Results tagged ‘ left field ’
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
This would turn out to be a very enjoyable day at the ballpark for me. Aside from the fact that my daughter Sarah was not with me (that would have made the day perfect), it was just a great day all around.
My friend Dirk and I headed to the ballpark at around 2-2:30ish in anticipation of a large crowd and we wanted to be close to the front of the line to get in with the other season ticket holders. When we arrived at the gate, which would eventually open at 3:30, there were around 15-20 people in line. Not too bad. When we get in we head straight to left field and most others head to right field.
When we finally got in and made our way to the left field seats this was the scene for the first 30 minutes….
Including myself and Dirk (who is at the far end of these left field seats in the red shirt and tan shorts) there were only five (5) of us! For the first full 30 minutes!
It was amazing, but honestly I don’t know why I didn’t come away with 10 or more balls.
I stayed toward the left field foul pole like I have been doing a lot lately (to no avail), and after about 2-3 minutes Rangers’ rightie Michael Young hit one my way that I was slow to react to and eneded up picking it up off of the ground for ball #1.
Yes, that felt good! I had grown really tired of my current dry spell and was very relieved to have it end.
Not too long after my first snag, Josh Hamilton’s group had come up to hit and Josh was apparently working on his opposite field power, because he hit one about 5 rows deep two sections to my left that hit a seat and bounced into the gap in left field. It actually landed just to the right of where the guy in the red shirt and blue hat is in the previous photo. I headed over there with my retriever (in case you’re new to this blog or you forgot, I can’t use the glove trick anymore according to stadium security) and reeled it up within a minute for ball #2. Which I’m sad to add ties my personal record that I have achieved on two other occasions, here and here.
By this time I was feeling really good, and we still had about 10-15 minutes before the gates opened to everyone else! I was already thinking of at least three balls. I didn’t want to get greedy, I just wanted to break my personal one game record.
By the way, I showed you the view to my left earlier, well here’s the view to my right….
Just before the gates were about to open up to the rest of the fans, a ball was hit my way. It was coming right down the line, and all I had to do was go up one row (I was already on the aisle) and move in about 4 seats. The problem was I got there about a second after the ball did. It hit off the back of a seat and flew back on the field. Man!
Just in case you’re wondering, by this time my last report from Dirk was he had 5 balls. That’s the upside to where he was, he could snag them out of the visitors’ bullpen to his left, as well as the gap in front of him. It also helped that he was able to catch two on the fly (something I have never done).
Anyways, once the gates opened I didn’t spend much more time over by the foul pole. I made my way over to where Dirk was so I could be in a better spot once the stands started to fill up. Which didn’t take long either. Here’s a photo just 10 minutes after the stadium opened to the public….
It only got worse from there. This was my closest competition….
That was directly in front of me. There were five more just like these to my left. That’s okay though, I’m not complaining. Kids deserve to snag balls just as much as I do. It’s just that I saw my chance at breaking my record eventually vanish into thin air.
At this point, I was stuck on two balls, and Dirk had snagged seven (7). I think I will work my way a little closer to him next game. He would’ve had 8, but the guy standing right next to him decided to put his hand inside the pocket of Dirk’s glove just as he was about to make a basket home run catch. I hope it stung. Oh well, that stuff happens.
When batting practice was wrapped up we made our way out to the concourse to get some drinks. We had stopped at Taco Bell on the way to the park, so our food was already taken care of. Gotta love those value menus!
Our seats were in the third level behind home plate, so we decided to head that way to eat and escape the sun. This is what it looked like from up there….
Not too bad if I say so myself.
As the first pitch drew near I wanted to try and get a photo of Derek Holland delivering that pitch. My camera is not the best for long distance shots so this is the best I could do….
When we got to our seats we knew there would probably be no chance for us to move down to the lower level like we try to do most games, so we settled in with the intention of staying there the whole game.
After a few innings I started to talk to the gentleman to my left. He was in his mid to late 50s I would say, and he was there with his father who was most likely in his 70s. The son was in town from Philadelphia and had taken his father to this game. With my dad living in Arizona and me wanting so badly to go to a game with him I thought this was pretty cool. I asked the man about Philly, if he’s a Phillies fan, if he goes to a lot games. He told me that Citizens Bank Park either has or had a 63 consecutive game sellout streak. Wow. God bless the Ballpark in Arlington!
At one point the man got up to go to the concession stand and his father leaned over the empty seat, got my attention, and proceded to thank me for keeping his son company. What do you say to that? I simply told him the pleasure was all mine, and he started to tell me about how he grew up in upstate New York, and that all of his boyhood memories were of watching Ruth, then Gehrig, and all of the greats play live. I could’ve listened to him for hours, though it was only around five to ten minutes. Shame on me, but I never got either of their names. I would really like to thank both of them for making my night at the ballpark even much more enjoyable.
