Thursday, January 29, 2015
We were running behind and got to the ballpark around 0830 for the 0900 opening of the gates. The line was already stretched halfway around the stadium. The wait was a chilly one and the line moved slowly once the gates opened but we finally got in around 0920.
Spiff Jr had already decided he wanted to start with the retired players autographs. Apparently his experience futilely waiting in line last year for Derek Holland was still in his mind. We immediately headed for the visiting clubhouse where the players were scheduled to sign in shifts throughout the day. In addition to Oliver, Jerry Browne, Curt Wilkerson, Cecil Espy, Toby Harrah, Larry Hardy, Jeff Frye, Tim Crabtree, Dave Hostetler, Mike Jeffcoat, Kevin Mench, David Hulse, Jeff Russell, Ken Hill, German Duran, Jim Kern, Bump Wills, Mike Bacsik Sr, and Mike Bacsik Jr were also present. We managed to get autographs from all of them. Spiff Jr also ran down Rangers Captain in the tunnel outside the clubhouse and got his autograph as well.
The players were all very gracious and would sign practically anything put in front of them. Cards, photos, balls, bats, seats, caps, jerseys, and posters were just a few of the things I saw getting signed. Toby Harrah shared a story from a game played in Yankee Stadium. German Duran chatted about an injury to his hand that's almost healed. Mike Bacsik Sr asked every kid who their favorite player is.
In addition to the autographs, Spiff Jr also got to wave at Ivan Rodriguez as he went by and received a wave in return. We checked out the Rangers clubhouse. Spiff Jr got his picture taken in front of the two League Champion trophies from 2010 and 2011 as well as in front of a couple of players lockers. Adrian Beltre had a SGA bobblehead of Yu Darvish in his locker and Roughned Odor had a Pudge SGA bobblehead in his locker. Shin-Soo Choo had a pile of baseball cards in his locker - now you know where the card you sent him with a request to be signed ended up.
Leaving the clubhouse we walked up the tunnel to the Rangers dugout and hung out there for a few minutes. The field was covered and nobody was allowed on. That was an unwelcome change from last year as was the bullpen being closed.
Hit the card shop on the way home for supplies and a few Rangers and Senators cards. Spiff Jr. spent a few dollars for a case for the baseball he just had Kevin Mench sign. All in all a great day. Looking forward to the 2015 season and next year's FanFest.