Results tagged ‘ txbaseballfan ’
Well, it was finally here. Opening Day.
What would this season bring following such an amazing World Series run?
Who knows, but I was very anxious to find out!
Dirk and I attended this game and we were joined by our friends Shawn and Kendall. For reasons that are beyond me, I cannot get my photos to upload from this game so you’re just going to have to imagine what I’m describing.
Game time was 3:05 and the gates were scheduled to open at 12:00. Since Dirk and I purchased a 20 game mini plan for this season we were given season ticket holder i.d. cards that get us in 30 minutes before everyone else for most games. I say for most games because we were unsure if they would apply to this game.
At 11:30 the gates opened, our tickets scanned and bags checked, and we made our way around to the left-centerfield bleachers. The cages were up, bu the only action on the field at this point were two Rangers on the first base side stretching.
We figured that we had at least 15-20 minutes or so before they started hitting, so I asked Shawn if he wanted to have a catch while we were waiting and he agreed. What proceded to happen was a three-way (easy now!) catch that included Shawn, myself, and I guy who’s name I don’t know but he was on the opposite side of the centerfield hill from us.
That’s right, we played catch over Green’s Hill in center.
Let me tell you, that’s a longer throw than you would think. Everything was cool until Shawn tried to push it and heaved one a lot farther than he should have and the ball ricocheted to a spot that was out of our reach. Game over. Thanks Shawn.
It didn’t matter because a few minutes later the Rangers were hitting.
Yes! It seemed like a year had gone by since I had taken in batting practice. I’m sure that’s how all the ballhawks feel during the first BP of the season. Anyways, it was great to finally be back at it.
Things got off to a slow start for me. I had picked the corner of the bleachers in left-center that was right next to the hill in centerfield which is where I spent a lot of time last season. I didn’t have any action until later in the session when there was a little boy on my right and Colby Lewis had fielded a ball at the wall just in front of me. I got Colby’s attention, held up my glove and pointed at the boy next to me, and he threw it right into the pocket of my glove. I then turned and opened my glove and let the boy take it out himself. He couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old and was wearing a glove and was so excited. His dad was behind him (without a glove) and was just as happy as his son. I asked if that was his son’s first ball and he said yes. That made it even better for me.
Just the thought of giving a ball to young kid that is eager to get one, wearing a glove, being courteous, yet maybe a little unschooled in ballhawking 101, is enough to make me grin from ear to ear. Add to that the fact that sometimes it just so happens to be their first one ever?! Well, it just doesn’t get any better than that for me.
Anyways, BP was still pretty slow for me, though I was able to pull two different balls out of the gap in front of me that other kids had dropped. I was good with three balls. Especially since the Red Sox were in town and batting practice was crowded. I would’ve been content with one ball, so three was great to me. Dirk ended up with five so I’ll have to wait to outsnag him in 2011.
Our seats for the game were in the upper deck on the first base side towards the outfield. Section 340, row 14. Not the best place to watch a game from, but hey, we were there.
We watched the game from there until around the fourth inning when we went down to the gift shop in centerfield to look around for something that Dirk could get his kids. After a short spell in the a/c we made our way over to left field where Shawn and Kendall were sitting. They had told us that there were a couple open seats in the row in front of them, so we filled them.
The seats were directly behind the foul pole in left field, so viewing the game wasn’t great but it was better than where we were sitting earlier. An inning or so prior to us getting there, Kendall had a homerun slip off his fingers and land in the hands of the guy behind him. Mike Napoli hit a go ahead three run homer that just wrapped around the foul pole and skimmed off Kendall’s bare fingers. He had his glove, but had taken it off to do something else and didn’t have time to get it back on before it was already on him.
The game itself was good. The Rangers were down at first then came back to win it 9-5 in the bottom of the 8th inning. Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, and Mike Napoli all went deep for the Rangers. David Murphy hit a pinch hit, go ahead double down the 3rd base line in the bottom of the 8th that got a rally going.
The atmosphere was awesome out there at this game, which is how it usually is on opening day but this one was better. Probably because of the way they finished last season, who knows. Nonetheless, it sure it cool not having so many Boston fans in the stands nowadays. What a beating that got to be in the past.
