Tagged: Daddy

Amazing ride

Wow, this year has been amazing ride for the Rangers. I’m actually kind of looking forward to the 3 months before Spring Training starts, so that I can recuperate. I don’t think my heart could have taken too much more.

I went to the 1st World Series game ever in Arlington, which was Game 3 on Saturday. And it was absolutely magnificent!!!

My dad and my friend Matt Pesta met me at my apartment at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, and we arrived at the Ballpark a few minutes before 10:00. We headed to the parking lot where we usually park by the 1st base entrance (Lot A)… but a rope was across the entrance and there were no parking lot attendants to be found.

We were actually the 1st people to arrive at that lot, and we looked around for a while not knowing what to do. Daddy asked Pesta to check the rope to see if it could be easily removed, and lo and behold… it was unlocked! We decided to go ahead and park the truck, and we would pay the parking lot attendants as soon as they arrived.

We had just started to unload our chairs out of the back of the truck when a security guard drove up. He told us that the lots weren’t opening until noon, so we had to move the truck. He said that we could go ahead and set up the chairs and stuff in the parking space that we wanted, though, and we could park the truck right by the parking lot entrance.

At this point, about half a dozen other cars had shown up to tailgate as well. We passed along the message and everybody started staking their claims.

Pesta and I decided to go to the Majestic Grand Slam Gift Shop to buy a bunch of World Series stuff, while my dad walked around talking to all of the other tailgaters.

The gift shop was absolutely slammed! I felt like I was in a can of sardines! But I got a World Series shirt, and I got Dad a World Series hat (because I couldn’t find any WS shirts in XXXL!)

Pesta and I had to wait in line for forever, and we headed back to the tailgaters at around 11:30. My back was killing me after standing around for so long, so we just hung out until they opened the parking lot. After Dad parked and got the grill set up, Pesta and I left to walk around the stadium and take pictures.

As we walked, we saw Giants fans scattered here and there. When I saw the first ones, I muttered, “Oh crap. Here we go,” as I rolled my eyes. “Hey, no,” Pesta said. “I have a lot of respect for them, because they have the courage to come out here in enemy territory wearing Giants stuff. I mean, if you had the opportunity to go to the World Series games in San Francisco, wouldn’t you show up sporting your Rangers’ gear?”

I admitted that he was right. If the situation was reversed, I would totally be the obnoxious Rangers’ fan at AT&T Park. So we decided to be nice to them, so that they didn’t go back to California talking about how rude everybody was in Texas. Texans are supposed to be known for being friendly.

Pesta walked up to a couple, shook their hands, and asked if they had traveled here all the way from San Francisco. And it turned out that they were actually very nice! Pesta offered to take a picture of the two of them with their camera, so that they could have a picture with both of them in it.

And then they wanted to take a picture of us, because they said they wanted to remember the nice Rangers’ fans. Aww!!

Next we saw an older gentleman by himself wearing a Giants’ jacket, and we ended up talking to him for quite a while. It turned out that he was actually born in New York (and he had a New York accent), but he lives in San Francisco now and the Giants have become his team.

He talked about how great it was that the Giants were in the World Series again, because they hadn’t won the World Series since 1954. “But the Rangers have NEVER been in the World Series,” I said, “so I’m sorry, but you’re going down!”

He took my good-natured trash talking in stride, and when we said goodbye, I told him that I hoped that other Rangers’ fans wouldn’t be too rude to him. His reaction? “Honey, I’m from New York. I know all about rude fans.” OOH, BURN!!!

Then we happened to run into a Giants’ fan wearing a fake black beard (in support of Giants’ closer Brian Wilson), and Pesta got a picture of me and him. Score!

Just as we were finishing our circuit, our friend Rachel called to say that she was entering the parking lot where my dad had set up. (She was the owner of our 4th World Series ticket.) We told her we were on the way and headed back to the truck.

When we got there, Rachel had already found my dad, and we found out that she had brought her dad just for the tailgating. (He lives in Arlington anyway.) The more the merrier!

While we had been gone, Dad had been cooking up hamburgers and hot dogs. So after we all hugged hello, it was already time to eat!

And bravo, Daddy, because that food was absolutely delicious!! I mean, seriously, I don’t know what you did, but it was perfect!

While we were eating, a guy came around selling special commemorative “Rangers’ editions” of the Fort Worth Star Telegram for a dollar apiece. He barely got the first sentence out before I blurted out, “Only a dollar? Sure, we’ll take a bunch! We’re not a hard sell!” All 5 of us ended up getting one.

As we were putting all the food up, a guy walked through selling t-shirts. “Whatcha got there?” I asked. They were royal blue shirts with a big picture of Ron Washington’s smiling face in the middle, along with the slogan, “That’s how baseball go.”

“Oh my gosh, I HAVE to have one of those!!” I exclaimed. So $15 later, I was changing my shirt in the cab of the truck. And I tell you what, it was probably the best $15 I’ve ever spent!

