since the first game was scheduled to start at 4:05 I read online that the gates would open at 2:05, and my friend Dirk and I would run in for batting practice.
First sign of downturn: We got to the gate at around 1:45 and were told by the stadium employees that the gates weren’t going to open until 2:30. Great.
Second sign of downturn: While waiting in line, I realized that I had once again forgotten my camera.
Third sign of downturn: After running inside and heading to the left field seats, we noticed that the field was not set up for BP.
(Insert long, exasperated exhale here)
Well, there wasn’t anything to do. The Rangers pitchers were in RF stretching, and only a handfull of Blue Jays pitchers were in LF throwing. Dirk and I checked the gaps for balls, more out of habit than anything else. I put on my Jays hat and stood along the LF railing hoping to get a ball. Nope.
We had such high hopes heading to the ballpark. Weekday afternoon game, kids were back in school, it was almost a guarantee that we would have an awesome day. Add to that, the fact that we were the only two in the LF stands…..man!
Anyways, the Blue Jays pitchers didn’t stay on the field much longer, and almost everyone else in the stadium was crowded around the RF corner to watch the Rangers stretch, so we found our own ways to pass the time.
Dirk noticed a trash can in the visitors’ bullpen that was right below us as we looked over the railing. That may seem odd to point out, but when I looked closer, I noticed that the only thing in that trash can was the previous game’s visiting bullpen lineup card.
Oh man, we had to figure out a way to get that!
I quickly scanned the immediate vicinity, and there was no one. Literally, no one was around. The closest usher was five or six sections away, and he was busy talking to 3 other ushers.
Dirk decided to put gum on the bottom of his ball retriever and try to reel it in that way (because he thought it was laminated), and it would have worked except for the fact that there was still masking tape on the card and it was sticking to the trash bag. Plus the fact that the gum was smearing all over the lineup card, and since Dirk realized it wasn’t laminated after all, we soon abandoned that mission.
The next plan of action was to get food and drinks. That mission was easily accomplished.
Our seats were in the lower level of RF, and once the game started, we sat there for the first three innings. That’s when noticed how empty the stands were, and proceded to move to the third base side, about 20 rows behind third base.
That was our foul ball spot for the entire first game.
We had one close encounter in around the 5th inning. A left-handed batter for Toronto (don’t know who) hit a high foul in our direction. I saw it the whole way off of his bat, and it was coming in my general direction. I had to move to my right about 10 feet, but it didn’t take long for me to be in line with it. Right at the last second I noticed that it was falling short, so I leaned over the seat in front of me as far as I could, stuck my glove out, and still missed it by about a foot. The ball hit the concrete between the rows and bounced over my head and was caught by a bare-handed man about 4 rows back.
So close, yet still so far away.
We got to see some good baseball in both games. The Rangers won both by the score of 5-2.
The one negative of the evening was in the 3rd inning of the 2nd game, when Michael Young pulled a hamstring running to first. He left the game, and is set to have an MRI the following day (today 9/2). Hopefully, it’s not real bad. They need him on the field for this stretch run.
Sadly, I have nothing more to report other than the fact that I got a Diamondbacks ice cream helmet. Well, that and Josh Hamilton finally added to his homerun total. He hit two in the 2nd game to give him 10 on the season.
Time of game: (Game 1) — 2 hrs. 38 mins. (Game 2) — 2 hrs. 54 mins.
Next game: Sat. 9/12 vs. the Mariners