Follow my streak all the through to the bitter end. Schedule is this link:
Douglas “Chuck” Booth- (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Last year when I applied for the MLB Fancave, I did so with mixed emotions. While the job looked like an awesome experience, it also would never be as exciting as going to the baseball games live. Due to my waiting around for MLB’s decision on the chosen winners, I failed to plan for any extensive road trips last year. I am not disappointed that I didn’t win. Mike O’ Hara and Ryan Wagner did a fantastic job and were completely qualified. What the verdict left me was a desire to prove a point that I have been trying to establish for the last 4 years. MLB’s 30 Baseball Parks provide the best marketing tool that this entity may ever want. It is my ultimate goal to show that people would rather go to the games live. Chasing down the Guinness Book of World Record for visiting all parks in the least amount of days has a plethora of emotions that run through ones body. It is both an adrenaline rush and a hyper vigilant anxiety clashing for every day I am on the road.
In my 2 minute video that I sent for the FanCave, I told them that “you either hire me or I am going to end up doing this on my own anyway!” So I intend to go on a 30 MLB Park journey every year from now until MLB decides to pay me a salary. To give our readers the kind of insight and information that make these ballparks the best fan experiences in Major League Sports, I have sought out some of the greatest experts in the field of ballpark chasing. Every park will have a Park Preview, an Expert Interview and a Post Game/Streak Synopsis. Our next expert interview comes from my brother Clint Booth, who will be covering the home park of the Texas Rangers.
My brother Clint picked the greatest time to live in Dallas, Texas for half of a year. He moved to the Lonestar State to witness the Rangers make it all the way to the World Series that year. I was jealous of him for every minute he spent at The Ball Park in Arlington. I had a chance to talk with him recently about that stretch of games that he was in attendance a lot for. Also, I picked his brain to help my own when I wrote my baseball book last year.
DB: “Clint, I have made it a point to say that parking at The Ball Park In Arlington is the fairest system of all if you want to walk a little extra, however that might not work for some people, what are your thoughts on parking there?
CB: I don’t think most people want to walk in the 100 degree weather so parking close to the park is”EXPENSIVE! Show up early for a decent spot and pay the extra $$$ to get in early -it’s not that you are “close” to the ball park, it is GETTING OUT AFTER -best to park close to the stadium and then make your way back to I 30. If you go too far into Arlington it will take you up to an hour to crawl out after the game. Some guys I know parked across I 30 and walked in-long walk both ways. Best bet: CAR SERVICE. For $75-100 each way from Downtown Dallas and back you can ride in a luxury vehicle, save the $25-40 on parking, and drink at the game without having to worry about driving home and you’ll be dropped off right in front of the ball park. During the ALCS Championship I would drive into Arlington and get as close as I could to the ball park. Good luck finding a spot but bless the Americans as they OWN their land so a guy let me park on his lawn for $20 while everywhere else was $75-100.
DB: “Where did you like to sit a the park?”
CB: “Best Seats: LEXUS CLUB -only level in the park where they serve hard alcohol… have a margarita there -AMAZING The Lexus Club also has the best vantage point in park for the game. The design of the stadium allows for every seat to be a great seat. Also, sit on the 1st base side as it gets bloody hot in Texas so stay out of the sun.
DB: “What about the food?”
CB: The best singular food is THE NACHOS (FULLY LOADED) in the main concourse -Texans don’t mess around when it come to TEX MEX! These are UNREAL. There are seats available in an American Classic “All you can EAT SEATS”… I never sat there but I hear it is a great deal…You can bring your own food into this park. I once sat beside a guy who used a beverage cooler to keep his 12 hot dogs warm…he killed all 12! I was pretty jealous. I took a picture of him when he was on #9.
DB: “What would you describe the park ambiance as?”
CB: It is a FAMILY PARK first and foremost-don’t call a guy a bad name (referring about a cat) for trying to bunt for a base hit. I had to learn that lesson the hard way. At Yankee Stadium ALL of the fans would have cheered me. Every time a Ranger Pitcher gets a Strike Out the Chic Fil A Cow has a picture that says “EAT MORE CHICKEN” and the “K” lights up. Funny.
DB: “In our conversations that year, you often referred to the ANTLERS/CLAWS phenomenon, can you explain this for people who may not know this?”
CB: “THE CLAW: if a player hits for POWER and reaches second or puts one off the wall once they reach base they will lift an arm with an open hand over their head in a Monster “CLAW” motion and the players started this first and then the fans caught… One game I saw Kinsler reach first on what was supposed to be a Sac Bunt and Vlad made the kid do both the CLAW and the ANTLERS (see next). THE ANTLERS: Same deal as the CLAW but it is done when a player shows SPEED. Vlad Guerrero has long been my favorite player and I can tell you from experience that HE thinks he has ANTLERS. I told my fiance that “…I hope we get to see Vlad try to stretch out a double today…” well, we did, but it was better, he went for third and got gunned out by 6 feet. He then got up and threw his helmet in classic Vlad fashion. I was jumped out of my seat cheering and laughing sporting my Vlad Guerrero Jersey. Nobody “got” why I was so excited but I knew…
DB: What about nostalgia at the park, how do they treat the historical players of their team?
CB: “Awesome “old school” design of the park. The Front Offices sit over Center Field.Nolan Ryan goes to every game and sits behind home plate. The guy is a stud. Often you will see his good buddy George W. Bush sitting beside him. Texans love GW almost as much as Nolan Ryan. They also have big banners for any player that had significant value to the team at any point in Franchise History
DB: What can you expect for the total fan experience?”
CB: Well, you are in Texas so be prepared for it to get REALLY loud when the team is scoring or something happens like a strike ***smirk*** -Texans LOVE their teams. Great fans. All of the real estate behind Center Field is dedicated to kids… there is some really cool stuff for your little guys to do like batting cages and games so bring them with you. During the 7th inning stretch the sing “America The Beautiful” and “Deep in the Heart of Texas”. As with the National Anthem EVERYONE sings so you are best to learn the words if you don’t know them.
During the ALCS vs the Yanks in 2010 Vlads Mom cooked a goat stew for the Carribean players on the Rangers… They shared it with the Carribean players on the Yanks. Says a lot about that team’s culture , so this is a testament to Ronnie Washington…The”Kinsler/Vlad story was hilarious! They showed it on ESPN later. Also, the whole team has to “make” Michael Young do the “CLAW” because the guy is so humble.
***Thank you to our Ball Park In Arlington expert- Clint Booth for participating in today’s article. Plus thank you for being my brother, who with my other 2 brothers and family, have always had my back on these journeys, both emotionally and financially!***