We fought the madness after the game, but didn’t mind since we witnessed a win and took some all around great baseball.
Time of Game: 3 hrs. 28 mins.
Next Game: Saturday 4/2 (Probably BP only)
Even as I write this at 7:15 CST the morning after the Texas Rangers won the deciding game 5 in St. Petersburg to advance to the ALCS for the first time in franchise history, and after watching countless replays of the final out recorded by Elvis Andrus to insure the victory, and watching all of the post game interviews, even now I must admit that I’ve had to fight back a few tears.
What else can be said?
I just find it so hard to come up with the words I feel best describe what I’ve witnessed not just this postseason, but all season.
I’m not going to look back over the season and point out the highs and lows of what has become a very magical season (not yet anyway). No, right now I’m content with taking it all in, enjoying the moment as long as I can because who knows when I’ll have this chance again.
After attending game 3 of the ALDS this past Saturday I got my first taste of live playoff baseball, and man was it great. Even though they lost the game the feeling in the ballpark was amazingly intense. One could get used to that feeling really easily, but as the fans of the ’90s Rangers found out it can end just as easily.
11 years after their last postseason appearance I’m quite content with taking it one game at time.
And what a time it is to be a Texas (Rangers) Baseball Fan!
As a self-proclaimed “Texas Baseball Fan” I feel it is almost my duty to share some of my thoughts on the auction that concluded early yesterday morning to determine ownership of the Texas Rangers.
Well to be perfectly honest, my first thought was “It’s about time!” Good grief. Could this have been drug out any longer?! Probably, but I was truly tired of hearing about it.
So it falls to Rangers Baseball Express which consists of Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and the one and only Nolan Ryan.
Good. That’s the way it should have been all along.
When I heard the news that television magnate Rupert Murdoch was adding his name to the bidding list I had to chuckle. What else was going to happen? It was starting to seem as if everything was shaping up to keep RBE from acquiring the franchise.
Thank God that didn’t happen!
Technically, it’s still not “official”. The owners still have to approve the sale at the next owner’s meeting which is scheduled for Thursday, August 12, but this appears to be just a formality. What’s funny is at the beginning of the week when there seemed to be multiple potential bidders for the Wednesday auction, I had heard something that may be a rumor but I’m not sure. Apparently there was/is an addendum or caveat to the whole auction. Some entity; MLB, the court, someone held the authority to overturn the final high bid.
Example: Let’s say that the group that included Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban had the highest final bid at auction end. This particular entity could overrule the bid and make the runner-up the new highest bidder.
Of course this led to speculation that this was all a way to keep Mark Cuban out of Major League Baseball. For those that may not know, the MLB “suits” do not particularly care for Mr. Cuban’s ownership style.
Whether any of this is true and factual, we may never know. Though it sure made for some hot sports opinions to be tossed around our neck of the woods in the last week or so.
Another detail that I heard ….
Back when RBE made their initial bid for the Rangers which I believe was in December or January, they were asked to raise this initial bid by another 25 million dollars to compensate for the land and parking lots. They declined. In the months since, the Hicks Sports Group (the previous owners) removed the land and parking lots from the sale, and during the auction RBE upped their bid another 60-65 million and lost the land and parking lots because they wouldn’t agree to pay an additional 25 million.
Again, this could be hearsay, but it sure added an odd dimension to this whole saga.
So where do I stand on this? As I stated earlier, I feel that Nolan Ryan and his group should have had this thing all along. The fact that it drug out as long as it did didn’t help them, the team, the fans, or anyone, but now that it’s just about done they can go about business as usual.
Like signing potential free agents, making plans for ballpark improvements, resigning manager Ron Washington, moving forward with the franchise and putting this whole mess behind them.
Being a fan, I am very excited to see what the remainder of this season has in store as well as next season. We may be in for changes we have never thought of now that we have an ownership team that “knows” baseball and has the franchise and fans in mind over themselves.
It’s getting harder and harder for me to attend weekday games because I can’t always leave work as early as I’d like, and if I can’t make it for all of batting practice part of me doesn’t want to go at all. Call me weird, but that’s how I feel.
As it turns out, I figured out that even if I leave work just 30 minutes early (5:00 instead of 5:30) we can still make it to the ballpark by 5:30 and catch the last 30-40 minutes of the visiting team’s BP. Not bad, but still not as good as getting in 30 minutes earlier than everybody else.