What a great evening! But it gets better.
I can’t remember the exact details, but to the best of my recollection in around the second inning, a foul ball was hit to the second level, first base side just past the media boxes behind home plate. Nothing special right? Foul balls are caught by someone every game.
A few innings later, a foul ball was hit to the exact same spot as the one I just mentioned, and the same guy caught it.
…. under the big red arrow. That is a zoomed in look of my view of his seat.
When he caught the second foul ball I knew I had to take this picture, and I wanted to mention it in this entry. As time progressed I decided that I wanted to get down there and talk to the guy, so when Dirk and I were ready to move down to the lower level we stopped on the way to find him. Oddly enough as we were about to go in the tunnel toward his section he came out of the nearest bathroom. Perfect. Now I didn’t have to look like an idiot in front him and everyone else, I could just look like an idiot to him!
I started off by asking his name (which is Chase Eriksen) and just some basic questions about how he felt. You know the drill, what did you think, what was your reaction, those vanilla questions. I then told him that I wanted to get some pictures of/with him to potentially use in an article on the mygameballs.com website. After a short explanation of what exactly that site was, we got to the picture taking.
Here’s Chase with his snags….
…. and just because this is my blog, here’s the two of us with his snags….
He was a real good sport. I know it must have been weird having a complete stranger come up to you and want to take pictures with you, asking your name.
Oh, I forgot to mention that he was in the emergency room just that morning with a kidney stone. At the time I was talking to him he had still not passed it, but was all hyped up on pain medication and almost didn’t even go to the game. I’m sure he was glad he decided to go.
Chase, I hope you’re “passed” the worst of it now. If you’re interested, you can read the article that Alan Schuster wrote about this event here.
See, I told you it was a great evening. What else could you want?
Oh yeah, there was a game on the field. It was a good game, a close game throughout the whole thing. Other than the fact it sounded like there were more Cubs fans than Rangers fans, and also that the Rangers ended up losing, it was a very exciting game. The Rangers hit two home runs (one by Nelson Cruz and one by Vladimir Guerrero). The game was tied 3-3 after the 4th and stayed that way into the 10th. The Cubs then began to pinch hit three straight left handed batters against Darren O’Day who gave up two runs. The Rangers got one back in the bottom of the inning but that’s all they could muster.
Rangers lose 5-4. Dirk and I’s record at the ballpark this year fell to 8-1.
The Rangers lost and Sarah wasn’t with me, but today was still a very memorable day at the ballpark for me.
Here’s a couple looks at the two balls I snagged today….
Time of game: 3hrs. 8mins.
Attendance: 46,180 (yuck!!)
Next game: Fri. 6/4 vs. Tampa Bay
This game would be my friend Dirk and I’s sixth game of the 2010 season, and the first we would attend of our 16-game mini plan. There have been others prior, but for one reason or another we have not been able to make any before today.
My daughter Sarah would be accompanying us on this fine Saturday, one because I haven’t taken her to a game in a while, and two because today was Michael Young youth jersey night….
Sarah already has Ian Kinsler’s and Elvis Andrus’ from past games and really wanted to add this one to her collection, so we fought the madness which is swarming children and went anyway.
And boy am I glad we did!
First off, let me state that once again I had forgotten my camera. I hate when I do that because I almost don’t want to go when I realize this (which is usually when I’m en route to the ballpark). But I decided that if I wanted to take any photos today, they would have to be taken with my phone, so excuse the awful pictures I took, but it’s the best that I could do.
This game was a 7:05 start and the season ticket gates would open at 4:35, so we got inside as fast as we could, got Sarah’s free jersey and ran (actually walked briskly) over to the left field seats. When we got there, there weren’t many people there yet, so we could roam relatively freely for the first 30 minutes.
The Rangers were hitting and Josh Hamilton’s group had just finished when we set our stuff down. I went to the corner of the left field seats and the third baseline foul pole to check some rows on the third base side for easter eggs but found none.
It was at this time that my friend Shawn, who met us at the gate, asked me “if I had that ball?” I said “what ball?”, and began looking around me in case I had missed a ball coming into the stands. When I looked back at Shawn he was pointing towards the field directly in front of him, and when I looked that direction I saw Josh Hamilton, and knew exactly what he was talking about.
A little back story…
About a year and half ago, after the 2008 Home Run Derby, I purchased a HR derby ball off of the internet with the intention of getting it signed by Hamilton. This ball went with me to every game I attended in 2009, which was around 40, and the closest I could come was about one person away during batting practice at Minute Maid Park in Houston. I had missed it by mere seconds. This year, it has stayed in my backpack (in its box of course) for the same purpose. To this point my closest call was at a memorabilia show at the Arlington Convention Center about two weeks ago. I had heard that Josh was going to be there signing, so I went only to find out that they were charging for autographs, $50 for standard items (baseball cards, standard balls, photos, etc.) and $85 for premium items (his autobiography and the 2008 HR Derby baseball). What?! Give me a break. Just for the record, no I did not spend $85 for that autograph, I thought that was a ripoff, but people were paying it. There must have been 30-35 people getting things signed. At one point during the event I found myself standing about 3 feet from Hamilton when he asked me “What’s up?” What could I say but “nothin”. I asked if I could get a picture on my phone which of course he obliged, and that was it. I left.
