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….
Since the last two games that I attended were minor league games, I was WAY overdo for some Major League Baseball.
We arrived at the gate at around 4:40 or so, and waited as patiently as we could for 5:00 to get here. When it finally did, we raced to the LF stands just in time to see this….
The Mariners were just coming out to stretch.
So, that gave Dirk and I time to check the gaps and stands for balls, which we found none. The Rangers must not have come out for BP today. Oh well, they’ve done that before.
Once the Mariners started hitting, we weren’t sure how it was going to go for us. We had been to a BP earlier in the year where the M’s hardly hit anything into the LF seats. Griffey and Ichiro have no problem supplying the people in the RF seats with balls, but we were skeptical of the righties on the team. After the first 10 minutes or so, that skepticism would soon fade away.
Dirk and I positioned ourselves on the railing, one section over from the visitors’ bullpen. Like I mentioned, there wasn’t much action for the first 10-15 minutes, but after that we had some shots at balls. At one point we were as close as 2-3 feet apart, and at that point some high school-aged kid thought that would be a perfect place for him to stand.
“Do you REALLY think you have ANY shot at a ball, standing between two adults with gloves?” That’s what I thought, not said.
I usually let a lot of things go, mainly to avoid any potential confrontations, but this kid was making it especially difficult for me to keep my mouth shut. All that came out of his mouth was negative. Some examples:
“Hey how ’bout a ball?” And when they would throw the ball in to the bucket, “Oh nice, real good. Way to appreciate the fans.”
Or when a player would go to retrieve a ball on the warning track, “I got jipped out of a ball earlier.”
Not to mention, he was responsible for Dirk and I both dropping a homerun ball. He bumped into Dirk and the ball fell in the gap, but Dirk was able to get it anyway. He bumped into me, and the ball skipped off the end of my glove and into the glove of a guy behind me.
First, don’t force your way into a space you shouldn’t be in, and then act like a (insert your own word here) while you’re there.
Second, no one gets jipped out of a ball. You either snag it, or you don’t. Plain and simple. Yes, I hold him responsible for missing a HR ball, but I blame myself also. I could’ve been more assertive, but that’s not who I am. I also don’t think that “entitles” me to whine to the players on the field like they owe me a ball.
Sorry for that rant, that guy just really got on my nerves.
Back to batting practice….
As I mentioned earlier, the skepticism in the M’s righties was short-lived. There were a lot more balls hit into the LF seats than we expected. Of course, there was a fairly decent crowd on hand, I guess because of it being cap night. So, our range was limited, leaving us to helplessly watch numerous balls fall into the gloves/hands of others.
At one point, a ball fell in the gap and Dirk gave me the heads up to go and get it. We take turns with gap balls, it’s kind of a routine between the two of us. So without any hesitation, I was on it.
I got to the spot where I figured the ball would be, looked down and scanned the area, and noticed the ball was in an odd spot. Here’s a photo I took a little while later to show the ball’s position….
This angle is actually looking down and to my left. The point of the arrow is in the exact spot that the ball was in.
The first plan of action was to get the ball out of that spot and into a position more directly underneath me. To do that, I had to lower my device (I decided to lower the device instead of my glove because it’s smaller, and I thought it would fit in that small space better) and swing it left to right approximately 6 feet. It was a little awkward at first, so it took me a few tries, and on the third or fourth swing I was interrupted by this guy….
Seattle pitcher David Aardsma.
He walked over and picked the ball up, and my first thought was “Cool, this guy’s gonna save me the trouble and just toss it to me!”
Turns out I was wrong.
Mr. Aardsma proceded to walk back up the stairs that lead into the visitors’ bullpen and throw the ball as hard as he could back toward the bucket.
There were so many thoughts going through my head at that point, that I didn’t say a word. What could I say? He didn’t have to give it to me. I had no legal right to that ball. To say I was mad though would be an understatement.
Partly for the fact that I was wearing a Mariners hat!
Oh well, there’s nothing left for me to say, except….
You have now been given a Zack Hample-esque “Powell Jinx”.
Consider this your official notification.
As numb as I was by this point, and as disinterested in BP as I became, I still managed to get 1 ball out of the gap. It helped, but there was still some pent up bitterness inside.
This ball turned out to be my 6th of the season, and 10th lifetime.
Batting practice ended with no more balls and no more incidents to report. It honestly couldn’t end fast enough.
We went and got our free drink vouchers after signing up to be designated drivers, cashed them in, and then got food. I had my usual cheese fries and Dr. Pepper, and felt much better!
We got to our seats with our food just in time for starting lineups and the national anthem. This was the awesome view I had from my seat….
I really can’t complain since Dirk bought my ticket, but still, how about a little “obstructed view” notice or something? Come on, Rangers!
The view of the game wasn’t really that bad, especially since the Rangers hit two homers on either side of us while we were out there.