This game was one of the times we got there at around 5:30 and there was a pretty decent crowd in the left centerfield bleachers so we hung back a few rows until some of the younger fans started to wander off and we claimed a couple spots in the corner next to the A’s bullpen.
My first ball of the day came within the first 5 minutes of us being there when a kid muffed a toss up and it landed in the gap. He was about 5-6 feet to my left and I was all over it. I took the ball over to where I was standing previously and handed it to a little boy around 5 years old who was wearing a glove but had not yet gotten a ball. He and his father were very thankful and that made it all worth it.
As I was reeling that ball up, Dirk was getting his one and only ball of the day out of the bullpen so we were both now on the board!
The A’s weren’t hitting many our way today and the ones that were in our direction weren’t even close to hitting the seats. Right field on the other hand was getting peppered with balls, but there’s always SO many kids over there that it’s just not worth it.
At one point a ball had to come to rest on the grass edge of the warning track directly in front of me. The only problem was I completely surrounded by kids, so I knew that if that ball were to reach the seats I would not be the one to snag it.
Well, I was wrong.
There was one pitcher in particular that was having fun with the crowd today during BP. He’s a former Texas Tech Red Raider so I guess he felt like he was “at home” this series. He came over and stood right next to the ball that was right in front of me and wouldn’t pick it up. Every 30 seconds or so he would bend down like he was going to pick it up and once the chorus of “Here!, Here!s” started he would stand back up and leave the ball on the ground. After the first couple of times I caught on to what he was doing but the younger ones weren’t as quick. That’s when I started to think that he would just flip the ball backwards without looking and I figured that would be my one and only shot at it.
I was right.
After about a minute or two of messing with the kids, he leaned over to pick the ball up with his glove and just sort of flung it directly off of the grass. Kind of cool if you ask me because it was going to be a win win for me either way. I would either get to reel in another ball out of the gap or I would just catch it and hand it over to someone. Turns out it was the latter. The ball was about a foot over my head on my left so I reached up with my glove and caught it in the pocket. I didn’t even touch the ball, I just opened my glove and let the boy on my left take it out.
“Who was the pitcher?”, you may be asking. Well, it was none other than Mr. Perfecto himself, Dallas Braden.
Not too shabby if I say so myself.
That would be it for me during batting practice although I can finally say that I outsnagged Dirk! That made it all worth it!
Wednesdays are Dollar Dog nights at the Ballpark in Arlington so after getting our free drink coupons from the designated driver booth we got some dogs and found a place to stuff our faces.
This game was exciting from a baseball fan standpoint but frustrating from a ballhawk standpoint. There were so many people at this game that we couldn’t find a spot to move to like we usually do. Actually, we did find a spot to move to but we did it too early and were asked for our tickets. Oh well. Rules are rules right?
So for a good majority of the game we stood against the wall out in left field. If you haven’t seen it, it looks like this….
If you click on the photo and enlarge it the wall is red and had Lucas Oil on it.
I don’t mind it over there, it has great home run potential, I would just rather be able to sit somewhere out there instead of standing but oh well.
Turns out it didn’t matter anyways since we didn’t have even one close call. As Rangers’ manager Ron Washington says,”that’s the way baseball go!”
The Rangers would go on to lose this game by the score of 3-1. I don’t like watching them lose, especially in person since this is only the 2nd loss I’ve witnessed in 19 games attended this season.
I originally was going to use this game to gain some ground in the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt but after taking about three pictures I realized they weren’t correct, so I will have to try again another day.
Here’s a couple that I got during the game….
…. of Fox Sports Southwest reporter Jim Knox on the left and TV analyst and former MLB player Steve Busby on the right.
Even though my team lost it’s always fun to be at the ballpark. I truly feel at home there.
Time of game: 2 hrs. 40 mins.
Next Game: Tues. 8/10 vs. the Stankees (I’ll explain why later….)
As I stated in this entry I have set a goal of snagging a Target Field ball (at least one) when the Twins come to town in August.
Since it’s the All Star break and I have nothing else to do but think of the next game I’m going to, I’ve come up with another goal.