Fast forward back to today…
When I noticed that it was Josh Hamilton that Shawn was referring to, I went to my backpack and got the ball out along with a pen. Hamilton was playing left field shagging ground fungos as well as fielding the BP balls. When he turned and came my way to retrieve a ball at the base of the wall I held up my ball and asked “Josh, can you sign my ball please?” He had just picked up the ball he was after and fired it back to the bucket, when he said something to the effect of “I’ve gotta work” or “I’m working”. I couldn’t tell exactly what he said, but he was grinning, so I knew he was just giving me a hard time. A second later he held up his glove.
“Oh my God! Is this really going to happen? Am I dreaming?”
That’s a short synopsis of what went through my head in the matter of about two seconds.
Here’s an old photo that I found that describes the scene….
The (1) in the photo shows where Hamilton was, and the (2) shows where I was (pretty much).
When Josh held his glove up I tossed him the ball and then the pen, and he signed it and tossed me the ball first and the pen second. Neither of my friends had cameras, and none of us even thought of using our phones. It all happened so fast that it just seemed surreal, you know? But when it was all over I had this in my hand….
In case you’re wondering, the writing below the signature is a Bible verse, Psalm 62: 5,6,7. When I had secured the ball, I thanked him of course, then proceded to give Dirk and Shawn high fives as well as an overly excited hug to my daughter Sarah.
The realization of the moment was starting to sink in. This was not just a big deal to me, but Sarah was wanting this just as much as I was, and looking back on my previous close calls with Hamilton there was one thing missing, Sarah. The fact that she was with me when I was able to get this ball signed means so much to me that I can hardly put it into words, and even as I type this I’m getting a little misty-eyed. Now I know some of you are probably thinking “Geez, it’s just an autograph”, but to Sarah and I it’s more than that. It’s been a journey, a quest of sorts, and to have my daughter with me when its accomplished, well I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Needless to say I didn’t care what else happened after that, and it’s a good thing since we didn’t get anything. That’s okay though, even a batting practice shutout couldn’t diminish this day!
The game itself was good. It was close all game and the Rangers pulled it out 3-2. Our seats were in the 3rd level on the first base side. Here’s an idea of where they were….
…. in another old photo. The red arrow in the 3rd level is in the first row. They really aren’t bad seats, but from a snagging perspective they aren’t very good. We stayed in those seats until the end of the 2nd inning when we decided to go to the kid’s area in centerfield so Sarah could play around some.
Being that is was youth jersey day you can probably imagine how may kids were out there. But that’s okay, I was out there for Sarah.
We weren’t able to sit in the lower level on the 3rd base side like we normally do, because there were just too many people over there and every usher was checking tickets. So we found a concession stand on the 2nd level that’s enclosed and has televisions, so we got some nachos and relaxed for an inning or so.
By the 8th inning we moved out to the bleachers in left centerfield and stood to the back, one to actually watch the game live, and two because I really wanted to get on tv. I had found a shirt online that I thought for sure would do the trick. Here it is….
I know the picture sucks, but it was from my camera and I was in a tunnel. (Thanks to Alan Schuster and mygameballs.com for coming out with this shirt. Check out what else they have here.
Well, apparently it didn’t work because I had told a couple people prior to the game what I was wearing and they said the cameras never showed me. Oh well, I’ll just have to keep wearing it.
I took a couple photos from out there, but I don’t want to subject you to anymore phone pics.
Well, maybe just one more….
What a way to cap off an already great day!
Time of game: 2hrs. 43mins.
Next Game: Wed. 5/12 against the A’s
UPDATE – Yesterday I took another photo of the ball (with my camera this time) and I wanted to share it, so here you go….
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
Well the day had finally arrived, Opening Day.
It started to feel like it had been forever since the last regular season home game I got to attend at the grand ‘ol ballpark, but it was here and I was happy.
The game was a 1:05 start and the gates were set to open at 10:00, so there was not much time to rest and enjoy the off-day in the morning. I had to get moving!
I was attending this game with my friend Dirk and he came and picked me up at my house at 9:00. We stopped at Taco Bell on the way and grabbed some burritos to take in to the park with us, went to will call and got the tickets, and made it to the left field seats at around 10:15.
Too bad batting practice wasn’t going to start until 10:30. Meh.
We found a spot we felt was going to work for us, so we put our bags down and got out our gloves and cameras.
