Results tagged ‘ the happy youngster ’
Well once again I skipped a game. This makes twice just this season that I have done that. I don’t know why, I just get busy I guess.
The game I missed was Monday 7/5 against Cleveland. I snagged two in batting practice both via the toss up, one from Darren O’Day (who tried to hit the bullseye and just about got the bullseye below the belt, on purpose I’m sure) and the other by Neftali Feliz. Rangers lost 9-3. Bleh.
Okay, on to today. I had taken 1/2 a day off of work today because there was going to be a special guest at this game and I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of time to hang out before the game. So I left work at noon, got home and waited impatiently for 2:00 when my friend Dirk would pick me up and we would head to the ballpark. We went over to the home plate gate and picked up the special guest and his friend, and we went to Pappasito’s for some mexican food. Man I love that place!
We chatted and stuffed our faces and arrived at the season ticket holder gate at around 4:10ish. We got our bags checked and tickets scanned and booked it on over to left field for batting practice. Our guest and his friend stayed in left field while Dirk and I went over to the bleachers in left-center.
Within a few minutes I had my first ball. One fell in the gap right in front of a boy to my left, so I reeled it up and handed it to him. He was excited and his father was grateful which made the whole thing good. My second ball would come the exact same way not too long after and as I tried to hand the ball to the same boy (he was the only kid in the area) he told me to save it and give it to another kid who didn’t have one yet. What a great kid! So, I did as he asked and as I was putting my retriever in my backpack I heard Dirk yell “BRIAN!” Then a split second later I hear “BANG!”. A ball had sailed through the front row railing and clanged off the bleacher bottom right beside me. I picked the ball up off the ground, gave Dirk a puzzled look, and put the ball in my bag. Within the first 30 minutes or so I had matched my single game record of three, and I have to admit that I began to get a little giddy at the thought of there still being about another full hour of BP left.
Oh the possibilities….
You may have noticed by now that I haven’t posted any pictures yet. Well, I didn’t take any during BP, don’t ask me why. I guess everything was happening so fast at the beginning that I didn’t even think about it. I took a couple later on though so be patient.
All of those possibilities that I referred to a second ago, well they didn’t last long, as I got nothing during the Indians’ portion of batting practice. Actually, I shouldn’t say “nothing” because I did get one ball, and I must say it’s the weirdest way I’ve snagged a ball yet.
As I said earlier, Dirk and I were in the left-center bleachers which is the same place we’ve gone the last four games or so. He’s on one end and I’m on the other. I’ve developed a habit of looking in his direction every now and then, I guess to see if he happens to be snagging one when I look or something who knows, but with about 10 minutes or so left of batting practice I look over and see a ball on the ground rolling towards me.
What?! I know that I had kept track of every ball hit, so where did this one come from?
That was just so you know what I immediately thought. Naturally, I walked over and picked the ball up and I asked Dirk if it was his, and he said no. I asked the little boy behind Dirk that he had just given a ball to, and he too said no. There was another boy a couple rows back that said he thought it had come out of the Indians’ bullpen after a pitcher had deflected a throw from his catcher and the ball went into the bleachers. As odd as it may sound, I found that to be the only viable explanation and accepted it. I then handed it to that same boy.
So, I ended up with four balls. As anti-climatic as it was, I had beaten my previous single game record of three by one ball. I guess I just had higher hopes, oh well, it was still cool.
Once batting practice had concluded Dirk and I decided to get a photo with our special guest and his friend, and here it is….
From left to right: Dirk, Kenny from Milwaukee, Nick “The Happy Youngster” Yohanek, yours truly, and my other friend Shawn who arrived as BP was ending.
That’s right, Happy was in Arlington. I was so stoked when he told me he was coming down that I could hardly wait for this day to arrive, and I wasn’t disappointed. Nick is one of the coolest dudes I’ve met, so laid back and easy to talk to. I don’t what I was expecting, if anything, I think I just had a couple of reservations about meeting someone in person that before today I had only emailed. Is that weird? Probably.
Anyways, we had a blast. After BP we just kind of wandered the stadium. Nick and Kenny had gone to the previous night’s game, so he had already done his picture taking. We took him over to the Rangers Hall of Fame for a little bit, and he seemed to enjoy seeing some of the history of the team.
As for the game, our seats weren’t together. Dirk and I had our mini plan seats that were up in the third level, and Nick and Kenny had seats next to the hill in centerfield.
While we were in our seats I tried to zoom in on Nick and Kenny….
…. who you can see just to the left of the cameraman’s black umbrella. Nick is in the yellow shirt with his glove in front of his face. Funny, I didn’t know Nick was camera shy?!
Oh! I forgot to mention something that happened after the group photo above. I had brought my official “Happy Youngster” t-shirt to this game with the intention of having Nick sign it.
Here’s a shot as it went down….
I told Nick after the game that I would send him a picture of it hanging on my wall, so after he sees it, you’ll see it here.