After reading many blogs over the past couple years of ballhawks that snag commemorative balls at the weirdest moments (like snagging a World Series ball the next season at a BP of a team that wasn’t even in the Series the prior season), I began to think of the All Star game ball.
The A.S. game is being held in Anaheim, who’s in the same division as the Rangers. What are the chances that some of those A.S. balls will find their way into the Angels’ batting practice bags/buckets?
It’s possible right? It has to be possible.
So there you have it. My goal is to be at the first game when the Angels come to town next week. They will be in for a four game set from Thursday 7/22 until Sunday 7/25 and I will be at the Thursday tilt with the sole purpose of potentially snagging an All Star game ball.
Sunday June 27th was a long day. Literally, it was a long day, that’s not a complaint. We left our house at around noon, stopped at a convenience store for water and batteries, and headed to the ballpark. It was a 7:05 start. Why did we leave so early you ask?
Let me explain….
My friend Dirk and I had been talking to a gentleman that is a season ticket holder who mentioned all of the autographs he gets at the games he goes to. At any given moment he can pull a ball out of his bag that has been autographed by a Ranger. You name them, he has their autograph. Naturally, Dirk and I were very intrigued and inquired how he came about them. He then told us that he stands by the parking lot tunnel that the players drive into either before or after games. Some players stop and some don’t, but he says of all the times he’s been out there he has come away with at least one autograph. That settled it, we had to do this.
We had actually made one attempt at getting some autographs prior to this afternoon. Dirk and I went out there after the game on Thurs. 6/10, the only problem was the next day was an away game so all of the players were in a hurry to get to the airport to head to Milwaukee. At least we got a feel of where to go, plus we saw what some of the guys’ rides were.
So that brings us to this day. It was a weekend game as well as a 7:05 start, so we loaded up our daughters to make our first true attempt at getting some Rangers autographs.
Here’s a photo I took of the girls shortly after we arrived at the tunnel….
The area was nothing more than a median, like on a roadway. There are two fairly tall pine trees that offered really good shade, as well as there being a decent breeze to make it even better.
We got there at around 12:30 and there was already about 8-10 other people there who said no one had stopped yet, and only a handful of people had been by so we knew we were in good shape.
Our first autograph would come from the manager, Ron Washington….
The photo on the left is of Dirk, his daughter Kaitlyn, and my daughter Sarah. The one on the right is just Sarah. I took two photos of each autograph so Dirk would have one of his daughter and I would have one of mine. Just a semi-unnecessary explanation of why there’s two pictures of each.
There were periods of inactivity between autographs, and during one of these periods I realized that I was in dire need of a bathroom. I had drank a bottle of Mountain Dew on the way there and was now paying for it. I didn’t want to have to walk anywhere, but I didn’t have a choice. Long story short, I had to walk about a quarter of a mile to a youth ballpark located just outside the Rangers’ ballpark. By the time I returned, the girls had gotten Nelson Cruz’ autograph and just finished getting catcher Matt Treanor’s….
Just for the record, I don’t know the lady that’s in the photo, I just wanted to document what Treanor drove. And in case you’re wondering, we got Washington on a baseball, Cruz signed a hat that Sarah wanted to get a bunch of autos on, and Treanor signed a ball. If I had been there, I would’ve had Cruz sign a ball and Treanor sign the hat, but oh well. We were happy to have them period.
The next one that stopped was hitting coach Clint Hurdle….
The fifth and final autograph for today would come from pitcher Chris Ray….
…. who would also sign Sarah’s hat.
Pretty cool! In all, we were out there for about two hours and came away with 5 autographs. Of course there were guys that drove by and didn’t stop, but that’s understandable. I didn’t expect to get all of the teams’ autos today. We were completely satisfied with what we came away with.
At around 2:30-2:40 we left and headed over to Pappasito’s for a late lunch. Gotta love Mexican food!
After stuffing our faces we headed back over to the ballpark and walked in the gate at around 4 o’clock. There was a pregame concert by Los Tigres del Norte so the gates were opened earlier than usual, but it didn’t matter because when we got out to the left field seats we saw this….
The ballpark hosers. Yes, the cage was up but, I’ll admit, I was still a little scared because we usually don’t see them until after batting practice. After about 5 minutes of uncertainty a guy walked out and set an empty bucket by the screen in centerfield. Yes!