Here’s a picture I had Dirk take of me before batting practice started….
….and here’s one of the centerfield offices….
Once batting practice got underway, this was the view to my right….
The view to my left was so much worse I didn’t even want to take a picture of it.
While the Rangers were hitting the Blue Jays came out into the outfield to start throwing, and I took a picture of my favorite Jay, Scott Downs….
For those that may not know, my daughter Sarah and I had a pretty cool encounter with Mr. Downs at a game last season.
You can read that entry here.
The Rangers took BP from 10:30 to 11:10, then the Jays hit from 11:20 to 12:00. During the Rangers’ portion there were not many homeruns hit our way, nor were there players tossing balls into the crowd that had found there way to the warning track.
The Blue Jays’ portion was completely different. It seemed like every other ball was a homerun that came to left field. It was so much fun, the only problem was how crowded it was. Moving was nearly impossible, and Dirk and I were on the first row. But Dirk had some more device opportunities in the visitors’ bullpen, and I was able to pull one up myself. It would turn out to be my only ball of the day and #2 on the season.
After batting practice concluded we made our way to our seats to get ready for the pregame festivities. This was the view from our seats….
Once the pregame activities started this was displayed on the video board….
I wanted to take photos of some of the players during the introductions, but my camera doesn’t zoom too far, so I waited until both teams had been announced and took this one….
I usually stand pretty still during the national anthem, but I couldn’t control myself and took this picture before it ended….
** One observation: At least they felt it important enough to turn the lights on for a 1:05 start. It was rather cloudy, but still, lights? **
I also snapped a photo of the flyover by some F-16s….
Then there was a paraplegic veteran that parachuted out of a helicopter and delivered the ceremonial first pitch ball to Roger Staubach….
That’s Roger in the jeans and Nolan Ryan in the suit. Ian Kinsler caught for Staubach who threw a chest high (standing up) strike.
Finally, the moment had arrived. The first pitch….
…. that was taken for a strike, which we all know means the Rangers are going all the way this year. No? Maybe it’s just me then.
The game was great from the start if you’re a Blue Jays fan, if not, it was brutal.
Scott Feldman gave up a two-run homer in the first to Vernon Wells, and a solo shot in the third to Aaron HIll which put Toronto up 3-0. Meanwhile, the Rangers didn’t even have a hit until the bottom of the seventh.
As for the bottom of the seventh, that’s when new Ranger Vladimir Guerrero stepped up to the plate to lead off the inning. Now, you’ll have to forgive me because I don’t remember the exact count, but a couple of pitches before Vlad got the Rangers their first hit, he hit a mammoth foul ball. By mammoth I mean, third level, even with the top of the foul pole mammoth.
Yeah, it was amazing.
To top it off, it looked like he barely even swung the bat!
Once Vlad got the first hit, it seemed like they just kept coming after that. Nelson Cruz stepped up with two men on and proceded to hit a three-run homer to tie the game at 3-3.
In the top of the eighth young Ranger reliever Neftali Feliz gave up the go ahead run to put the Rangers behind 4-3.
By the bottom of the ninth Dirk and I had already found different seats along the first base side, where we got to see Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit the game-winnng RBI single, and watch the players rush the field….
What a great way to end a great day, Rangers win 4-3.
Now if only the rest of the season could be like this!
Time of game: 2hrs. 36mins.
Next Game: Not 100% sure, but probably Sun. 4/25 vs. Detroit
I decided to change things up a bit for this entry. Instead of doing two separate entries and detailing each one, I decided to combine two games and share pictures from both.
The two games are Friday 9/18 and Saturday 9/19.
Friday I went to the game with my aunt Lori and daughter Sarah. It was fireworks night, so there was a lot of people there. It was also rally towel night. The towel is white and has the “T” logo with the words “Let’s Go Rangers” on it. Eh. It’s okay, I can see what they were trying to do, inspire the fans to get excited during the game.
Here’s a photo I took as we walked from the car to the stadium….
The cool thing about that lot is, it’s normally $12, but on Fridays it’s $5. Sweet!
I had bought the tickets the day before on my lunch break and the best they could give me was behind homeplate in the upper deck. So while we were up there before the game, I took this picture of Lori and Sarah….
That’s Dallas Cowboys Stadium in the back ground.
You can see that Lori is holding a plastic bag. We had already hit the gift shop where she bought Sarah a Josh Hamilton bracelet, and herself and I a Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez red t-shirt.
Here’s some other photos I took of the Cowboys’ stadium….
(Remember: You can click on any picture to get a closer look.)
In the above photo do you notice the red arrows? Those are pointing to a video screen. For those that may not know, there is a video board in the Cowboys stadium that goes from one 20 yard line to the other. That’s 60 yards long! That board that the arrows are pointing to is on the end of that big board. As big as that one seems, it’s considerably smaller than the main one.
