Deep in the Heart
The say that everything is bigger in Texas … well, maybe not everything. While waiting for the bus after Friday’s game, I caught the Rangers Ballpark at Arlington fireworks display. They were ok, but by Dodger Stadium standards it was like kids shooting off bottle rockets. No comparison.
Talked with Andre Ethier and Brent Leach about their former schools heading to the College World Series. Andre is a former Arizona State Sun Devil and Brent played at Southern Miss for two years before finishing up at Delta State. Andre never made it to a CWS while at ASU, losing in the Super Regional round to Cal State Fullerton twice. In 2002 as a sophomore, Andre’s teammates included Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler and Jeff Larish…yet they didn’t make it to Omaha. Crazy game.
Southern Miss is making it’s first trip to the CWS. In case you’re ever in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, eat at Leatha’s BBQ. World-class barbeque in a shack off the side of the road. World-class. If you call ahead, sometimes they have possum on the menu. I won’t go that far, but the beef and pork ribs are some of the best I’ve ever had.
The current member of the Dodger Family with the best CWS experience? Rick Monday. Rick was an All-CWS pick on Arizona State’s 1965 National Championship team. On the ASU freshman team that year? Reggie Jackson. Arizona State won national titles in 1965 and 1967 but Reggie Jackson only played varsity baseball in 1966. That means no rings for Mr. October as a collegian. Crazy game.
Not too many college players are on this year’s edition of the Dodgers. Logan White, the Dodgers Assistant GM – Scouting, has made a habit out of taking high-ceilinged high schoolers in the draft in years past. You can’t question the strategy. Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Jonathan Broxton, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Blake DeWitt … all high school players that the Dodgers scouted, drafted and developed in a hurry.
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington doesn’t get discussed much when people are talking about some of the best ballparks in the game, but it’s got some real plusses. I like the deep green of the seats and the overhang. I like the grassy ramp (don’t say grassy knoll here in Dallas) beyond the center field wall. I even like all of the signage on the outfield walls. It reminds me of ballparks of days gone by. But the real treat in the ballpark is the turkey legs. I think it’s one of the best concessions in baseball. These things are huge. I’ve just decided that’s my goal for this weekend. I’m going to talk with the camera guys and see if we can find some people eating these things. It’s impossible to not feel like King HenryVIII when you’re gnawing on these things. There you go … that’s my goal.
— Eric Collins