Next we wandered ‘next door’ to talk to the other tailgaters. They had a little trailer set up with a big screen TV and a beer tap! Plus they had ridiculous amounts of food (3 briskets, hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst…), and they even brought their own portable potty!

These people have truly perfected the art of tailgating. They were longhorns, which caused me to recoil initially, but they turned out to be very nice people. Pesta and the “patriarch” of the family (Gabriel) even exchanged phone numbers, and they invited us to come tailgate with them during the A&M/tu game this Thanksgiving!

While Pesta, Rachel, and I were talking to them, by dad bought us these World Series lanyards with a clear plastic place on the end to put your ticket. “Seriously, Dad? This thing was $10! What a waste of money!” I said.

But then he showed me the pin that came with it. It said “World Series 2010. I WAS THERE.” Now how awesome is that??

Wow, I haven’t even talked about the game yet! Okay, we headed into the stadium at about 5:00, and even though the game didn’t start until 6:57, the place was already crowded. We made our way to our seats, and the journey up to the top of the 3rd deck was treacherous, but once we got up there, I realized that our seats were actually pretty awesome.

We were sitting on the 1st base side between home plate and 1st base (really closer to home plate), and we were seriously like 5 rows from the very top. But the view was amazing, and the ballplayers didn’t look like ants!

The only thing I didn’t like was that the incline is so steep up there, and every time I had to use the steps, I felt like I was gonna pass out. I have terrible balance (an unfortunate side effect from The Accident), so me + steep steps = a very scary situation.

The vendors also don’t visit the 3rd deck as often. Or if they do, they stand at the bottom and wait for someone to flag them down. Only a couple of vendors actually climbed the steps to hawk their wares.

So that meant that I had to brave the stairs in order to get something to eat, which brings me back to my origina
l complaint.

If it wasn’t for those 2 things, I’d get my season ticket plan for next year on the 3rd deck. I liked the view as much as I like the view from the Corner Box, and but Corner Box tickets are like 3 times more expensive!

And the people on the 3rd deck are a lot more fun! Someone was always starting a chant, and it would get picked up immediately by everyone in the general vicinity.

Man, the more I think about it, the more I want to get season tix on the 3rd deck! Maybe I could get some on one of the first few rows of the 3rd deck, so I wouldn’t have to climb stairs very often. Hmm…

Anyway, the Rangers were up 3-0 in the 2nd inning due to a 3-run homer by Mitch Moreland, but after Josh Hamilton hit a solo homer in the 5th inning, we were winning 4-0. That was when I actually realized that the Rangers were probably going to win, and that I would be witness to the Rangers 1st World Series victory EVER!

Those last few innings were very stressful, because the Giants started to chip away at the Rangers’ 4-run lead. They were able to get 2 solo homers of their own, one in the 7th and one in the 8th, and I was afraid the Rangers would lose their fragile 2-run lead.

Colby Lewis was magnificent, giving up only 1 run on 3 hits over 7 2/3 innings. I worried about Colby, because it was hard to remember how good he could be when he wasn’t getting any run support. But obviously, my worries were unfounded.

I just can’t believe my good fortune baseball-wise this year. I was there when the Rangers clinched the ALCS for the first time in history, and I was also there for the Rangers’ first World Series game ever (and first World Series WIN)!

Unfortunately, the game I attended was the only Rangers’ World Series win, and the Giants became the World Champions in 5 games. During the entire World Series (even the game they won), it just looked like the Rangers were tired.

Maybe it was because they’re not used to playing for so long. Mid February through the beginning of November makes for a long season!

Fortunately for us, we have a new ownership group who can finally infuse some cash into the team, we signed Ron Washington for 2 more years, we have a great bunch of players, and now we have some post-season experience. You’d better watch out for the Rangers over the next few years!

Words can’t fully describe how amazing this season was for the Rangers, and I am so glad that I got to be a part of it. I can’t wait until the start of the 2011 season!!

Merry Cliffmas!!

Wow, has it really been 2 weeks since my last blog posting? Once again, I apologize for my dereliction of duty. But I DO have a real job and family and friends that need my attention.

Okay, so… the past 2 weeks have been a wild ride! I went to the last regular season Rangers’ game of the year, and even though the Rangers lost the game, IT WAS AMAZING!

I’ve gone to the last game of the season several times in recent years, but this year it felt completely different.

That’s because in previous years, I always knew that it really was the last Rangers’ game for 6 months. But not this year!!

Because we made the playoffs this year, there was a completely different atmosphere in the ballpark for that final game of the regular season. No one was really that disappointed when the Rangers lost, because everyone knew the game didn’t matter and the Rangers would soon get to play in games that DID matter!

Since the Rangers are post-season newbies and the Tampa Bay Rays can’t seem to get any fans in their ballpark, both of the first 2 games were on while I was at work. I couldn’t pay really close attention to them, but the Rangers completely dominated those games.

Cliff Lee put David Price to shame in Game 1, and C.J. Wilson dazzled in Game 2. It was beautiful, and I couldn’t wait for the Rangers to come back to Arlington!