I know those last two photos are blurry, but I really wanted to show them because I like the way the light shines through the glass on the sides.
And here’s one from our seats….
The vibe in the stadium was really cool, especially when the rally towels were flying. I tried to get an action shot of the towels, but my camera wouldn’t allow it.
As for the game it was fun, even though the Rangers lost 2-0. They got 0 runs on 8 hits, while the Angels got 2 runs on 6 hits, bringing the losing streak to five and putting the Rangers 7-1/2 games back in the west.
That’s not going to work fellas.
The fireworks were cool, though the loss still stung.
Game 1 –
Time of game: 2 hrs. 57 mins.
On to Saturday…
Saturday’s game was preceded by a pre-game concert by MercyMe, a contemporary christian group.
So that meant two things, (1) there would be a LOT of people at the game, and (2) would there be batting practice? We didn’t think so, but if there was BP, it would go on during the concert (more on that later).
I went to this game with Sarah (my daughter), my friend Shawn from the Houston trip, and his wife Amy and daughter Abby.
We walked in the homeplate gate, went around to right field. When we got there, we went down to the railing and stayed there because there was indeed batting practice!
Here’s a shot of some guys right in front of us….
On the left, reliever Jason Grilli. Light blue shirt, pitching coach Mike Maddux. #61, rookie catcher Kevin Richardson.
Mike Maddux is a stud. He has been my favorite offseason acquisition by far.
I was a little out my element being in right field. 99% of the time, I’m in left., but after being in the shade in right field today I might have to change my strategy.
After about 10 minutes or so, Hank Blalock lifted one in our direction, that I got a late jump on. It hit about 2 rows behind me to my left and Shawn beat me to it. Oh well, I was happy for him because he gave it to his daughter (I would have done the same).
There were quite a few balls that rolled to the wall in front of us, that I kept trying to get Grilli to toss up, but to no avail. I guess he thought the teenaged boys on my left were better recipients than my 10 year old daughter. I don’t sound smug do I? Totally unintentional.
One ball in particular I thought for sure was mine, but Grilli kept it in his hand and later on gave it to one of those same boys. In the meantime, Shawn had told me that I just missed a ball falling into the gap just five or six feet to my left. By the time I realized where it was, someone else was all over it.
When 4:00 rolled around, the concert was about to start and Sarah knew it. She proceded to tell me that the concert was the only reason she came back today. This was after I said that I wanted to stay for BP. Well, needless to say, she won that round so it was off to the concert we went.
I wanted to head up to the upper deck and take a look at how many people were already over there. The upper deck has an open air concourse that has some pretty cool views. It’s a good thing I looked before we went over there, because this is what we saw….
And the band was just taking the stage.
So, we watched and listened from up there which (thankfully) was fine with Sarah. Here’s as close as I could zoom with my camera….
For perspective, this is a view of the field from where we watched the concert….
If you look closely at the last photo, you’ll notice how open the stands are for BP (and also why I am going to be in right field from now on!). I had to keep myself from looking down at all the balls hitting empty seats. Sarah was happy, and that was good enough for me.
For all of you football/stadium fans, here’s some more photos of the Cowboy’s stadium….
If you click on the one on the right, you’ll see a Dr. Pepper sign about halfway up the photo. That is the party deck. You can pay $29 and stand up while watching the game. I say “you” because I will not be doing that.
Here’s some shots from our seats….
As you see can, it was packed!
The Rangers won this game 3-2, giving Scott Feldman his 17th win of the season. Frank Francisco picked up his 23rd save after loading the bases in the ninth.
Game 2 –
Time of game: 2 hrs. 31 mins.
Next game: Sunday 9/27 vs. the Rays
Here’s a couple photos I took after the game, when the stadium was almost empty….
This game, just like the one I went to on Saturday, was attended strictly from a game watching standpoint only.
The weather was better this day, but not good enough to offer any batting practice. That makes at least three games in a row that I have been to that have not had BP.
Oh well, at least there was baseball!
Now that you know that, this entry is going to be shorter than normal. I took some photos at this game, but not of the stadium. This game I decided to take some photos of some of the players.
But first, a look at the field from our seats….
…. and the centerfield message board just prior to gametime….
“It’s baseball time in Texas!” Quoting the great Ballpark in Arlington announcer, Chuck Morgan.
The next one is of Rangers left fielder David Murphy….
Is it me, or does he look like he was just caught relieving himself on the grass? Probably just me.
Those are the only pictures I took from those seats. Our seats were pretty good, by the way, straight away left, first row. Not bad, but we moved after the third inning to our new favorite foul ball spot on the third base side.
Here’s Marlon Byrd at the plate….
I mainly took this one, because I was wearing his t-shirt at this game.
This next guy should not need any introduction….
…. but just in case you still don’t know who this is, it’s perennial gold-glover Omar Vizquel.
