Visit to Rain-ger Stadium

added 6/27/2004 by Susan Pittman

June 25 and 26, 2004
Arlington, Texas

Darrell and I had planned to drive to Arlington Friday night and meet Ray Kerby and Bob Hulsey for Saturday’s game at the Ballpark at Arlington. (I know it is now Ameriquest Field, I just prefer the Ballpark at Arlington.). Our plans changed slightly, we put on our wetsuits and fins and left Houston Friday morning. If you are reading this outside Houston, it had rained in Houston every day for the entire week. There were severe thunderstorm warning and flood warnings all over southeast Texas. After Huntsville, there was no rain, so things were looking good for the weekend. Unfortunately, as soon as we got on I-30 in Dallas, the rain started again.

We had reserved a room at the Springhill Suites. Nothing spectacular, close to the ballpark, but not within walking distance. Since it was still raining at 5 pm, we waffled about whether we should try to go to the game. We thought maybe we’d go to a sports bar and watch it, but at the last minute, we decided to chance it. I’m glad that we did, even though the Good Guys lost. There is a “free” trolley from the hotel to the ballpark approximately every 30 minutes starting 2 hours before the game. It is run by the City of Arlington and was 20 minutes late in getting to the hotel. We had just decided to take the van when we saw the trolley. Because it was early, the trolley wasn’t too bad.

We were checked with security wands at the Ballpark gate. I don’t know why the security person insisted that it was being done on everyone at every major league ballpark. No big deal, except if they hand wand every fan on a sold out game, that’s going to take a while. There was also the typical bag check. Ridiculous if you ask me, because they don’t check pockets of cargo pants, but that’s another story. If they want to see the contents of my purse, they can.

We got $5.00 seats and they were up high and on the left field side. We got paper towels and wiped the seats down and it wasn’t too bad. They were second row seats. I find the Ballpark at Arlington to be much more fan friendly than Minute Maid. You can take in coolers and your own food if you want. There are picnic tables on all levels where you can sit and eat your food. Darrell got a hot dog and I got garlic fries. I must say, the garlic fries at the ballpark formerly known as PacBell Park are much, much better. These were soggy and not very garlicky. The beer is $1.00 cheaper than beer at MMP. I think the other items are comparable or maybe slightly cheaper. I didn’t pay that much attention. I don’t buy much at MMP, because I think it is such a scam.

It turned into a really nice night. We could see pink clouds at sunset and the weather was cool. It was a great night for a ballgame. Unfortunately, it was not a great night if you are an Astros fan.

We do have bragging rights to say we saw Carlos Beltran’s first game as an Astro. Unfortunately, he didn’t do anything spectacular, but did drive in two of Houston's three runs. I was really hoping for a homerun. I scored the game. We bought a souvenir program with Clemens and Pettitte on the cover.

We boarded the trolley to come back to the hotel, standing room only. We waited and waited and no driver showed up. More and more people boarded the trolley. It was getting very hot and claustrophobic in there. Across the street there were taxi’s waiting. We got off the trolley and went to the cabs. They wanted $15.00 for a 3 minute ride, but it was worth it. It was a rip-off, I know, but it got us back to the hotel.

Saturday, we had lunch prior to meeting Ray and Bob. It was raining again and we were concerned that the game would be postponed. After lunch, we went to a Walmart and got some raingear. We had an umbrella, but decided that we needed something else, like ponchos. We got two ponchos (Dale Ernhardt was all they had) and another umbrella and headed for the Ballpark. This time, no trolley for us, we decided to go for the valet parking. I’m glad we did. We stopped practically at the door and had them take our car. It was $20.00. Considering we’d paid $15.00 for the cab the night before, it wasn’t too bad.

Darrell, Bob, Ray, and Laurie; 6/26/04

We met Ray, his daughter Laurie, and Bob at the home plate entrance. There was a floppy hat giveaway today (for which I’m glad), I crossed out the Ranger’s logo and tried to draw an Astros logo. I’m not very artistic, even with a simple star. It rained on and off throughout the game and the hat, the umbrellas, ponchos came in very handy. Off and on throughout the game, we would put up the umbrellas. It made it hard for everyone to see with all the umbrellas. There were lots of Astros fans there. It was nice to be at an away game and not be the only ones cheering for the Astros.

It seemed like the only time Astros scored was when one of our group was out. Bagwell scored while Ray was out. Biggio hit his homerun while Darrell was out. Biggio, Everett and Beltran scored on a Berkman double while I was out. Ray tried to help the team by going out again in the 8th, but to no avail. It was a good theory, but didn’t pan out.

After the game, it was really nice giving our ticket to the valet and getting the van very quickly. We were back at the hotel and putting our clothes in the dryer before most people were at their cars. Yes, I had to take Darrell’s jeans to the laundry here at the hotel and dry them as they were soaking wet. We travel light!

It was great to meet Bob and see Ray and his daughter. We had fun, even though the Astros lost 8-7. I hate to admit it, but it was raining and I was ready to go. I would have been happy if they had scored in the top of the ninth, but I sure didn’t want it to go to extra innings. I was ready to get inside and into dry clothes.

Arlington is a nice place to take in a ballgame. Darrell was wearing his rainbow jersey and as we left, one of the security guys made a point to tell us to come back again.

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