I went to my first game of the year, and boy did I pick a good time to go. I briefly stopped by a tailgate in Lot B, but wanted to see the new scoreboard stuff. Got a friend of mine from the tailgate to get me in early before everyone else did, got in through the Season Ticket Holder entrance. That was nice, as the place was pretty empty for about 20 minutes before the seething hoards came in.
I walked out through a walkway in Section 18, and I have to say.. You know those stories you always hear about you never forget the first time you walked into a park and you “see the green field”? Well, I had that same kind of feeling when I saw the new scoreboard. I picked the perfect area to enter into the ballpark. The new video board in right was framed PERFECTLY by the walking up, so I saw the board first, then the rest of the field kind of “opened up” around me. It was a seriously nice view. Yes, the thing is huge. There were times when 100% of the board was showing video, and man, that looks great (especially when the footage is HD). Even when it was framed by lineups on either side, it was still seriously larger than what we had for the last 17 seasons in this park previous to this one. The Tigers/Yankees game was on the screen during batting practice, and man, you could watch the games now. On the old postage stamp video board, it was so small, you might as well not have bothered.
When the new video board had 100% video, it tended to dominate the view up there. Look at this shot of the Rangers taking the field. What’s on the screen was the shot of Feliz striking out Arod to get to the World Series (that clip never gets old). You can see what I’m talking about even in the reduced size picture here.
You need to see this new guy to experience it properly. The video board in center has been upgraded, and it’s the same exact size as the old one, but now it’s color and HD and all that happy stuff. Things look nice out there, but the fonts chosen for some of the in game text updates is a bit hard to read. Looks like something that a small font change can address. Hopefully it is.
The ringed video boards appear to be the same, and the video board above Sections 3-7 has been updated – I think. It could just be a change in presentation on the same exact video board. Right now at almost 2AM, I’m unclear on whether that board is truly new or not. There’s a lot to like about the new board presentation. The most obvious being the board above home run porch. But that’s not the only thing. You need to come and check it out. Definitely makes things feel a little different, and I also got that “first time” feeling again when I FIRST saw the board (mentioned that above), so it was cool to get that kind of feeling in a park that I’ve seen hundreds of games over the better part of two decades in.
I’ve always liked scoreboards in parks, so this is a big deal to me. Chuck Morgan knows I was whining for years about new scoreboards, so I’m glad to see this FINALLY happen. Lord knows it wouldn’t have happened if Hicks was still running the show, so good on that!
Enough scoreboard stuff. :)
The players got their ALCS rings tonight. They looked quite nice. Every Ranger player who is still on the team got theirs tonight. During the game, I saw tweets saying that Jarrod Saltamacchia will also get one (tomorrow). And all the players that are in the minors are going to get theirs shortly. I have to assume guys on other teams will be the same.
OK, the game..
Started off well. Ian Kinsler set an all time major league record – he did something no other player has ever done. Homer to lead off a game for the first two games of the season. Nobody has ever done that. Ever. Most impressive. I just hope he doesn’t fall in love with the home run stroke again. We know what that did to him in 2009. If it keeps coming fine – but he fell in love with that, and couldn’t do anything but jack balls up in the air. Hence my calling him “Capt. Uppercut”.
David Ortiz took the lead back in the top of the second with a two run home run, which felt deflating. Turns out it realy wasn’t, but that the time, I rolled my eyes at that home run.
That feeling didn’t last too long, as Ian Kinsler doubled in the bottom of the third, and was driven home by the next batter, Elvis Andrus, who tripled to the right center field wall. He too was brought home by Josh Hamilton, who singled up the middle. So it felt good to take the run back. :)
The fourth was a biggie, and pretty much the point where you felt the Red Sox were put away for good. It actually started off with a couple of quick outs. Cruz lined out to Adrian Gonzalez, and Mitch Moreland flew out to Jacoby Ellsbury. But that was the end of the easy road for the Sox. Torrealba hit a double to right center, which Ellsbury almost caught. Had he cought it, things would have been a lot different. Because after that, the floodgates opened. Julio Borbon tripled to almost the same spot. Kinsler walked. Elvis Andrus doubled, scoring Borbon. Lackey then intentionally walked Josh Hamilton. I thought at the time it probably was’t a great idea, due to Beltre’s power. It turned out to be the right idea, as Beltre got his first four RBI’s as a Ranger, all at the same time. Grand slam to left, and it pretty much was the end of the night. Lackey was chased, and he left with an ERA of 22.09. Gotta love that. Michael Young also singled after this point, but nothing happened with that, as Cruz grounded out.
Lackey left with 3.2 innings pitched, 10 hits, two walks, and NINE earned runs. He always seems to not do as good here in Arlington, but not nearly THAT bad!
No, that’s not Beltre’s Grand Slam swing, but I can pretend it is! :)
After the big six spot in the bottom of the fourth, we added on three more runs. Two of them on a home run by Torrealba, and the last one a home run by Nelson Cruz into the camera well in the lower left hand corner of Greene’s Hill. Which at the time was huge, as Nelson was the only Ranger left without at least one hit. If you’re gonna get ONE, that’s a good way to do it.
So all told, the Rangers had three doubles (Kinsler, Torrealba, & Andrus), two triples (Andrus & Borbon), and four home runs (Kinsler, Beltre, Torrealba, Cruz), one of which was a grand slam. Six singles, too. A lot of the hits were early in the count too. We were fairly aggressive at the plate this night.
Pitching wise, Colby Lewis technically had a quality start, but it didn’t feel like it live. He wasn’t awful, but he wasn’t pinpoint precise like he was late in last season. Still, he got a win, and that’s the bottom line.
Mason Tobin made his major league debut, and he was obviously well aware of that. He was all over the place. Felt bad for the kid, you always want to see them do good, but sometimes they get pounded. He wasn’t quite that bad, but he was really wild. He started off by hitting Saltamacchia, then got an out on a really nice play by Nelson Cruz in the right field foul area against the large wall. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two run home run over the Rangers bullpen. Tobin then walked the next two batters (Lowrie, Crawford), and was looking pretty bad when he got Adrian Gonzalez to ground into a really nice looking double play to end the inning. It’s also if I’m not mistaken the only out Gonzalez made the whole game at that point.
Pedro Strop & Darren O’Day both threw a scoreless frame. It’s a way better thing to see from O’Day who looked horrible this spring. When I saw him in Round Rock, he was still pretty dreadful. This was not the same pitching I saw in his final spring appearance last Wed night. Hopefully THIS is the O’Day we get. Not that bad spring training version.
Was a great game, but the ride home was horrendous. I left the park about 10:30. I didn’t get home until about 12:15 back in Garland. That was just stupid. Speaking of stupid, WHY WHY WHY did the police take away the left hand turn onto Division from Stadium drive? What was the point in that?