Sunday June 27th was a long day. Literally, it was a long day, that’s not a complaint. We left our house at around noon, stopped at a convenience store for water and batteries, and headed to the ballpark. It was a 7:05 start. Why did we leave so early you ask?
Let me explain….
My friend Dirk and I had been talking to a gentleman that is a season ticket holder who mentioned all of the autographs he gets at the games he goes to. At any given moment he can pull a ball out of his bag that has been autographed by a Ranger. You name them, he has their autograph. Naturally, Dirk and I were very intrigued and inquired how he came about them. He then told us that he stands by the parking lot tunnel that the players drive into either before or after games. Some players stop and some don’t, but he says of all the times he’s been out there he has come away with at least one autograph. That settled it, we had to do this.
We had actually made one attempt at getting some autographs prior to this afternoon. Dirk and I went out there after the game on Thurs. 6/10, the only problem was the next day was an away game so all of the players were in a hurry to get to the airport to head to Milwaukee. At least we got a feel of where to go, plus we saw what some of the guys’ rides were.
So that brings us to this day. It was a weekend game as well as a 7:05 start, so we loaded up our daughters to make our first true attempt at getting some Rangers autographs.
Here’s a photo I took of the girls shortly after we arrived at the tunnel….
The area was nothing more than a median, like on a roadway. There are two fairly tall pine trees that offered really good shade, as well as there being a decent breeze to make it even better.
We got there at around 12:30 and there was already about 8-10 other people there who said no one had stopped yet, and only a handful of people had been by so we knew we were in good shape.
Our first autograph would come from the manager, Ron Washington….
The photo on the left is of Dirk, his daughter Kaitlyn, and my daughter Sarah. The one on the right is just Sarah. I took two photos of each autograph so Dirk would have one of his daughter and I would have one of mine. Just a semi-unnecessary explanation of why there’s two pictures of each.
There were periods of inactivity between autographs, and during one of these periods I realized that I was in dire need of a bathroom. I had drank a bottle of Mountain Dew on the way there and was now paying for it. I didn’t want to have to walk anywhere, but I didn’t have a choice. Long story short, I had to walk about a quarter of a mile to a youth ballpark located just outside the Rangers’ ballpark. By the time I returned, the girls had gotten Nelson Cruz’ autograph and just finished getting catcher Matt Treanor’s….
Just for the record, I don’t know the lady that’s in the photo, I just wanted to document what Treanor drove. And in case you’re wondering, we got Washington on a baseball, Cruz signed a hat that Sarah wanted to get a bunch of autos on, and Treanor signed a ball. If I had been there, I would’ve had Cruz sign a ball and Treanor sign the hat, but oh well. We were happy to have them period.
The next one that stopped was hitting coach Clint Hurdle….
The fifth and final autograph for today would come from pitcher Chris Ray….
…. who would also sign Sarah’s hat.
Pretty cool! In all, we were out there for about two hours and came away with 5 autographs. Of course there were guys that drove by and didn’t stop, but that’s understandable. I didn’t expect to get all of the teams’ autos today. We were completely satisfied with what we came away with.
At around 2:30-2:40 we left and headed over to Pappasito’s for a late lunch. Gotta love Mexican food!
After stuffing our faces we headed back over to the ballpark and walked in the gate at around 4 o’clock. There was a pregame concert by Los Tigres del Norte so the gates were opened earlier than usual, but it didn’t matter because when we got out to the left field seats we saw this….
The ballpark hosers. Yes, the cage was up but, I’ll admit, I was still a little scared because we usually don’t see them until after batting practice. After about 5 minutes of uncertainty a guy walked out and set an empty bucket by the screen in centerfield. Yes!
I shouldn’t have doubted that there would be BP, but I haven’t ever been in that early before so it threw me off.
Within the next fifteen minutes the Rangers would come out to stretch and throw….
