Saturday, February 11, 2006

Winter Awards Banquet

A couple of weeks ago the Rangers had the Winter Awards Banquet. I was able to go with my dad and I’m going to describe the evening.

On our way there, we had some problems. Mapquest had led us the wrong way and we were delayed by 15 minutes (not including the 20 minutes from a car wreck on the way there).

As we got in to Eddie Deen’s Ranch they were having the pre-dinner reception. We saw Brad Wilkerson being interviewed on the Ticket. Luckily, when he was done I got his autograph. It was lucky because all the players were in a VIP session during the reception.

When I was done getting Brad Wilkerson’s autograph, we went to one of the Newberg tables to wait for dinner and for the awards to be announced. Then the players came out of a field of cornstalks like in The Field of Dreams.

Our table was one of the lucky tables because we got somebody associated with the Rangers. We got Kevin Harmon (assistant trainer). He and his wife (Melony) were very nice and friendly to everyone at the table. He was in Phoenix working at the Surprise complex until last year.

After talking to Kevin for a while, we had our dinner, which was very good. It was so much better than last year’s banquet. They had steak, chicken, vegetables, rolls, and mashed potatoes.

When the players were done eating, I went from table to table to get some autographs. As I walked by Jon Daniels, I stopped and talked to him for a while. I asked him about his thoughts on the Chris Young trade and on acquiring Baldiris, but this was a private conversation so I can’t tell you the answers without Jon’s permission. The player autographs that I got were Wes Littleton, Scott Feldman, Ian Kinsler, Jon Leicester, Travis Metcalf, Thomas Diamond, Joselo Diaz, CJ Wilson, Juan Dominguez, and Fabio Castro. Everyone was nice but Jon Daniels, Thomas Diamond and Scott Feldman really stood out because they were especially nice and talked to me for a while.

Then the awards ceremony started. It was hosted by the Hardline from The Ticket. Every time they came on stage, the Hardline theme song was played and they said that they hated it.

They named Travis Metcalf Minor League Player of the Year and they named Thomas Diamond Minor League Pitcher of the Year. As John Lombardi was introducing Thomas Diamond, he told everyone there a story about Thomas. The story was that after the last game of the season, John Lombardi went up to Thomas and asked him a question. Thomas said, ‘I’ve got to get home’ and Lombardi teased him about it because he had just bought a new house in Frisco. Thomas said that he had to get to Louisiana where his family was so he could help out (because this was right after the hurricane). Lombardi said that while everyone else was bailing out, Thomas was going into the storm.

Victor Rojas interviewed Jon Daniels, and Josh Lewin interviewed Gary Matthews Jr. and Brad Wilkerson. Kevin Mench was supposed to be interviewed instead of Gary Matthews Jr. but Kevin had left.

After they interviewed Wilkerson and Matthews, I got too tired and went home, missing the rest of the ceremony. I had a great time and if I had the choice to go again, I’d do it, even though it cost $40 for one person. The only thing I would change is that I would take out the mashed potatoes and put in french fries. I would also like to see the players out with the fans during the reception.


Bruce Schiller said...

Another outstanding article. You really know your stats. It will be interesting to see the opening day roster compared to your predictions.

David said...

This was really good, Grant. I liked that you didn't talk about your private conversation with Jon Daniels. I also agree that french fries should be offered.