Results tagged ‘ home plate ’
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
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….
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)
Well, this is going to be short & sweet, because once again I didn’t have my camera (forgot it).
My friend, Dirk, and I decided to go to this game mainly for the fact that this would be the last home game for the Rangers before the All Star break. So, we cleared it with our wives and we were off. It was such a quick decision that 1: I forgot my camera, and 2: I forgot to print a roster for the Rays.
Oh well, I was soon to find out it wouldn’t matter anyway.
We got to the stadium and bought 2 bleacher tickets for $8.00 each, got to the gate & through the bag check, and to the left field seats at around 5:10 or so. Which normally, is 5 minutes into BP.
No cages, no players on the field at all.
Granted, it was a little cloudy, but they’ve taken BP in worse conditions before.
I can’t explain it, I don’t know what was up, and quite frankly I didn’t want to know. The night before was a normal, 9 inning game. Tonight was a 7:05 start, and no BP. To say that I was upset would be an understatement.
We roamed around for a little while, and during our wandering we spotted a ball in the visitors’ bullpen. It was about 4-5 feet down, and about 3-4 feet out from the wall. Now, I’ve used the glove trick twice now and haven’t had any problems with security, but I still went and asked the nearest usher if I could go for it. Call me crazy, but better safe than sorry I always say.
The usher gave us his blessing (which I figured he would), and we went for it. I let Dirk go for it, since I can do it whenever I want really. He had to knock the ball about a foot closer first, and when he had it just right I set up the trick and he got it on the 2nd try.
Let me back up a little bit.
Before we went and asked for permission from the usher, we noticed that there seemed to be some sort of extra logo on the ball. Commemorative? Odd stamping? We didn’t know for sure, but that made getting the ball much more of a priority.
When Dirk raised the glove for the 2nd time, I put my hand underneath it to support the ball when it came in reach. As we lifted the glove over the railing, I pulled the ball out to look at it and almost puked.
It was a Little League ball!
Are you kidding me?!?!
How in the world it got down there, we had no idea, until a guy came over out of nowhere and asked if we would give it to him, because apparently it was “So and So’s” ball and he threw it down there. Dirk hadn’t seen that it was a little league ball, so he said no at first, but upon further inspection we let him have it.
What a downer. I considered (very briefly) counting it in my glove trick totals, but decided against it. It wasn’t an official MLB ball, so it doesn’t count. Although it was pretty cool getting to snag a ball without BP!
We stayed in the bleachers until the end of the 2nd inning, when we couldn’t take those metal seats any longer, and started roaming for a foul ball spot.
There was suprisingly a lot of people in attendance tonight, so it wasn’t easy to find a good spot. So, we spent a couple innings in the upper deck to see if anything cleared out.
At around the 4th or 5th inning we found a spot on the third base side on the 2nd level, and stayed there until the end of the 7th. No balls there.
We used the top of the 8th to go down behind home plate, and a very nice female usher gave us two seats in the back of a section directly behind home. Great spot, great usher!
The final batter of the game, Pat Burrell, fouled his first pitch one section over to our right, and it was a missile! The next pitch was a rocket over by the Rangers’ dugout. I looked at Dirk, and we knew if one was going to come our way, we would have to be quick.
The next to last pitch was a screamer a few feet to my right. I was on the aisle, and I’m right-handed, so I had a split second to reach across my body with my glove hand while ranging to my right, only to miss it by what seemed like a foot or less. In all reality it may have been 2 feet, but in the heat of the moment it seemed really close.
The ball shot up the tunnel behind me, and I raced to track it down, but by the time I got to the concourse, someone walking by had already gotten it. That’s the closest I’ve ever come to snagging a foul ball.
The very next pitch was a swinging strike three. Rangers win 5-2 and complete a three game sweep of the Rays to remain tied for the division lead with the Angels.
Time of game: 3 hrs.
Next game: 7/17 vs. the Twins
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.
At the start of the season, my friends Dirk, Sam, Shawn & his dad Donnie, and myself decided to get tickets to this game. It was a 3:05 game on a Saturday, so we were going to drive down that morning, catch BP, see the game & drive home that night. Sounds easy enough right? Well, it was, kind of. Here’s us at 8:00 in the morning before hitting the road….
From left to right: Me, Sam, Dirk, Shawn, Donnie
We took my minivan, because the only other choice was Dirk’s Dodge Dakota, and we didn’t think 5 grown men would fit in there too well on a trip that was 4 hours one way. Not the coolest ride in the world, but we were comfortable! The DVD player helped too, watched “The Rookie” on the way down, and “Major League 2″ and “Field of Dreams” on the way home. Well, they watched and I listened.