…. and five minutes after that, they would start to hit and I was forced to stare at these for at least 10 minutes….
…. which, I’m sad to say that I would not get.
I would get on the board though when a kid next to me dropped a toss up into the gap that I would reel up with my device and give to him. He was thrilled, because he thought he was out of luck. When he saw me get it and slowly bring it up, he was ecstatic. I love doing that, because it’s a double win. I get to count it because I reeled it up, plus this kid in particular got his very first Major League baseball. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I came within inches of catching my first BP homer on the fly. I leaned as far over the rail as I could but was still about two inches short and the ball fell into the gap directly underneath me. Unfortunately, there just so happened to be a guy walking by down there that would pick up the ball (before I could tell him not to) and toss it up to someone else. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.
That was it for the rest of batting practice for me. Seriously, for both teams. Now if I wanted to start counting toss up “assists”, I would have cleaned up. I must have pointed to 6-8 different kids at various points of batting practice and every one of them got the ball. I even toyed with the idea of pointing to myself a couple times for fun but thought better of it. The kids would get their ball and run off to show someone what they got. That may have been my problem. If I had not pointed and just let them stay around, maybe I would’ve had more gap-retrieval opportunities. Who knows?
If you’re wondering why Sarah wasn’t by me trying for her own toss ups, it’s because she and Kaitlyn were by the left field foul pole up under an overhang in the shade. It was hot. Very hot.
Once the Astros’ BP concluded I walked a couple sections over to where Dirk was and we noticed a ball in the middle of the visitors’ bullpen. It wasn’t placed there, but hit there during batting practice. I asked the closest security guard if I could swing my device out to knock it closer and he said go for it. It was about 6-8 feet out from the wall so it took a few throws but it worked. I would soon reel it up for our 2nd and final ball of the day. Dirk would end up with 3 of his own (all with his device), and I had to fight off a little disgust at never being able to out-snag him.
We next went to track down the girls and go sign up to be designated drivers and get our free soda coupons. There’s two different places in the ballpark and if you do both, you get two coupons which is cool because Sarah and I both would get free drinks.
Along the way we saw the Silver Boot trophy which is what the winner of the two Rangers/Astros series receives….
I’ve been told that the boot is a size 13. In case you were wondering…
The four of us didn’t sit together this game. Sarah and I were in the upper deck on the first base side, and Dirk and Kaitlyn were in the bleachers in left-center.
Here’s a picture from our seats….
…. of the second appearance of the day by the Ballpark Hosers.
The camera I was using was given to me just that morning by Dirk, so I had to get the hang of using it. I had grown so used to my wife’s camera from using it for a couple years, that this new one was a whole new animal.
Here’s a shot of where I stood during batting practice….
I know you can’t tell where I’m talking about, but it was above the “g” in the blue Samsung sign in left-centerfield.
Here, let me test out the zoom and show you a closer look….
Come to think of it I was actually across the aisle from the spot above the “g”, but who’s keeping track?
I asked Sarah what she wanted me to take a picture of next and she said the Texas flag, so I obliged….
…. with both “Texas” flags.
The pregame festivities included a tribute to Hispanic heritage….
…. as well as the TCU baseball team, who had just been eliminated from the College World Series the previous day….
I also took a few shots of the Rangers during their pregame warmups….
The photo on the top left intrigued me because it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a catcher throw to a catcher. The photo on the bottom right was taken about 5 seconds too late. That’s Vladimir Guerrero getting stretched by the trainer and Josh Hamilton behind him (or above his head, however you want to describe it). Josh had gone about 10-15 feet away from Vlad and got down on his belly and “army-crawled” all the way to him. When he got there, he did something (I didn’t see what) to scare the he!! out of Vlad. I saw him crawling, looked away to get my camera ready, and looked back to see Vlad and Josh laughing. I wish I had seen what he did, but at least I saw some of it.
I mentioned before that Dirk and his daughter were sitting in the bleachers, well I zoomed in as far as I could and this is where they were sitting….
