My wife and kids were out of town this weekend visiting family, so I had the weekend to myself.
Hmmm, what to do?
Well, the Tigers were in town for a four game set and my friend Dirk had found two tickets online for this game, so off we went.
The Rangers have a Friday promotion going this season that they call Firework Fridays. In the promotion they offer tickets for $10 on tickets regularly priced up to $25, as well as $5 parking that is regularly $12, and a post game fireworks show. Oddly enough it’s that last fact that brings out all of the people.
It was a 7:05 start, which means gates would open at 5:05, and season ticket gates open at 4:35.
We were in at 4:35.
The last game we attended there was no batting practice, so we were a little more excited than normal for this game. We wanted to get back on the board.
We got over to the left field seats as quickly as we could only to find that the cages were not up for BP.
Two and a half hours before the first pitch, what in the world were we supposed to do now? Apparently, since the Rangers got in from Boston so early in the morning they couldn’t have batting practice.
The only thing left to do was wander and take pictures.
Dirk and I got these pictures of each other at the visitors’ dugout….
I’m the handsome fella on the right by the way.
Here’s what “BP” looks like with no cages….
Kind of hard to have batting practice huh?
Anyway, we went to get food and drinks, and along the way I got this photo….
…. from the area just outside the Diamond Club, where you can get a buffet for $27.95.
After getting some much needed grubbage, we went over to the Rangers Hall of Fame. Before this year it had been known as the Legends of the Game Museum, which touched a little of everything across the entire league. Apparently, that was too much to ask of the ownership or somebody, because it is now strictly just devoted to the Texas Rangers. I guess that’s okay, the old museum cost $6 in addition to your game ticket, and the new one is free.
We weren’t in there too long, but I was able to get some pictures. This one is of the trophy that the winner of the Lone Star series (Rangers vs. Astros) receives at the conclusion of the two series (one series in Arlington and the other in Houston)….
This is my friends Dirk and Shawn under the division championship banners from the ’90s….
That’s it from the Hall of Fame. It’s still under construction so there wasn’t much else to see.
We headed over to the visitors’ bullpen to just double check and see what was going on and saw this….
Do you see it? Let me give you a closer look….
The left part of the arrow is pointing toward a ball, and the right side is pointing to the lazy security guard that wouldn’t even get up and kick, throw, roll, or toss the ball to us. I was about to fling my glove out from the left as you look at the picture when he stopped me, and said that I could not use my glove. I could only use a ball retriever.
His words, not mine.
My response was, “A glove IS a ball retriever!” He said that he agreed with me, but was only relaying what he was being told.
We didn’t spend much more time trying to get it, since there was no use, so we went to our seats which were actually where the three guys are standing to the left of the bullpen two photos back.
My seat was right on the rail that separated the bleachers from the bullpen. Sweet!
This next photo is just to show how much velocity is behind the pitches that the pitchers make….
If you click the above picture you can really see how deep those dents are. Kind of a random shot, but I liked it.
Just like this one….
Obviously, that was later in the game, but I wanted to stay in the “random” moment.
I was able to grab a short video on the camera of the bullpen guys being silly. I don’t know how else to upload it so just click the following link. (Be prepared, it’s a 14 second video that takes a couple minutes to load. If you take the time to upload it I think you’ll enjoy it.)
Here’s a shot of starting pitcher Max Scherzer and pitching coach Rick Knapp….
For that last photo I actually had to stick the camera out past the railing and turn it toward the opposite end of the bullpen to take it. I couldn’t see what I was doing, but I think it turned out okay.
As far as the game is concerned, it was exciting. Scary at times, but exciting nonetheless.
The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning thanks to Vladimir Guerrero’s two-run homer (Man, am I glad we signed that guy!). They added a run in the 4th with a bases loaded walk to rookie Justin Smoak to go up 3-0. Miguel Cabrera hit a two- run single in the top of the 5th to cut the Rangers’ lead down to one. Michael Young added an RBI groundout to put the Rangers up 4-2, and that was it for the scoring until the 9th inning.
In the top of the 9th the Rangers sent out Neftali Feliz to get the last three outs of the game. With two men on and two outs, Austin Jackson had a 13 pitch at bat that culminated in a game tying, two run single. Man!
