This is always a fun time of year. Winter is retreating and beautiful spring days are upon us. But baseball is in the air and that’s what makes spring and summer the best 6 months out of 12.
This year, the opening day festivities didn’t disappoint. This is my 4th season covering the Rangers for social media and it was the first time I had different access than the other 3 Opening Days. Where most of the media has to stay behind home plate, I hung out on the other side of the dugout to get a different angle than before.
Picture of the dugout before the starters names were called. After this photo, each guy ran out as his name was called and high-fived everyone on the first base line.
Rougie wrapped up the starters announcements, he’s getting in line as Chuck Morgan says “Your 2015 Texas Rangers” with fireworks adding dramatic effect.
Opening Day wouldn’t be complete without a flyover. The United States Air Force made their appearance after the anthem… and boy were they loud. Gives me goose bumps every time.
Former President Bush was at Globe Life Park as part of the Opening Day ceremonies. After wards, the media was invited to hear him speak on behalf of Wounded Warriors. Raffy (Rafael Palmeiro) surprised GWB. I snapped a few pictures as they were catching up. This part of the day was probably the coolest and one I’ll remember for some time. I actually got to say hi and shake the former President’s hand!
We have a new toy and Beltre is using it in the photo above. We have a new Samsung Galaxy Tablet with Twitter Mirror! It’s basically a cool selfie (usie with people in the background) station that players can use and then sign their photo. Follow @Rangers on Twitter to make sure you see the cool photos we’ll be posting.
You can’t see it in this photo, but the little white sign in the outfield above Fred Loya says “Welcome Jeff”. Banny is such a nice guy and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him and his story. His #NeverEverQuit attitude is one I can get behind (and already have). I’m excited to see where he takes this team.
This past Sunday was all about honoring Jackie Robinson. Players and coaches all wore #42 to show their respect for the man that broke the color barrier in MLB on April 15, 1947. I was especially honored to share this day with the team because Jackie helped break other barriers, too. I believe that if it wasn’t for his persistence and dedication, the league may still be apart of the men’s only club… meaning no women working in the front office.
Hope to see you around the ballpark this season. And, as always —
It has been an interesting few days in Baltimore for my first road trip of the season. The team hasn’t been playing well, but I’ve really enjoyed this trip and the time I’ve had with the club.
I did a little urban exploring and saw the harbor the first day before going to the ballpark.
The weather was beautiful this day. It was a little humid, but I had no clue what was in store for me in the coming days.
The second day of the trip, I arrived at the ballpark early to prep for #TexasTwitterTue, a twitter feature were we feature a player and he answers questions from fans for about 20 minutes. Rougned Odor was my guest. I don’t normally enter the clubhouse before it’s open to media, but given that we are on the road and I was only able to conduct Twitter Tuesday in the clubhouse, it was a special treat.
The guys were way more relaxed. As Odor was answering questions, players were stopping by to ask what he was doing, to see if he needed help with the questions, to all around give him a hard time. It was great! They were laughing, joking, and having a good time. They were being normal guys… the things I wish you all could see.
With the team not playing well, it’s easy for the average person to harp on the guys. To make comments about how they need to be working on their game. But we all know that when you have a rough day at work/school, you need to blow off a little steam. Our team finds ways to lighten the air when the game doesn’t seem to be going our way.
For example, on Wednesday we had the exclusive opportunity to visit the Secret Service Training Facility outside of Baltimore. I wish I could tell you more about it, but it’s a secret. No, but seriously, the guys that went had a fun time. We saw a K-9 demonstration, their weapons training classroom with over 400 weapons, watched a gun demonstration in the shooting range, and more. I’d love to share pictures with you, but we were advised against it. This time I’m being serious. But the outing really helped open up some of the otherwise quiet guys. Many of the guys are interested in guns, but one player in particular seemed to know an unusual amount about them. He claimed it had to do with playing video games, but I’m not sure if I really believe that.
The one down side to the Secret Service tour was how hot and humid it was. Coming from Texas, you think I’d be accustomed to hot and humid days. But we were all sweating through our clothes. We now know that the humidity spiked right before the rain moved in.Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened 2 years before our ballpark in Arlington. It’s style is very similar, but they have an open air press box. Which is good… and bad. When there is a breeze, it’s fantastic. You really feel like you’re in the game. But when it’s hot and humid or raining, you can’t escape the humidity or the water. That’s all part of the ambiance of outdoor baseball.
