Any minor league fan who has gone to a major league game in Texas knows that no truer words have been spoken. Personally, I hate going to Rangers games because I have never had a good experience. I used to go to about 20 games per year, and this year I will only have gone to one. Tell me again why I have season tickets? LOL I just don't find going worth the aggrevation and frustration.
I decided to suck it up and go yesterday. One of the perks I get with my tickets is to go on the field before one game and play catch in the outfield. However, as far as I am concerned the perk is being in the park when the players come out to BP so I can see who I want. Once they are on the field, you are unlikely to get the attention of anyone other than pitchers. Anyway, I still had $50 in Captain Cash to spend and I wanted to see Derek Holland and Hank Blalock. Scott Feldman too, but he was starting so I knew that wouldn't happen. I was excited to see Derek chatting with a couple people on the mound when we got to the field. Jamie wandered around on the field taking pictures while I waited for Derek to get done. I called to him as he walked towards the dugout and he never stopped. One of the very nice security guards actually went over the dugout to try and get him for me but that didn't work. He came back and said that Derek said he was busy. The guard then asked me where I would be sitting because Derek would sign a ball for me and send it up. Those of you who know me can imagine my reaction to THAT! LOL He redeemed himself when he came over after BP (though he had to listen to me whine about his big-leaguing me! LOL). He explained that he had to go watch tapes before BP (hence the busy) and he looked a little shocked when I told him what I thought of the ball offer so I suspect that was the guard trying to be nice and not an offer from Derek himself (which made me feel better!). During our conversation he explained not being able to come over until after BP by saying that "it's different up here." He's right and I think that is why I hate going up to Texas so much.
I also got to see Hank. It was kind of sad for me because I know that's the last time I'll see him when I go down to Texas for a game. After a slightly auspicious start, Hank became one of my favorite people in the Rangers system. I think because he is so shy he doesn't like to have a lot of fan interactions (which I hear fans complain about all the time) so I feel very lucky that I am one of the fans he choses to interact with. Unlike most players who ignore the people at the wall when they come out, Hank always scans the wall to see if he recognizes anyone. When he sees me he always say "Hey Bev (or Beverly depending on his mood), how are you?" and I always reply with my standard "Hank Blalock, I came just to see you!" followed by his routine rolling of his eyes. It's been our schtick for 7 years and I really am going to miss that!
Another way Texas is different is the fans and media. As I was driving down I picked up the Ticket just in time to hear their segment about "throwing dirt on the Rangers since the season was over." They were encouraging fans to call in and throw in the towel on the Rangers season. I'm sorry, but don't you think you should wait for them to officially be eliminated before you do that?!? Yes, it's a long shot, but if you are really a fan you support your team to the end, not write off the team and start whining about bad calls and the weather.
And a related rant. They were also taking about Ian Kinsler whining that the fans weren't coming out to support the team. Ummmm, hello? Let's see...a rescession, high ticket prices and parking, a team which hasn't won in a long time and is pretty much full of players who go out of their way to avoid fan interaction...yeah, it's shocking that people aren't showing up in droves. Want people to show up? If you aren't playing well you better lower ticket prices and parking and make people like you personally.
Am I the only one totally shocked that the Bricktown Showdown is going to be the Durham Bulls v. Memphis Redbirds?
Speaking of Redbirds, my buddy Adam Wainwright gets some love in St. Louis.
Here is the roster for the Rangers' Instructional League.