If you click on the photo you’ll see two red arrows pointing to Dirk and his daughter. I told him to call me around the third or fourth inning to see if there were any empty seats that Sarah and I could have.
Somewhere around the fourth inning he said there were two available in the row behind him, so we headed that way and when we got there I took this photo of Sarah….
…. behind section 53 in left-centerfield.
While sitting in the outfield I took the following two pictures of different angles of the park….
…. and I must admit that I like them both.
As far as the game goes, the Rangers scored early and often accumulating 10 runs by the end of the 6th inning, and that would be all they would need to defeat Roy Oswalt and the Astros. 10-1 was the final. Josh Hamilton hit the second longest home run in the history of the Ballpark in Arlington. It was a 468 foot, two-run mammoth shot to the 2nd deck above the Rangers dugout in right field.
The game was exciting on all fronts and capped off what was an all around great day of baseball.
Time of Game: 2hrs. 38mins.
Next Game: Wed. 7/7 vs. Cleveland
Well, just like I did for this entry I am going to combine two games into one entry.
I didn’t have a camera for either game because my oldest daughter has it with her on vacation in Colorado. So that leaves me without one. It’s okay, I’ll have my own eventually.
Game #1 on Tuesday 6/22 was pretty cool because of the seats my friend Dirk and I had. We got tickets on StubHub that were the same ones we had for this game against Detroit. Right next to the visitors’ bullpen.
I love these seats!
For batting practice, we got inside the park at around 5:30 and had a good 30-40 minutes of the Pirates’ BP. Dirk was able to snag 3 of his own, while I managed only 1. The one I got was a toss up behind the Pirates’ dugout by a guy that I assume is in the front office or something because he was wearing a dress shirt and dress pants. The Pirates were clearing the field and this gentleman was walking toward the dugout with a ball in his hand. As he got closer he started scanning the people behind the dugout, so I held my glove up and he tossed it to me. Whew! If not for that one I would have been shutout, and I’ve had enough of those this season.
As for the game, since I sat on the end last time we were over there, this time was Dirk’s turn.
The Pirates as an organization were very impressive to me this game. Especially for a team that seems to be struggling like they are. For instance during batting practice, while I was behind the dugout Andrew McCutcheon was signing autographs on the third base line. He must have stood there for 20 minutes! It was amazing. Then during the game it seemed like all of the bullpen guys were interacting with the crowd at some point.
At around the start of the fourth inning Octavio Dotel came into the bullpen and sat right on the other side of the wall from Dirk. When he walked up he asked how we were doing and if we were enjoying the game (even though the Pirates were losing at the time). Later on in the game I told Dirk that I would buy his ice cream if he Octavio’s autograph for us. After a few moments of hesitation we both had one of these….
… that would put an exclamation point on a great evening!
The Rangers won 6-3 thanks to trio of homers. A solo shot by Michael Young, a three run shot by Julio Borbon, and a solo jack by my man Josh Hamilton. Good times!
At some point during the game I noticed a lineup card taped to a wall in the bullpen and told Dirk that we needed to stick around for a little bit afterward so I could try and get it. First I asked the security guard working the ‘pen what happens to it after the game (I actually knew, but wanted to make it clear that I was not going to be a nuisance), and he said they usually throw it away. I asked if I could ask someone for it and he said go for it, so I did.
I asked I guy that came out and was grabbing all of the towels off the ground, and he walked over took it off the wall and came and handed it to me.
Yes! I’ve been wanting one of those for so long, it felt great to finally have one.
Here’s a picture of it that I took the next day….
I like how the Rangers’ hitters are color-coded. It took me a moment to figure out their system but from what I can tell the black lettered hitters are righties, the red ones lefties, and Smoak in blue letters is a switch hitter. Pretty cool how they designate them. I also like how it has the old Ranger logo above the lineup!
