Stay plugged in until the end of this post where you can enter to win some really radical stuff!
As a pre-pubescent boy I grew up idolizing Nolan Ryan, his stoic toughness and his seemingly effortless ability to throw 100+ miles per hour.
As a hormone raging pre-teen, I used to pretend I was Juan Gonzalez when I hit rocks out of our driveway on the family farm.
As a member of the Ponca City Wildcats Varsity baseball squad, I tried to fashion my batting stance much in the same way Alex Rodriguez (when he was with the Rangers and before he was a tremendous ass-hat) stood in the batters box.
Then I hit a hiccup… as a drunken college student I seemed to lose the passion I had for the sport of baseball and in the process sold nearly all the souvenirs, baseball cards and baseball equipment I’d accumulated in my life up to that point. I was more interested in girls and partying than I was about the Rangers. Now, I’m kicking myself in the ass for selling all my things for a 30-pack of Keystone Light (or whatever it might have been).
To make up for my incompetence, over the past several years I’ve made it a point to watch EVERY SINGLE Rangers game that graced the tubes of my television. I make the trip to Arlington for a couple games every single year (including a playoff game last year). I’ve read every book, scowered every article and placed as many Ranger players in my fantasy leagues as I could manage.
Bunny and I at game 2 of the American League Championship Series last season (Yankees Vs. Rangers)
I take being a fan seriously… there will be no bailout for beer money again.
Until recently, I haven’t tried to recoup some of what I lost during my beer fueled college stint. I’m 31-years-old now so I don’t get my kicks from buying packs of baseball cards. I get them from collecting autographed memorabilia.
Memorabilia mainly for my man-cave. Well… my future man-cave.
I’m still new at the art of obtaining autographs so I’m not savvy in the tricks of the trade outside of organized signings. So, until I perfect the art of getting autographs outside normal means, I’ve been sticking to these organized events. There was one organized event that I’ve been chomping at the bit to be able to go to: Texas Rangers FanFest. For the past two years, inclement weather has kept me away from the event since it’s a good four-hour drive from my house. This year, the weather threatened again… but not enough to keep me away.
Unfortunately… it didn’t keep the whole Dallas metroplex from coming too:
Since this was my first time to FanFest… I wasn’t aware that if you wanted first dibs on autographs for some of the more marquee players you had to show up around 7:30PM the previous evening (the event started at 9AM the following day). So, when I arrived 30 minutes before the doors opened, all the spots to get Nolan Ryan’s autograph were already gone.
Once inside, I was unfamiliar with all the processes on how to obtain autographs (I won’t go into it… its way too confusing) so I missed out on a few more opportunities to obtain some other players I was interested in but I did run into this guy who just so happened to be standing next to me.
“Who’s that guy?” You may be asking. Well… his name is Chuck Greenberg. He’s the CEO and part-owner of the Texas Rangers. He’s freakin’ filthy stinkin’ rich. He’s also a good buddy of mine on Facebook. He also said he’d give me a job plunging toilets at the Ballpark if I wanted it. I told him I’d think about it.
After I changed my underpants because Chuck Greenberg signed a baseball then actually put his arm around me and confirmed with me that he’d be my real life friend, I managed to get the hang of maneuvering around this massive amount of people in order to get my balls signed (get your head out of the gutter). I managed to scrape up three autographs: CJ Wilson (pitcher extraordinaire, World Series Game 2 starter, Bunny’s Ranger crush), David Murphy (4th outfielder, quality dude, eater of lots of tacos) and Gaylord Perry (Baseball Hall of Famer, former Rangers pitcher).
CJ Wilson: the only way I can get Bunny to watch baseball. Me: Giant-looking douche.
David Murphy: Always smiling… except after consuming too many tacos
Although I was unable to obtain Nolan Ryan’s autograph due to my obvious ineptitude at the proper procedures at these types of events… he did in fact WALK RIGHT BY ME ONCE AND BREATHED THE SAME CUBIC FOOT OF AIR I WAS BREATHING while I was standing in one of the many lines I stood in that day. It happened so fast that I wasn’t able to rip my camera from my pocket in enough time to snap his picture. I was so starstruck by him that I fear I may have looked like one of those screaming teenager girls I’ve seen in pictures screaming at Elvis Presley back in the 1950’s.
Even though I wasn’t able to snap a picture of Nolan Ryan invading my personal space, I was able to salvage a few pictures worth keeping:
That would be Taylor Teagarden (a back-up catcher) and I (a helpless lump of skin and flesh)
This would be Derek Holland (a 24-year-old future superstar pitcher) and I (a 31-year-old world-famous superstar blogger)
What Josh Hamilton would look like with my head. I think he should keep the one he’s got.
That’s the American League Championship Trophy. That’s me doing “The Claw”. Eat your heart out Candice.
Anyway… I’ve bored you enough telling of my passion for the Texas Rangers. I’ve really just done all this work on this post in hopes that Chuck Greenberg might read it and decide to give me a better job offer than plunging toilets… like being a bat boy or something.
Wanna win something just for making it to the end of this post? Just leave me a comment telling me whose autograph you’d LOVE to have and why and you’ll automatically be entered to win and autographed picture of ME (YES!! I KNOW!!! EXCITING!!!!) and a $15 iTunes gift card (or whatever gift card you’d like) from me!! It’s that simple.