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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
Well, this was going to be the last regular season home game for the Rangers. It was also Fan Appreciation Day, which means every half inning the video board would show a section, row, or specific seat that would win anything from autographed memorabilia to discounts at the gift shops. It’s always fun to wait and see if you win something. This will be my third consecutive year to go on this day, and I have yet to win anything (today included).
I attended this game with my daughter Sarah, my friend Dirk, and his daughter Kaitlyn and son Connor. I had purchased these tickets last weekend at the Angels game, and bought upper deck seats knowing we would be bringing the kids and expecting to be in the shade.
This is what it looked like from our seats….
Looks like I made the right choice!
Here’s our view of the action….
Yes they’re tiny, but we knew what was going on.
I was really hoping to add to our ice cream helmet collection today, being the last game of the season and everything, but today the Rangers decided to do away with using all the MLB teams as they have done recently and use only red Rangers helmets.
We already have some of those, but I noticed something different about these. Here’s a picture that I took later to show what I mean….
I have never seen an ice cream helmet with the MLB logo on it. I thought it was pretty cool, and worthy to be included in this entry.
The game was good. The Rangers jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held it most of the game.
Here’s some more shots from the upper deck….
I love that last one.
And here’s one of the kiddos….
At the end of the 7th inning we moved down to the third base side to try one last time for a foul ball, but got nothing. This was our view though….
The Rangers lead 5-0 until the top of the 8th when the Rays cut that lead down to 5-3. Marlon Byrd added a solo homer in the bottom of the inning, which brought out Frank Francisco to save the game in top of the 9th. Sounds easy enough right?
He allowed the tying run to score before Ron Washington pulled him with the bases still loaded and only one out. Rookie Neftali Feliz came in a got a ground-out, but the go ahead run scored on the play. The Rangers would go 3 up, 3 down in the bottom of the 9th and lose 7-6.
That one hurt.
It should have been a sweep, but instead they fell another game behind the Angels in the west.
Here’s a picture of a helmet I found after the game that I have absolutely no idea what it was used for, but I thought it was cool so I kept it….
Time of game: 3 hrs. 3 mins.
Next game: Playoffs? Or April 5, 2010. Opening Day vs. the Blue Jays
Well, this is going to be short & sweet, because once again I didn’t have my camera (forgot it).
My friend, Dirk, and I decided to go to this game mainly for the fact that this would be the last home game for the Rangers before the All Star break. So, we cleared it with our wives and we were off. It was such a quick decision that 1: I forgot my camera, and 2: I forgot to print a roster for the Rays.
Oh well, I was soon to find out it wouldn’t matter anyway.
We got to the stadium and bought 2 bleacher tickets for $8.00 each, got to the gate & through the bag check, and to the left field seats at around 5:10 or so. Which normally, is 5 minutes into BP.
No cages, no players on the field at all.
Granted, it was a little cloudy, but they’ve taken BP in worse conditions before.
I can’t explain it, I don’t know what was up, and quite frankly I didn’t want to know. The night before was a normal, 9 inning game. Tonight was a 7:05 start, and no BP. To say that I was upset would be an understatement.
We roamed around for a little while, and during our wandering we spotted a ball in the visitors’ bullpen. It was about 4-5 feet down, and about 3-4 feet out from the wall. Now, I’ve used the glove trick twice now and haven’t had any problems with security, but I still went and asked the nearest usher if I could go for it. Call me crazy, but better safe than sorry I always say.
The usher gave us his blessing (which I figured he would), and we went for it. I let Dirk go for it, since I can do it whenever I want really. He had to knock the ball about a foot closer first, and when he had it just right I set up the trick and he got it on the 2nd try.
Let me back up a little bit.
Before we went and asked for permission from the usher, we noticed that there seemed to be some sort of extra logo on the ball. Commemorative? Odd stamping? We didn’t know for sure, but that made getting the ball much more of a priority.
When Dirk raised the glove for the 2nd time, I put my hand underneath it to support the ball when it came in reach. As we lifted the glove over the railing, I pulled the ball out to look at it and almost puked.
It was a Little League ball!
Are you kidding me?!?!
How in the world it got down there, we had no idea, until a guy came over out of nowhere and asked if we would give it to him, because apparently it was “So and So’s” ball and he threw it down there. Dirk hadn’t seen that it was a little league ball, so he said no at first, but upon further inspection we let him have it.
What a downer. I considered (very briefly) counting it in my glove trick totals, but decided against it. It wasn’t an official MLB ball, so it doesn’t count. Although it was pretty cool getting to snag a ball without BP!
We stayed in the bleachers until the end of the 2nd inning, when we couldn’t take those metal seats any longer, and started roaming for a foul ball spot.
There was suprisingly a lot of people in attendance tonight, so it wasn’t easy to find a good spot. So, we spent a couple innings in the upper deck to see if anything cleared out.
At around the 4th or 5th inning we found a spot on the third base side on the 2nd level, and stayed there until the end of the 7th. No balls there.
We used the top of the 8th to go down behind home plate, and a very nice female usher gave us two seats in the back of a section directly behind home. Great spot, great usher!
The final batter of the game, Pat Burrell, fouled his first pitch one section over to our right, and it was a missile! The next pitch was a rocket over by the Rangers’ dugout. I looked at Dirk, and we knew if one was going to come our way, we would have to be quick.
The next to last pitch was a screamer a few feet to my right. I was on the aisle, and I’m right-handed, so I had a split second to reach across my body with my glove hand while ranging to my right, only to miss it by what seemed like a foot or less. In all reality it may have been 2 feet, but in the heat of the moment it seemed really close.
The ball shot up the tunnel behind me, and I raced to track it down, but by the time I got to the concourse, someone walking by had already gotten it. That’s the closest I’ve ever come to snagging a foul ball.
The very next pitch was a swinging strike three. Rangers win 5-2 and complete a three game sweep of the Rays to remain tied for the division lead with the Angels.
Time of game: 3 hrs.
Next game: 7/17 vs. the Twins