Results tagged ‘ ballpark ’
After my last trip to a Cats game, I knew it would only be a matter of time until my next one. Well, this was it, and this time I was accompanied by Dirk and his son, Connor, and my daughter, Sarah.
We arrived at the stadium at around 5:40 and this was the view as we walked from the truck to the ticket window….
Dirk and I each bought 2 general admission tickets for $6 each, and then waited for the gates to open at 6:00. Here’s a couple shots of us by the gate….
When the gates finally opened we split up, Dirk and Connor went to the RF bleachers, and Sarah and I went to the LF berm. Our mission: Easter Eggs. After failing to find any in either spot, we realized that BP did not happen today. Oh, well, that explains it.
It had been raining off and on the past two days, and although it wasn’t raining at that time, there still wasn’t BP.
With that checked off of the to-do list, the next mission: Food.
All of the concession stands at LaGrave are cash only, and guess who only had a debit card? Yep, me.
So, the next 15 minutes or so were spent locating, and trying to use, the only ATM in the place. The only problem was the weather screwed it up. Alternative: Cats Cash. I had to go to the ticket window and purchase $25 worth of fake money in order to buy food for Sarah and I. Oh well, lesson learned. Bring cash to LaGrave Field!
Our pregame meal consisted of a cheeseburger and fries for Sarah, BBQ brisket nachos for me (they weren’t as good as they sound), and 2 Dr. Peppers for $16.50. Is that a lot of money for a minor league stadium?
RE/MAX of Texas realtors was a sponsor of this night’s game, and one of the planned events was to have 4 RE/MAX skydivers fly onto the field prior to the national anthem and deliver the game ball. Here’s a photo of the final jumper with the American flag….
We didn’t have “seats” for this game since we had GA tickets, so we had a few spots to choose from, and we decided on the first base side even with the right fielder.
That spot is cool from a foul ball standpoint and a game watching perspective, although there would be no foul balls hit our way in the 2-1/2 innings we sat there. We were able to witness some awesome defensive plays though.
Both sides of the field have a “party deck” that overlook the baselines. We decided to go up to the deck on the 1B side (since all of the Cats hitters are righties) and this was the view of homeplate….
And here’s one I took of the Fort Worth skyline….
In the bottom of the 3rd inning a ball was fouled off and heading our direction, so I took off after it with Dirk behind me to my left. The ball was tailing out of my reach, but Dirk made a sweet grab on the fly about 5 feet from me!
Here’s Dirk with his freshly snagged gamer….
And here’s a close-up shot I took of the ball a little while later….
Just before I took the photo of Dirk with the ball, the very next pitch after his foul, was another foul ball hit in our direction! The only problem was I was too busy looking at Dirk’s ball (no jokes please!), that I didn’t see it until it was over my head, bouncing off of the concrete deck, and down into the parking lot. NO!!!!
Oh well, that’s what I get for not paying attention.
This was a VERY slow moving game. First pitch was at 7:05 and by 9:30 they were only into the 6th inning. Thankfully, there is a lot of room for the kids to run around on the party deck, so they kept themselves entertained.
Here’s a couple of photos of us from up there….
The rain was a factor for most of the game, but since this was Independent League baseball, and not MLB, there was never an actual “delay”. On a couple occasions, the rain was strong enough to force most of the fans to take shelter in the concourse behind homeplate.
During one of those “gatherings”, a woman with an umbrella covering herself and her son came and stood near me. I didn’t think anything of it at first, until I heard the woman laughing and the son carrying on about something. I turned to look and saw this….
That would be a baby-sized bird on top of the woman’s umbrella. I have to admit, that’s a first for me. It was acutally on there for a minute or so before I asked to take this picture, and even after I took it, the lady left it there to fly off on it’s own, which it did after a few minutes.
You never know what you are going to see at the ballpark!
It had been a while since we ate, so I went and got Sarah a rainbow Snoball (a snow cone in a bowl), and myself some ice cream (no, they don’t use helmets, but plastic cups. Boo!). That would tide us over for the rest of the night.
By the top of the 9th inning the Cats were leading the Grand Prairie Airhogs 9-4 and the rain was not letting up this time, so we started to make our way to the truck. We walked around behind homeplate to go down the stairs and exit there, but I decided to have Dirk stay with the kids there, and I went out into the parking lot to go for foul balls.
During the course of the game, there were approximately 6-8 kids out there, and around 16-18 fouls hit out there. Yeah, we were counting.
When I was out there, all the kids were gone, and there were only 2 batters that came up to hit in the 9th. The first flew out to the outfield, and the second swung through strike three, but he thought he tipped it (he was wrong), and proceded to “steal” first base and throw it into the stands on the third base side!