I had tickets to both Saturday and Sunday’s games in Arlington, but I didn’t think that Sunday’s game would be necessary. My dad and I took brooms to the ballpark, and I truly believed that the Rangers would sweep the Rays.

My dad wore his beloved antler batting helmet, which got a lot of praise, of course! We arrived at the ballpark early, and we were sitting in our seats when Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas spotted the antlers and made his way over to us for an interview.

I had met Richard back in January through TR Sullivan, but he didn’t realize that the “antler man” was with me until after he had already introduced himself to my dad. It was kind of a “hey, small world” moment.

Here is a link to the article: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/texas-rangers/post/_/id/4855711/fans-arrive-early-pumped-for-game-3

The atmosphere at the ballpark on Saturday was absolutely electric! The Rangers were leading until the late innings, when Tampa Bay surged and overtook them. I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach.

But I wasn’t too worried, because the Rangers could still beat the Rays at home on Sunday, and I would be there for that game as well.

But Sunday’s game was even more pathetic than Saturday’s had been. And so it was down to the final game in Florida last night.

I met some friends of mine (and my dad) at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the game, and I’m so glad I did! They had the game on just about every TV in there, and there were a ton of Rangers’ fans.

Every time a Ranger would get a hit or Cliff Lee would work himself out of a jam, there would be spontaneous applause. I was doing “the Claw” with complete strangers!

About the 7th inning, when the Rangers were leading 3-1, I looked across the table at my childhood friend Rachel. I said, “Holy $#!+, Rach. They could actually win this game and make it past the first round of the playoffs for the first time ever!”

“Oh wow, they really might do it!” she said with wide eyes. And that was when it really sunk in for me.

Ian Kinsler’s 2-run home run in the 8th solidified the Rangers lead, making the final score 5-1. Coincidentally, Game 1 of this series was played in Tampa Bay with Cliff Lee and David Price as the starting pitchers, and the Rangers won 5-1. Hmm…

Cliff Lee was phenomenal, throwing 120 pitches for a complete game. Cliff Lee is now 7-0 in the playoffs. Maybe he should be the new Mr. October!

I didn’t make it home last night until about 11:00, and I didn’t get to bed until after midnight. So I’ve been pretty bleary-eyed all day. But elated!

I have tickets to the first ALCS game this Friday, and I’m excited about the game, but it will be a bittersweet day.  I don’t mean to depress everybody, but I just found out that my only remaining grandparent has passed away. He was 91 years old, so he lived a long and happy life, but it’s still tough.

Anyway, his funeral will most likely be on Friday morning. Hopefully the Rangers will whip some Yankee butt for my Paw Paw’s sake. He LOVED the Rangers!!

But the Yankees still scare me. Oh, by the way, I already bought World Series tickets. Since I had a 16-game mini-plan this year, they let me buy tickets during the pre-sale today. So if the Rangers make it that far, I’ll be there!

I love you, Paw Paw! LETS GO RANGERS!!

Overall Rangers record: 90-72 / 3-2 in the playoffs
My Rangers’ record: 16-10 / 0-2 in the playoffs
Days ’til my next game: 2

4-game skid & ‘Riders win

me with Duece

Today was the Rangers’ 3rd off-day in a week’s time, and since it was a Monday in which I didn’t have to go to work, I invited my dad to a RoughRiders game. It was really hot, but I had a great time!

First, though, I should address the Rangers’ dismal road record. They have lost their last 4 games in a row, including being swept in Minnesota. If the Rangers want to be taken seriously, they HAVE to start winning on the road.

Colby Lewis, C.J. Wilson, and Derek Holland started the Rangers’ last 3 games, respectively. Colby and C.J. each threw a pretty darn good game, but they couldn’t get enough run support.

I know C.J.’s line for his game didn’t look very good, considering that he gave up 5 earned runs in 6 innings, but his performance was actually a lot better than that. It was good to see the old C.J. again, after his last mediocre start, not to mention his meltdown 2 outings ago.

Derek Holland had to come out after throwing only 43 pitches in Sunday’s game, and he has been placed on the DL. Tommy Hunter will likely be called up to pitch in his place.

The Rangers are going to Chicago next to face the ChiSox, and they would have to sweep them in order to split the road trip. That would be nice, but I’m not counting on it.

Especially since Harden and Feldman are starting the first two games of the 3-game series.

Blake Beavan

Okay, enough about that. Back to the RoughRiders game today! Blake Beavan was on the mound today, and the ‘Riders won 9-6 over the Tulsa Drillers.

We got there at 2:45 for a 4:00 start. I would have liked to get there at 2:00, since I love to get to ballgames early, but it’s a good thing we didn’t get there that early.

Apparently, they don’t open the gates to the general public until 1 hour before the game starts, unlike at the big league parks. And they also don’t let you bring food or coolers inside the ballpark. What??

I thought this was kind of goofy, but hey, whatever. The funniest part was that they handed out little soft-sided coolers on our way out of the ballpark as the give-away item. Tell me if that makes sense.

