2,000 fans spend the night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

Posted Saturday, May. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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For a chance to camp on the outfield grass of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday night, Susan McCutchan and her family came all the way from the Panhandle town of Dumas.

The only boy in the bunch was McCutchan’s husband. The rest of the baseball-loving gang – among the 2,000 fans who snatched up all the tickets to the first Fan Sleepover – were daughters Sierra, 12, and Olivia, 7, along with Sierra’s friend Ema Wachler.

If leaving the ballpark at 7 a.m. isn’t the typical start to Mother’s Day, that’s OK. Opportunities to bed down where major leaguers roam don’t come along every day.

“We thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for the girls,” McCutchan said.

Others in the crowd included Haltom City resident Dakota Daniel, who had brought her 12-year-old brother, Dayne, for an early birthday present, and Tommy Husch, who was with his soon-to-be-10-year-old nephew, Eean Coin.

They live in Arlington and attend 20 or so games each season, Husch said.

Eean’s favorite Ranger? Ian Kinsler.

“We have the same first name,” the Arlington Optimist baseball player explained, while munching on popcorn.

The Rangers have hosted Scouting and other groups for smaller sleepovers, but this was the first open to the general public, said Sean Decker, director of sales for Texas Rangers Enterprises.

After watching the Rangers-Astros game on a giant screen brought in on a trailer, fans were allowed on the outfield grass to lay out their sleeping bags and get comfy.

Then they watched The Sandlot, which is in its 20th anniversary year, after a special appearance by the film’s director, David M. Evans, and one of its stars, Patrick Renna, who played Hamilton “Ham” Porter.

20th Century Fox, part of the conglomerate that includes the Rangers’ television home, Fox Sports Southwest, scheduled a tour of major and minor league parks to promote the 20th anniversary edition, said Mary Hyink, marketing director for Fox Sports Southwest.

“We thought it was a natural fit,” she said. “The movie has a timeless, positive message.”

Signing autographs before the screening, Renna, who lives in Los Angeles, swore off any allegiance to the Rangers’ divisional rival Angels.

“I’m a Red Sox fan, actually,” he said, before catching himself and jokingly insisting that he follows the Rangers.

The McCutchans meanwhile, try to attend at least one series a year, preferably to root against the Angels.

Sierra said her favorite player is Kinsler, but her reasons differ from Eean Coin’s, of course.

Younger sister Olivia knows just who she doesn’t much like.

“[Josh] Hamilton is mean,” she said, drawing chuckles from her family.

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