I had the opprtunity to go to ALCS Game 6 to see the Rangers vs the Tigers on Saturday. I had hoped that the Tigers would win a game in Detroit so that I would have the chance to be at Rangers Ballpark when the Rangers clinched at home.
I had to go into work to get some stuff done first, but I left there at about 2 pm to head over to the stadium. The gates didn't open until 4, then the game was at 7.
To get there 5 hours before the game is bit extreme I know but I wanted to take in the whole experience, not just show up at gametime.
I left my car at work since I have a sticker on it that allows me to park there, and I made the hike to the stadium. This picture was taken from roughly across the street from where I work. You can see its about a long block to the stadium.
The Ranger offices came into view first. I've seen Jim Sundberg leaving here and crossing the street to his car many times. There's a little apartment in the tower on the right, where those 3 little windows are. Nolan Ryan has stayed there before.
I made a complete circuit around the stadium, I didn't want to miss anything. This ALCS banner is at the first base gate.
I realized that I had forgotten my water bottle back in the car, and since I had an hour and a half until gates opened, I decided to head back to the car. I retreived the water, marched back to the stadium, and made another circuit of the outside.
This time I paused at two separate media gates to see if I could catch any recognizable personalities for an autograph. I saw none.
I made it to the third base gate, the one I always use when I go to the game because its in the shade, to relax for about an hour until the gates opened. The crowd was still pretty small at that time, I was the second one in when the gates finally parted.
I headed over to the Rangers side of the field, the first base side, and parked it looking to get autographs. No such luck even though there were plenty of ballplayers, coaches and media around.
Watched a little Rangers BP. You can see in the background the sparse crowd so far.
I then went over to the Tigers side and hung out waiting for them to emerge from the dugout to stretch and begin batting practice. I was able to get the autographs from the Tigers. Joaquin Benoit, Don Kelly, Ryan Raburn, and coach Jeff Jones all signed cards (I'll scan and post them when I get a new scanner). Once they started BP I decided to make a route around the interior concourse of the stadium.
Made my way over to the FOX broadcast booth, hoping to catch AJ or Eric Karros for an autograph. I got Karros to sign a card here last year, but this time they never got up in the 20 minutes I watched the broadcast so I moved on.
The backside of Nolan Ryans statue out in center field.
Still an hour and a half before the game starts.
Home run porch in right field. It's finally starting to fill in.
First base gate ALCS banner from the inside.
First base concourse heading towards home plate.
Its about 6 now so I waited in the long line for the escalator to get up to the upper deck and to my lone seat.
The Death Star.
Big lighted baseball.
I grabbed a jumbo dog and a souvenir cup Coke and headed to the top.
Ah, the view from my seat. Dead-center behind home plate.
And 7 innings later, my scorebook. You can see "The Big Inning" there in the third where the Rangers batted around and scored 9 runs. Some other notes I had on there include: "First Pitch John Wetteland to Rusty Greer", "batted around", "37 minute half-inning", "Hamilton leaping, crashing catch off the wall", "NA-PO-LI!", "Rayburn and Jackson collide", and "ALCS record 6 HR and 13 RBI".
Michael Young just squeezed so-and-so's pop-up and the Rangers win the pennant!
Confetti, fireworks, pandemonium! It was awesome!
Of course I stayed for the trophy presentation. Fittingly (for me), former Angels owner Jackie Autry presented the trophy to former Angels pitcher Nolan Ryan.
Don't you just love how I work in those "former Angels" references all the time? I don't know if I'll ever get over it.