Josh Leuke

Anyway, the players started warming up and playing catch about half an hour before the game started, and I went down to watch them. Some of them came over to sign autographs for the little kids, so I jumped in there and got 5 autographs!!

Marcus Lemon and Jacob Kaase

Tanner Roark, Brennan Garr, Josh Leuke, Marcus Lemon, and Jacob Kaase. Yes! Each on their own baseball. Great stuff!

As I returned to our seats, I noticed that Dad was talking to 2 people. When I walked up, he said “Katie, I want to introduce you to Blake Beavan’s mother and grandfather.” What?? Awesome!

They were both very sweet, and Michelle (Blake’s mom) gave me a hug before they left to sit in their seats behind home plate. So now, not only did I get a chance to meet Blake last year, but I now know 3 members of his family!

The ballgame started off kind of boring, with no score until the bottom of the 4th inning. But that innings saw 2 home runs by the ‘Riders (one a 3-run homer and one a 2-run shot) along with a bases-clearing double. Yes, the ‘Riders scored 8 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning!

The score was 8-0 for awhile, but Blake gave up 4 runs in the top of the 7th inning. He still had a pretty nice outing, especially considering that his boys gave him an 8-run lead to work with.

The Drillers got another 2 runs in the top of the 8th, but the ‘Riders added on another run somewhere in there.

In the top of the 9th, I went to wait by the ‘Riders dugout to try to get some more autographs. The usher in our section said that I would have an even better chance of getting autographs after the game, especially if the ‘Riders won.

Taylor Teagarden

But nobody stopped to sign any autographs after the game, not even for the numerous kids around me. I thought everybody had left the field to go to the clubhouse when I noticed Taylor Teagarden coming out of the dugout with his bag full of catching equipment.

Since my dad has a much louder voice than I do, I told him to yell “Taylor!” When Taylor looked over at us, I raised the baseball and pen I was holding.

Taylor looked kind of dubious at first, as if he was thinking “Why do they want my autograph?” or something, but he headed over to us.

He signed my ball, but instead of staying to sign some of the kids around me, he just turned around and headed to the clubhouse. I was surprised that he didn’t sign more, but I’m not gonna lie; I felt kinda special that I was the only one to get an autograph!

Okay, that’s about it. Like I said earlier, the Rangers are playing 3 games against the Chicago White Sox starting Tuesday night. Then they’re coming back home for a weekend series against the Rays, and I’m going to Saturday’s game.

I’m excited to go to another Rangers’ game, but it’s gonna be hot. The game was supposed to start at 7:05, but they changed it to a 3:10 start because it’s going to be on national television. Lovely.

Oh well. I need to quit whining. Texas summers are hot, and I have a heck of a lot more games to go to before the summer’s over.

And on the upside, I think Tommy Hunter will be starting on Saturday! Go Rangers!!

My Rangers’ record: 6-3

Overall Rangers’ record: 26-25

Days ’til my next game: 4

OFFICIAL 1st game of 2010!!

Wow. Opening Day yesterday was absolutely amazing!

I knew it was going to be crowded, since the game was sold out, but I was stunned at how fabulous it felt to look up into the stands and see all of the seats filled! My heart swelled with pride!

Another thing that surprised me was how supportive the Rangers’ fans were as a whole. I mean, we watched as our players endured a no-hitter through 6 1/3 innings, and we were down 0-3. It was looking pretty bleak. But as soon as the Rangers started showing signs of life, the fans backed them up, cheering so hard that my heart swelled even bigger.

We arrived at the Ballpark at 10:00 a.m., right after the gates opened. And as we were walking up to the gates, I realized I had left my digital camera in the car. Doh! So that’s why I don’t have pictures to post. I took some with my phone, but now I don’t know how to get them off my phone and on my computer. Oh well.

We collected our Opening Day magnetic schedules and several Rangers’ “It’s Time” stickers for the car window. We headed to the Majestic Grand Slam Gift Shop, and found a 3x t-shirt for Daddy that was blue with red sleeves and said “Rangers” in block letters across the front. Daddy was ecstatic, and he’s convinced that he was able to find that shirt because Chuck Greenberg ordered it specifically for him.

Then we headed down to watch the Rangers take batting practice, but I actually spent more time scanning the crowd on the field for familiar faces. Richard Durrett was interviewing Chuck Greenberg, and I saw Evan Grant wandering around. JD even stuck his head out of the dugout for a little bit. But no TR Sullivan. Hmm, where were you TR?

Daddy and I went to find our seats, and we were pretty impressed. We were in section 243, all the way in the corner of the ballpark on the 1st base side. Seriously, our seats were literally in the corner, so Daddy and I had extra leg room. Which is always good, ’cause Daddy is 6’5″ with bad knees. So he has to stretch his legs out.

We just sat for a while, then Daddy decided he was hungry and he went off to find us some hot dogs. I stayed in our seats and read my program. (Vlad was on the cover, holding 2 baseball bats that were on fire! Awesome!)

