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There’s No Place Like Home!

Can I just say that walking in to the Pro Shop at the Ballpark in Arlington was like heaven! I’ve been surrounded with Angels fans and Angels gear and Angels rally monkeys and Angel Flags and Blah Blah Blah for WAY too long. I needed some Ranger in my life. I actually wanted to buy the whole store but then I couldn’t pay for the rest of my trip, so I settled for a cute Rangers shirt for my little baby nephew to wear to the game when I come to Anaheim. I was really stoked to see some old friends! Like a school reunion! Thanks to Blake Lemons, Drew Smith, Zach McKim, Jordan Hartsell, Caitlin Collins, Mackenzie Johnson, and Shondra Carter for coming out to see me and experience our first game of the trip!

It’s crazy how much you don’t really appreciate things or how you think of them when you grow up next to them. I know people who grew up in LA, but have never been to Hollywood Blvd and people come from all over the globe to just to walk down the street and take pictures of a marble star that people walk all over. The same goes for me I grew up going to Texas games but I had never done the tour. And also explains why I forgot to take lots of pictures and why I forgot to get my MLB passport stamp….dangit.

Well, this time I wasn’t skipping the tour. Bob was our tour guide and he was incredibly knowledgable. We toured with two Detroit fans, and it was fun to poke fun and give each other crap the whole time. My favorite part was getting to sit in the dugout. I kinda went crazy, my heart was beating fast and I was just plain star struck, like a little kid. The Ranger’s picked the first base dugout when the park was first built because it is the first one that gets shade. They are smart. I’m actually upset I didn’t have the courage to leave a love note in Craig Gentry’s helmet! He wears a 7 1/8 inch in case you were curious. Alexi Ogando is currently on the DL and therefore when I brushed shoulders with him in the hallway I was caught way too off guard to even think straight…basically I need to get it together! I learned that there is a room called the Ryan Room right behind the dugout. It doubles as a training room but it was Nolan Ryan’s idea to increase the size of the room to allow pinch runners or new batters or just anyone feeling a little stiff during the game. The suites have names from different Hall of Famers and lots of them played for the Yankees…so of course my Yankee friend Shondra was going crazy about that.

In case you didn’t know: It is up to the starting pitcher what color the Rangers wear for their home games.

The game that we went to was one of the greatest pitching match ups that has happened this season. Darvish VS Verlander. I love that they play Soulja Boy’s “Crank Dat” when Yu pitches, pretty fantastic and made me smile. There was a ton of talk about how Rangers have not had a huge challenge yet this season and blah blah blah…well we rocked Verlander, one of the best pitchers in baseball currently. Until he came to Arlington at least… we put up 8 runs on him the first 3 innings…7 of which came from the 3rd. AND two of them were walked in! BULLPENNNNNNN!!!! He didn’t last past that. And he racked up his second loss in a row.

Darvish lasted a little longer than usual. He threw through the 8th and had a career high of 130 pitches. He allowed 7 hits and 4 runs but with the run support, it was no issue. With a 10-4 win over the Tigers, he is now 7-1 with a 2.97 ERA.

Some of the things that made me feel at home about the park were some things I remembered from being a little girl. When the Tigers went to the bullpen the scoreboard doesn’t let him go easy. They play a cartoon with a Texas Ranger batter with oversized cowboy boots on who stomps to the mound and kicks the opposing pitcher out…and I love it. I can sing my heart out to “Deep In The Heart Of Texas” in the middle of the 5th and there is the Texas Legends race in the middle of the 6th. This is where mascots dressed as Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Sam Houston race around the field. That’s also an exciting experience. If you don’t know who they are…you’re not a Texan so don’t worry about it. I’m wondering if this replaced the dot races that used to happen at the ballpark. They would pass out little Ozarka cards with a red, green, or blue dot and people dressed in Dot Mascots would race around the park. And people would cheer for the card that they got. As a little girl I was sneaky and I would take one of every color…I’m too competitive to lose to my dad and that method was foolproof! At the top of the 7th they do the ‘Steal a Base’ where they have a young kid run from outfield to pick up third base and bring it back and if they do it under a certain time they get to keep it. I’m always jealous of that…I would so get back in time and I want a real base!! Obviously we play “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch but if you stay standing you can dance to a southern classic “Cotten Eyed-Joe” immediately after.

All of these traditions are what makes one fall in love with their home field. I know that as a 22 year old I can come to the park and sing the same songs and look forward to the same same activities that I did when I was 5. It brings you back to that place and just puts a smile on your face and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I loved being back home and I loved watching Texas whoop up on the Tigers. I can’t wait to watch Texas again on Memorial Day.

What I learned from my friends that did the tour with me was that only in baseball do you have a connection between players, fans, and managers. It’s different than other sports. It’s like you can understand one another on a different level and you can feed off their passion.

Well the bar is filling up across the street from Minute Maid! Which tells me its about time I get ready for the game….Rootin for the home team tonight!!! Royals @ Astros