The clock said 3:47 PM. I had just pulled into the media parking lot at the Ballpark In Arlington. I flashed a credential and didn’t have to pay to park (this is all new to me).
Usually, I am with my lovely wife and we are paying $5 to $20 for a parking spot on Randle Mill Rd in an office complex. Then we would proceed to walk the several blocks to the stadium and up to seats on the third level (the cool fans sit up there).
I made my way to the Media Entrance where I picked up my media credential. Yes…… you heard that right…… I picked up my “media credential”. You see, I am a member of the media now. Don’t hate!! I did actually write for my high school newspaper in mid 1980s.
My love of the game of baseball started in 1974. My father, uncle, grandfather and I attended a game at Arlington Stadium. I was 7 years old and it was magical. I have attended countless games since then. If I had to guess how many games, I’d think it lies somewhere between 225 to 450. That’s if you multiply 45 years by 5 to 10 games a year. One highlight over the years was attending Nolan’s 7th no-hitter.
My wife and I have been to the last 17 opening days and I have been to at least 30 total. My uncle and his wife always go with us. We were season ticket holders for the 2010 and 2011 seasons (the 20 game package). We attended every home playoff game those years, including the World Series. I got to see the Neftali Feliz pennant winning strikeout of A-Rod. Yes, I cried. My dad and grandfather are both deceased. I looked to the heavens with tears on my cheek and blew them a kiss. Then I kissed my wife who was so happy for me. I love baseball and I love the Texas Rangers.
Being a professional baseball player was always a dream of mine. Reality showed me a different path. Being mediocre isn’t the best path to the big leagues. So my baseball path was altered and I went back to being a fan. But as a fan, I always thought being the Rangers play-by-play announcer or beat writer would be my dream job.
Shortly after the 2018 season ended, I had the opportunity to begin blogging for Dallas Sports Nation (DSN). Soon I was hosting the Rangers Nation Podcast. I am having a blast doing both. DSN put the word out that they would help us get credentials if we wanted them. Immediately I responded that I was interested. Thus began the process. Applications, emails, headshots and wishful dreaming. We prayed to the baseball gods and awaited their response. Those beautiful words finally came on March 11 when we were told that DSN was an approved media member for the Texas Rangers. YAY!!!
So back to April 12, 2019.
Media credential in hand, I made my way to the “media elevator”. When the doors opened I was in the press box. When you are living a dream you don’t know what to expect. You also don’t want to make a mistake. Familiar faces are everywhere if you are a Ranger nerd. T.R. Sullivan is talking with Levi Weaver. Dave Raymond and C.J. Nitkowski are chowing on some dinner. Emily is…… well Emily. She is moving around and preparing for the game. She is gracious and friendly and of course, everyone loves her. C.J and I spend about 15 minutes talking family, his schedule and advice on a new guy in the press box. T.R. asks Levi if he is going down for the Texiera thing. They leave and I follow. We jump on an elevator.
When the doors open, we are underneath the stadium. I am following the beat writers and trying to keep a low profile. We go into a tunnel and an attendant scans our credentials. When we emerge on the other side, I am standing on the field (I said don’t hate!).
Things are definitely becoming more awesome. We walk behind the backstop where batting practice is taking place. We proceed to the Rangers dugout where Mark Texiera is holding a press conference about his time as a Ranger. My main focus is trying not to get in anyone’s way while still getting some video. There is a feeling of guilt in some ways. I know that I am there to do a job, but I am also a Ranger fan. So standing in the dugout seems like I am getting away with something. Eventually, I make my way back to the press box. The game is about to start. During the game it is quiet. There is talking, but mostly everyone is watching the game and keeping score. As a baseball nerd, I enjoy this. The official scorekeeper comes over the speaker to announce hits, errors, and stats.
The game ends and the fun begins. I immediately get to the elevator and back down below. First the Chris Woodward press conference. I have a front-row seat with my recorder and phone camera. We then move on to the locker room where the players are somber. It was a loss after all. I get a one-on-one with Drew Smyly who was the Rangers starter. My confidence is up and I get a couple of them in and don’t sound ridiculous. Then it’s back up to the press box to finish up any writing or editing for the podcast. Honestly, I don’t want to leave.
Eventually, I pack it all up and head for the car. As I make the walk to lot D it all becomes clear. I just lived out my dream. Maybe everyone will get to live out theirs also.
Until next time – Nerd Out!
Featured Image: John Moore Dallas Sports Nation