We stayed in those seats until the top of the 5th, when we decided to go for ice cream.
A little back-story….
The last time I was at a Rangers game, I made my own ice cream helmet sundae in a roundabout way, and I fully intended to do the same thing this time, until we walked up to the ice cream booth and saw an amazing sight. They were using these….
I had no idea that a little piece of plastic could change my whole attitude!
After getting our ice cream, the next mission was to find a spot to eat it. Well, we found one. Section 15, on the lower level third base side, just past the infield. Here’s the view…
One odd thing that happened while we there….
A foul ball was hit about one section over to our left, and a guy in an aisle seat stood up and put his glove up, and let the ball bounce right off of his palm. Nothing special, right? It happens all of the time. Well, just keep reading….
A little while later, with a different pitcher on the mound and a different batter at the plate, another foul ball found its way to the exact same guy, and once again he muffed it! It hit off of his palm just like the first one did, and someone else got it just like the first one.
How weird is that? I heard about a guy in Oakland that had a similar experience in 2006, but he had a better turnout.
I thought that was worth sharing.
As the game wound down, instead of going behind homeplate like we usually do, I wanted to go over by the visitors’ bullpen to try and get a ball from the bullpen catcher. When we got over there, we saw this….
See the two pink backpacks? One is on the left end of the bench, and the other one is on the ground behind the white chair. That is “Seattle Mariner Rookie Initiation” at its finest.
I also saw this….
You see the ledge next to Phillips #62? Just in front of him, to the right? Knight helmets. I have no idea what those are for. More initiations? Maybe Mr. Todd Cook will leave a comment on this. He’s the biggest M’s fan that I know of. I’m curious to know what’s up with those.
The game was exciting from a Rangers fan point of view. Derek Holland pitched a perfect game into the 5th inning when he gave up the only Mariner hit until the top of the 9th.
Michael Young hit two homeruns, and Hank Blalock, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Marlon Byrd each hit one out to give the Rangers a 7-0 lead.
Holland retired the first two batters in the top of the 9th, then walked one and gave up his second hit of the game. Rangers manager Ron Washington made a pitching change with 2 outs in the 9th.
Warner Madrigal came in, walked one to load the bases, gave up an RBI single, then finally got the 3rd out.
Holland struckout 10 batters on the night. Rangers win 7-1.
Here’s a photo of the ball I got, and also one of some tickets I found after the game….
Next game: Mon. 8/17 vs. the Twins
And for the record — I didn’t get a ball from the Mariners’ bullpen catcher like I had hoped.
One parting shot of the Mariners’ bullpen guys walking off the field. Sorry for the blur, but I zoomed in as far as I could….
At the start of the season, my friends Dirk, Sam, Shawn & his dad Donnie, and myself decided to get tickets to this game. It was a 3:05 game on a Saturday, so we were going to drive down that morning, catch BP, see the game & drive home that night. Sounds easy enough right? Well, it was, kind of. Here’s us at 8:00 in the morning before hitting the road….
From left to right: Me, Sam, Dirk, Shawn, Donnie
We took my minivan, because the only other choice was Dirk’s Dodge Dakota, and we didn’t think 5 grown men would fit in there too well on a trip that was 4 hours one way. Not the coolest ride in the world, but we were comfortable! The DVD player helped too, watched “The Rookie” on the way down, and “Major League 2” and “Field of Dreams” on the way home. Well, they watched and I listened.
We got to Houston and found a parking lot at around 12:30 or so. Thankfully, the lot was only $5 and it was about 5-6 blocks from the stadium. Here’s a random shot as we piled out of the van….
This was our first view of the stadium as we walked up the street….
We made our way around the stadium to find the Will Call booth, and made it there at about 12:45ish. Here’s Shawn, Dirk, and Sam at the window….
And this is the line at the Home Plate entrance, which we decided to use since we were right there….
When we finally made it inside, I ran around to right field. I didn’t take one photo along the way, because my only thought was all the balls I was missing out on, since the Astros were already taking BP. This is the 1st photo I took from inside the park, which is where I stayed for the Astros portion of BP….
Minute Maid Park has a retractable roof, for those of you that don’t know, and it was closed due to potentially bad weather. The centerfield wall is made of HUGE glass panels that open when the roof is open, and in front of the glass is a train track for the homerun train. Anytime the Astros hit a homerun, the train whistle blows and the train rolls down the track. Except for today, for some reason, it didn’t move at all. But here’s a look anyway….
See the seats out in left field? Those are the Crawford Boxes, and underneath that section is the visitors’ bullpen. Kind of different, but still cool to me anyway.