I shouldn’t have doubted that there would be BP, but I haven’t ever been in that early before so it threw me off.
Within the next fifteen minutes the Rangers would come out to stretch and throw….
…. and five minutes after that, they would start to hit and I was forced to stare at these for at least 10 minutes….
…. which, I’m sad to say that I would not get.
I would get on the board though when a kid next to me dropped a toss up into the gap that I would reel up with my device and give to him. He was thrilled, because he thought he was out of luck. When he saw me get it and slowly bring it up, he was ecstatic. I love doing that, because it’s a double win. I get to count it because I reeled it up, plus this kid in particular got his very first Major League baseball. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I came within inches of catching my first BP homer on the fly. I leaned as far over the rail as I could but was still about two inches short and the ball fell into the gap directly underneath me. Unfortunately, there just so happened to be a guy walking by down there that would pick up the ball (before I could tell him not to) and toss it up to someone else. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.
That was it for the rest of batting practice for me. Seriously, for both teams. Now if I wanted to start counting toss up “assists”, I would have cleaned up. I must have pointed to 6-8 different kids at various points of batting practice and every one of them got the ball. I even toyed with the idea of pointing to myself a couple times for fun but thought better of it. The kids would get their ball and run off to show someone what they got. That may have been my problem. If I had not pointed and just let them stay around, maybe I would’ve had more gap-retrieval opportunities. Who knows?
If you’re wondering why Sarah wasn’t by me trying for her own toss ups, it’s because she and Kaitlyn were by the left field foul pole up under an overhang in the shade. It was hot. Very hot.
Once the Astros’ BP concluded I walked a couple sections over to where Dirk was and we noticed a ball in the middle of the visitors’ bullpen. It wasn’t placed there, but hit there during batting practice. I asked the closest security guard if I could swing my device out to knock it closer and he said go for it. It was about 6-8 feet out from the wall so it took a few throws but it worked. I would soon reel it up for our 2nd and final ball of the day. Dirk would end up with 3 of his own (all with his device), and I had to fight off a little disgust at never being able to out-snag him.
We next went to track down the girls and go sign up to be designated drivers and get our free soda coupons. There’s two different places in the ballpark and if you do both, you get two coupons which is cool because Sarah and I both would get free drinks.
Along the way we saw the Silver Boot trophy which is what the winner of the two Rangers/Astros series receives….
I’ve been told that the boot is a size 13. In case you were wondering…
The four of us didn’t sit together this game. Sarah and I were in the upper deck on the first base side, and Dirk and Kaitlyn were in the bleachers in left-center.
Here’s a picture from our seats….
…. of the second appearance of the day by the Ballpark Hosers.
The camera I was using was given to me just that morning by Dirk, so I had to get the hang of using it. I had grown so used to my wife’s camera from using it for a couple years, that this new one was a whole new animal.
Here’s a shot of where I stood during batting practice….
I know you can’t tell where I’m talking about, but it was above the “g” in the blue Samsung sign in left-centerfield.
Here, let me test out the zoom and show you a closer look….
Come to think of it I was actually across the aisle from the spot above the “g”, but who’s keeping track?
I asked Sarah what she wanted me to take a picture of next and she said the Texas flag, so I obliged….
…. with both “Texas” flags.
The pregame festivities included a tribute to Hispanic heritage….
…. as well as the TCU baseball team, who had just been eliminated from the College World Series the previous day….
I also took a few shots of the Rangers during their pregame warmups….
The photo on the top left intrigued me because it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a catcher throw to a catcher. The photo on the bottom right was taken about 5 seconds too late. That’s Vladimir Guerrero getting stretched by the trainer and Josh Hamilton behind him (or above his head, however you want to describe it). Josh had gone about 10-15 feet away from Vlad and got down on his belly and “army-crawled” all the way to him. When he got there, he did something (I didn’t see what) to scare the he!! out of Vlad. I saw him crawling, looked away to get my camera ready, and looked back to see Vlad and Josh laughing. I wish I had seen what he did, but at least I saw some of it.
I mentioned before that Dirk and his daughter were sitting in the bleachers, well I zoomed in as far as I could and this is where they were sitting….
