Results tagged ‘ Steve Stewart ’

Everything’s Big in Texas!

When the Royals recently visited Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, it was my tenth (out of 14) American League ballpark. It’s a very nice “yard,” but one word you would never use to describe it is “intimate.” It is very large, totally enclosed (with offices used by various local businesses stacked in the outfield).

Rangers' Ballpark.jpg



This park opened the same year as “The Jake” (now Progressive Field) in Cleveland, 1994. Still looks new.




They modeled parts of this ballpark after other classic stadiums, including Tiger Stadium. The right field porch with the posts holding up the overhang is very similar to the Tigers’ former home.Offices.jpg



Troy Aikman used to have an office here. Plenty of offices in center field. Nice view out your window if you can afford the square footage.Trey in Texas.jpg



Trey Hillman grew up in the area, and it was old home week for him in Texas.Trey with Joel and Split.jpg



Of course, these are new friends: Joel Goldberg and Paul Splittorff on the field before the game.Bob Gibson Suite.jpg



There are seemingly a million luxury suites on more than one level wrapping around Rangers Ballpark. They are named after baseball Hall of Famers. This is the Bob Gibson Suite.Catfish Hunter.jpg


I couldn’t find a George Brett suite, so the closest KC tie I found on my quick look around, was the late, great Catfish Hunter, who spent his first three seasons as a Kansas City Athletic, before winning championships in Oakland and New York.Titanic.jpg



When you look at the levels of suites stacked on top of one another, the word “Titanic” immediately came to mind. Fortunately the media level is up closer to the top. No leaks were apparent, fortunately.

Six Flags.jpg



Right next to the Ballpark is Six Flags over Texas…the amusement park predates the stadium by many years. And, yes, a baseball season is a roller coaster.

New Stadium.jpgA few blocks from the Rangers stadium, is another amusement park of sorts. Some of the locals call it “Jerry World.” That would be Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. This incredibly large structure dwarfs the Cowboys’ current home, Texas Stadium. The Cowboys move into their new home in time for the 2009 season. They’ve already booked a Super Bowl. It will have a retractable roof, and hold more than 100,000 for events such as the Super Bowl and the Cotton Bowl, which will move from, well, the Cotton Bowl.

Dallas Skyline.jpg



I lived in Dallas for six years, including my years at Southern Methodist University. Great city. You can see the skyline from the Ballpark. The growth in the area since I left is truly head.jpg

This is the Rangers’ mascot…Ranger Captain. Ranger Captain was born in 2003. The name comes from the Texas Rangers Law Enforcement Agency. Captains were the leaders for that group. When Ranger Captain was born, he (?) was sworn in by the mayor of Arlington (“Put your hoof on the bible and repeat after me…..”). When I had laryngitis I was a little hoarse…but nothing like this…sorry…night game.jpg



A shot of the Rangers Ballpark at night. Although it was incredibly windy (see picture below of the umbrella going through the car windshield), we at least came to Texas before the 99 degrees and high humidity hits! (any day now…)

I Lived to Tell About It!

Tuesday night I was a little nervous…well, more than a little nervous…I was asked (no, I didn’t volunteer) to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch of the series opener versus the Cleveland Indians. 
(Quick aside…Paul Splittorff asked me “who asked you to do that?”  He wanted to avoid whoever that person was, or at least be on the look-out for her.  Turned out it was Kasey Schweitzer, who is the Coordinator of Game Entertainment.  I, of course, was quick to put Kasey on Paul’s trail.  He says he’s too busy during his telecasts to get on the roof of the Royals’ dugout and sing.  Another quick aside:  How does having ME sing qualify as entertainment??  But I digress.)
I was nervous, yes, but it had more to do with being shown on the world’s largest HD TV screen…108 feet high…than it had to do with singing (not that I do a lot of singing in public…I’m not the type that normally jumps to the front of the line on Karaoke Night…or even the back of the line.)  But I’ve certainly gotten up in front of large audiences before.  The picture is so sharp on that screen…YIKES! 
During the early stages of the game, I was thinking “do I know all the words to this song?  I’ve only sung it/heard it a couple of thousand times…”  So I “gargled it” as we like to say in the radio booth..and found two or three versions.  “For it’s root, root, root.”  “And it’s root, root, root,”  “let’s all…” etc..
I figured I’d just sing whatever came to mind…I should know it by now…I knew the words would be on the other new video board in left center field…(the fancy name is LED Left-Field Video Display…nickname: Lefty…Who knew that video boards had nicknames?) but that I wouldn’t be able to turn around and read it.  Had to face the masses…
Kasey introduced me to Kauffman Stadium organist Sam Beckett.  He’s in his tenth year at the ballpark, so this wasn’t his first rodeo.  He talked me through how it would go…what I would hear, etc.  He made it much easier…
hallway.jpgSo in the 6th inning, Kasey came to escort me down to the first row behind the first base dugout.  It was sort of like the executioner arriving at dawn.
I look really happy, don’t I?  Sort of like I was on my way to get a root canal.   “Quick, get this man a blindfold!” It’s the sixth inning, time to head downstairs…kids.jpg
These kids happened to be sitting in the seats next to me during the top of the 7th inning.  9-year-old Dawson and 4-year-old Drew.  Two thoughts:  these kids are very lucky…great seats AND a school night.  Also, kids and animals always make for a picture better.  And no animals were seated nearby…dugout.jpg
I was told “as soon as the third out is made in the 7th…climb into the saddle.”  You can see how excited I am…Kasey took the picture.  So I was grimmacing at her and at you…haha.  I kept thinking “if I fall off the dugout roof, I’ll be on YouTube within minutes.”organist.jpg
Sam Beckett was the man in control.  I sang to what he played.  I had the headphones on…heard his introduction…and his key…and started belting it out…close up.jpg
 I’m singing the song and thinking “I can’t hear anybody else, only myself.  Please, Lord, let these fans drown me out!”video board.jpg
As I mentioned, I was nervous about being displayed on the big board (even though I spent many years on television…it was never waaaaaaay larger than life).  It was nice to see in this picture that they showed others on the board during the song as wellfinale.jpg.
“at the OLD….BALL….GAME!!!”…It’s over!!! Hurray!! I didn’t fall off the dugout…and I didn’t forget the words!  And there I am on that big board.  Of course in this picture it looks like a very small board.  Soon thereafter, my boss, Mike Swanson, asked me “hey, can you host Royals Weekly?  It’ll be on cable TV…and we’ll be showing it on the big board here at the ballpark too.”  Gulp…oh well, better get used to it…