That guy is amazing in the field. I’ve personally seen him play three different infield positions this season and do superb at all of them. He’s awesome.
Speaking of awesome, what about this guy….
….come on, don’t tell me you don’t know who Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is!?
10-time gold glove winning catcher. World Series winner. Definate first ballot hall of famer.
The pictures of Pudge were mainly so I could have proof that I watched him play in person.
By now you should be able to tell the camera angle has changed. We moved behind homeplate at the end of the eighth inning.
Here’s another that I like, it shows David Murphy at the plate with Nelson Cruz on deck….
We didn’t have any close calls in our original foul ball spot, and for the first couple batters, we didn’t have any behind homeplate either.
Until the top of the ninth.
Oakland A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki stepped into the batter’s box, batting right handed, and proceded to foul off the very first pitch. I was one seat over from the aisle seat and this foul ball came screaming back over the screen, and I had just enough time to jump out of my seat and reach across my body with my glove while jumping as high as I could (which isn’t very high I might add) only to miss the ball by mere inches. It didn’t touch my glove, but it came as close as it could without hitting it.
I turned around to see where the ball went, and it hit something; a step, wall edge, I’m not sure, all I know is that I had my back to the field and the ball hit whatever it hit and ricocheted over two sections to my right.
So close, so very close.
That was it for this game, Rangers lose 8-0. Two shutouts in a row.
Time of game; 2 hrs. 45 mins.
Next game: Fri. 9/18 vs. the Angels
BTW — There was ice cream to be had this game, and here are the helmets I came away with….
I only had one, the other two I found. I promise!
To say that I was excited about this day would be an understatement. I was pumped for this day. Partly for the fact that this would be my first doubleheader in 5 or 6 years, but also for the fact that in the month of August, the Rangers only had 10 home games and I only made a couple of them.
I was in serious need of some baseball!
With all of the anticipation and build-up I was feeling heading into today, I would soon find out that things would take a serious downturn.
I had taken off half of the day to get to the ballpark at around 1:30 or so, since the first game was scheduled to start at 4:05 I read online that the gates would open at 2:05, and my friend Dirk and I would run in for batting practice.
First sign of downturn: We got to the gate at around 1:45 and were told by the stadium employees that the gates weren’t going to open until 2:30. Great.
Second sign of downturn: While waiting in line, I realized that I had once again forgotten my camera.
Third sign of downturn: After running inside and heading to the left field seats, we noticed that the field was not set up for BP.
(Insert long, exasperated exhale here)
Well, there wasn’t anything to do. The Rangers pitchers were in RF stretching, and only a handfull of Blue Jays pitchers were in LF throwing. Dirk and I checked the gaps for balls, more out of habit than anything else. I put on my Jays hat and stood along the LF railing hoping to get a ball. Nope.
We had such high hopes heading to the ballpark. Weekday afternoon game, kids were back in school, it was almost a guarantee that we would have an awesome day. Add to that, the fact that we were the only two in the LF stands…..man!
Anyways, the Blue Jays pitchers didn’t stay on the field much longer, and almost everyone else in the stadium was crowded around the RF corner to watch the Rangers stretch, so we found our own ways to pass the time.
Dirk noticed a trash can in the visitors’ bullpen that was right below us as we looked over the railing. That may seem odd to point out, but when I looked closer, I noticed that the only thing in that trash can was the previous game’s visiting bullpen lineup card.
Oh man, we had to figure out a way to get that!
I quickly scanned the immediate vicinity, and there was no one. Literally, no one was around. The closest usher was five or six sections away, and he was busy talking to 3 other ushers.
Dirk decided to put gum on the bottom of his ball retriever and try to reel it in that way (because he thought it was laminated), and it would have worked except for the fact that there was still masking tape on the card and it was sticking to the trash bag. Plus the fact that the gum was smearing all over the lineup card, and since Dirk realized it wasn’t laminated after all, we soon abandoned that mission.
The next plan of action was to get food and drinks. That mission was easily accomplished.
Our seats were in the lower level of RF, and once the game started, we sat there for the first three innings. That’s when noticed how empty the stands were, and proceded to move to the third base side, about 20 rows behind third base.
That was our foul ball spot for the entire first game.
We had one close encounter in around the 5th inning. A left-handed batter for Toronto (don’t know who) hit a high foul in our direction. I saw it the whole way off of his bat, and it was coming in my general direction. I had to move to my right about 10 feet, but it didn’t take long for me to be in line with it. Right at the last second I noticed that it was falling short, so I leaned over the seat in front of me as far as I could, stuck my glove out, and still missed it by about a foot. The ball hit the concrete between the rows and bounced over my head and was caught by a bare-handed man about 4 rows back.
So close, yet still so far away.
We got to see some good baseball in both games. The Rangers won both by the score of 5-2.
