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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
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….