The road trip continues… we make our way to New York tonight where we take on the Mets for a three game set starting on Friday, July 4th.
Until later – Let’s Go Rangers!
The baseball is season is only a week old and I’m still reminiscing about Opening Day. Sure, it was a bummer that we didn’t win, but there were some fun things that made the day special. Here are my favorite photos from Opening Day.
By Kaylan Eastepp
I smell freshly cut grass.
I see hot dog buns being delivered to a concession stand and refrigerators of beer being stocked. Food is being prepped for a 1:05 start.
I feel the heat of the sun as it warms my face.
I close my eyes and listen to the sounds of the park before gates open and the crowds descend into the seating bowl.
Only the songs of birds can be heard. All is calm. All is right.
I step onto the field and know that many legends have stood where I now stand.
Nolan Ryan. Pudge Rodriguez. Michael Young.
Future legends will take the field this afternoon. But for now, it’s just me and the field.
It’s been far too long since I’ve stood on the grass. Far too long since I’ve heard the pop of a ball into a mitt. Far too long since I’ve heard the crowd swell with pride as their Texas Rangers take the field.
Today is the day we get reacquainted. All is calm. All is right.
It’s time to return to work; to focus on the things still left undone.
Report to the clubhouse. Managers Meeting. Open the Gates. Batting Practice Begins. Crowds stream in and steal the sights and sounds I enjoyed only hours before. I gladly share this day with them… for it is because of them that my job exists.
The bustle begins to slow as the National Anthem rings through the ballpark speakers. It is 1:05, time for the first pitch to start another season. Baseball has returned.
Emotions will get the best of me today. They always do.
The calm has vanished, but all is right. This is Opening Day.
Dear reader: I apologize that I haven’t kept up with my blog. Honestly, I didn’t think I had anything to write. I got to a point in the season where I felt like everything was common place and you wouldn’t be interested in what I had to say. But I’m trying to a take a step back and look at things differently this year.
So for now, here are a few images & descriptions of what it has been like in 2014 from a social view.
MICHAEL YOUNG RETIREMENT
It was very cool to be in the room when Michael Young addressed the media on his retirement. It was always a great guy in the clubhouse and very nice to me. I wish him nothing but the best in his new endeavors. Selfishly, I want to see him back in a Rangers uni as a coach/manager/staff member of some kind.
I visited several Academy Sports + Outdoors during Winter Caravan. Fans never cease to amaze me on what they bring to sign. From over-size posters, to bobbleheads, to the largest bat I’ve ever seen… fans bring it! Plus, the guys are great with the little kids that come through the line. I love this little man giving Wash a fist pound. A big kid meets a little kid. Love it!
AWARDS DINNER & FAN FEST
The sweetest time of year, Spring Training. The warmth of Arizona. The relaxing tempo of the players. I get so much accomplished in my short time in Arizona. It’s so much fun. If you haven’t visited the facility in Surprise, I highly recommend you go!
Next item: Opening Day
After the exhibition game in Arlington, I traveled with the team to one of my favorite cities in Texas, San Antonio.
I haven’t had time to go to my usual haunts, but I’ve seen some cool things.
The team plane awaits.
Tanner Scheppers feeding the birds at the Quadrangle at Fort Sam Houston.
Michael Kirkman got right in there and fed the deer.
The people with Fort Sam Houston said this was the nicest deer. I think he just likes me for the corn.
Earlier, I was trying to get Tanner to let the birds eat out of his hand. He said he’d be crazy to do that. You can see he wasn’t as worried about the deer. Maybe it’s the fence…
However, I’m not sure he really enjoyed feeding the deer either. :)
On the other hand, Josh Lindblom really had a good time.
It was his idea to go see the deer. I wish I had taken a picture, but at one point I looked over at him and he was sitting down in the grass trying to feed some of the birds. They didn’t get very close but he made a valiant effort.
Before we left, Josh got a chicken to eat out of his hand. #WishGranted
This is my favorite picture from the Alamodome. I’m right behind the dirt around home plate and Holland stood on the mound. One of the coolest things for me. #DoesntTakeMuch…
Tonight we head to Houston for the season opener but it will be bitter sweet for me. I love Easter and I love baseball. Missing my church service tomorrow will be tough but I’ve located a church within walking distance from the hotel. Yea!
Tomorrow will also be my first opening day in another park. I’ve seen countless opening days at Rangers Ballpark but I’m pumped to see one in another park.