We got to Houston and found a parking lot at around 12:30 or so. Thankfully, the lot was only $5 and it was about 5-6 blocks from the stadium. Here’s a random shot as we piled out of the van….
This was our first view of the stadium as we walked up the street….
We made our way around the stadium to find the Will Call booth, and made it there at about 12:45ish. Here’s Shawn, Dirk, and Sam at the window….
And this is the line at the Home Plate entrance, which we decided to use since we were right there….
When we finally made it inside, I ran around to right field. I didn’t take one photo along the way, because my only thought was all the balls I was missing out on, since the Astros were already taking BP. This is the 1st photo I took from inside the park, which is where I stayed for the Astros portion of BP….
Minute Maid Park has a retractable roof, for those of you that don’t know, and it was closed due to potentially bad weather. The centerfield wall is made of HUGE glass panels that open when the roof is open, and in front of the glass is a train track for the homerun train. Anytime the Astros hit a homerun, the train whistle blows and the train rolls down the track. Except for today, for some reason, it didn’t move at all. But here’s a look anyway….
See the seats out in left field? Those are the Crawford Boxes, and underneath that section is the visitors’ bullpen. Kind of different, but still cool to me anyway.
I came close to 2 balls during the Astros’ BP, closer than I have ever been and not gotten them. The 1st was a HR that I misjudged, and it cleared my glove by no more than an inch. I thought it was coming right to me, and it did. I thought I could jump and get it, but I couldn’t. I was upset, the ball hit the empty row behind me & flew back on the field, oh well, there was more BP to go. The 2nd was another HR that I played perfectly. I was on the aisle and the ball was hit straight to the staircase I was at, and all I had to do was go down about 2 steps, here it comes…, raised up my glove, getting closer…, about 10 feet away…, then right at the last second, some (@*&$#!) very anxious guy stuck his glove in front of mine and snagged it. To say I was upset with that one would be an understatement. I wasn’t mad at the other guy (I was at first) as much as I was mad at myself for not positioning myself right in the first place. That one took a little longer to shrug off, but I did, ’cause there was still more BP to go.
I met up with the guys for the Rangers’ portion of BP. They were one section over towards center. I didn’t even get close to any this time, but Shawn was able to snag a HR on the fly from Hank Blalock. Pretty cool too, he ranged about 10 feet to his left and snagged it between about 2-3 other people. I was happy for him, then I realized it’s kind of sad that we had to travel all the way to Houston just to snag a ball during Rangers’ BP.
Towards the end of the Rangers’ batting practice, Shawn noticed Josh Hamilton along the 3rd base line signing autographs. He wanted to get his BP ball signed, and I had my 2008 HR Derby ball with me (bought it on ebay). I have taken it to every game I have gone to since I bought it, with the intention of getting Josh to sign it, so far unsuccessfully. There was a TON of people over there already, and we didn’t know how much longer he would be signing, so we ran over there as fast as we could (getting told by security to slow down along the way). When we finally got over there, we squeezed our way down to the railing, just as Josh was making his way past our spot. He was slowly making his way toward the outfield, and we knew he would start coming back our way. Here’s a shot as he passed by the first time….
He did come back over, in fact he came over right next to Shawn, because there was a young boy from the “Make a Wish” foundation that was trying to get a bat signed. Josh signed the bat, posed for a couple photos with the boy, and took off towards the dugout. Pretty cool moment. No autographs for us though, but that’s okay, that young man had his “Wish” come true for sure.
The game itself was good, the Astros got on the board first with a Miguel Tejada solo homerun that had to be reviewed by the umpires. First time for the Rangers to be involved in a review of a HR. They wanted to make sure that a fan did not interfere with the ball as Nelson Cruz was trying to make a play on it at the RF wall. It was ruled a HR. Oh well. The Rangers got theirs later in the game!
After about the 3rd inning or so, Dirk and I decided to wander the stadium. We made our way from our seats in RF, towards centerfield. Minute Maid Park has a pretty cool “Wall of Fame” in straight away center. (It’s not officially called that, but I like that name). They showcase Jeff Bagwell and his 449 career homeruns. Here’s a photo of Dirk in front of it….
Each one of those white dots is an actual ball that has been fastened (I’m not sure how) to the wall. They’re all rubbed, scuffed, and smeared in different ways, which leads you to believe that they are actual game-used balls.
Also on the “Wall” is a photo timeline of Craig Biggio’s 3,000 hits. It’s pretty cool, if I liked the Astros I may have been more interested and taken some pictures. What I did take a photo of is the Homerun Pump. Here’s the pic….
