April 2nd, 2013

Meet the Press – 2013 Edition

We’re just a few days away from the start of another baseball season and, even though Tuesday night’s “Future Rangers Showcase” was rained out, everyone here at the RoughRiders is excited to start our 11th season.  Over the next five months, you’ll be a seeing a lot of new and interesting stuff in this space as we help you stay up to date with the team and let you get to know the players a little better.  I’ll be keeping you up to date with news from the road the best I can, but since I won’t be the only one you’ll hear from, it’s only proper to introduce to you the other members of our blog team for the 2013 season.  In addition to contributing here, Nathan Barnett will join me on the radio broadcasts this season while Ryan Garrett will be helping us run things up in the press box.  Since they will undoubtedly do a better job writing about themselves than I can (a hiring prerequisite), I’ll turn it over to Nathan and Ryan so that they may introduce themselves in their own words (if you want to read a far less interesting introduction of yours truly, you may do so here, even if it is not recommended).

– Alex

Nathan Barnett

The ever-present construction and stop-and-go traffic of I-30. The Dallas North Tollway exit from I-35, curving left over the grandstands of Reverchon Ballfield. The northbound Tollway exit at Royal Lane. The most herky-jerky moments during my ride back from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (then simply known as the Ballpark in Arlington) that woke me from my slumber that had become oh-so-routine.

With heavy eyelids and a grumpy moan I woke from my slumber only to realize that waking wasn’t so bad. The cordial narrative coming from the radio, the smooth voice of Eric Nadel, reminded me that baseball was around me. My interrupted slumber caved way to pleasant surprise.

Maybe it was the waning moments of the game: a Jeff Zimmerman punch-out, a heroic whack from Pudge, or a miraculous feat by Rusty Greer or what was left of the Arlington faithful still screaming their voices hoarse.

Perhaps it was a highlight: “that ball is history,” punctuated at least once in the postgame show. If not twice. Or more (as often was the case with those mid 90s Rangers teams). A familiar and comfortable voice reminding me of the great night that was at the Ballpark, retold as if it was happening all over again—like I was there in my seat, when in reality, I was stuck at a red light at Royal Ln and Preston Rd in the back seat of my dad’s sedan.

Nathan can hardly look away from the action on the field at the SCCBL Championship Series.

Nathan can hardly look away from the action on the field at the SCCBL Championship Series.

I didn’t realize it until I was a college senior, slamming down my LSAT Prep book—never to be opened again (it still sits, dusty and somehow lightly stained on my bookshelf at home)—that it was in that thirty-or-so minute car-ride back home, on a school night, when nine innings was almost never in the cards for a young boy of thoughtful parents, that I found a certain romance in calling a baseball game. That feeling of bringing someone the game.

No, more than that: of bringing someone to the game, away from everything else. Away from the bills, and the traffic and stress of everyday life for someone who doesn’t have the time, money or energy to make it to yard themselves.  That is what I find so rewarding about what I (somehow) get paid to do.

This business can be crazy. In all the madness that is working in sports—working  100-hour weeks, pushing out  100 sales calls a day, sleeping on floors and even in dining rooms, broadcasting with the flu, calling games cramped two people to a three-foot wide table, staring at a computer on overnight bus trips—everything melts away when that pitcher toes the rubber for the first time and the batter kicks up the chalk of the box in the first.

One of my first mentors in sports once told me “working in sports beats working.” Getting to do the most fun thing I can imagine within sports—well, it is truly indescribable for me.

With this privilege comes obligation: I hope to bring you to the game not just bring you the game.

And here on the blog, I hope we can all bring you closer to the players, the coaches and to us, so that when and if you do tune in to Alex and/or myself on the air this season, the insights and information this forum can provide help attain that goal.

Who knows, maybe we too can feel like the comfortable and familiar voice I heard riding home, with droopy eyes, hearing my role model bring me back to the ballpark.

Or maybe in reading this here, we just get the occasional chuckle out of you. Or tweet. I sure would love that too.

– Nathan

Ryan Garrett

As a kid growing up in Roswell, NM, baseball was the one sport that I enjoyed playing.  I was never the fastest runner, the best hitter (though I did hit the lone grand-slam of my 1999 little league team), or never was really competitive or athletic, but I loved the game and I loved spending time with my dad, who served as an assistant coach.

Through the years, especially after moving with my family to the Dallas area in 1998, my lack of athletic talent forced me to realize I was a better fit for watching the games, being an excited fan in the stands or in the comfort of my own home.

I’ve lived the majority of my life in nearby Rockwall, TX, active with school, church and a local boy scout troop.  As a 6th grader, music became my passion and I began to play the clarinet.  Through high school, I rooted on my Rockwall Yellowjackets as a member of the marching band, and was also the editor of the school newspaper.  It was through the high school paper that I found my love for writing and journalism.

A couple of Baylor Bears making sweet music.

A couple of Baylor Bears making sweet music.

I began my first two years of college life in an unusual way, becoming a member of the Corps of Cadets at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell (alma mater to Dallas Cowboys great Roger Staubach).  At NMMI, I studied journalism and continued my music career, playing clarinet in Headquarters Troop, Regimental Band.

After graduating from junior college, I followed in the footsteps of my parents, sister and 20-plus other relatives, attending Baylor University, majoring in Journalism & Public Relations.  I donned the uniform of the Baylor Golden Wave Band, and proudly had a front-row seat during RG3’s 2011 Heisman season, the 2012 National Champion Lady Bears’ 40-0 season, and a tremendous “Year of the Bear” in Baylor sports.

Through marching band, my love for sports has grown tremendously. I enjoy watching all sports, cheering on my Baylor Bears, Texas Rangers, Houston Texans and Washington Redskins (RG3).  I graduated from Baylor this past December, and started work with the RoughRiders as the Media Intern in February.  I love the game of baseball, and I look forward to this season with the ‘Riders, writing articles, blog postings and game stories and spending game days at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

– Ryan