And, this one isn’t from the road trip…
Thursday before the exhibition game, I went with A.J. Pierzynski to the Florida Gators basketball practice at Cowboys Stadium. You can’t tell it’s me, but I’m the one in the black jacket. With my job I always have my head in my phone. #SocialMediaProblems
Until next time… Let’s Go Rangers!
Saying it’s been a while since I posted something is a bit of an understatement. To be completely honest with you, I was so upset at the way the season ended last year that it took me a while to crawl out of my baseball-induced depression.
I’m sure you’re thinking what do you have to be depressed about?!?! You have a cool job where you interact with players, you work for a Major League team, and you work out of a ballpark everyday… how bad can it be?
But the passion I have for this team goes beyond the walls of the ballpark. I live, eat, breath, sleep Rangers baseball. When I was watching the team crash and burn at the end of September, my heart was slowly being ripped out of my chest. (If you’ve been a fan as long as I have, I’m sure you experienced the same feeling as me.)
But it’s time to realize that it’s a new year… new team… new season.
So, you ask… where have I been?
Here is an update of what my off-season looked like:
ESPN Radio Event in the Captain Morgan Club – December 2012
Jackie Moore, Tanner Scheppers, and Steve Buechele
Buechele didn’t want me to snap his picture because he had candy cane in his mouth. I told him he was crazy… he could just smile with his mouth closed. Or not smile at all. Silly guy.
Fan Fest 2012 – January 2013
We set up a #RangersSocialVIP event on twitter and gave away the exclusive opportunity to meet Cruz. (If you’re not already following along, check us out on @Rangers – #ShamelessPlug)
Top row (L-R): Derek Holland, Rusty Greer – Bottom row (L-R): Robbie Ross, Craig Gentry
In February, we hosted the first Boat Show at Rangers Ballpark. Naturally there was some pre-event promotion at Fan Fest. Can you guess which guy had the best time in the boat?
Winter Caravan – January 2013
Later in January, I went on a week long bus trip with Brandon Snyder, Derek Holland, and Josh Lindblom. Plus, Ian Kinsler and David Murphy joined us at a few points along the way.
It’s not all work… we were treated to a San Antonio Spurs game and we were able to visit the locker room after the game. Stephen Jackson, Spurs shooting guard, hung out with the guys for a bit and took several photos with them.
I witnessed the guys bonding on this trip…
After the autograph signing at Academy Sports & Outdoors in Round Rock, Josh Lindblom and Derek Holland picked out a few things to wear for the night. Yes… they went to dinner and downtown Austin wearing these ridiculous clothes. And, yes, they fit in just fine in Austin. #KeepAustinWeird
While the guys were signing at Fort Hood, one of the soldiers asked the guys to sign his boot. Kind of an unusual request, but as you can see, the guys were happy to oblige.
And, Brandon Snyder and Derek Holland got a little workout in on the lateral ski machine at our stop in Waco.
To say the least, it wasn’t a dull trip!
Spring Training 2013
Then, it was off to Spring Training for a quick couple of days.
Chase Field from the airplane while landing in Phoenix.
No rest for the weary… it’s early days and late nights in Surprise.
Photo day: we start before the sun is up.
First stop for a player during photo day, Rangers Photo Room
Then, around the corner to more people taking pictures.
Head outside (where it was very cold this year) and film all kinds of commercials for various TV station needs.
Get back inside for a press conference with Wash.
Back to baseball for an intrasquad game.
Pretty cool to watch the game from the same view point as the manager.
Something interesting… all players shoes are cleaned after they leave the field. The clubbies make them look like they are right out of the box! #TakesTalent
The second day was all about a day in the life of a player. Mitch Moreland was gracious enough to let me be his shadow for the day. You can check out that day with Mitch here: Day in the Life: Mitch Moreland
I took tons of photos that day and at one point, I felt very intrusive… I was snapping pictures like crazy. I looked at him and said sorry for being so much in his space. He told me not to worry about it and then proceeded to get closer and closer until he was in my space… I snapped this pic while he was walking to me. It was neat to see him open up and joke around; even joking with me.
While I was following Mitch, I captured a few other key moments that not everyone can see.
After taking infield practice, Kinsler asked Washington a question about fielding. Wash spent several minutes with him giving him pointers, different techniques, coaching him on glove position, where the ball comes in, how to move your wrist, etc. Although I couldn’t hear everything Wash was saying, it was a great look into how Wash interacts with the team, how he teaches them, and how the players listen when he speaks.