It’s very cool to me and I plan on getting it laminated in the very near future.
That’s it for the first game, now onto the second one….
This game was not planned at all. Dirk had been messing around online and found tickets for this game in the exact same seats we had at the previous game.
I was somewhat hesitant to go at first, because he and I would be taking our daughters on Sunday, we had just gone two nights prior, so I was torn. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to go, I always want to go, but I wasn’t to thrilled with having to call my wife and see how she felt about it. And honestly, I don’t like to be away from home too much, so I didn’t want to push it.
Well, my wife didn’t mind so we were off.
We got inside the park at almost the same time as the Tuesday game and caught about the same amount of batting practice.
Dirk changed it up a little this game, I stayed in true “left field” in the seats while he went over to “left-center field” in the bleachers.
I would get on the board within the first 10-15 minutes or so when Brendan Donnelly came to retrieve a ball by the wall in front of me. I had an idea that he might toss the ball up, but I couldn’t see him so I wasn’t sure. I paused for about 5-10 seconds waiting with my glove ready to snag a random no-look toss up, when all of a sudden there it was. I said I was ready, but apparently I wasn’t. The ball was about a foot to my left, but I had maybe a second to react, and I missed it and it fell into the gap. At least I was able to get it with my retriever!
That’s all I would get in the left field seats today. I didn’t really come close to any others, and before too long all of the kids in the park must have seen how generous the Pirates were being and decided to crowd all around me and start shouting for balls.
For the third straight game I went behind the visitors’ dugout. I don’t know what prompted me to start doing this, but I have. The first game was against Seattle and I got some great shots of the the guys in the cage, and I guess I was just drawn in by the close proximity of everything so I kept it up the last two games against Pittsburgh. I was tossed a ball last game by some random guy, and wouldn’t you know it but the same exact guy hooked me up again this game. Pretty sweet! I gave that ball to nearby kid that was trying to get autographs with his mother.
When BP concluded and I met up with Dirk, I decided that I just might change my strategy for future games. I mentioned earlier that Dirk had gone to the left-center bleachers, well he ended up with 6 on the day. That particular area is comprised of three sections and is probably 30 yards long. Dirk ended up going back and forth from end to end as parents would call him over to use his retriever to get the ball out of the gap that their child had dropped after getting it tossed to them by a Pirates player. What a deal! Even though he gave them all to the kids they were supposed to go to in the first place, they still count toward his totals because he snagged them. From now on, he and I are going to tag team that area, one on one end and the other one on the opposite end. With as generous as the visiting teams have been lately it sounds like a pretty good plan.
The game was good, the Rangers came back to win in walk off style 6-5 thanks to Vladimir Guerrero’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.
Octavio Dotel, the Pirates’ closer that we talked to some on Tuesday came back out around the fourth inning again and recognized us. I had given him my free taco voucher that the ballpark gives out if the Rangers score a run in a specific inning, and I asked if he used it and he said he couldn’t find the restaurant. He may have been lying, but it felt good to have a conversation with a big leaguer. I would soon have much more than just a conversation with him too.
To cut to the chase, at some point in the game Octavio took my phone. Yes, you read that correctly, he took my phone. Not to be mean, or to steal it (like he couldn’t afford it!), but to be funny. I don’t know how long he had it, but I had it setting on a knee high wall next to me that is about head height to him. He grabbed it and handed it to the guy next to him to hide under his leg. When I went to grab it to check the other scores, it wasn’t there. I started to look at my feet, in the gap in front of me, in my backpack, in Dirk’s backpack in case he was trying to be funny, behind me, and it was nowhere. After around 10 minutes I started to panic, mainly because it’s an iPhone that is not under warranty and I really didn’t want to have to replace it.
I asked Octavio (we’re on a first name basis now), if he saw it on his side of the wall, and he played dumb for a second and then reached over to his teammate and got it back from him and gave it to me.
