Had been planning on going to a baseball game in Oklahoma City last weekend but ended up watching major league baseball down in Texas instead. That is what you would call a "baseball upgrade".
The famous San Diego Chicken came to town on Saturday night so a handful of us were planning on heading down to the Bricktown Ballpark to watch him but that was before my fellow Seattle Mariners fan Todd asked me if I wanted to head down to Arlington to watch the Mariners play the Texas Rangers. I like the Chicken but the chance to watch the Mariners in a ballpark I had never been to was a little too enticing. We ended up going to watch the teams play on both Friday and Saturday.
Arlington is just outside of Dallas (about 15 miles) and the drive down there usually takes a little over 3 hours. Unfortunately the freeway leading out of OKC is under heavy construction and that combined with Friday afternoon traffic made the commute a long one. We got to the game in the 5th inning and immediate noticed that there were some ugly clouds hanging over our heads. By the 6th inning there was lightning heavy winds were blowing garbage all over the field and the dirt was swirling like a tornado. In the 7th inning the skies opened up and the rain started coming down in buckets. MY FIRST MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL RAIN DELAY. That is the beauty of being a lifetime Mariners fan, most of the pro games I have been to have been in the Kingdome or Safeco Field with the retractable roof.
The Rangers were beating the Mariners 5-2 and the rain was coming down hard. I think most of us thought the game was going to be called off early as a game can be considered official after 5 innings. Todd and I didn't have anywhere else to go so we decided to hang out in the concourses with many of the other fans until we heard an announcement. At first most of the 40,000 fans stuck around to see what was going to happen.
The field crew covered the infield while almost everyone else hung out in the concourses to stay dry. A few kids did sneak out to the hill behind the centerfield wall and jumped the fence to slide downhill while thousands of people cheered them on but they were quickly escorted away from the area by security. Over the course of the next hour people gradually started to exit as it didn't look like the rain was going to stop. After over an hour of waiting they annouced that the fireworks show that was supposed to take place after the game was going to take place during the rain delay. Most of the fans stayed up under the covered seats to watch the fireworks but Todd and I decided to sit lower in the rain to show all the Texas fans what us Seattle natives are made of. The favorite line of the night from the Rangers fans that noticed we were wearing Mariners gear was "you guys are used to this weather". We told many of them that we are used to the rain but not the heavy rain that seems to hit the midwest.
The fireworks show was one of the best that I have ever seen and the rain stopped during the show. At the end of the show they announced that the rain delay was over and that they would conclude the game. Great news for us since we were already sitting lower than most of the fans. We decided to sit in the front row right behind the Mariners dugout, figuring that most of the fans were already gone and that we wouldn't be asked to move. Turns out we were right and we watched the last two innings from some of the best seats in the stadium. I even got a couple of pictures of Russell Branyan playing groundskeeper has he grabbed a rake and started shoveling water away from the area in front of the entire dugout. The Mariners made the game interesting but still lost 5-4 as the game ended right around midnight.
Saturday morning we headed into Dallas and went to Dealey Plaza where President Kennedy was killed in 1963. This was my 3rd trip to the historic site but I had never been inside the old Texas Book Depository Museum so we decided to head up to the 6th Floor Museum where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shot. I wasn't expecting to see much in the museum but was pleasantly surprised to find that there was quite a bit in the way of pictures and videos of President JFK's life, the event itself as well as events that lead up to and followed the assassination. It is definitely a Dallas must see.
Saturday night we headed back to the stadium for another game only this time without the rain. We got there a couple hours early to check out the stadium. The stadium is located right next to Six Flags Amusement Park as well as the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. The two stadiums aren't quite as close together as the two Seattle pro sports teams as there are two very large parking lots seperating them but relatively speaking, they are close together.
The Texas Rangers were having their yearly Hall of Fame induction ceremony so they invited many of their former players to the park. There were probaby around 40 former players signing autographs before the game and then a ceremony took place right before the game to induct Toby Harrah and Ruben Sierra into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.
The game itself was great as Ken Griffey Jr hit a 1st inning 3 run home run. I didn't think about it right away but it was the first time that I had seen Griffey hit a home run in person in over a decade. Felix Hernandez pitched a solid game and the Mariners won 7-2.
After the game we decided to walk across the parking lot to check out the new Dallas Cowboys stadium which is HUGE. The stadium has a capacity of around 100,000 people and cost over 1.1 billion dollars to build. The glass entrance is imposing and from the windows we could see most of the seating as well as the world's largest scoreboard. Very impressive.
We then hopped into the car and made the drive home, arriving at around 3am. Great weekend of baseball and taking in some of the sites that the Dallas area has to offer.