Opening Day 2011

Opening Day is pretty damn good. Win or lose, the cool morning and warm afternoon ushers in Spring—— pretty——damn—— nicely. Granted it’s only been a few months since we last visited The Temple (aka Rangers Ballpark in Arlington),  but Opening Day 2011 seems to have been a long time coming.

Fox Sports Net invited myself and a few guests for the day. I decided to take Ben out of school a tad after 10am on Friday. My theory suggests that years from now, Ben wouldn’t remember what he did in school on 4/01/2011, but he might remember Opening Day…bits and pieces anyway.  That’s my rationale…stickin’ with it (please don’t challenge me as my defense is admittedly weak). As I entered the elementary school to sign Ben out, office attendants politely asked if we were going to the game (my Ian Kinsler Jersey and Ranger cap gave it away I suppose). I nodded yes, but loudly said “Nooooo” (laughter). Ben was all teeth as he made his way down the main hallway and promptly out the glass double doors.

Arrived at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington a little after 11am…took a stroll amongst the tailgaters, took a couple laps around the stadium too. We then made our way into the Majestic Grand Slam Shop. He spied a nice cap…tried it on. Now in my mind this was at least a $36 cap, but I didn’t say anything. He took the cap off, looked at the underside of the bill…$30. His jaw became slack, he starred into the distance with a confused look as if to say “what the heck ?!…$30 for a hat ?!?”. He defeatedly says…”It’s $30″ and starts to put it back knowing I would  balk at that price to add the 381st cap to the McGinnis home. However as Ben is one of  the most appreciative/gracious kids around. I had to get it for him.

“You want it ?”

Quietly, “yes”

“Alright”

Think he likes it ?

 

Shortly after noon, we headed to the FSN Tailgate area on the west side on the stadium.  The entire FSN group made us feel more than welcome. John and his childhood friend Layne (speaking of elementary school) met up with us here. Ben loaded up on candy, chips and Dr Pepper. I on the other hand, went with  several veggie fajitas (Friday during Lent remember) and a beer or two (or three…four ?). It was a great spread. After an hour or so, we headed inside The Temple.

 Layne, John and Ben (plus some other dude back there, we’ll call him Charles) 

Again, the weather was screaming Spring. Cool in the shadows, warm/borderline hot in the sun. Found our seats just as BP was winding down…Ben and I decided to take yet another stroll around the joint. Taking it all in…the smells were thru the roof….brisket, hot dogs w/grilled onions, parmesan garlic fries. The visuals were there too…tons of red, white and blue….tons of smiles. Surely I wasn’t the only one thinking this had been a long time coming. Finally.

Even though he was loaded with FSN food-goodies, Ben requested a Lemon Chill and another Dr. Pepper. If it isn’t already, the Lemon Chill is close to becoming a  must have at a Ranger game. I said “sure”. Also, as we all  know of Dr Pepper’s Texas roots…I said “sure” to that request as well.  Texas theme continues as it was my turn….I went to the Beers of Texas kiosk and waited for my Rahr and Sons Brewery Blonde Ale….oh mama, mighty fine and served in an Opening Day souvenir cup….someone got $9 I can borrow?….regardless, it was excellent.

Back to our seats as pregame festivities were about to commence. Introduction of some former Ranger players and managers…meh. Dual ceremonial first pitches from Charlie Hough and Jeff Burroughs…better. B-52 flyover….the best !

Here’s the first pitch of the game from one Christopher John Wilson…

Ians first home run of the season…(with my best Dos Equis voice…”stay healthy my friend”)   

The Texas theme continues as David Murphy (via Flower Mound, via Baylor, via Klein High School) drove a chalk-flyin’  double to left field as the Rangers never looked back.

Final out of the game…

Again, Opening Day is always grand…win or lose. The marathon has now begun.

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