Man! What a dizzying array of emotions that swept over me in the next few minutes. Relief, at having it back. Slight embarrassment, from he and the rest of the bullpen laughing at me. And also hysteria. No the good kind. It was hard to stop laughing for a bit because after the rush of emotions stopped and reality began to sink in, I was beginning to realize that I was just pranked by a Major League baseball player!
Who else can say that?! Better yet, who else can say that that also has a blog to share it with the world?
Needless to say, I was thrilled to have such a cool story to tell. I already had gotten his autograph at the previous game, so to try and get something in return I mentioned his cap that was laying on top of the wall in front of him. I even went out of my way to say after the game, and he seemed to half-heartedly agree, but they lost. At the time fo the prank the Pirates had the lead, hence the good mood, since they wound up losing I was out of luck.
Oh well. As I said, the story is worth it.
The Pirates had another lineup card taped to the wall like the one I had gotten Tuesday night, and I told Dirk that if I was able to get it, that I would give it to him.
I did. Along with a smaller sheet of paper that I couldn’t decipher from that far away, but here it is….
It seems to be the Pirates’ way of documenting stats on that game’s starter as well as the bullpen guys. Kind of different but it’s definitely worth keeping.
And here’s a ball that I had autographed by bullpen catcher Heberto Andrade….
What an awesome two nights of baseball!
Time of Game: 2hrs. 45mins.
Time of Game: 3hrs. 6mins.
Next Game: Sunday 6/27 vs. the Astros
The plans for this game changed a couple different times, but this game was attended by myself, my daughter Sarah, my older daughter Kayla, and their grandmother Stacey. I had left my house with enough time to get to Houston (it’s about a 4 hour drive), find Stacey’s house (thanks Garmin!), and get to the ballpark in time for batting practice.
It all worked out to plan.
We got to the ballpark at around 5:10 or so and we purchased our tickets for the cheap seats for $7 each. The line at the centerfield gate was longer than I would have liked, but it was Friday and they were giving away Lone Star series t-shirts along with a post game fireworks show.
When we finally made it inside I ran over to the right field seats, mainly because the left field seats (where I like to go in Arlington) are called the Crawford Boxes in Houston and they get very full very fast.
I only took a couple pictures with my phone this game, because my daughter Kayla had our camera packed in her suitcase. So here’s a picture of the left field seats from my trip to Minute Maid last year (to read about that trip, click here)….
You can see the seats I’m referring to just below the Citgo sign on the glass wall.
The above picture was actually taken during the game, but they get pretty close to that full for batting practice, which is why I go to the right field seats.
Here’s a picture I took with my phone of Vladimir Guerrero….
…. and here’s Sarah with the free shirt we got tonight….
Sorry, I know my phone sucks for taking pictures, but it’s the best I could do. Hopefully, one day, I’ll have my own camera and I won’t have to worry about it anymore.
When we first got to the seats there were people along the front row, so I got Sarah a spot on the rail and I stayed back a row or two to give myself some space. It didn’t matter. I didn’t have any home runs come anywhere near me. After about 10 minutes or so I figured our best chance at getting a ball was going to be a toss up.
Let me set the record straight right now: I hate asking for toss ups! I don’t know why, I just do. But, at least Sarah was with me so I don’t feel too bad.
Anyways, back to BP. I also thought I might have a shot at leaning over the low outfield wall and getting one off the bounce (which I actually came close to doing once). Once Vlad was gone from right field a good portion of the kids hanging around left too, so I made my way down to the first row next to Sarah to work on getting a toss up.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux and young pitcher Neftali Feliz were in front of us for about 20 minutes or so and on a couple different occasions I thought we might get the hook up from Maddux, but it never came to pass. Feliz on the other hand was good to us, though I’m not 100% sure if it was intended for us or not. He grabbed a grounder off the field edge of the warning track about 10-15 feet away from us and I called out to him. He was ranging to his left for the ball and once he had it in his glove he kind of hop-stepped to stop his forward momentum and did an overhead lob toss exactly in our direction. All I had to do was reach straight up as high as I could and I was just able to snow cone the ball before it went over my head. Yes!
