I love watching baseball games on television, lots of good insight, the ability to rewind and re-watch pitches and plays, but many don't share that feeling. In fact there are many who would rather not watch games, and really only enjoy going to games. Don't get me wrong, I love going to games just as much as any of you, and on this past Tuesday I got to experience something that I've never gotten to do before.
Last Tuesday the Rangers were in the midst of a home series in which they had just dispatched of the A's and were looking to continue the drive to October with three games against the Tribe. I was given the opportunity to experience two events that I would HIGHLY recommend to any and all Ranger fans. I was able to go down, onto the field, during the Rangers batting practice and then spend the evening in a suite watching the game.
Now before I dive too deep into this experience there are a handful of those who I want to thank. I want to send a very special thank and shout-out to Chris and Mike, two men from Southern California who made this event possible. No worries folks they were more Padre fans than Angels, HA HA!! I also wanted to say thank and shout-out to all those there who enjoyed this experience: Chris and Mike, of course, but also Bernie, Brandon, Ashley, Phil, Jeff, Kendall, Dave, Kevin, and little Emory. It was a fun evening with friends and making new friends, thank you to each and all.
The experience started around 4:15 as we arrived at the Ballpark, Chris and Mike in the Party Bus. Good call gentlemen! But we were escorted by a Rangers representative Neil through the stadium and down onto the field. Thanks again to Neil for the route, because it took us by the outfield as the Rangers starting outfielders began hitting. I believe Brandon got a home run ball, but I know Bernie was able to snag a David Murphy blast. (Hmmm, that was an omen for the evening ahead.)
We then proceed underneath the stadium and came back out next to the visitor's dugout, from there we made our way over to the Rangers side of the backstop. To put this into perspective, think about where Nolan Ryan and George W. Bush sit during games, we were standing on the dirt in front of their seats. Simply amazing is the best word I can think of, but it's really not enough.
We then spent the next 30 minutes standing their getting autographs, pictures (see mine with Murphy), and watching batting practice. Sorry, I don't have a ton of photos, because I caught myself too many times just starring at the players launching baseballs into the seats, seriously I was like a 6-year-old. And now that I have experienced getting down on the field and watching these men pepper the field and bleacher seats, I came to at least one factual conclusion: Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, and Nelson Cruz are freakishly strong. I've seen them hit a baseball in a game, I've even seen them take BP before, but to see them from the same level and 15 feet away was flat-out unreal! So here's to the power of Hambone, NC-17, and Napoli Ever After!
During our time on the field, after his round of hitting and before returning to the clubhouse, Rangers outfielder David Murphy took the time to come over to our party. He stuck around for a few minutes taking pictures, signing autographs, and talking. While I was chatting with him, I told him, "Murph, I'm really loving your hot streak right now." He smiled, that David Murphy smile we all know, and said with a chuckle, "Yeah, me too." (Continuing that omen there!)
As BP was wrapping up our party made way to our seats and the actual suite. Now of course I understand that renting a suite isn't something we can all do all the time, but trust me if you ever do get the opportunity, I highly recommend it. Our accommodations were set up by Chris and Mike with the help of the Rangers staff member Sean, great guy who find time in his busy schedule to come by and check on the group.
Rangers' suites can fit 15-20 people, they have actual stadium seats on the outside, but inside there are TVs, catered food, drinks, chairs, and of course A/C!!! I will say that our friends from Southern California were very thankful for the A/C, but then again I was too. Our suite was fully catered with brisket, hot dogs, and chicken fingers. Plus a salad, popcorn, and a cobbler. Drinks you say, multiple different choices of beers, sodas, water, and a bottle of Crown Royal (Good call Chris).
I loved the arrangement of the suite as it allowed members of the party to sit outdoors and talk while watching the game or for a more private / quiet conversation you can step inside, yet still see the field.
Also want to thank the Rangers and Murphy for showing our hosts and friends from Southern California a good time, if you don't remember last Tuesday the Rangers blasted the Indians 10-4 behind four home runs. The player of the game, well that would be none other than David Murphy. Murphy went 4-4 with TWO home runs, a double, and a single. Omens, my friends, omens! Our group was absolutely enjoying every second of that as we were secretly taking credit for Murphy's outburst of a performance.
In the end it was an absolutely amazing evening that I am incredibly thankful for that I was apart ot it. Thanks again to my hosts and to the new friends I made, and I hope I didn't act too much like a little kid while on the field. Because as a lifelong Ranger fan that was a fun evening, our suite experience.