Anyways, I tried to get more used to the camera Dirk had given me by taking some zoomed in game pics.
Here’s Josh Hamilton after his first hit of the game….
Here’s a couple more of Hamilton leading away from first….
I took more game pics of Hamilton at the plate, guys in the field, but they were all blurry so I deleted them. I guess I need more work with the image stabilizer.
I met someone else at the game tonight, Jeremy Hyman and Alex (I’m not sure if Alex is his brother or a friend). If you don’t recognize the name they are the ones from the blog: 30 Stadiums in 60 Days. Jeremy is a recent college graduate that decided to load up his car and tour all 30 MLB stadiums in two months. Can you believe that! I would love to do that and told him so, to which he said that he has heard that from everyone he’s talked to. He and Alex are both great guys, really taking in and enjoying every moment of their journey. After talking with them for about 10 minutes or so I bid them farewell and told them we’d stay in touch via the blogs.
Dirk and Shawn and I spent the rest of the game in left field. We didn’t get anything out there, in fact the closest we came to a homer was in the top of the fourth when Jayson Nix hit a solo shot two sections to our left that a guy in the front row bobbled and dropped into the gap. Now, I didn’t get a picture of where the ball actually came to rest because I’m a dork and didn’t think about it, but to save time trying to type out an explanation I’m gonna give you an idea from an old picture I have….
Now I must say that it doesn’t look like that any more. This picture is from two seasons ago when there was a manual scoreboard in left field. Now it’s a digital video board that is air cooled so most of the walkway back there is taken up, but the outfield side of the wall is still the same and the arrow is pointing to where the ball landed. It’s not completely flat, it’s recessed about a half inch or so, so the ball had a fairly good resting place.
The guy that dropped it was sick, he couldn’t believe he missed it (he would’ve had it if he were wearing a glove), and he stared at it for the rest of the game.
At that point, our minds were racing with ideas of how we could get that ball. We figured the quickest and easiest way was to throw our retriever at it and hope we hit it on the first try. We decided to wait until after the game so as not to draw any unwanted attention to ourselves but it wouldn’t matter. Somewhere around the seventh inning we noticed some comotion over there where the guy was sitting and a few minutes later Shawn went to look and said the ball was gone. Someone must have climbed up the wall from down below and gotten it.
Oh well. That’s okay.
The rest of the game was good, the Rangers came back to win 4-3.
After the game we all walked out of the park, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
Jeremy and Alex: It was great to meet the both of you, I hope to live vicariously through you for the next few weeks!
Nick and Kenny: You two are a couple of studs. You are more than welcome down here anytime (next time don’t stay in Dallas!). Nick, I’m glad I finally got to meet you bro. You truly are a class act.
Time of Game: 2hrs. 56mins.
Next Game: Wed. 7/28 vs. Oakland
I’ll go ahead and admit up front that I’m not much of a National League fan. I have a few teams that I try to follow as regularly as I can, Arizona, Houston, and Milwaukee.
Arizona, because I voted on the team name and colors, and I watched the stadium being built in 1995.
Houston, because they’re the only other baseball team in Texas.
Milwaukee, because they hired away my favorite general manager of the Rangers, Doug Melvin, and also because of the Happy Youngster’s blog.
With all of that being said, I was very impressed with game 1 of the NLCS. What an exciting game that was! I guess since I wasn’t rooting for a specific team, I was able to concentrate on the game itself.
I think I am equally split on the NLCS.
Part of me wants LA to win, while the other half wants the Phillies to win.
Here’s my thinking….
Everyone knows the storied history of the Dodgers, and the opportunity for them to be in the World Series possibly against the Yankees would be pretty cool for the old school fan.
On the other hand, seeing the Phillies try to repeat as champions would be pretty cool too since back to back championships is getting pretty rare in Major League Baseball.
Either way, I think the NL will be well represented by either of these two teams in the World Series.
I doubt I will comment on every game of the two LCS, but last night was just a good game all around, and worthy of discussion.
Well, the All Star break was finally over and the Minnesota Twins were in town for the weekend. My friend Dirk and I had planned on going to this game for a couple of weeks, since this was the first game back for the Rangers.
Fridays at the Ballpark in Arlington are Big Bang Fireworks Fridays, which means you get $10 tickets, $5 parking, and a fireworks show after the game. Our tickets were normally $25 each and parking is normally $12, so it is a really cool deal.
The only downside to the whole thing is, obviously, it brings more people to the ballpark. Oh well, it’s still better than some other parks out there.
We got to the third base gate at around 4:45 or so, and there was already about 20 people in line. On top of the other promotions, they were also giving t-shirts away to the first 10,000 fans. I didn’t take a picture of it, but you’re not missing anything. It’s a plain white shirt with “TEXAS” on the front (it looks just like the “TEXAS” on the ticket above), and on the back is a huge “SPONGETECH” logo. In case you’ve somehow missed their giant ads at the ballparks, here’s a photo I found on the internet….