This would be our very first ball snagged outside of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and it felt great to get it! Sarah and I had talked before the trip about how cool it would be to snag one away from home and we did.
I yelled out a thank you to Neftali and he gave me a thumbs up, so maybe it was intended for us after all.
After snagging our first out of town ball Sarah was so excited about it that she wanted to show it to her grandmother, so we set out to track her down giving some other people around us the chance at snagging a ball.
Once we found Stacey we made our way up to the fourth level to get some drinks and head to our seats. Here’s an idea of where they were….
They were kind of way up there but it was okay. Stacey bought the tickets and I was just happy to be there.
The game itself was good, the Rangers won 9-3. Justin Smoak hit two run homer in the third.
Not much else to report from this game, no more pictures, just the memories of our first “away” ball. That, and the fact that this was my first game with Kayla in years. She’s not really into sports at all, so the fact that she was even there to begin with is pretty cool.
Time of Game: 2hrs. 52mins.
Attendance: 33,951 (Sure didn’t look like it!)
Next Game: Tues. 6/22 vs. the Pirates (I won’t have my camera then either)
For those of you that may not know, Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is by far my favorite Ranger, and probably my favorite active player period.
When the Rangers traded pitcher Edison Volquez for him in the offseason prior to the 2008 season it is was an almost instant draw. By the time Spring Training was underway the story of his personal life started to spread, locally and nationally. Before long everyone knew of his trials and struggles with his own personal demons. Eventually, an autobiography (which is a great book by the way) even came out of the whole thing.
Josh was an instant fan favorite, getting thunderous applause every time he came to the plate in Arlington. He would do countless speaking engagements to tell his testimony to children, adults, anyone who would listen actually. I remember after one particular Sunday afternoon game in the spring of ’08 he and his wife Katie stayed and talked to a large crowd that filled the right field seats, just to have an opportunity at a question and answer session with him.
Of course we all remember what he did at the 2008 Home Run Derby at the old Yankee Stadium. That alone opened up the nation’s eyes to not only his background, but also to just how good he really is.
Following the All-Star break of ’08 Josh’s numbers dipped slightly. He didn’t finish the season on the same torrid pace that he started. Few do.
2009 by all accounts was a let down for Hamilton. Amid spending numerous weeks on the disabled list for varying injuries, he only amassed 10 home runs in 89 games played. Whereas in 2008 he had 32 homers in 156 games. Add to this a midsummer escapade in an Arizona bar that had the national media as well as the internet buzzing, 2009 was a season to forget for the Great Hambino (as he’s known around here).
As we approach the midway point of the 2010 season, Hamilton looks very much on his way to a 3rd consecutive All-Star game appearance (and hopefully a 2nd Home Run Derby appearance!). In the month of June he has 17 hits in 39 at bats with 4 home runs, 15 RBI, and 10 runs scored with a .436 average in his last 10 games.
Like the title of this entry states, Hamilton is hitting his stride at just the right time.
For the season he has 71 hits in 231 at bats with 13 home runs, 42 RBI, and 39 runs scored with a .307 average. Pretty good numbers considering the season he had last year.
My outlook on Josh Hamilton is pretty simple. For a man that does not run from the chance to profess his love and admiration to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he is humble. Humble and thankful. And with myself striving to be the best christian that I can be, Hamilton with all of his own setbacks aside, gives me something to shoot for.
I purchased a 2008 Home Run Derby ball off of Ebay with the specific intention of getting Josh to autograph it. I carried it in my backpack for a year and a half and the stars finally aligned for me on Saturday May 8, 2010. If you are interested you can read a full description of the event here.
Here is the finished product….