If you click on the photo you’ll see two red arrows pointing to Dirk and his daughter. I told him to call me around the third or fourth inning to see if there were any empty seats that Sarah and I could have.
Somewhere around the fourth inning he said there were two available in the row behind him, so we headed that way and when we got there I took this photo of Sarah….
…. behind section 53 in left-centerfield.
While sitting in the outfield I took the following two pictures of different angles of the park….
…. and I must admit that I like them both.
As far as the game goes, the Rangers scored early and often accumulating 10 runs by the end of the 6th inning, and that would be all they would need to defeat Roy Oswalt and the Astros. 10-1 was the final. Josh Hamilton hit the second longest home run in the history of the Ballpark in Arlington. It was a 468 foot, two-run mammoth shot to the 2nd deck above the Rangers dugout in right field.
The game was exciting on all fronts and capped off what was an all around great day of baseball.
Time of Game: 2hrs. 38mins.
Next Game: Wed. 7/7 vs. Cleveland
The plans for this game changed a couple different times, but this game was attended by myself, my daughter Sarah, my older daughter Kayla, and their grandmother Stacey. I had left my house with enough time to get to Houston (it’s about a 4 hour drive), find Stacey’s house (thanks Garmin!), and get to the ballpark in time for batting practice.
It all worked out to plan.
We got to the ballpark at around 5:10 or so and we purchased our tickets for the cheap seats for $7 each. The line at the centerfield gate was longer than I would have liked, but it was Friday and they were giving away Lone Star series t-shirts along with a post game fireworks show.
When we finally made it inside I ran over to the right field seats, mainly because the left field seats (where I like to go in Arlington) are called the Crawford Boxes in Houston and they get very full very fast.
I only took a couple pictures with my phone this game, because my daughter Kayla had our camera packed in her suitcase. So here’s a picture of the left field seats from my trip to Minute Maid last year (to read about that trip, click here)….
You can see the seats I’m referring to just below the Citgo sign on the glass wall.
The above picture was actually taken during the game, but they get pretty close to that full for batting practice, which is why I go to the right field seats.
Here’s a picture I took with my phone of Vladimir Guerrero….
…. and here’s Sarah with the free shirt we got tonight….
Sorry, I know my phone sucks for taking pictures, but it’s the best I could do. Hopefully, one day, I’ll have my own camera and I won’t have to worry about it anymore.
When we first got to the seats there were people along the front row, so I got Sarah a spot on the rail and I stayed back a row or two to give myself some space. It didn’t matter. I didn’t have any home runs come anywhere near me. After about 10 minutes or so I figured our best chance at getting a ball was going to be a toss up.
Let me set the record straight right now: I hate asking for toss ups! I don’t know why, I just do. But, at least Sarah was with me so I don’t feel too bad.
Anyways, back to BP. I also thought I might have a shot at leaning over the low outfield wall and getting one off the bounce (which I actually came close to doing once). Once Vlad was gone from right field a good portion of the kids hanging around left too, so I made my way down to the first row next to Sarah to work on getting a toss up.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux and young pitcher Neftali Feliz were in front of us for about 20 minutes or so and on a couple different occasions I thought we might get the hook up from Maddux, but it never came to pass. Feliz on the other hand was good to us, though I’m not 100% sure if it was intended for us or not. He grabbed a grounder off the field edge of the warning track about 10-15 feet away from us and I called out to him. He was ranging to his left for the ball and once he had it in his glove he kind of hop-stepped to stop his forward momentum and did an overhead lob toss exactly in our direction. All I had to do was reach straight up as high as I could and I was just able to snow cone the ball before it went over my head. Yes!
This would be our very first ball snagged outside of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and it felt great to get it! Sarah and I had talked before the trip about how cool it would be to snag one away from home and we did.
I yelled out a thank you to Neftali and he gave me a thumbs up, so maybe it was intended for us after all.
After snagging our first out of town ball Sarah was so excited about it that she wanted to show it to her grandmother, so we set out to track her down giving some other people around us the chance at snagging a ball.
Once we found Stacey we made our way up to the fourth level to get some drinks and head to our seats. Here’s an idea of where they were….
