Nothing bonds brothers like baseball. Especially for brothers Blake and Bradley Stewart from Stephenville, who are 10 years apart.
Blake, 22, and Bradley, 12, are on their fourth spring training trip to see the Rangers. They flew in from icy North Texas Monday night and flew back home Thursday night. At least they think they are if weather allows. If not, they’d be just fine with staying a few more days in Arizona, soaking up the sun, while watching their Rangers.
Bradley was stoked about the autographs he got from Adrian Beltre, Yu Darvish, Elvis Andrus and the one he got from Michael Young, who, as Bradley proudly pointed out, signed the sweet spot of the baseball like the experienced pro he is.
Rangers roots run deep in the the Stewart family. Their dad Ken played baseball at Tarleton State. Blake’s middle name is Ryan after, you guessed it, Nolan Ryan.
Bradley was missing a few days of school (if it wasn’t iced out) to make the trip. Of course, that’s just fine with him. He’s making memories with his brother that will last a lifetime.
“It’s baseball, the Rangers, hanging out with my bro,” he said. “Having fun.”
The Rangers are donating funds to help repair the baseball field at Keller High School. Vandals tore up the field doing donuts in a truck on the snow-covered grass.
One of the daily occurrences for players during spring training is an endless run of clubhouse meetings. Usually they’re brief, such as one early Wednesday. Major League Baseball Alumni Association CEO Dan Foster explained to the younger players what the organization does and urged them to make their $1,000 pledge to become a lifetime member. The organization was created in 1982. It also helps promote former player charity events.
“We tell them they’re going to be a former player a lot longer than they are a current player,” Foster said. “When they get done playing the Alumni Association is there for all their issues that they may have such as pension, health care, and career transition.”
.190 Batting average for Rangers hitters (4 for 21) with runners in scoring position through the first two spring training games.
“Defensively, I thought we played well. I thought [our] at-bats were good. [Our hitters had] 150 pitches seen so we saw some pitches. We accomplished some things.” — Manager Jeff Banister after the Royals scored one in the eighth and two in the ninth to beat the Rangers 5-4 Thursday
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760