When Daddy finally got back, he told me he had seen my friend “Dustin Traig” who reads my blog. I had to think about this for a minute, then I said “Oh, do you mean Dustin Troxell?” “Yeah!” he said, “That was it!” Then I had to explain to him that Dustin wasn’t just some random person that reads my blog, but that he was in band with me in high school. I didn’t know that Dustin read my blog! Hi Dustin!!

The coolest part of the pre-game ceremony was when Sgt. Dana Bowman parachuted onto the field. He is retired now, but he was a member of the Army’s Golden Knights when he had both legs severed in a mid-air training accident 15 years ago. 9 months later, he became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the Army. He delivered the ball to Roger Staubach, who threw the first pitch of the game.

I couldn’t help feeling optimistic, even though the Rangers couldn’t seem to get anything started at first. The guy sitting next to us kept joking around and saying things like, “Okay, Little Miss Rangers’ blog, their pitcher’s got a no-hitter going. It’s not looking good.” But I’d just say, “Don’t worry about it. We’ll be alright.”

In the bottom of the 7th, Shaun Marcum walked Josh Hamilton, and I knew it was all over for the Toronto Blue Jays. Vlad followed with the first hit of the game, a single. Runners on 1st and 2nd, down 0-3, Nelson Cruz coming up to bat.

I turned to my dad and said, “Nelly is exactly who you want coming up to bat in this situation!” And he came through, hitting a 3-run homer and tying the game 3-3!

Then in the top of the 8th, the Blue Jays got another run across. But I still wasn’t too worried. I just knew the Rangers could do it!

Bottom of the 9th, down 3-4, we had to do something. And Michael Young was leading off. No problem.

Young started the rally by leading off with a double. Josh Hamilton struck out. Vlad got a single, and we had runners at the corners with 1 out. Then Nelson Cruz came up to bat, and he tied the game up for the 2nd time that afternoon (4-4) by hitting a double, scoring Young and moving Vlad to 3rd base.

The Rangers put in David Murphy to pinch-run for Vlad, and the Blue Jays intentionally walked Chris Davis to load the bases. So it was gonna fall to the bottom 2 guys in the order to get something done. When Saltalamacchia stepped into the batter’s box, I noticed Joaquin Arias warming up in the on-deck circle. Uh-oh. I prayed for Salty to take care of business.

But no need to worry. Salty hit a screamer to the base of the wall in center field, which scored Murphy from 3rd. And those 90 feet were all we needed, even though that hit would have been at least a double. The Rangers won it in walk-off fashion, 5-4. Uh-may-zing!!

The Rangers have an off day today, but they’ll be playing game 2 against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night, then they’ll finish off the series on Thursday afternoon. Next the Mariners will be coming in for Fri-Sat-Sun, and I’ll be at the game on Saturday night.

So I’ve been to 2 Rangers games in 2010, and we’ve won them both!

My Rangers’ record: 2-0
Rangers’ overall record: 1-0
Days ’til my next game: 4

Jamey Newberg/Carson Leslie/Michael Young/Chuck Greenberg

When TR Sullivan wrote his story about me, Chuck Greenberg read it and remarked that he would like to meet me. I know, right?! How amazing is that?! Anyway, since then, we had been emailing back and forth. On Thursday January 28th (the day before the Rangers’ Awards Banquet), I sent Chuck Greenberg an email asking him if he was planning on attending the banquet. I told him that I was going, and perhaps we could finally meet and I could interview him.

He said that he hadn’t seen his wife in about 3 weeks, so he was planning to go home to Pittsburgh over the weekend, but that he would be back for Jamey Newberg’s Q&A on Tuesday. Yes!!

I had heard that Jamey Newberg was planning on doing a 2nd Book Release Party in January, since his first one on December 17th was so hugely successful, but that it wasn’t going to be an autograph event like the first one. Jamey would instead turn it into a Q&A event with Michael Young. Michael would sign 5 copies of this year’s Newberg Report (which I already own) and 5 copies of some book by somebody named Carson something (which I didn’t know anything about), and they would auction those off to the highest bidders.

Well, that counted me out. I don’t have enough money to be a high bidder. For anything. No matter how great the cause.

But then I heard that Chuck Greenberg was going to attend the Q&A. Not from Chuck, but from Jamey. That made it more interesting.

Craig and Annette Leslie

But the final deciding factor was when I met Annette and Craig Leslie at the banquet. Words cannot express how wonderful and caring and strong and altogether beautiful they are. Seriously, they’re amazing. And yet so humble and unassuming. Okay, that’s enough. I said “words cannot express,” and yet here I am trying to come up with words.
Anyway, when I talked to Annette and figured out that their Carson was the Carson that Jamey was talking about, I knew I had to go. And I wanted a copy of his book!
So I went to http://www.carrymecarson.com/, which Annette had told me about. I decided to just buy an (unsigned) copy of the book at the Q&A session instead of ordering it online and then having to wait for it to ship to me.