From what I can tell, it does nothing more than keep track of the homeruns hit at Minute Maid. And I’m not sure if it’s just the Astros’ HRs, or all of them. Does anyone know?
After seeing the pump, we walked over to LF behind the Crawford Boxes, which are what those left field seats are called because Crawford Street runs right behind the wall at left field. Here’s a couple views from that spot….
While we were standing there, Nelson Cruz hit his 2nd HR of the day off the CF wall. Followed immediately by Hank Blalock’s solo shot that landed 3 rows in front of our seats! Figures. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, we wouldn’t have had any shot at getting that ball (even though the guy who caught it threw it back).
Here’s a shot of the centerfield concourse area….
So, we continued on our journey around the park, stopping in the obligatory gift shop to see what they offer that the Rangers don’t. Which is nothing, by the way. Although Dirk did purchase some Astros inflatable bats for his 2 kids.
This is what the concourse behind our seats looked like….
We made our way back to our seats somewhere around the 7th inning, and stayed there until the end of the game. The Rangers won 6-3, thanks to Nelson Cruz blasting 2 HRs. Scott Feldman went 6-2/3 innings and picked up his 3rd win (3-0).
And, of course, we did our usual “scavangering” (is that a word?) after the game, and I came away with 3 ice cream helmets, 4 cups (their cups are pretty cool compared to the Ballpark in Arlington), and some tickets. Here’s what they look like….
The trip home was somewhat of an adventure. When we reached the van after the game, we realized that one of the tires was flat on the van. After about an hour delay, we were on our way home, after stopping for some Mexican food of course.
Next game: Monday 5/25 vs. The Stankees….
I was looking forward to this game for two reasons: 1st-The Rangers were just getting back from a 7 game road trip, and 2nd-Josh Hamilton was going to make his first start after coming off the 15-day DL.
My friend Dirk & I got to the ballpark right at 5:00, and made it into the left field seats at about 5:10, so there were already people in the stands since the gates open at 5:05. Oh well, it wasn’t that crowded, so I still felt pretty good about our chances.
The Rangers were already hitting when we walked in, so we ran down to the front row, but out of about 12 hitters, 2 of them were righties (and we were in LF). We thought about moving to RF, but it was too crowded, so we decided to stick it out in left.
During the Rangers portion of BP, I think only one or two homers were hit in our direction, and the closest I could get was about 5 feet away. Blah. I got C.J. Wilson’s attention once when a ball rolled to the wall & he came over to get it. I called his name and held up my glove, and he looked right at me, and then threw the ball back in. Nice.
During the Mariners portion of BP, I still thought we had a good chance, because I had printed out their roster, coach list, & even made a cheat sheet of about 7-8 players with their photo, last name, & jersey #.
It came in handy only from the standpoint that I was the only one around shouting out first names, while everyone else was forced to shout #s since their warmup jerseys didn’t have their names on them. A few guys turned to look when I called their name, but I think it was because they were surprised that anyone actually knew them.
The Mariners’ BP was different for me, because the first 15-20 minutes or so was all of the lefties. Some would try to go opposite field, but they never reached the seats.
Then finally, the righties came up. Yay! It was short lived. Not only do their right handed hitters not have big time power, but I don’t think 1 of their balls hit the seats. As opposed to the lefties, which includes Ichiro, AND Griffey. (I was starting to think that we probably should have fought the crowd in RF).
Watching Griffey hit was pretty cool. I can’t remember, but in all the years that I have gone to baseball games, I think this may have been my first time to watch him take BP. And boy did he put on a show! He still has it, that’s for sure.
Batting practice came and went, and I was left empty-handed. I guess I had gotten a little spoiled, since the last two games I went to that had BP, I was able to come away with a ball each time. Oh well, there’s always next game!
Just in case you haven’t noticed, I didn’t take any pictures at this game. My wife needed the camera this same night, so I had to do without. Maybe that’s why I was shutout, I felt awkward even being there without a camera. Is that weird?
Our seats were in left field, and we stayed there until the 4th inning, when we decided to move to the 2nd level behind home plate to go for foul balls. Didn’t get any, but I still like going up there.
In the bottom of the 8th, we moved down to the 1st level behind home plate on the 1st base side. Nothing there either, but you can’t beat that view!
The game itself was good. Scott Feldman pitched 6-1/3 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts, and getting a no-decision. Derek Holland picked up his 1st win in his young major league career, and Eddie Guardado got the save.
Rangers win 7-1, Hamilton hit a 2-run homer in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie, and opened up a six-run rally.
Time of game – 2 hrs. 50 mins.