In the bottom of the 9th with one out and one man on, Elvis Andrus swung through strike one and fouled off strike two. Both fastballs. On the third pitch Andrus smokes one up the middle for a walk off single and the Rangers win 5-4. Bring on the fireworks!
What a great game to attend! When you watch a game on television that gets close like this one, you don’t get near the same feeling as when you’re actually at the game. What a rush.
For those of you out there that have seen Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”, you might get a kick out this next photo. I took this of the pitcher the Tigers had warming up in case the game went into extra innings….
“We are the knights who say ni!”
Sorry, I just thought that was amusing.
Time of Game: 3hrs. 4mins.
Next Game: Sunday 4/25 also vs. Detroit
As you all probably know by now, the Minnesota Twins are using commemorative baseballs this year for the inaugural year of Target Field.
The Twins are coming to Arlington for a four game set August 23-26.
My goal is to attend at least two of those games and snag at least one of those balls.
If you haven’t seen them yet they look like this….
I must have one. Well, maybe more than one, but at least one.
This game wasn’t decided upon until the day before (Saturday), when Dirk wasn’t able to go to Saturday’s game with his wife. We got some cheap bleacher tickets and we were off.
It was going to be a 2:05 start, the weather was great. It had the makings of a really good day.
Except for this….
Yeah, it was cap day.
This cap giveaway was to commemorate Ian Kinsler’s 30/30 season last year.
I have to admit, most cap giveaways I’ve been to, the caps haven’t been that great, but these were pretty cool. You can see Kinsler’s embroidered signature on the bill, and it also has his #5 on the right side which you can barely see.
Not bad for a freebie.
Although, as is the case with most promotions, it brought a lot people to the ballpark. Besides the weather of course.
For Saturday and Sunday games the gates open 1-1/2 hours early, unlike the usual 2 hours for weekday games. Which means the gates would open at 12:35 today for the general public, for Dirk and I it was 12:05. Heehee.
We made it through the bag check, got our ticket scanned, and grabbed our free cap and hurried out to the left field seats and noticed there wasn’t many people out there. Cool!
We also noticed this….
That was a good sign, but we weren’t sure if the Rangers had already hit or not.
As we killed the next few minutes checking the gaps and bullpens I snapped this photo to show the competition for the first 30 minutes….
My thoughts were along this line, “Oh man, please start hitting soon!”
But, it never happened.
For either team.
We soon found out that the main reason for no batting practice was the Girl Scouts were going to parade around the warning track during pregame. I fought to keep all of the selfish remarks in my head, and had to admit what a cool experience it would be for them.
So, now that we had even more time to kill, we wandered. I took these next two at the visitors’ bullpen….
This was as close as I would get to snagging any balls today….
It’s like they were taunting us.
We made our way around behind homeplate in the concourse area and got some food and drinks, and then went to our seats in left-center to just take it easy for once. It was nice, but I have to admit that I would’ve rather been snagging.
Here’s a photo I took of the right field area from our seats….
….which we only stayed in for the first two innings thanks to the two drunk, wannabe announcers behind us.
So, in the top of the 3rd we went over to the third base side to try for foul balls like we usually do, and this was our view….
It seems like every time the Mariners are in town I find myself taking pictures of the guy in the above photo. Future Hall of Famer….
As for the game itself, it was good. The Rangers finally got some offense going, and displayed some really good defense also. They came away with the win 9-2, and also took the series two games to three.
I didn’t take many more pictures except for in the top of the ninth inning when we had moved around behind homeplate. I really wanted to try and get some photos of Griffey at the plate. You never know when your last chance to see someone of his caliber at bat will be. This is the best I could do….
I’d like to say that the last photo culminated in a homer, but it didn’t. I can’t really remember now, but he either hit a flyout or he struck out. Oh well, at least I got to see that sweet swing.
Hopefully I get to see him in person again this season, if this turns out to be his last year.
Time of game: 3hrs. 3mins.
Next Game: Sunday, 4/25 vs. Detroit
Well the day had finally arrived, Opening Day.
It started to feel like it had been forever since the last regular season home game I got to attend at the grand ‘ol ballpark, but it was here and I was happy.
