Tagged: Johnny Whittleman

Sunday night’s RoughRiders’ game

[Sorry for the different sizes of photographs. Some came from my camera and some came from Richard Durrett]

A few weeks ago, I read on the Dallas Morning News’ Rangers’ Blog about a special ticket deal that they were doing for Rangers’ bloggers. And who has a blog about the Rangers? Why, I do, of course! 🙂 For $15, you could get seats right by the RoughRiders dugout, all-you-can-eat hotdogs/burgers/chicken sandwiches/chips/drinks, and a special meet-and-greet with Blake Beavan before the game. Sound familiar?
Blake Beavan
No, of course it doesn’t. No one actually reads this thing. I’m doing it for my own amusement. Anyway, it sounded remarkably similar to the deal we got when we went with Evan Grant to see a RoughRiders’ game a few weeks ago. With Evan, the tickets were free, but the food wasn’t, so I spent about the same amount of money. And the last time I met Blake, I didn’t get to get his autograph, but I DID THIS TIME!! YAY!!!
Since this game was scheduled for a Sunday night, I knew my dad wouldn’t be able to go, since he works till 8:00 on Sundays. And most of my other friends are sick of my baseball obsession, so I decided to be a big girl and go by myself. And maybe I could meet some other people who are as obsessed with baseball as I am, and I wouldn’t feel so crazy!
Blake Beavan (in the gray)
First was the Q&A with Blake Beavan. We were in one of those outside seating areas with picnic tables all around, and he and Richard Durrett (the DMN Rangers’ Blog guy) were just sitting at a table kind of in the middle. There were some other fans just sitting around eating before the game, with no idea that one of the team’s starting pitchers was sitting among them. And how would they know? He wasn’t wearing his uniform; he was in regular clothes (a polo shirt and jeans).
Richard started off by asking Blake some questions, and then Richard said he didn’t want to be the one asking all the questions; he wanted us to get in there too. I was sitting at a table kind of in front of Blake, with two other guys that I didn’t know. Richard looked right at the guys and said, “Come on, guys, I know you have some questions.” But they didn’t say anything, so I piped up. “How many pitches do you have, and are you working on developing any more pitches right now?” Richard obviously didn’t expect this from me, and he looked at me and nodded with raised eyebrows, kind of like “wow, I’m impressed! Good question!”
Blake Beavan
Of course I wasn’t able to process most of the answer, because I was looking at Blake Beavan, and oh my gosh. I remember he said that he had 4 pitches: a 2-seamer, a 4-seamer, and 2 others I don’t remember. He’s not really working on any other pitches specifically right now, but he’s always trying to improve the pitches he has. He said that he’ll probably want to try and develop a 5th pitch somewhere down the road, but not now. Maybe a slider or something? I don’t remember. I think I picked my chin up off the ground long enough to mutter something like, “Four sounds like a good number to me.” Stupid! He’s freakin’ 20 years old!! He was born in 1989. He’s waaaay too young for me. But I have this weakness for guys who are in the 6’4″/6’5″ range height-wise. And man, is he pretty!
Blake Beavan
Anyway, I learned a lot of stuff from the questions people asked, but I know that no one reads my blog anyway, so it’s kind of pointless to go over it all in detail right now.
The highlights:
-Blake has a pitching regimin worked out for him by his pitching coach that he follows during the off-season
-He practices with Kevin Millwood (Rangers’ starting pitcher) during the off-season
-His goal is to make his big-league debut at 21 years old
-During the season, they have to throw bullpen sessions of about 50-60 pitches on some of their off days, so they don’t get 5 full days of rest. At most, it’s 3 days of rest.
-On some of the games when he doesn’t start, he has to “chart” during the game instead of hanging out in the dugout/bullpen with his teammates. I asked him what “charting” was, but I didn’t get most of the answer, because he was standing next to me at that point and I was looking at his eyes atop his 6’5″ frame. Oh my! But from what I gathered, it’s kind of like keeping score. They have to track everything that happens in the game.
Blake Beavan
After I got Blake to autograph a baseball for me, he was just standing there looking bored, and I didn’t want to leave yet, so I hung back. Everybody else was leaving to go get food, and that’s when I asked him why he wasn’t wearing his uniform, and he told me about charting. As I was talking to him, another girl/lady walked up with something for him to sign. She didn’t have a pen, so I loaned her one of my stolen Olive Garden pens. And that’s how I met Sara!
yeah, I’m the fat one on the left! 🙂
Since I was there by myself, I knew I needed to open up and talk to people. So we started talking on the way to get something to eat, and she mentioned how nice Blake Beavan is to look at. A girl after my own heart! I soon realized that she is like me: someone who is very interested in the game, but also enjoys stopping to take in the scenery along the way. And when I’m with my dad, I can’t say stuff like that.
I just want to take a moment to address the fact that I have loved baseball since before I was aware that it sometimes happens to be filled with attractive guys. At 11 years old, I wasn’t looking at Pudge saying, “ooh, he’s hot!” Ugh. I still don’t say that. Sorry, Pudge, but the love I have for you is purely from your performance on the field. I have always been pretty good at separating my “crushes” on players from their performance in the game. Although you’re always a little bit prouder when the player you think is cute does a good job on the field. 🙂
Inside the RoughRiders’ dugout
Okay, enough of that. On to the game. I soon realized that I was sitting all by myself, with no one in the seats surrounding me. Geez, do I smell or something?? I thought all the DMN blog seats would be together. I watched the first couple of innings, but then I got bored, so I went to find Sara. The seat next to her was empty, so I sat there for the rest of the game and we talked for most of the game, about baseball and the players and about life in general. Aww, good times! I made a new baseball friend! The picture to the left was taken when I walked down and snuck a peak inside the RoughRiders’ dugout.
The RoughRiders ended up shutting out the Midland RockHounds 7-0, and Johnny Whittleman had a 3-run homer! I found out about an interesting tradition that they have at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, where they take up a collection for a player if he gets a home run, because those poor minor league guys get no money. I wish I’d had more cash on me, but I chipped in all I had, which was a dollar. I thought that was really cool!
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
I had heard during Saturday night’s radio broadcast of the Rangers’ game that Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Rangers’ catcher, would be making a rehab start with the Frisco Roughriders on Sunday. [He’s been on the 15-day DL with a mild case of Thorasic Outlet Syndrome.] And sure enough, he was there! I really would have loved to have the opportunity to get his autograph, but I never really got an opportunity. This is a picture I took of Salty’s first at-bat, but you can’t really tell it’s him. Oh well.