They were kind of way up there but it was okay. Stacey bought the tickets and I was just happy to be there.
The game itself was good, the Rangers won 9-3. Justin Smoak hit two run homer in the third.
Not much else to report from this game, no more pictures, just the memories of our first “away” ball. That, and the fact that this was my first game with Kayla in years. She’s not really into sports at all, so the fact that she was even there to begin with is pretty cool.
Time of Game: 2hrs. 52mins.
Attendance: 33,951 (Sure didn’t look like it!)
Next Game: Tues. 6/22 vs. the Pirates (I won’t have my camera then either)
For those of you that may not know, Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is by far my favorite Ranger, and probably my favorite active player period.
When the Rangers traded pitcher Edison Volquez for him in the offseason prior to the 2008 season it is was an almost instant draw. By the time Spring Training was underway the story of his personal life started to spread, locally and nationally. Before long everyone knew of his trials and struggles with his own personal demons. Eventually, an autobiography (which is a great book by the way) even came out of the whole thing.
Josh was an instant fan favorite, getting thunderous applause every time he came to the plate in Arlington. He would do countless speaking engagements to tell his testimony to children, adults, anyone who would listen actually. I remember after one particular Sunday afternoon game in the spring of ’08 he and his wife Katie stayed and talked to a large crowd that filled the right field seats, just to have an opportunity at a question and answer session with him.
Of course we all remember what he did at the 2008 Home Run Derby at the old Yankee Stadium. That alone opened up the nation’s eyes to not only his background, but also to just how good he really is.
Following the All-Star break of ’08 Josh’s numbers dipped slightly. He didn’t finish the season on the same torrid pace that he started. Few do.
2009 by all accounts was a let down for Hamilton. Amid spending numerous weeks on the disabled list for varying injuries, he only amassed 10 home runs in 89 games played. Whereas in 2008 he had 32 homers in 156 games. Add to this a midsummer escapade in an Arizona bar that had the national media as well as the internet buzzing, 2009 was a season to forget for the Great Hambino (as he’s known around here).
As we approach the midway point of the 2010 season, Hamilton looks very much on his way to a 3rd consecutive All-Star game appearance (and hopefully a 2nd Home Run Derby appearance!). In the month of June he has 17 hits in 39 at bats with 4 home runs, 15 RBI, and 10 runs scored with a .436 average in his last 10 games.
Like the title of this entry states, Hamilton is hitting his stride at just the right time.
For the season he has 71 hits in 231 at bats with 13 home runs, 42 RBI, and 39 runs scored with a .307 average. Pretty good numbers considering the season he had last year.
My outlook on Josh Hamilton is pretty simple. For a man that does not run from the chance to profess his love and admiration to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he is humble. Humble and thankful. And with myself striving to be the best christian that I can be, Hamilton with all of his own setbacks aside, gives me something to shoot for.
I purchased a 2008 Home Run Derby ball off of Ebay with the specific intention of getting Josh to autograph it. I carried it in my backpack for a year and a half and the stars finally aligned for me on Saturday May 8, 2010. If you are interested you can read a full description of the event here.
Here is the finished product….
As of today June 11, 2010 this is my most prized possession. It most likely will stay that way, but you never know what the future holds.
Well that’s it for my little Josh Hamilton appreciation entry. Those of us that get to see Josh in Arlington at any given chance need to take advantage of every possible opportunity, because none of us knows when we won’t have that chance anymore.
This entry is a couple of weeks old, but oh well. My friend Dirk and I went to an independent league game on Friday May 28th. It was the Fort Worth Cats taking on the Grand Prairie Airhogs in the American Association. The Cats play at LaGrave Field, and I have done entries on them before (like here and here), but haven’t been able to get to the Grand Prairie field.
I’m not going to give a verbal description of this trip in this entry. I would rather do a pictoral entry if you don’t mind. With that being said, here we go….
The red arrow in the last photo shows what a screaming foul ball can do the metal wall behind home plate. There is another view of the wall two photos up.
In the last photo just above the red wall is a swimming pool.
That’s it. That’s my photo tour of my first game at QuikTrip Park. Not bad for an independent league team’s park, though I really don’t see myself returning anytime soon. LaGrave field in Fort Worth is just fine to me, and it’s closer to where I live!
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