Results tagged ‘ houston astros ’
You know, I’m a real sucker when it comes to off-the-wall baseball stories and this one is no exception.
I’ve attached an article that was posted on the Big League Stew section of Yahoo’s MLB section of their website.
This is an article about a Houston Astros fan that leaves his girlfriend hanging.
You can read the article here and be sure to watch the video that is included, that’s the best part.
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
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)
I’ll go ahead and admit up front that I’m not much of a National League fan. I have a few teams that I try to follow as regularly as I can, Arizona, Houston, and Milwaukee.
Arizona, because I voted on the team name and colors, and I watched the stadium being built in 1995.
Houston, because they’re the only other baseball team in Texas.
Milwaukee, because they hired away my favorite general manager of the Rangers, Doug Melvin, and also because of the Happy Youngster’s blog.
With all of that being said, I was very impressed with game 1 of the NLCS. What an exciting game that was! I guess since I wasn’t rooting for a specific team, I was able to concentrate on the game itself.
I think I am equally split on the NLCS.
Part of me wants LA to win, while the other half wants the Phillies to win.
Here’s my thinking….
Everyone knows the storied history of the Dodgers, and the opportunity for them to be in the World Series possibly against the Yankees would be pretty cool for the old school fan.
On the other hand, seeing the Phillies try to repeat as champions would be pretty cool too since back to back championships is getting pretty rare in Major League Baseball.
Either way, I think the NL will be well represented by either of these two teams in the World Series.
I doubt I will comment on every game of the two LCS, but last night was just a good game all around, and worthy of discussion.
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….