The one negative of the evening was in the 3rd inning of the 2nd game, when Michael Young pulled a hamstring running to first. He left the game, and is set to have an MRI the following day (today 9/2). Hopefully, it’s not real bad. They need him on the field for this stretch run.
Sadly, I have nothing more to report other than the fact that I got a Diamondbacks ice cream helmet. Well, that and Josh Hamilton finally added to his homerun total. He hit two in the 2nd game to give him 10 on the season.
Time of game: (Game 1) — 2 hrs. 38 mins. (Game 2) — 2 hrs. 54 mins.
Next game: Sat. 9/12 vs. the Mariners
This was the fourth game of the series between the Rangers and Twins, and the second of the series that I attended. I went to game one and they won 8-5. Games two and three they lost after blowing the lead in both games. With the division on the line as well as the wild card, I was really hoping that the Rangers could pull it together tonight and start making up some ground.
Needless to say I was very excited about the game tonight.
I went to this game with my aunt Lori. We have gone to many games together over the years, and this was our second this year. We also went to the 6/12 game against the Dodgers.
We got to the park, and inside the stadium at around 6:15. I couldn’t leave work early for BP this time, because my manager was off and I had to stay until I got off at 5:30. Oh well, turns out that the Rangers didn’t hit at all, and the Twins didn’t hit for very long anyway. So, I wasn’t too upset over missing BP after finding that out.
The first thing we did after watching the grounds crew remove the cage was get food. Cheese fries and Dr. Pepper. Mmmmmmmm.
We found some empty seats in right-center field, and sat and ate our food. The temperature was around 96 degrees and it was humid. Eating scalding hot fries and sweating everywhere is not cool at all. We couldn’t finish our food fast enough.
When we finally did finish, we headed over to the centerfield gift shop to take advantage of the A/C. While we were in there, my aunt said that she would buy me a jersey since my birthday is next week.
I’ve often thought which jersey I would get if given the chance, and after much deliberation, I knew I wanted a red one (the Rangers brought red back into the fold this year, in case you didn’t know), but I decided that I wanted a blank one.
I love Josh Hamilton (not in that way though). I have both of his All-Star shirts, but I just find it hard to make that kind of monetary commitment to any current player. My fear is, I’ll get a certain player’s jersey and then they’ll get traded or suffer some sort of career-ending injury or something along those lines.
Is that weird of me to think that way?
Anyways, I got a blank red one off of the rack, and my aunt wanted to put my name on the back, so I grabbed the number 2 (my favorite number) and the letters P-O-W-E-L-L (my last name) and we went and paid for them. Then I had to wait in line to have the letters and number put on.
Without getting into too much detail and dragging this out more than I already have, I’ll just say that I wasn’t able to get those letters and number put on. The guy working the heat press said that it was an MLB thing. The letters are in the font they used last year, and the red jersey is brand new this year, so for whatever reason they couldn’t mix the two. Whatever, I’ll just go back and buy the letters another day and then go home and put them on myself.
Oh yeah, there was a baseball game.
We got to our seats out in left field just after the first pitch, and this was our view….
The sun was going down, but it was still miserably hot.
A friend that I work with was also at this game. Her husband’s company has season tickets on the first base side on the second row. She told me ahead of time to call her to see if there were any available seats around her, so we could all sit together. I called in the first inning and there were some empty seats, but I wanted to wait an inning or two to make sure no one was going to come in later.
I decided to kill some time, and went and got us both some ice cream. I went to the same stand I had gone to Monday night, and they still had various team helmets. I picked Seattle and Toronto and headed back to our seats and enjoyed all of the ice creamy goodness!
In around the 5th inning, she called me and said there were two open seats in her row, so we made our way over there and our view of the game changed to this….
Much better! I told my co-worker she was my new best friend!
Of course, those would be our seats for the remainder of the game. Here’s a couple shots I took of some of the players….
Here’s one of my aunt and I, along with her prized kettle corn….
Unfortunately, we didn’t even come close to any foul balls over there. A guy a few seats to our left caught one right before we walked down the stairs to sit there. Figures.
The Rangers had better control over this game, hitting four homeruns, including Julio Borbon’s first of his career, and two by Marlon Byrd. They would go on to win by the score of 11-1. That’s more like it!
11 runs on 17 hits helped give Derek Holland his 7th win of the year. The Twins had 10 hits, but could only manage 1 run.
Time of game: 2 hrs. 48 mins.
Next game: Tues. 9/1 vs. Toronto (Doubleheader!)
Here’s the helmets that I came away with from this game….
The Rangers had just finished up a long 10 game road trip with a 3-game series at home against Boston, and now the Twins were in town for a 4-game series. This was a Monday night game, Boston’s gone, so my friend Dirk and I figured this would be the perfect game to get us back in the groove.
