Dugout Journal: Phillies’ Ryne Sandberg experiences first opener as a manager

03/31/2014 9:48 PM

11/12/2014 4:28 PM

Ballpark anniversary

The Rangers’ 2014 season marks the 20th year since the club moved into what is now called Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Team officials marked the occasion by inviting the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra back to play the national anthem as it did for the first game at The Ballpark in Arlington on April 11, 1994, a 4-3 loss to Milwaukee.

One notable performer was missing this time around, Fort Worth’s legendary classical pianist Van Cliburn, who died in February 2013.

A not-so-classical artist of that ’90s era was Tone Loc, whose single, Funky Cold Medina, was a hit in those days. It was much cheaper to drive, too: $1.02 for a gallon of gas.

Globe Life Park — along with Progressive Field in Cleveland — is the eighth-oldest ballpark in the American League.

Given his choice ...

Michael Choice was 4 years old when The Ballpark in Arlington opened, about the time, he surmised, that he began watching the Rangers.

Twenty years later, he is living the dream of every little boy: playing for his hometown team after an off-season trade from Oakland.

The 15-minute or so commute to the office isn’t bad, either, said the Fort Worth-born outfielder who went to high school at Mansfield Timberview before a college career at UT Arlington.

His ticket order for Opening Day consisted of a seat each for his wife, son and parents.

“It’s not as many [requests] as you might think, but I have a good game plan for that,” Choice said. “I send them to my buddy who works in the ticket office and let him take care of it.”

Young at that position

It wasn’t Nolan Ryan, but his former perch in the owner’s box at field level along the first base line was occupied by a recognizable face.

Michael Young, the former Rangers player who played in Philadelphia for parts of last season before retiring, and his wife watched the game from those seats for Game 1.

“Hot as hell,” Young said when asked how he expected summer to be without baseball. “It’s definitely weird not playing. I miss it, but I knew I’d miss it no matter when I retired.”

This summer will be filled spending time with his family, which includes three sons.

Dignitaries sitting with Ryan the previous few years on Opening Day have included former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura.

There was no W sighting this year, but a politico was down there nonetheless.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and her husband sat behind Young.

“Gotta catch the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra,” Price said as she hurriedly made her way to her seats.

He said it

“I always love seeing Wash and GP [Gary Pettis]. Most of the guys I was here with are gone, but it’s always good to come back. I had an amazing three years here.” — Marlon Byrd, Phillies right fielder who played for the Rangers from 2007-09

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