The game was a 1:05 start and the gates were set to open at 10:00, so there was not much time to rest and enjoy the off-day in the morning. I had to get moving!
I was attending this game with my friend Dirk and he came and picked me up at my house at 9:00. We stopped at Taco Bell on the way and grabbed some burritos to take in to the park with us, went to will call and got the tickets, and made it to the left field seats at around 10:15.
Too bad batting practice wasn’t going to start until 10:30. Meh.
We found a spot we felt was going to work for us, so we put our bags down and got out our gloves and cameras.
Here’s a picture I had Dirk take of me before batting practice started….
….and here’s one of the centerfield offices….
Once batting practice got underway, this was the view to my right….
The view to my left was so much worse I didn’t even want to take a picture of it.
While the Rangers were hitting the Blue Jays came out into the outfield to start throwing, and I took a picture of my favorite Jay, Scott Downs….
For those that may not know, my daughter Sarah and I had a pretty cool encounter with Mr. Downs at a game last season.
You can read that entry here.
The Rangers took BP from 10:30 to 11:10, then the Jays hit from 11:20 to 12:00. During the Rangers’ portion there were not many homeruns hit our way, nor were there players tossing balls into the crowd that had found there way to the warning track.
The Blue Jays’ portion was completely different. It seemed like every other ball was a homerun that came to left field. It was so much fun, the only problem was how crowded it was. Moving was nearly impossible, and Dirk and I were on the first row. But Dirk had some more device opportunities in the visitors’ bullpen, and I was able to pull one up myself. It would turn out to be my only ball of the day and #2 on the season.
After batting practice concluded we made our way to our seats to get ready for the pregame festivities. This was the view from our seats….
Once the pregame activities started this was displayed on the video board….
I wanted to take photos of some of the players during the introductions, but my camera doesn’t zoom too far, so I waited until both teams had been announced and took this one….
I usually stand pretty still during the national anthem, but I couldn’t control myself and took this picture before it ended….
** One observation: At least they felt it important enough to turn the lights on for a 1:05 start. It was rather cloudy, but still, lights? **
I also snapped a photo of the flyover by some F-16s….
Then there was a paraplegic veteran that parachuted out of a helicopter and delivered the ceremonial first pitch ball to Roger Staubach….
That’s Roger in the jeans and Nolan Ryan in the suit. Ian Kinsler caught for Staubach who threw a chest high (standing up) strike.
Finally, the moment had arrived. The first pitch….
…. that was taken for a strike, which we all know means the Rangers are going all the way this year. No? Maybe it’s just me then.
The game was great from the start if you’re a Blue Jays fan, if not, it was brutal.
Scott Feldman gave up a two-run homer in the first to Vernon Wells, and a solo shot in the third to Aaron HIll which put Toronto up 3-0. Meanwhile, the Rangers didn’t even have a hit until the bottom of the seventh.
As for the bottom of the seventh, that’s when new Ranger Vladimir Guerrero stepped up to the plate to lead off the inning. Now, you’ll have to forgive me because I don’t remember the exact count, but a couple of pitches before Vlad got the Rangers their first hit, he hit a mammoth foul ball. By mammoth I mean, third level, even with the top of the foul pole mammoth.
Yeah, it was amazing.
To top it off, it looked like he barely even swung the bat!
Once Vlad got the first hit, it seemed like they just kept coming after that. Nelson Cruz stepped up with two men on and proceded to hit a three-run homer to tie the game at 3-3.
In the top of the eighth young Ranger reliever Neftali Feliz gave up the go ahead run to put the Rangers behind 4-3.
By the bottom of the ninth Dirk and I had already found different seats along the first base side, where we got to see Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit the game-winnng RBI single, and watch the players rush the field….
What a great way to end a great day, Rangers win 4-3.
Now if only the rest of the season could be like this!
Time of game: 2hrs. 36mins.
Next Game: Not 100% sure, but probably Sun. 4/25 vs. Detroit
This past weekend I spent Easter Sunday at my mother’s house, hanging out with the family like always. At some point in the day, a conversation had turned to cities/places in the U.S. to visit. I happened to mention to my aunt Lori that I wanted to go to Ohio, which is something she and I say every year but never do.
Until this year.