I came close to 2 balls during the Astros’ BP, closer than I have ever been and not gotten them. The 1st was a HR that I misjudged, and it cleared my glove by no more than an inch. I thought it was coming right to me, and it did. I thought I could jump and get it, but I couldn’t. I was upset, the ball hit the empty row behind me & flew back on the field, oh well, there was more BP to go. The 2nd was another HR that I played perfectly. I was on the aisle and the ball was hit straight to the staircase I was at, and all I had to do was go down about 2 steps, here it comes…, raised up my glove, getting closer…, about 10 feet away…, then right at the last second, some (@*&$#!) very anxious guy stuck his glove in front of mine and snagged it. To say I was upset with that one would be an understatement. I wasn’t mad at the other guy (I was at first) as much as I was mad at myself for not positioning myself right in the first place. That one took a little longer to shrug off, but I did, ’cause there was still more BP to go.
I met up with the guys for the Rangers’ portion of BP. They were one section over towards center. I didn’t even get close to any this time, but Shawn was able to snag a HR on the fly from Hank Blalock. Pretty cool too, he ranged about 10 feet to his left and snagged it between about 2-3 other people. I was happy for him, then I realized it’s kind of sad that we had to travel all the way to Houston just to snag a ball during Rangers’ BP.
Towards the end of the Rangers’ batting practice, Shawn noticed Josh Hamilton along the 3rd base line signing autographs. He wanted to get his BP ball signed, and I had my 2008 HR Derby ball with me (bought it on ebay). I have taken it to every game I have gone to since I bought it, with the intention of getting Josh to sign it, so far unsuccessfully. There was a TON of people over there already, and we didn’t know how much longer he would be signing, so we ran over there as fast as we could (getting told by security to slow down along the way). When we finally got over there, we squeezed our way down to the railing, just as Josh was making his way past our spot. He was slowly making his way toward the outfield, and we knew he would start coming back our way. Here’s a shot as he passed by the first time….
He did come back over, in fact he came over right next to Shawn, because there was a young boy from the “Make a Wish” foundation that was trying to get a bat signed. Josh signed the bat, posed for a couple photos with the boy, and took off towards the dugout. Pretty cool moment. No autographs for us though, but that’s okay, that young man had his “Wish” come true for sure.
The game itself was good, the Astros got on the board first with a Miguel Tejada solo homerun that had to be reviewed by the umpires. First time for the Rangers to be involved in a review of a HR. They wanted to make sure that a fan did not interfere with the ball as Nelson Cruz was trying to make a play on it at the RF wall. It was ruled a HR. Oh well. The Rangers got theirs later in the game!
After about the 3rd inning or so, Dirk and I decided to wander the stadium. We made our way from our seats in RF, towards centerfield. Minute Maid Park has a pretty cool “Wall of Fame” in straight away center. (It’s not officially called that, but I like that name). They showcase Jeff Bagwell and his 449 career homeruns. Here’s a photo of Dirk in front of it….
Each one of those white dots is an actual ball that has been fastened (I’m not sure how) to the wall. They’re all rubbed, scuffed, and smeared in different ways, which leads you to believe that they are actual game-used balls.
Also on the “Wall” is a photo timeline of Craig Biggio’s 3,000 hits. It’s pretty cool, if I liked the Astros I may have been more interested and taken some pictures. What I did take a photo of is the Homerun Pump. Here’s the pic….
From what I can tell, it does nothing more than keep track of the homeruns hit at Minute Maid. And I’m not sure if it’s just the Astros’ HRs, or all of them. Does anyone know?
After seeing the pump, we walked over to LF behind the Crawford Boxes, which are what those left field seats are called because Crawford Street runs right behind the wall at left field. Here’s a couple views from that spot….
While we were standing there, Nelson Cruz hit his 2nd HR of the day off the CF wall. Followed immediately by Hank Blalock’s solo shot that landed 3 rows in front of our seats! Figures. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, we wouldn’t have had any shot at getting that ball (even though the guy who caught it threw it back).
Here’s a shot of the centerfield concourse area….
So, we continued on our journey around the park, stopping in the obligatory gift shop to see what they offer that the Rangers don’t. Which is nothing, by the way. Although Dirk did purchase some Astros inflatable bats for his 2 kids.
This is what the concourse behind our seats looked like….
We made our way back to our seats somewhere around the 7th inning, and stayed there until the end of the game. The Rangers won 6-3, thanks to Nelson Cruz blasting 2 HRs. Scott Feldman went 6-2/3 innings and picked up his 3rd win (3-0).
And, of course, we did our usual “scavangering” (is that a word?) after the game, and I came away with 3 ice cream helmets, 4 cups (their cups are pretty cool compared to the Ballpark in Arlington), and some tickets. Here’s what they look like….
The trip home was somewhat of an adventure. When we reached the van after the game, we realized that one of the tires was flat on the van. After about an hour delay, we were on our way home, after stopping for some Mexican food of course.
Next game: Monday 5/25 vs. The Stankees….