Gotta love minor league baseball!
The next batter came up as the rain came down harder, and on the second pitch, he swung and his bat flew clear into centerfield. The umps called the game after that.
Of course I had to hear all of this from Dirk after the fact, since I was out in the parking lot and didn’t get to see it firsthand. Oh well, if a ball had come into the parking lot, I would have been the only one out there to get it!
Time of game: 3hrs. 1 min. (Game called 1 out early due to rain)
By the way — I don’t know if this is the same everywhere else, but LaGrave Field has a pretty cool list of former players that have either played for or against the Cats. You can see that list here. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the list)
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.
I didn’t originally plan on going to this game. I WANTED to go, I want to go to every game, but I hadn’t planned on it.
Thankfully, it was a 7:05 start due to it being the Sunday night ESPN game, so it gave me a little extra time to see if I could make it or not.
I was given a voucher for (1) free ticket to any home game, and I knew there would be batting practice today, and I also knew that this would be my last chance to see Zack Hample in action during BP. The next thing I know, I’m talking to my friend Dirk on the phone and we’re trying to make arrangements to get out there. After he talked with his awesome wife (that day was actually her birthday!), and I talked to my awesome/beautiful/understanding/amazing wife, it was settled. Sunday night baseball was in our sights!
We stopped and picked up our friend Shawn along the way, got to the ticket office, and made it inside the gate at around 5:10. The gates opened at 5:05, so there was already a fairly decent crowd for BP….
Shawn is in the center with the Hamilton jersey, and Dirk is on the very left with the blue shirt, camo hat, and glove. It doesn’t look like a lot of people in that photo, and it really isn’t, but that was taken right after we got there. It didn’t take long for the place to get crowded (well, crowded by our standards at least). There wasn’t any special giveaways or promotions, just ESPN, I guess that was enough to get some extra people out of the house on Sunday night.
For whatever reason, the Rangers did not take BP today. I overheard others say that it was because of the long game the previous night. Whatever! It ended at midnight, yes, but it’s not like this was a noon game, or a 3:00 game for that matter. It was a 7:05 game! Give me a break, I truly hope that was not the reason.
My one and only ball of the day came off of a deflection by Shawn. He was two rows behind me to my right, and a ball was hit right to him. I think he misjudged it or something, because it hit off his forearm on his glove side (yes, he was wearing a glove) and fell into the row between us, and right into my waiting hand! Just for the record, I beat Zack by about a second. Also for the record, I listened to Shawn say at least 3-4 times that day that the ball was really his. Like I told him, if it was his, he would have caught it. Right? Right.
Here’s another photo I took toward the end of BP….
I found out later, on Zack’s blog, that the guy in the gray shirt & red shorts in the previous pic, is another seasoned ballhawk named Dan, and apparently he’s local. Great. Just what I need, more competition. (Dan, if you’re reading this, I’m only kidding).
After BP was over, I wandered around and took some pictures….
The next two photos are of the glorious outfield gap….
This one is from the last row behind home plate, in the upper deck….
This is my photographic proof that Jerry Jones/ the Dallas Cowboys, or football in general, is not bigger than baseball….
The next group is my amateur attempt at a four-way….
I think I still need some practice, but not bad, I guess.
Right before the 1st pitch, I decided to get some cheese fries & a Dr. Pepper (my favorite ballpark meal!), so I could get it out of the way early. And, I was hungary, so it served two purposes.
Our actual ticketed seats were in section 10, which is in the lower level on the 3B side, just shy of the foul pole. The only photo I took from that spot was of the ESPN camera crew that was not too far away….
We stayed in those seats until the 3rd inning or so, and made our way to the 2nd level behind home plate on the 3B side, to go for foul balls. Here’s Shawn telling Dirk how he missed that BP ball (or so I assume)….
We were in that location until around the 7th inning, when we left to go down behind home plate. Our level 2 spot was okay, except for the fact that most of the batters that night were righties, so all of their foul-backs went to the opposite side of the field. Figures. Oh well, it was still pretty cool seeing everything from up there.
Our view from behind home plate was, of course, great….
That’s the great Michael Young in the above picture.
No foul balls back there either, although while we were down there, one was hit to the section we were in on the 2nd level. Of course. Doesn’t it always work like that?
The Rangers won 5-1, behind a strong showing by Matt Harrison (2-2), and a game lead-off homerun by Ian Kinsler (9). Time of game 2:53, attendance 20,132.
Here’s a photo of the ball I got during BP….
Next game….who knows.