I also started writing out questions to ask Chuck Greenberg, just in case I got an interview, but I couldn’t think of very many. I asked my newound Facebook friend, Megan Nemec, to help me out. Megan is a girl who loves baseball like me, and she started following my blog last August when I posted something on my blog about meeting Blake Beavan (who happens to be Megan’s cousin). Megan came up with some suggestions, and she also contacted Blake for some ideas. So I had a pretty impressive batch of questions. I was ready.

I noticed an annoying tickle in my throat on Monday that sometimes caused spontaneous bouts of coughing, but I remember thinking, ‘At least it’s still a weak cough, and it hasn’t turned into one of those deep, echoing, hoarse coughs. When it progresses to that stage, you’re in trouble.’ When I woke up on Tuesday, I discovered, ‘Hey, whaddaya know! It’s progressed to that deep cough! Lovely!’ But I had to go to work, and if I was going to work I might as well go to the Q&A session afterwards. It was too big an opportunity to miss.

I told my dad that I was going to the Q&A, and that I might get to interview Chuck Greenberg, and he decided that he wanted to meet me there. Okay, that’s good. At least I won’t be alone.

I can’t do a complete play by play; I’m just gonna give what I consider to be the highlights. If you’d like to watch the entire thing, the Q&A session was broadcast on the internet and you can see it at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/4405103.

When we got to Sherlock’s, it was standing room only. I saw Annette Leslie, and I was able to get her attention and wave to her. Then I snagged a barstool and settled in to listen, and Daddy took his spot standing behind my stool. I decided that I would save all my questions for my would-be interview with Chuck Greenberg later.

Chuck Morgan mentioned that everybody on the internet wanted to know where Chuck Greenberg got the Rangers zip-up jacket he was wearing. It looked like my Rangers hoodie, but without the hood.

After that, Daddy decided that he didn’t want to bother with stepping up to the mic, so he just hollered out, “Why don’t you carry any clothes in men’s sizes?” When everybody turned to look at him, he explained that he was only able to find 2 shirts at the Rangers’ store in 3XL. See, Daddy is 6’5″ and weighs 300 pounds. He’s a big guy.

“Well, there’s an easy way to fix that,” Chuck said, and everybody in the crowd started laughing (my dad included), because they thought Chuck was saying that Daddy needed to lose weight. Which he does, but Chuck quickly recovered, “No, I didn’t mean that! I meant that we can just order more!” So we all got a good laugh out of that! 🙂

Soon after Michael Young arrived, Jamey announced that they were going to start the auction. He said that they had sold out of unsigned copies of Carson’s book (DANG IT!), so if anybody still wanted to go home with a copy that night, they would have to buy a signed one. I groaned.

my book!
Daddy tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Do you want one?” I just stared at him with my mouth hanging open and nodded. “Really?” I asked. “Sure, it’s for a good cause,” he said, and a look of resolve came over his face.
Then professional auctioneer Luther Davis took the stage, and things got kind of crazy. But I ended up with one of the 5 books! Daddy even got Michael to make it out to me specifically! Thanks Daddy!! [I’m about halfway through the book now, and the only problem is that the signature is starting to smudge and rub off! Oh no!]

As they continued to auction off signed copies of Jamey’s book, as well as various autographed balls, bats, and other items, I noticed that Chuck was talking to some fans on the side of the stage. So I walked over to them and just waited for them to finish their conversation.

A few sentences in, Chuck glanced at me out of the corner of his eye and cocked his head towards me. “Katie, is that you?” he asked. I just smiled and nodded, pleased that he had recognized me.

After the other fans stepped aside, Chuck turned to me and shook my hand. “It’s so good to finally meet you, Katie!” he said. I took a moment to let that sink in. Chuck Greenberg, the new owner of the Texas Rangers, was excited to meet me. Whoa.

Chuck suggested that we do our interview after the Q&A session was over and the place had cleared out a bit. Hey, once he confirmed that we were doing the interview, I was willing to wait all night if necessary!

And, after everything else had been auctioned off, Chuck literally sold the shirt off his back (okay, it was the jacket off his back) and donated the proceeds to Wipe Out Kids Cancer! What a great guy! Before they began the auction, someone asked what size the jacket was. Chuck stepped up to the mic and said, “It’s a 3XL, for my friend in the back.” Nice. 🙂 That jacket was a hot commodity, and it ended up selling for $500!

me with Chuck Greenberg

Chuck spent 30-45 minutes after the event was over talking to fans and taking pictures with people. He was so nice, and I didn’t mind waiting. Then I finally got my interview!!
My dad even jumped in and asked a question! I didn’t record this; I just took notes, so these aren’t necessarily direct quotes. Just FYI.

Me: How long have you been interested in baseball?

CG: My aunt took me to my first game when I was 5 years old.

Me: Did you play any sports growing up?
CG: I played baseball, football, and basketball when I was growing up, and my sons played baseball, football, and hockey.

Me:Why the Texas Rangers?
CG: The Rangers are the most attractive opportunity for someone who loves baseball. I believe the Rangers are the greatest sleeping giants in all of sports.

Dad: Katie and I are big fans of Ron Washington. What do you think about the job he’s done as manager?
CG: One thing I’ve noticed about Ron is how hard the team plays for him for a full 27 outs. They really push themselves for him, and that says a lot.

