Friday, May 26, 2006

There's a whole host of reasons why yesterday, May 25th, might just go down as one of the best days of 2006.

For starters, yesterday marked the close of the school year. And to celebrate, I checked Trae out early and together, we made the pilgrimage north to the Temple. The Palace outside of Dallas. Ameriquest Field in Arlington.

We arrived at the ballpark about 2 hours before gametime and quickly made our way to the Coca-Cola Sports Park. Grammy had given Trae $7 for game tokens and she cashed out by winning a bat at the Wiffle Ball park, winning a pair of binoculars for throwing a ball at a bullseye, and three sets of baseball cards for other skill games.

We then browsed through the Grand Slam gift shop, picking up a gift for Tori. Tori loves Hank Blalock and has an imitation of Chuck Morgan's introduction of the Hammer that is to die for. We got Tori a Hank Blalock jersey that she is proudly sporting this morning.

We settled into our seats around 6:30 for the match-up between the AL West-leading Rangers and the second-place Oakland A's.

For the first 5 1/2 innings, the only highlight was when Mark Ellis fouled a ball off his foot that rolled toward the on-deck circle. Mark Kotsay was on-deck and he and Trae had struck up a friendship, waving at each other everytime he came to the on-deck circle (our seats, courtesy of the graciousness of Marble Falls church member, Jim White, were on the second row just behind the A's on-deck circle). When Kotsay retrieved the ball, he immediately walked over and handed it to Trae!

After 5 1/2, the A's led 7-0 and the thought raced through my mind that even if this game turned out to be a dud, the quality time with my daughter was what this night was ultimately all about.

But then the game changed dramatically. Rod Barajas hit a grand slam. Ian Kinsler followed with a homer to left. In the seventh, Mark Teixeira launched one over the right field fence. Then in the eighth, Ian Kinsler nailed his second homer of the game. Tie game, 7-7.

In the bottom of the ninth, with the count 1-1 and 1 out, Phil Nevin broke out of a month-long slump by driving Huston Street's pitch over the centerfield wall, propelling the Rangers to an improbable, come-from-behind win, 8-7.

A night with my daughter. A dramatic Rangers win. Could the night get any better?

At 11:45 p.m., as we passed through Waco on our way home, my cell phone rang. I checked the caller ID and it read "Unavailable Number." The first thought that raced through my mind was that the call was from my good friend, Bay Area resident and die-hard A's fan, Dave Rawding. But when I answered, I was shocked and blessed to hear none other than Rick Northen on the other line. Rick was so pumped after checking the internet that he called from Cambodia to relive the game with me over the phone.

12 quality hours with my little girl. A dramatic Rangers win. A call from my best friend half-a-world away. Life just doesn't get any better than that. And that is why I say, of all the days this year, May 25th will forever be one to remember!