Results tagged ‘ Justin Smoak ’
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 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
My wife and kids were out of town this weekend visiting family, so I had the weekend to myself.
Hmmm, what to do?
Well, the Tigers were in town for a four game set and my friend Dirk had found two tickets online for this game, so off we went.
The Rangers have a Friday promotion going this season that they call Firework Fridays. In the promotion they offer tickets for $10 on tickets regularly priced up to $25, as well as $5 parking that is regularly $12, and a post game fireworks show. Oddly enough it’s that last fact that brings out all of the people.
It was a 7:05 start, which means gates would open at 5:05, and season ticket gates open at 4:35.
We were in at 4:35.
The last game we attended there was no batting practice, so we were a little more excited than normal for this game. We wanted to get back on the board.
We got over to the left field seats as quickly as we could only to find that the cages were not up for BP.
Two and a half hours before the first pitch, what in the world were we supposed to do now? Apparently, since the Rangers got in from Boston so early in the morning they couldn’t have batting practice.
The only thing left to do was wander and take pictures.
Dirk and I got these pictures of each other at the visitors’ dugout….
I’m the handsome fella on the right by the way.
Here’s what “BP” looks like with no cages….
Kind of hard to have batting practice huh?
Anyway, we went to get food and drinks, and along the way I got this photo….
…. from the area just outside the Diamond Club, where you can get a buffet for $27.95.
After getting some much needed grubbage, we went over to the Rangers Hall of Fame. Before this year it had been known as the Legends of the Game Museum, which touched a little of everything across the entire league. Apparently, that was too much to ask of the ownership or somebody, because it is now strictly just devoted to the Texas Rangers. I guess that’s okay, the old museum cost $6 in addition to your game ticket, and the new one is free.
We weren’t in there too long, but I was able to get some pictures. This one is of the trophy that the winner of the Lone Star series (Rangers vs. Astros) receives at the conclusion of the two series (one series in Arlington and the other in Houston)….
This is my friends Dirk and Shawn under the division championship banners from the ’90s….
That’s it from the Hall of Fame. It’s still under construction so there wasn’t much else to see.
We headed over to the visitors’ bullpen to just double check and see what was going on and saw this….
Do you see it? Let me give you a closer look….
The left part of the arrow is pointing toward a ball, and the right side is pointing to the lazy security guard that wouldn’t even get up and kick, throw, roll, or toss the ball to us. I was about to fling my glove out from the left as you look at the picture when he stopped me, and said that I could not use my glove. I could only use a ball retriever.
His words, not mine.
My response was, “A glove IS a ball retriever!” He said that he agreed with me, but was only relaying what he was being told.
We didn’t spend much more time trying to get it, since there was no use, so we went to our seats which were actually where the three guys are standing to the left of the bullpen two photos back.
My seat was right on the rail that separated the bleachers from the bullpen. Sweet!
This next photo is just to show how much velocity is behind the pitches that the pitchers make….
If you click the above picture you can really see how deep those dents are. Kind of a random shot, but I liked it.
Just like this one….
Obviously, that was later in the game, but I wanted to stay in the “random” moment.
I was able to grab a short video on the camera of the bullpen guys being silly. I don’t know how else to upload it so just click the following link. (Be prepared, it’s a 14 second video that takes a couple minutes to load. If you take the time to upload it I think you’ll enjoy it.)
Here’s a shot of starting pitcher Max Scherzer and pitching coach Rick Knapp….
For that last photo I actually had to stick the camera out past the railing and turn it toward the opposite end of the bullpen to take it. I couldn’t see what I was doing, but I think it turned out okay.
As far as the game is concerned, it was exciting. Scary at times, but exciting nonetheless.
The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning thanks to Vladimir Guerrero’s two-run homer (Man, am I glad we signed that guy!). They added a run in the 4th with a bases loaded walk to rookie Justin Smoak to go up 3-0. Miguel Cabrera hit a two- run single in the top of the 5th to cut the Rangers’ lead down to one. Michael Young added an RBI groundout to put the Rangers up 4-2, and that was it for the scoring until the 9th inning.
In the top of the 9th the Rangers sent out Neftali Feliz to get the last three outs of the game. With two men on and two outs, Austin Jackson had a 13 pitch at bat that culminated in a game tying, two run single. Man!
In the bottom of the 9th with one out and one man on, Elvis Andrus swung through strike one and fouled off strike two. Both fastballs. On the third pitch Andrus smokes one up the middle for a walk off single and the Rangers win 5-4. Bring on the fireworks!
What a great game to attend! When you watch a game on television that gets close like this one, you don’t get near the same feeling as when you’re actually at the game. What a rush.
For those of you out there that have seen Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”, you might get a kick out this next photo. I took this of the pitcher the Tigers had warming up in case the game went into extra innings….
“We are the knights who say ni!”
Sorry, I just thought that was amusing.
Time of Game: 3hrs. 4mins.
Next Game: Sunday 4/25 also vs. Detroit
This is an entry that was posted on the mygameballs.com website. I have a column entitled “BP Out in Left Field” that is posted monthly. (FYI- BP are my initials, you like how I did that?) Here’s a screenshot….
On Saturday, January 30th, I took my daughter Sarah to FanFest at the Ballpark in Arlington. I don’t know if other parks/teams do this, but for those who may not know, FanFest is a big festival put on by the team that gives fans a chance to run the bases, catch pop flies in the outfield, tour the clubhouse, and pretty much just wander around the ballpark.
We went last year and it happened to fall on the first weekend of January, and we froze. It was almost too cold to have fun. This year, with it being at the end of the month, we thought we were golden, especially since the previous weekend’s high was in the 50s. Wrong. We froze again!
When I say that it was almost too cold to have fun, by that I mean when you can’t feel your legs rounding the bases, you probably shouldn’t be running in that weather. It was COLD!
On the plus side, Sarah got to see Ian Kinsler in the clubhouse sitting around talking to the Rangers’ future infielder Justin Smoak. We couldn’t get to them of course, but it was cool to see some big league players just being guys.
I realize that the Rangers have a very tight window to schedule this event, but January is cold everywhere. Sure, some activities are inside which make it better, but the draw to most fans is being on the field, and when you lose feeling in your extremities participating, it sure takes a lot of the fun out of things.
Yes, I’m exaggerating a tad, but I think you get my point. What can be done to change it? There’s no other time of year to reschedule it. They can’t do it in February, that would be too close to leaving for Spring Training.
So what’s the fix?
Should I just be quiet and enjoy the opportunity I have to be there in the first place? Probably, but I really want to know what your thoughts are, especially from those of you that have a similar event. What does your team do? When do they have it?
There more than likely is no real fix, other than getting some help with the weather!
Needless to say, we had a ball. I forgot to mention earlier that there are also Q & A sessions throughout the day with various players and coaches. Those are pretty cool, from the standpoint that you feel like you are part of an inner circle or something. An invitation only party with a player. At least that’s how I feel about it!
So back to my original question, is January too cold for baseball? Could you go for year round ball? Are you fine with things as they are? Just curious.
Speaking for myself, I could go for year round baseball, as long as I could watch it on television.
January is just too cold for baseball!