We got to the park at around 4:40 or so, then waited for the gates to open at 5:00. When they finally did, we hurried through the bag check and raced to the LF seats to see that the Rangers were hitting.
They need to make up their minds. Sometimes they hit, and sometimes they don’t. With all of the rumors and so-called “reports” that I hear about the team needing to save money, not wanting to spend it on baseballs, and then coming to the park and seeing them hit really causes confusion. At least for me anyway.
Do they feel that they are saving money by only taking BP on the field every other game, or every few games?
They were hitting today, and that was really cool to see.
When we got to the LF seats, we checked the gaps and the visitors’ bullpen like we usually do, but they were empty. The stands in left were surprisingly bare also. Sweet! We were borderline giddy with anticipation because of all the possibilities!
The Rangers only hit for about 10-15 more minutes when we got there, and we didn’t get anything. The few homeruns that were hit to left field were nowhere near us, and all of the balls that went to the track or into the outfield in general, were all thrown in to the bucket. I didn’t see a single ball get thrown into the stands by the Rangers.
That I can understand. If a ball gets hit into the stands that’s one thing, but don’t throw any into the stands because that’s unnecessary spending. If that’s their thinking, I can’t argue with that.
The sun was brutal again today, thankfully we stopped and got some water bottles on the way to the park, because I don’t think I could have made it without them. If I had been getting some chances at some balls, I may not have noticed the heat as much, but standing in the same spot for any length of time sure made it hard to think about anything else but the heat.
We had about a 10 minute break before the Twins started hitting, and we used it to sit and cool off. Once they began to hit, we had a pretty good portion of the stands to ourselves. It didn’t really matter though, since we hardly had any action the whole time. Halfway through the Twins’ BP, a ball went into the visitors’ bullpen and Dirk set off after it. I didn’t watch him try for it, I was too concerned with trying to get a homerun ball. After a few minutes, he came over with the ball, and that would turn out to be the only one either of us would get.
Dirk had a close call with a homerun ball that was coming his way, but he gave way to allow a younger kid to catch it. Can’t say that I blame him, there’s not too many guys at the Ballpark in Arlington that do that unfortunately.
Once batting practice had concluded, we got our designated driver coupons, and got some pizza, cajun fries (big mistake), and a couple sodas.
Our seats were in left field for this game, and we only stayed there for maybe two batters. I love sitting there most of the time, just not when the sun is beating down on us.
We moved over to the third base side, which has recently become our favorite foul ball spot. There was one section in particular that was surprisingly empty, so we found a couple seats towards the back of that section, and those would be our seats for almost the whole game.
There was more action around us than normal. Most games we come within one section of a foul ball once during a game. This game, we had at least two or three balls that came within four or five rows of us! As well as a few more that were a section or two over.
The first half of the game, we had about 10-12 rows to ourselves. No balls were hit our way then. Gradually, people started to creep in around us and constricted our range. In around the 7th inning, we moved over almost a full section to our right, where we would have more room, but it didn’t matter. Nothing.
Backing up a little bit….
Around the top of the 6th inning, we decided to get some ice cream. The last game we attended we found out that the Ballpark in Arlington was using ice cream helmets once again (much to my delight!), so we were going for one of those for sure.
As we made our way to the ice cream stand, we noticed this….
Notice the helmets? That’s just a part of the selection they had that you could choose from. When they asked you what kind of ice cream you wanted, the next question was “What team?”. The particular stand that we were at did not have any Rangers helmets. WHAT?! Oh well, it was pretty cool to get a helmet of another team. It’s almost like I went to different stadium. Almost. Not really.
I went for the A’s, and Dirk got the Giants, then it was back to “our seats”.
When I finished with my ice cream, I realized that the above photo was the only one I had taken so far. So, I decided to take a few photos from where we were sitting….
I love that hill!
The above photo is one of my favorite views of the ballpark.
Don’t ask me why I took that last photo. Just wanted to, I guess.
The Rangers ended up winning this game 8-5, but it got a little sketchy at times.
Joe Mauer hit a solo shot to left center in the top of the 1st. That guy’s a stud! I know, I’m a Rangers’ fan, but have you noticed what kind of offensive numbers this guy is putting up? As of this morning (8/19), ESPN radio reported that he is batting .380 with 25 homeruns!
Don’t think that’s too impressive?
If he finishes the season with those same numbers, he’ll become only the fifth player in MLB history to do that. You may have heard of the other four:
Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams.
Unbelievable. You go Joe!
The Rangers ended up using five pitchers out of the bullpen, but got the win anyways.
Time of game: 3 hrs. 20 mins.
Next game: Thurs. 8/20 also vs. the Twins
Here’s a photo of the two helmets I came away with….
The A’s I bought, and the SF Dirk gave to me because he had two. We were looking for some in the stands after the game, but I didn’t find any and Dirk found four.
Here’s the extra tickets I found also….