Sunday, January 31, 2010

Take Me Out To The Ballgame...

With the Super Bowl a week away, one would guess that not TOO many people are thinking about baseball season. Well, with the exception of me and the thousands of other Texas Rangers fans who braved below freezing temperatures and even colder winds at The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington yesterday for the annual Rangers Fanfest.

WARNING: this is going to be like a diary entry. It's going to get pretty long!! So much stuff to talk about!! :)

I got to The Ballpark a little before 8am (yes, you read that correctly, I was up and about before 8am on a Saturday!) In my head I was thinking, "oh, it's freezing, I bet there won't be many people there." WRONG. Fanfest gates weren't scheduled to open until 9am and already by 8am, the line to get in stretched from the first base gate to just past the center field gate (for those not familiar with The Ballpark, that is the equivalent to almost 2 city blocks.) At one point we realized that a light snow was falling. And just so my mother doesn't call yelling at me for being out in the cold, I was wearing a coat, hat, gloves, ear muffs and even had my Rangers blanket wrapped around me.

Yes, it was very cold!

My main reason to get there so early was to get Josh Hamilton's autograph (he is one of my favorite players on the Rangers). He was scheduled to sign first. Yes, I turn into a giddy 12 year old when it comes to meeting "famous people"! They only allow so many people to get autographs and it's on a first come, first serve, basis. Different players are at different locations around the Ballpark throughout the day. After standing outside the Ballpark in line for an hour (my friend Aaron braved the cold and showed up about 8:30), we hurried across the park in hopes of getting Josh's autograph (and the line for that was already long). They hand out tickets for autographs and once the tickets run out, you are out of luck (they do this so you don't wait in line for 2 hours only to be denied access). I know it sounds silly, but when I was handed the ticket, I almost felt like Charlie in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory feeling like I had received a "golden ticket". Except it was blue. I had brought my copy of Josh's biography, Beyond Belief, for him to sign. I knew at Fanfest players aren't supposed to "personalize" the autographs, but I still wanted him to sign it anyways. **author's note: Even if you don't like baseball, this is a very good book. If you don't know much about Josh and his past, I recommend reading up on him. He has an amazing story.**

So, after waiting in the cold for another hour and a half in the line to see Josh, we finally were able to get inside to The Diamond Club. I honestly thought my toes had frozen off I was so cold. Thankfully The Diamond Club was nice and warm, and we all started to "thaw out" after a few minutes. We met a very nice family who had been standing in front of us outside the gates of The Ballpark then ended up behind us in the line to see Josh. They also had a copy of his book for him to sign.

When we finally got up to the table, Josh was very nice and very friendly. I had noticed that he had taken time to talk to each fan, instead of just signing whatever they had and letting them walk off. I thanked him for everything he had done and that I had really enjoyed his book. He said "God is good, isn't he?" I was like, "God is awesome." He agreed. He then asked my name and asked if I would like the book made out to me. I obviously agreed to that! I thanked him and he shook my hand and I told him God bless (yes, at this point Rachel was back on Cloud 9. For all of you who know me, I briefly met Josh last year at Fanfest. No autograph that time, but he did shake my hand. This encounter is going to last me another year!) :)

After we walked away from the table, we all noticed that he had put a different scripture on our autographs. Mine was Psalms 62:5, "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him."

Talking to Josh Hamilton (the nice lady behind us took the picture with my camera)

Josh's autograph in my book!

Aaron and I decided to try and find somewhere else warm, so we checked out the gift shop. He talked me out of buying a really cute Rangers outfit. I honestly didn't have the money. I told him he was a true friend. Many of my friends who have let me buy it. I'm sure at some point before the season starts, I'll save up the money and go buy it! :) Did I mention it was really cute??

Me and my buddy Aaron!

It seems my friends were working in shifts for Fanfest. My friend Monica showed up at 1:00 so Aaron could leave (he actually had somewhere else to be). Thanks for braving the cold Aaron! Monica and I sat in the dugout, viewed the locker room and ran the bases (okay, walked the bases). We then stood in line (again in the cold) for an hour and a half to get Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Murphy's autographs. I honestly think it had gotten colder as the day wore on. I couldn't feel any part of my body by the time we were let inside. I dropped Monica's camera at one point because I still had no feeling in my fingers (sorry again about that girl!)

I think since it was the end of the day (or maybe they felt sorry that we had waited out in the cold so long), they seemed to let the players take pictures with the fans (normally they don't allow that during Fanfest in order to save time). So, we were able to get pictures with "Salty" and David Murphy. It was the end of a great, but cold, day!!

Me and Monica in the dugout

Running (okay, walking) the bases

Standing by the beautiful field!

Me and Captain (the mascot of the Rangers)

Me and Salty

Me and David

Monica and Salty

Monica and David

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