Me: How did you become partners with Nolan Ryan?
CG: I meet his son Reed through my experience in the minor leagues, and as soon as I heard that the Rangers were up for sale, I knew I wanted him to be involved. I knew all along that if Nolan aligned himself with another buyer, I had to bow out. I never would have gone up against him. But Reed was the one who helped to get the two of us together.

Me: I think someone asked a question along these lines earlier, but I couldn’t hear the answer. After this year, do you or Nolan plan to add your minor league teams to the Rangers’ system?
CG: You know, honestly, we haven’t even thought about that yet. Right now we’re trying to focus on the business at hand and get this deal taken care of.

Me: Fair enough. You also touched on this earlier, but what are your ideas about improving the stadium?
CG: The Ballpark is beautiful, but we just want to update it a bit. Like the video board, for example. We’re interested in doing anything that enhances the fan experience. We want to deliver better value. It won’t happen in 2010, but we’re really looking for that ‘Wow factor.’

Me: Your experience as a minor league owner has allowed you to be more accessible to fans, and you’ve already shown interest in doing that with the Rangers. How do you plan on making the transition to ‘the Bigs?’ Is it overwhelming?
CG: I don’t really know how I’m going to handle it yet. I guess we’ll figure it out as we go along. It has be a little overwhelming at times, but one thing I want to convey is that I’m a fan as well.

Me: What is the most interesting piece of fan advice that you’ve gotten so far?
CG: The biggest thing that I’ve noticed has just been an overall feeling of anticipation and a sense of hope. People here are ready to believe.

At this point, Chuck expressed his worry that he wasn’t being gracious enough to his host, Jamey Newberg. They were supposed to eat dinner and have a beer together, and Chuck didn’t want to make a bad impression. So I decided that I had taken up enough of his time, and I asked him my final question:

Me: I need a job. What have you got for me?
CG: You need a job? [Laughs] Let me finish the sale first!

I would like to thank Chuck Greenberg for being so gracious to me and granting this interview. I would also like to thank Michael Young, Chuck Morgan, Jake Krug, Luther Davis, Jamey Newberg, Eleanor Czajka, and Annette and Craig Leslie for donating their time to raise money for Wipe Out Kids Cancer. And a special thanks to Michael Young and his wife, Cristina Barbosa Young, for matching the donations raised through the auction.

…and it all comes full circle

David Murphy
Last night, I went to an autograph session at the Academy store in West Plano. Josh Hamilton was there, so I took off work early and made a beeline for Plano. David Murphy was there too, but he only stayed for a few minutes, because he was really sick. That was okay with me, because I already have a David Murphy autographed baseball.
Josh Hamilton
Each fan could get Josh to sign one thing, so I had him sign a copy of his book (which I made Daddy go buy yesterday while I was at work), and dad had him sign a baseball. I wanted a Josh Hamilton baseball too, but Daddy made a point of specifically telling me, “Uh-uh, you can’t have my baseball, I’m keeping this one.” “Okay, Daddy, you keep your baseball. I’ve got the book,” I said, secretly disappointed. But there was no way I could blame him. I mean it’s Josh Hamilton!

Jim Sundberg, aka “Sunny”

I went over to the other table to get autographs from Jim Sundberg (Rangers’ Hall of Fame catcher), Jon Daniels (GM), and Tom Greive (former player and manager, current TV announcer). As I walked past JD, he nodded at me and said hi, so I took the opportunity to tell him, “I’m going to be working for you someday. Just FYI.” He didn’t seem surprised, he just said, “Oh really? What do you do?” I said, “I have an English degree, so I can write, edit, do press releases, or whatever you want. I have a Rangers blog.” TR Sullivan was there, and he chimed in, “Yeah, this is that girl that I wrote the article about on Christmas.” JD didn’t remember what he was talking about, so he asked TR to send him the link.

TR Sullivan

Later, as I was talking to TR, he asked me, “Are you going to the Mid-Winter Awards Banquet in a couple of weeks?” I told him that I had really wanted to, but the tickets were too expensive. So he said, “I want you to come as my guest.” My jaw dropped open. “Really?!”

“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll contact you and we’ll work out the details.” At this point, my dad shook TR’s hand, because if he hadn’t invited me, I probably would have talked my dad into paying for us both to go. He saved my dad $120!! Richard Durrett from ESPN.com was standing next to us, and he said “Oh, man, you’ll have to sit at the press table though.” “No, that’s GOOD!” I said. ‘That’s what I want to do: write about the Texas Rangers! So this is perfect!” Then TR said, “Oh yeah, I have to present Michael Young with the MVP award, so we have to figure out what to say to him.” Umm… wow!

