This week I will give a recap of what my dad and I did at the Fan Fest and a short summary of the Awards Banquet.
The Awards Banquet (at Eddie Deen’s Ranch):
Friday night, we went to the annual Winter Awards Banquet. This was the 4th year that it’s been at Eddie Deen’s ranch in downtown Dallas, which is a really cool place. Even though we’ve been going for years, this year was my first year to have a player sit at my table. Minor league pitcher Tim Murphy sat with us. Tim is very nice and a very good guy. He was one of the Rangers’ draft picks last year and was in town for their pitching mini-camp. I enjoyed getting to know him. Before the ceremony, I got to give Eric Nadel his Broadcaster of the Year trophy. Thanks again to everyone who voted (I had 117 votes). I also got to meet and talk to Ted Price before it started and he’s very nice. You can hear his podcasts at http://rangerspodcast.blogspot.com/. I also got to talk with Jon Daniels, Evan Grant, TR Sullivan, Tom Grieve, Josh Lewin, and my friend Brad the photographer before the ceremony. Besides Tim Murphy, I sat with my dad, my granddad, Eleanor Czajka, Bettye Pullen from my church and some of Bettye’s friends. Like usual, the food was great and Chuck Morgan put on a great program.
Fan Fest (Saturday):
My dad and I got to Fan Fest at about 8:45 for the 9:00 AM opening and there was already a line of hundreds of people wrapping around the ballpark. It was cold, at about 33 degrees in the middle of the day. But once they opened, the line moved really quickly. They did a good job of processing people and getting them inside this year (solving some of the issues they’ve had the last couple of years). We went straight up to the Newberg booth when we got there and I hung out there and talked to Eleanor Czajka and Jamey Newberg for a while. Dale Petroskey (Executive Vice President of Marketing) and Chuck Morgan came up while I was there and I got to talk to them. I knew Chuck already but this was my first time to meet Dale. They are both very nice guys. Dale used to run the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and also worked with Ronald Reagan. We saw him a few more times during the day and he always stopped to say hello and remembered our names. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram also came by the Newberg booth to say hi, so I got to meet him too.
When Michael Young got to the Newberg table, I got his autograph. He was very nice and he remembered me from the Newberg Book Release Party. After I got his autograph, my dad and I went to the booths and talked to TR Sullivan, the mlb.com Rangers beat writer. We also bumped into my music teacher, John McKellar. After that we went to the Jon Daniels and Ron Washington Q&A in the Legends of the Game Museum. We sat with one of my dad’s friends, the one who helped him write his book on IT Auditing (http://www.amazon.com/Auditing-Controls-Protect-Information-Assets/dp/0072263431/sr=8-1/qid=1172194214/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-4803264-7671968?ie=UTF8&s=books) and who taught a class at SMU with my dad last fall. His name is Chris Davis (no, not the Rangers’ Chris Davis). I got to ask one question during the Q&A: Can you name three non-roster invitees who might have an impact this year? Jon Daniels mentioned Omar Vizquel and Derrick Turnbow from the veterans and Elvis Andrus and Derek Holland of the young prospects.
We went back to the Newberg Table to get autographs from Kasey Kiker, Derek Holland, and Michael Ballard. Like usual, the line-up at Jamey’s table was the best. It was my first time to meet Kasey so getting his autograph was a high priority for the day (he was one of two players appearing that I needed). He was very nice, but the line was huge, much different than a couple of years ago. The last two years, the attendance at the Fan Fest and especially at the Newberg table has really increased. It used to be that you could pretty much walk up to Jamey’s table and get autographs with almost no wait. Now, the lines are about as long as for the major league players. While we were waiting in line, we saw John Siburt (our preacher at church) and his two kids, Katie and David, and talked with them for a while. Katie and David (especially Katie) are big Rangers fans.
After that, I went back to the Legends of the Game Museum to see my friend Brad the photographer do an improv comedy act with some other people. I see them every year and they’re always really funny. They did something called Storytime, where someone from the audience gives them a story title and they have to make a story out of it. Brad has a pointer and, when he points it at a member of his comedy team, that person has to start talking and telling the story. Then he points it at someone else and then that person has to continue the story where the last person left off (sometimes in mid-sentence). Somebody in the audience made up the title “Shoeless Joe Finds His Shoe” and Brad’s team did a very good job of making up a story for it. They brought Chuck Morgan in to join them in the story telling, which made it funnier. After that, they did a song where people in the audience would call out a line about various baseball subjects and these four guys would sing that line during the first round of the song and then make funny lyrics mixing up all the lines for all the other rounds. I got to choose the line for something strange that could happen at a baseball game and I said “batter throws shoe at pitcher”. After the improv, we ate lunch.
All we did for this hour was stand in line outside for Guillermo Moscoso and Scott Feldman. Moscoso was one of the two people signing autographs during the day that I needed, so I didn’t want to take the chance of missing him. We got in line at 12:15 for the 1:00 autograph session. It was very cold waiting outside. We walked past Ron, our usher at the Rangers games, on our way to the line and talked with him for a little while. And there was a very nice lady and her son in front of us who kept us entertained during the wait.
I got Guillermo Moscoso and Scott Feldman at the beginning of the hour. I’ve known Scott for a long time so it’s always good to talk with him. We then went to the Cuervo Club to check out the merchandise sale and stay warm. After that, I went over to the Newberg table and got autographs from Michael Main, Neftali Feliz, and Kevin Richardson while my dad talked to Grant (no, it’s not me), an artist who makes baseball paintings. I got to talk to Scott Lucas for a while after I got the autographs.
I just hung out at the Newberg Booth until the autographs finished. After that, Jamey introduced me to Ben Rogers, a really nice guy who does the Ben & Skin show on 105.3 The Fan (the new all-sports radio station). If you haven’t listened to The Fan yet, you should. Ben introduced me to two others from his station, one of which was Kurt Johnson, VP of Programming for the station. One of them talked to Mike Ogulnick and his partner, Richie Whitt, and got me on the radio with them at 2:45 PM. They asked me questions about the Rangers for one segment of the show. It was a lot of fun and I would like to thank them for putting me on air. Ben said that he was going to try to get me an audio link to my segment. If I get it, I’ll link it from here so that you can hear it. After my segment on the air, I got to talk with Ian Kinsler, Taylor Teagarden, and Chris Davis (yes, this is the Rangers’ Chris Davis) as they walked by.
The last thing I did was interview Doug Mathis. He had agreed to meet with me for an interview after his autograph session. We found a quiet place in the Diamond Club and talked for about 20 minutes. He was very nice and gave some very good answers. I should have that posted next week. After that, we had to leave because I had a 5pm basketball game. It was an amazing day and I would like to thank everyone with the Rangers who was involved with putting it on.
Come back next week for the Doug Mathis Interview.