Batting Coach Brant Brown, Salty, and Chad Tracy (1B)
I could have easily walked up to Salty while he was in the dugout, but the players aren’t allowed to sign autographs during the games. I know this because I tried. Well, not with Salty, but with Jose Diaz, a pitcher. I recognized Diaz from a tv show I watched chronicling one of the RoughRiders’ road trips earlier this season. But no dice; I wasn’t able to get the autograph from Diaz. I looked for Salty after the game, but he came out after the 7th inning, and he must have snuck back to the clubhouse when I wasn’t looking. This picture is just before Salty’s 2nd at-bat. He was 0-for-2 on the night with a walk and a run scored.
Salty behind the plate 
 The game was scoreless through 5 innings, and it seemed like a very long game. Not that that was bad! I really enjoyed myself, and normally “time flies when you’re having fun.” Last night’s weather was fabulous too. The temperature was in the 80’s at the beginning of the game and in the 70’s at the end of the game, with not too much humidity and a light breeze. Perfect!
Marcus Lemon
 After the game, I tried to get some autographs, but most of the players just headed off the field. Marcus Lemon (the 2nd baseman for the RoughRiders) stayed, and he was very nice to the fans. There was a dad was there with his little boy, and Marcus had a couple of baseball bats that he was carrying. And he gave one of the bats to the little boy! Aww!
Marcus Lemon is a name I’ve heard thrown around quite a bit when I’ve heard people talk about Rangers’ prospects. But unfortunately, since he’s a 2nd baseman and our infield is pretty much sewn up for the near future, he may have to get traded to another team to see any big league playing time. He signed a baseball for me. Really nice guy.
Johnny Whittleman came over for a little while to join Marcus in signing autographs, but left soon after. He is normally the RoughRiders’ 3rd baseman, but he was DHing last night. And in the 8th inning, he got a 3-run homer to seal the deal for the ‘Riders! So I got the autographs of Blake Beavan, Marcus Lemon, and Johnny Whittleman last night, which join my growing collection of RoughRiders autographs along with Beau Jones and Mitch Moreland!