Just What The Doctor Ordered: Observations From The Home Opening Day

A lady didn’t see the irony of her “Baby on Board” yellow reminder while talking on her cell phone going 75 M.P.H. on the highway to the game.

The parking lots were full by 11AM (we beat that time by 15 minutes) for the 1:05PM start. You could smell burgers and brats and beer walking to the stadium. Tailgaiting is good. There were jazz bands playing music as you entered. The cops were wishing everyone a happy opening day. The ticket takers and bag searchers were all ultra-friendly, too. I told a lady Kelsey was 21 so she could get the free magnet schedule, sponsored by a beer company so they can’t give them to minors…and she laughed and handed me an extra one.

Kelsey and I had a Lent-observers shared lunch of nachos and garlic fries. It seemed appropriate. I called a co-worker while he was at his desk and acted like I couldn’t hear him because I was crunching my nachos. He accused me of taunting. I called it information.

We shopped. A chilly day can cause the Easter Bunny to fork out more than he normally might for a Rangers sweatshirt for Kid1. She lobbied. The Bunny responded. I helped myself to a commemorative opening day baseball and wondered why I didn’t get one every year and line ’em up in my office.

Pre-game: Kelsey wouldn’t let an usher take our picture. “Dad, we’ve done that pretty much every year.” *eye roll, with movement toward our seats* Oddly, I thought that was my argument for getting the photo taken. I guess that tradition ends, even though the Easter Bunny had just delivered on an highly priced Rangers sweatshirt.

Then the Rangers “legends” were announced. Suffice to say it’s been a pretty bleak history when they call out around 30 names, you’d heard of 18, and only 3 were what you’d call legends…even if using that term loosely. The one legend they really have, Nolan Ryan, wasn’t there.

The flags unfurled and the anthems were played:

I kinda felt like I shouldn’t be taking pictures during the anthem but I kinda wanted them. Here’s the traditional opening day line-ups after the teams were announced. They only do this on opening day:

This year’s “Texas Hero” threw out the first ball: Michael Irvin…wearing a number 88 Ranger jersey and proving why he’s a football player and not a baseball player. He lobbed a ball in there, but it wasn’t impressive. Even Diner patron Hal text messaged me to let me know The Playmaker can’t pitch.

Then a bald eagle swooped in from center field to the pitchers mound. The other 51,000 people seemed pretty impressed by all this, and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that happens 7 times a year at Auburn University and they do it while 85,000+ screaming football fanatics are full-throated and yelling “Warrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (during the minute-long flight)…. EAGLE, HEY (when it lands). They have a bunch of those flights on YouTube and I was underwhelmed. The 51,000 others seemed impressed.

I was impressed by the F-something fighter jets flying over as well as my ability to actually get them in frame. They set off car alarms in the parking lot.

And, the best part of it: A win for the home team!

The worst part of it: 45 minutes to get out of the stadium lots. Once on the highway, it took 35 minutes to get home.

But, sometimes, you just gotta get your baseball fix. And a 2-0 pitcher’s duel that took 2 hours 14 minutes was just enough to whet my apetite…and if any of you season ticket holders don’t feel like braving tonight’s 35 degree weather, I’ll take those tickets off your hands!

Now to go put that ball on my office shelf…