As of today June 11, 2010 this is my most prized possession. It most likely will stay that way, but you never know what the future holds.
Well that’s it for my little Josh Hamilton appreciation entry. Those of us that get to see Josh in Arlington at any given chance need to take advantage of every possible opportunity, because none of us knows when we won’t have that chance anymore.
This entry is a couple of weeks old, but oh well. My friend Dirk and I went to an independent league game on Friday May 28th. It was the Fort Worth Cats taking on the Grand Prairie Airhogs in the American Association. The Cats play at LaGrave Field, and I have done entries on them before (like here and here), but haven’t been able to get to the Grand Prairie field.
I’m not going to give a verbal description of this trip in this entry. I would rather do a pictoral entry if you don’t mind. With that being said, here we go….
The red arrow in the last photo shows what a screaming foul ball can do the metal wall behind home plate. There is another view of the wall two photos up.
In the last photo just above the red wall is a swimming pool.
That’s it. That’s my photo tour of my first game at QuikTrip Park. Not bad for an independent league team’s park, though I really don’t see myself returning anytime soon. LaGrave field in Fort Worth is just fine to me, and it’s closer to where I live!
I was real fired up for this game, being that it was the first home game for the Rangers since May 23rd, plus the fact that I was attending this game with my aunt Lori, I was ready.
We got to the park at around 4:05 and stood in line until 4:35 when the gates would finally open. It was hot standing in line, so I knew it was going to be a scorcher during batting practice, but that’s okay I was eager to get snagging.
When we reached the left field seats, the scene was basically the same as it has been the last couple of games I’ve gone to. It was me, a vendor that was out of uniform, and two other guys for the first 30 minutes of BP.
I wouldn’t have to wait long to get on the board either.
Within the first five minutes Josh Hamilton was working on his opposite field power again. I say again because I had snagged an oppo homer from him at this game. Today I would snag another for ball #1 of the day. I didn’t catch it on the fly though, it hit a section to my right and I ran over and picked it up out of the empty row.
Rangers pitcher Derek Holland, who is currently on the disabled list, was in left field directly in front of me and I noticed the hair on the back of his head looked completrly shaved, so I got his attention and asked him if he shaved his head, and he lifted his hat and sure enough it was all gone. I gave him a thumbs up and let him get back to work. A few minutes later he tossed a ball to a guy a section to my right, so the next time he had a ball in his hand I called his name, but to no avail.
The wall in left field has a video board that is actually in the gap between the stands and the outfield wall. Here is the best photo I have to show this….
Sorry for the bad exposure, but it served its purpose. I was actually standing directly above the Min/Oak game summary that’s the 2nd from the left.
That entire video board is air cooled, meaning that there huge fans that are constantly running to keep this thing cooled off. I’m telling you this because after two unanswered call outs to Holland I felt that he probably couldn’t hear me. I then started to realize why I never try for toss ups in the first place. I feel uncomfortable doing it, like I’m trying to compete with little kids, though were none around yet.
About 5 minutes later something odd happened. I’m not sure if Holland did something to get my attention or if I just happened to look at him, but he flashed a ball at me and fired it from about 30 yards away directly into my glove for ball #2. How cool is that? I yelled out a quick thank you and stuck it in my bag.
It wasn’t my first official toss up, but it’s the first one I have gotten without having my daughter Sarah with me.
So, once again I was at my personal record of two (2) balls. I have achieved this total on three different occasions and wanted so desperately to surpass it.
I kept waiting. Nothing was falling into the gap in front of me or the visitors’ bullpen to my left, so I was left with trying to snag on the fly, something I have never done. A little while later a ball finally landed in the gap and I was all over it. Or so I thought. By the time I got my retriever out of my bag and made my way over to the spot I needed to be I noticed that I would not be able to snag this one. Well, not without potentially wasting a lot of valuable time going after just one ball. You see, the ball had come to rest in front of the video board. The best way to describe it is, the wall that the players on the field would hit if they ran into it is actually chain link fence (yeah let that sink in a moment). Then there is about a 5-6 inch space before you get to the actual video board itself which is bolted into the concrete. After that is a 3-4 foot walkway between it and the stands. There, clear as mud? Good.