This year we actually went to the computer and looked up dates, checked flights, and called my uncle MIke in Ohio to make sure he wasn’t going anywhere this year. After checking airline prices, and also checking the Indians’ website to see when they were having home games, we decided on the weekend of August 26-30. My birthday weekend.
I don’t know yet which game we’ll be going to, but at this point I’m doubly stoked. First, to see some of my family that I haven’t seen in years, and second to finally see Progressive Field. I am really excited!
So that’s my news, it probably doesn’t do anything for anyone else, but oh well. I’m looking forward to experiencing a new ballpark and writing all about it.
Come on August!
Friday, April 2, I attended an exhibition game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. It was the Texas Rangers (obviously) vs. the Kansas City Royals.
I was so excited for this game, (1) because it was an opportunity to go to a game, and (2) because I was taking my daughter Sarah. Dirk and his daughter Kaitlyn went also, but Sarah and I were really amped up to get back out the ballpark.
It was a 7:05 start which meant that the gates would open at 5:05. For everyone else.
We used this to get in at 4:35….
This was our first year to do anything like this, but like I mentioned in a previous entry, Dirk and I went in on two seats on this 16-game mini plan. As a bonus we got the season ticket holder ID cards.
When we made it through the gate and bag check, we found our way over to the left field seats like we usually do for batting practice.
For the first 30 minutes, this was the competition to our left….
…. and our right….
The only problem we faced was not very many Rangers were hitting homeruns our way. The lefties were peppering the right field seats, but the righties were only hitting a few.
There were other alternatives though.
For those that may not know, the visitors’ bullpen is in the outfield between the left field seats and the bleachers in left-center. That bullpen oftentimes becomes quite the BP homerun basket. Meaning, there are at least 2-3 ball retrieving device opportunites per session.
Enter Dirk and I.
Between the two of us, we were able to snag 5 balls out of the visitors’ bullpen. (Dirk 4, Brian 1). Since introducing Dirk to the whole ball snagging, ball retriever device world he has turned into an animal. I guess I’ve adopted a more mellow attitude toward snagging. If I can’t catch a BP homer, or if Sarah doesn’t get a toss up, I really don’t make much more of an effort. Call me crazy, but that’s just me.
Dirk on the other hand, has turned himself into Mr. Bullpen & Gap Master. If one lands in the gap anywhere in the park, or in either bullpen, he is all over it. That being the reason he outsnagged me 4-1. Anyways, on with the story….
As I mentioned earlier, Sarah and I were able to get one ball tonight. Our first of 2010 and here is Sarah with ball #1 after BP was over….
Here’s another photo of the ball that I took later to show the gashes that are on it. Beware, the photo is blurry, but it’s the best I could get it….
The bottom left gash is actually as deep as it looks. Pretty cool.
That was it for us during batting practice. The Royals didn’t do any better at getting homeruns out than the Rangers did. Oh well at least we got one.
As for the game, our seats were pretty good….
A little side story…
You see the guy on the bottom right of the above photo with the yellow/gray sunglasses? He was with a girl who was sitting to his left, and behind her was my daughter Sarah who proceded to get a pretty good sized glob of nacho cheese on the back of her shirt.
(Insert very long, very awkward 10-15 minutes here)
Anyways, exhibition games give the video department time to practice layouts, as well as giving ownership the chance to try out new team names as you’ll see in the next photo….
(It should be stated that when I went to opening day, the “Range” part was taken off)
The game was 0-0 going into the 7th inning until the Royals got a 2-out triple to go up 1-0. Then in the bottom of the inning, David Murphy hit a two-run homer to put the Rangers on top 2-1, and that would end up being the final score.
Around the 8th inning we decided to make our way behind home plate, and that’s where I took my favorite picture of the ballpark this year (so far!)….
I love that view.
I also got a shot of David Murphy fouling off a pitch….
Sorry, my camera’s not real good for action shots, but just to the left of Murphy’s left shoulder, that vertical white blur is the ball, I promise.
Here’s a couple shots of us behind home.
Me and Sarah….
Dirk and Kaitlyn….
That’s all for this game. Rangers win 2-1, and now it’s a waiting game until Monday.
Opening Day, ah yes!
Time of game: 2hrs. 11mins.
Next Game: Mon. 4/5 vs. Toronto