Just imagine that going from shoulder to shoulder and being about 3-4 inches tall on the back of the shirt. Not real cool, but you can’t beat the price!
Here’s a photo I got someone to take of Dirk and I waiting in line….
We were a little leary about the bag check this game, simply for the fact that Dirk had brought his version of a “cup trick” for the first time, altough there was no cup used in this contraption. The best way to describe it is, a rubber boot with a 3 inch long, 2 inch diameter pipe in the middle, wrapped in electrical tape and spray painted red. Don’t understand that, well that’s the best I can do.
Surprisingly, we made it through the bag check rather easily, got our free shirts and headed over to the left field seats, just in time to see the last batter for the Rangers finish up. Aww Man!
The Twins had just come out on the field to stretch, so I knew we would have a little time to spare before they started hitting, so we started checking the gaps for balls. Dirk spotted one toward the back of the visitors’ bullpen in left field. There was already someone over there working on it, but he was struggling, so we made our way over there anyway. Apparently, he had been there for a while and was willing to give up, because when Dirk asked if he could give it a try, the guy didn’t even hesitate to step aside. Sweet! We would finally get to try out our new trick. We had practiced with it some at our houses, but there’s nothing like the real thing. Here’s a shot of Dirk lowering it for the first time….
The wall that we are lowering from is approximately 20′ tall, just to give you some perspective. That red spot you see in the top right corner is the other guys’ trick that he’s raising up. His trick used a small helmet (like an ice cream helmet) and that’s all I could really tell, I don’t know what he used for a weight.
Anyways, here’s an action shot of Dirk….
You can kind of get a better idea of how tall that wall is in this shot.
The problem with using anything other than a glove trick is, when you have a ball (like this one) that is out 3-4 feet from the wall, it is very hard to knock the ball closer. Although we had a decent amount of weight, the surface area needed to maneuver the ball was minimal. After about 10 minutes and repeated attempts at dropping the cup from the railing, this happened….
The string broke.
We waited around for about 5 minutes until a security guard came and got it for Dirk. He gave him his cup back, but not the ball. Oh well, we couldn’t complain too much, at least he didn’t throw away his trick.
We came to the conclusion that the amount of weight used, the height of the wall, and the type of string used was not a very good combination. So, Dirk tied the two broken ends together and we went back around to left field to get ready for the Twins BP.
To say that we missed out on some balls would be an understatement. The crowd for BP was not real big, but it would’ve been nice to have a few less people to deal with. I know I myself missed at least 4 or 5. And when I say “missed”, I mean I either misjudged or got screwed out of. Dirk could’ve had at least that many also. It was frustrating because I wanted a Twins commemorative ball real bad!
Everyone around me was getting one, and they were pearls too. By pearl, I mean pristine, gently used, no smudges. It’s like they opened 2-3 boxes of brand new ones and dumped them in the bucket. After 20 minutes or so, Dirk ran around to the LF bleachers to try for one in the gap, but to no avail, someone got it before he could get over there.
I didn’t notice when he came back around because I was still trying to catch a BP homer, but when he got back to left field, he started going for one in our section. I don’t know how I missed that one, but Dirk was on it, and after a few minutes he pulled this out of the LF gap….
The green mark on the front of the ball is from the wall that it hit before falling into the gap.
The commemorative logo is smudged, but we didn’t care, we were just happy to get one. I asked him if I could borrow it to take this photo when I got home, and he told me to keep it. After going back and forth about it being his ball, I conceded, although it won’t be included in my ball totals. It is cool to have though!
That would be the only ball to be had for the rest of BP. We fought through the heat as long as we could, then went to the concourse with only a few minutes remaining in batting practice. We signed up to be designated drivers and got coupons for free sodas that we chugged in no time.
After eating a very dry chopped BBQ sandwich, we made our way to our seats in LF which we stayed in until the 5th inning or so, when we decided to look for a foul ball spot. Never found a good one, so we went for ice cream.
Now, the Ballpark in Arlington does not have ice cream helmets, but I had an idea that I wanted to try out to beat the system. The souvenir stands sell small, ice cream-sized helmets for $1 and I figured I could buy one and take it to the ice cream stand and have them fill it up instead, and it worked! Here she is….
I did have to pay the regular sundae price which is $6, so when you add the $1 for the helmet, I had a $7 sundae. It’s okay, I got some satisfaction out of the fact that I was the only one in the ballpark that had one! That one’s for you Todd Cook!
We walked around some more, mainly looking for a good foul ball spot, but the ones we wanted were full, so we kept wandering. I didn’t take any pictures, don’t ask me why, I just didn’t.
We made it behind home plate for the 9th inning, but got nothing. Even after the game when we normally look for tickets and stuff, it was rough because a lot of people were hanging around to see the fireworks.
I did manage to find a few tickets….
Rangers lost 5-3 and lost ground to the Angels in the division.
Time of game: 2hrs. 44mins.
Attendance: 34,662 (more than I’m used to)
Next game: Possibly Wed. 7/29 vs. the Mariners