Attendance – 16,564.
Next game – 5/23 in Houston.
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.
I went to this game with my friend Dirk and we arrived early enough for batting practice. Unfortunately, the weather was a little sketchy all day, so we didn’t know if there would be BP (or a game for that matter!). So, we weren’t REAL surprised when we walked in through the 3B gate & saw this….
In case you can’t tell, the A’s are in left field & the Rangers are in right. As you can see in the 1st photo, the cage and screens are set up for BP, but they were only stretching (you can see tarps covering the mound & batter’s box). The sun was going in & out of the clouds for about the 1st 30 minutes or so, then they finally got under way.
But first, let me back up a little bit.
As we were standing in the left field stands, we noticed two balls on the warning track in straight away centerfield. We didn’t know if the Rangers started to hit & then stopped or what. So my mind starts to race & I’m thinking of all the potential balls that could have fallen in the gap between the field and the stands (the Ballpark in Arlington has a 3-4 foot gap all the way around the outfield wall, but only part of it is glove trick accessible). There weren’t any where we standing at that point, so the decision had to be made where the next/best place to go should be. I decided to take my camera & go to the bleachers in left-center & check that gap, while Dirk stayed with our stuff in left.
There were already two guys sitting in the front row of the section I was heading to, but I didn’t think they had a “ball-retrieving” device (& I was right). As I made my way down past the first few rows, I couldn’t help but look in the empty rows anyway. I knew those 2 guys had to have canvased that whole section, so I didn’t expect to find anything, but about 4-5 rows down, there was an “easter egg” laying there waiting on me! Ball #1!
For those that may not know the “ballhawk lingo”, an easter egg is a ball that is found in the stands somewhere (like an egg hunt except with baseballs!).
Needless to say, I was pretty happy! Especially when one of those guys noticed me pick it up & told his buddy & the ensuing look on his face was priceless.
Wouldn’t you know, I had my camera in my hand this whole time & I didn’t take one photo. I saw the ball & could’ve taken a photo, but that rush came all over me & I ran about 10 feet to get my hands on it. It may seem like I am making a big deal out of just one ball, but I am NOWHERE near Zack Hample status (or any of the other experienced guys for that matter), so ANY ball I get is a big deal.
So, after I got the ball & reality started to come back, I walked down to the railing anyways to check the gap for any potential balls. No luck. Oh well, I had one & I was happy anyway.
Shortly after my emotional roller coaster, I made my way back to Dirk & explained the whole thing to him. Wouldn’t you know, his 1st response was to see the photos! I’m still kicking myself for that!
Batting practice finally got underway, but the Rangers didn’t hit, just the A’s. It was okay, because I left my Rangers hat off & also had a roster that I had printed out to use for shouting out the players’ name instead of their #. What ended up happening, is I told a little kid next to me a certain player’s name, because he seemed real determined to get a ball from him but only yelled out his #. After I told him the guy’s name, he yelled it a thousand times (very loudly I might add), but it paid off for him since he got not 1 but 2 balls from him in BP. Brat. I shouldn’t have helped him. I’m just teasing, I loved it. I wish someone would have helped me like that when I was a kid. The coolest part, was the kid’s father was behind me the whole time. He tried to have his son give one of the balls to me, but I refused. He did the work, he keeps the rewards.
Dirk & I stayed in straight away left field all through BP trying to get a homerun on the fly. Only problem is the A’s only true long-ball hitter is Jason Giambi who’s a lefty. Oh well, I had one & I was happy!
We made our way to our seats before the lineup announcements & here’s the view we had….
Not bad, if I say so myself.
We stayed in our seats until the top of the 7th, when we couldn’t take the drunk guy next to us one more batter. Isn’t it amazing how one person can ruin your whole game watching experience?
So we made our way behind home plate to try for foul balls, which is what we had planned since the 1st inning, when it seemed like every batter hit one back there. Until WE got there, that is. We did have one close call, when a ball hit an empty seat about 2 rows in front of us to our left, then proceded to make a HARD 90 degree turn to our right & ended up 1 section over in the hands of a guy in the same row as us.
I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life.
The view was good though….
The game itself was good, the Rangers fought back from being down 3-1 & tied 4-4, to win it 5-4. No homeruns for the Rangers, but one big moment came in the bottom of the 6th, when Chris Davis was ejected for arguing a called 3rd strike.
Attendance was only 12,627, probably because of the weather. We found some stray tickets & programs (and 1 forgotten shirt), & made our way to the parking lot.
Here’s a photo of my “easter egg”….
And here’s the extra tickets we found after the game….
Next game — Sat. 5/2 vs. the White Sox….