ST28: Rangers beat Cardinals 7-3 in Arlington Sping game

Got to the Ballpark early as most everyone did last night to see Big Mac take a few swings. He was in the third group of Cardinals that took BP. When he stood in, he got an ovation, which I’m sure he’s used to by now. Anyway, I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but he bunted his first pitch, which was amusing. :) Mac didn’t play in the game, which I’m sure annoyed several people. I’d seen him before, but not since the big 70 HR season. Would have been nice, but oh well… The game itself was nice from the aspect of seeing the Texas Rangers live again. The fact that I was sick probably forced me to not enjoy it as much. Was blowing my nose the whole night, it seemed. However, I did take notice of a lot of things at the Ballpark itself…
It was a cold night at the Ballpark. I was (am) still sick with a cold, so that didn’t help, but it was awesome being back at the park again after almost 6 months (for a game, anyway). It felt kind of weird, as I was rusty at watching live baseball, several times I had to get my bearings – that coupled with a move to a different section for season tickets (Sec 326 Row 7 from Sec 39 Row 43), my usual “places I looked for things during a game” were all different. They didn’t have the whole thing going yet, as some of the usual things they do during a game weren’t active (several scoreboard animations come to mind). The Ballpark itself is largely unchanged from last season in terms of signs and whatnot. The KXTX 39 is now a KDFI 27 sign. There is a new AT&T sponsored front to the triangle down in the right field corner. Nolan Ryan’s retired number is moved. It used to be at the base of the second level of the Home run porch. Now it’s (along with Jackie Robinson’s number) is above the Diamond Club windows above left field. Replacing the old location for Nolan’s number is a huge string of advertising running the length of the home run porch. It’s not that large, but it’s very visible when you look that way. I know that sounds confusing, but when you see it, you’ll see what I mean. A Southwest Airlines “billboard” on the right field wall is different. The foul poles themselves look much yellower – they were probably painted. Also, the grass itself seems VERY green, but it hasn’t had time to be burnt out by the Texas heat yet. Furthermore, the dirt is not that “dark dirt” they had last season – it looks more like the conventional bright dirt. I wonder if that’s a permanent change, or if the dark dirt won’t come in till later.
Also, the Jumbotron had a bunch of problems – there’s several display issues, like a bunch of bulbs were burnt out or malfunctioning, and some of them were inthe spot that the player pictures were, so it looked like they had a big white bandage on their noses. :) It also went to color bars for about two minutes at one point during the game. Some more work needed there for the boys in the control room. Also, those new membership cards they have for the Rangers & Stars had their machines there you could swipe. Some might not like that stuff, but I rather did. Got a free coke out of it that would have cost me $3.75, so I can’t complain about that at all. The new Commissioner’s box section at the end of the Rangers’ dugout appeared to have simply folding chairs in there. I hope that’s not permanent – I’d be pissed off paying $100 bucks and getting a folding chair! Give me those seats in the 200 level. Since I can’t get in there, I can’t comment on the new club behind home plate – although I’m sure the air conditioning will be nice come July & August. The kids stuff out in Vandergriff plaza looked pretty cool. The wiffle ball park was like an even smaller version of the Ballpark (than is in the Dr. Pepper kids park across the street). Most of this stuff seemed to be geared towards kids, but that will make for some really nice memories for those who use ’em, I’m sure.
I picked up a Media Guide and a Yearbook – I’ll be updating the roster probably on Sunday to bring everyone up to speed now that the 25 man roster is all but 1 player decided. We play the Astros in Enron this afternoon, and then it’s on to the regular season on Monday!