Jon Daniels

I saw that Jon Daniels was just sitting at his table, so I went over to ask him some questions. He was very nice, and I felt special that I got to do a little 5-minute “interview” with him.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, aka “Salty”
I asked him first about whether they were looking to acquire another catcher because of the uncertainty with Salty’s health since his surgery. “It’ll all depend on how Salty’s doing in Spring Training. We’ll just have to wait and see how he’s doing. If he’s having trouble, we can pick up somebody then,” he said. Fair enough.
Ben Sheets
Then I asked him why the Rangers are so interested in adding another starting pitcher, considering the pitching depth that the Rangers have right now. “You can never have enough pitching,” he said. “You want too much pitching in April because you never know what’s going to happen in September.” True, Jon. Very true.
Tom Hicks, current owner
Then I asked a question that caused Daniels to clam up: “Do we even have any money left in the budget to get a veteran starting pitcher?” As soon as I asked this question, he lost the open, honest look on his face and became carefully composed. It was as if he was guarding his answer and he wanted to make sure he didn’t say too much. “Well… we’ll do alright…” he started. I immediately started backtracking. “I understand you don’t want to give away exactly how much you have to spend, so that’s okay, you don’t have to answer that.” But that led me to think about the ownership situation.
Chuck Greenberg
Chuck Greenberg.jpg“Tomorrow is the deadline for the exclusive negotiating period between Tom Hicks and Chuck Greenberg,” I said. “What do you think is going to happen?” But his guard was already up from the previous question. “I don’t know,” he said. “What do YOU think is going to happen?” he asked. Dead end. Then I got off on a tangent of talking about how I’m Chuck Greenberg’s friend on Facebook, and that he was very nice to me and he sent me an email and everything. I’m easily distracted; what can I say? 🙂
Vladimir Guerrero

My last question was, “Why Vlad Guerrero over Jermaine Dye? Any particular reason?” His response was “Well, we had to pick one of them. We couldn’t have both. And Vlad’s 35, but he passed the physical, and I think he’ll be a great DH for us.”

So it was a pretty great evening! But that wasn’t all! Last night, while we were waiting for Josh to sign the autographs, Daddy and I entered a raffle for several different Rangers’-related prizes, then I didn’t think twice about it. I never win anything. But this morning, when I got to work, I had a voicemail from somebody who worked at Academy. I called her back and I said, “Hi, I’m Katie Brownfield. Did I win something?” “Yes, you did,” she said. “You won a Josh Hamilton autographed baseball!”

And it all comes full circle!


So I emailed TR Sullivan to find out what he wanted to talk to me about, and it’s so awesome!

He wants to interview me for a story and publish it on the official Rangers’ website!!

Let me explain. When I met him the other night at Jamey Newberg’s book signing party, my dad mentioned that it was the 5 year anniversary of The Accident.

On December 17, 2004, I was broadsided by a 5-ton electric company truck, and I almost died. And I don’t mean something as simple as “my life flashed before my eyes, and I realized that I could have died, but I walked away unharmed.” I mean I had severe internal bleeding, several broken bones, and I spent 6 weeks in a coma. Yeah, I know.

My tailbone was broken in 2 places, my pelvis was broken in 3 places (2 of which were crushed), and I broke my left collarbone from where the seatbelt went over my shoulder; I had a lacerated liver and spleen; bruised kidneys and lungs; bleeding on both sides of my brain; and I had vertical and horizontal “brain shearing,” which is a separation of the lobes of the brain.

I didn’t wake up from my coma until January 22, 2005. I missed Christmas and New Year’s. My poor family! They didn’t know if I would ever recover.

When I finally woke up, I couldn’t move the left half of my body, due to my brain injury. I was in rehab for over a year. I had to relearn how to walk, how to be potty trained, how to swallow liquids, how to dress myself… you name it, I had to learn how to do it again. I remember the first time I rolled over in bed, the first time I tied my shoes, my first steps, the first time I was able to shower all by myself, etc. etc.

I was able to go back to college and graduate, and now I live a completely normal life. I live by myself, I have a full-time job, I drive, I pay my own bills… and I love the Texas Rangers!

I could talk about this all day, but I don’t want to give away everything for TR’s story. He was so impressed by everything that I’ve been through and by how well I’ve recovered, that he felt compelled to tell my story.

He thought it would be a great feel-good holiday story. Maybe he wants to make a correlation between what I’ve been through and my happy ending with the tough times that the Rangers have had and their currently possibility of getting to the post-season. Or maybe something about how if I can have faith in the Rangers after all my troubles, we can build up a solid fan base for them. Or something. I don’t know. I’m just really flattered.

What I went through was horrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But I’m glad it happened to me, because I think the entire experience has made me into a better person.

And I feel like I have a responsibility now to tell my story and everything that I’ve learned. For example, before this happened to me, I didn’t know that someone could recover from brain damage. I didn’t know you could get better after that. I just thought it was permanent.

Brain injuries are ridiculously common, and yet nobody talks about them. Every time a football player gets a concussion, that’s a mild brain injury. Soldiers are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan by the hundreds, maybe even thousands, with closed-head injuries. Whenever someone has a stroke or an aneurism, that’s a brain injury.

I’m just really excited about this opportunity, and I hope you all go the Rangers’ website and check out the story after TR writes it.