The ball had landed in front of the video board, but to the very end of it. I possibly could have swung my retriever to try and knock it out to where I could raise it up, but didn’t want to risk losing out on balls that were hit into the seats. So I forgot about it.
Not too long after a Rangers rightie that I couldn’t identify hit a bomb that was going to land way behind me to my right, so I took off up the aisle beside me and made to the appropriate row a split second after the ball hit about two seats in. I grabbed the ball off the ground for ball # 3. Yes! Finally I had outdone two balls. The only downer was Sarah was not with me. When I got home and told her about it she was upset for a moment then smiled and said we would set our own record! I love my daughter!
The Rangers finished up a short while after I had snagged my third ball, so I went to sit with my aunt who had been sitting in the shade this whole time. We watched the first 5 minutes or so of the Rays’ portion and after seeing no balls hit out in that time we decided to head elsewhere. By this time the gates had opened to the rest of the fans, it was hot, I really didn’t want to try and outsnag kids (Fridays are fireworks games so the kids are out in force), so we went over to the Rangers hall of fame since my aunt hasn’t seen it yet.
From there we made our way out to the centerfield gift shop and I was treated to a new t-shirt by my awesome aunt. I got a red Nelson Cruz player shirt. I’m really growing fond of him.
After the shopping we got drinks and cheese fries and headed to our seats in the upper deck. Section 339 row 1 seats 9 and 10. The best part about these seats is the fact that the sun was behind us! See ….
The game was slow. By slow I mean it was a 7:05 start and by 9:00 it was just the fourth inning! So food was a big player this evening. After the cheese fries there was kettle corn, a hot dog for my aunt, a cheeseburger for me, sunflower seeds, ice cream, and of course drinks. Lemonade was the drink of choice tonight.
There was some offense to be seen, Josh Hamilton (my favorite Ranger and possibly favorite player) hit a solo shot in the fourth inning. Rookie first baseman Justin Smoak hit a 2 run shot of his own in the second. The Rangers were down 4-0 before Smoak’s tater, then exploded for 7 runs in the bottom of the fourth to lead 9-4. The Rays would add single runs in the 6th and 7th but would fall short, losing 9-6.
The starting pitcher for the Rangers was the normally on fire C.J. Wilson. Although tonight he would only last 5 innings, giving up 5 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits, with 5 strikeouts and 4 walks, while picking up his fouth win. Neftali Feliz came in to pick up his 15th save of the season.
Here’s a goofy shot of the 3 balls that I came away with tonight….
Time of Game: 3hrs. 10mins.
Next Game: Not really sure, either Thurs. 6/10 vs. the Mariners or Fri. 6/18 in Houston
I know this is getting to be old news, but MLB umpire Jim Joyce is back in the news today.
Last week, after his perfect game-blowing call in Detroit, he granted an interivew to a Detroit newspaper that has given some more insight to an already humbled man’s life.
I don’t know where you stand on this issue. I don’t know you if you care one way or the other if MLB changed the ruling on this call or not.
As for me, I’m human. I make mistakes, and there’s nothing that anybody can say to me that I wouldn’t have already said to myself. I’m my own worst critic. When another person owns up to their mistake I take notice. Not too many people are willing to admit when they screw something up, especially as quickly as Mr. Joyce did. That takes guts, or cajones, or whatever other word you may want to insert there.
He “man-ed up”. Plain and simple.
I want to post the link to this newspaper’s article because I feel it’s worth sharing. I found it on the Big League Stew page on yahoo sports MLB section and I’m pretty sure that not everyone reads that (not that you’re reading this either!)
So, without anymore rambling here it is.