Another part of my job is helping the players with their twitter account… things like getting them verified, helping them reset their password, helping change their email address to something they have access to so they can reset their password.
That’s what happened to Olt this offseason. The email address he was using was no longer available to him and he’d forgotten his password, so he couldn’t log-in to twitter to change the email address. When he’d try to reset his password, the email was being sent to an email address that he couldn’t access. It was a vicious cycle.
I’m talking to him here about setting up a completely new email address that I can give to twitter to update his account.
Then it was back to Arlington to prepare for the exhibition games and Opening Day at Rangers Ballpark on April 5!
I love when my flight takes me over my second home… Rangers Ballpark.
The team returns home for the Exhibition game next Thursday, March 28. Then I’ll travel to Houston (by way of San Antonio for two additional exhibition games) for the Season Opener on Sunday, March 31.
I can’t wait for baseball, but I seriously can’t wait for Rangers Baseball! 5 Days and counting until the Exhibition Game…
Before today’s two hour rain delay, I had the privilege to see a new player arrive in the clubhouse. While that may not sound that exciting, it was pretty cool to see how the current team responded to the new call up.
The clubhouse was crowded with media. The baseball writers had just come back in from meeting with Ron Washington. Radio and TV crews were busy getting interviews with the players. The clubbies were scurrying around cleaning out a locker for the new guy, with the assistance of Mike Napoli. They were moving Beltre’s extra stuff.
Wilmer Font arrived. He walks in through the back door, through the kitchen from the parking garage. He was wearing a white polo with yellow horizontal stripes, dark blue jeans, and tennis shoes. He was carrying his Rangers travel duffle bag.
He walks into the clubhouse and starts looking for his locker. Shouts from across the room begin… “Hi Wilmer.” “Hey, Wil.” “Congrats, man.”
He sets his bag down and Ian Kinsler and Michael Young call him over. Handshakes. Hugs. Congratulations on the call up. Welcome to the Rangers.
Mike Olt, his teammate in Frisco, comes over with a hug and congratulations.
Jurickson Profar, also a teammate in Frisco, shoots him a smile from across the room.
Elvis Andrus greets him in Spanish.
Each guy made a point to say hi when they saw him.
I haven’t been around another team’s clubhouse. I haven’t met too many players on other teams. But I love our guys. They didn’t have to stop what they were doing to welcome him to the team. Mike Napoli didn’t have to help the clubbies clean out a locker.
Our guys stand behind one another, rookie or veteran.
In doing this job, I’ve found I have to be ready with my camera at a moment’s notice. And, I’ve found I take a ton of photos… more than what’s needed but I try to get that perfect shot for posting on social media.
Because of that (I call it obsessive-compulsive-on-the-camera-button), I have too many photos I can’t use but want to share. Here are a few of my current favorites from today’s 40th Anniversary All-Time Team/Alumni Weekend and Eric Nadel’s Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The weekend beings with the 40th Anniversary Luncheon honoring the All-Time Team and Eric Nadel. They had the most American desert I could imagine… apple pie with a Rangers cookie. It looks amazing and tasted delicious.
Waiting for the celebration on the field tonight, I met several of our prestigious alumni in the media interview room for a little twitter chat. Charlie Hough, Buddy Bell, and Pudge Rodriguez were kind enough to take over the account for a few minutes. I was a big fan of Pudge back in the day, so that was a special moment for me.
In addition to the guys tweeting from @Rangers, some of the alumni were signing an over-sized All-Time Team poster. Here’s Jim Sundberg and Kenny Rogers inking their photo.
When I looked back after snapping a quick photo of Sundberg and Rogers, I saw Nelson Cruz and Michael Young catching up with Rubén Sierra.
After I took my first photo, Elvis Andrus decided to join the party.
Not related to tonight’s ceremonies, but a couple of the players in the clubhouse were trying to prevent me from taking a picture of Holland’s jersey. It took a few tries before I could get a clear photo…
It’s a short homestand, but some of the best memories were made for Rangers fans… including one in the office.
While the Rangers were on the extended road trip, I was trying to think of something to write. I was at a loss. I had so many Rangers and All-Star hours under my belt that I think I was tapped out. But when I was surfing through the pictures on my phone, I always landed on a few that made me smile and wish the team was back in town.
Here are my favorites for this month… so far:
I know there will be other photos this month that will make me smile. I’ll be sure to share those with you…