April 24th, 2013
Today a few members of the RoughRiders and I took advantage of an incredible opportunity while staying in San Antonio. One of the three SeaWorld theme parks in the USA is located just a few Joey Gallo home runs away from our team hotel in San Antonio. Thanks to a connection provided by team trainer Carlos Olivas, we got a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the park and spent some up-close time with a few of the incredible animals. In addition to Carlos and me, the others who came along were Cody Buckel, Ben Rowen, Ryan Rodebaugh, Kevin Pucetas, Ryan Feierabend, Jake Brigham, Brett Nicholas, Jimmy Reyes, Tyler Tufts, strength & condition coach Eric McMahon and bus driver Paul Watkins. Dave Yordi, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Animal Care, was kind enough to take our group of 13 around the park and here are some of the sights of an awesome morning.
(click on the pictures to see bigger photos)
A week ago today, the small town of West, Texas was hit by tragedy when a fertilizer plant exploded and engulfed a large portion of the small Central Texas town in flames. This explosion came just two days after the terror attack in Boston, making for an extremely tense and sad week in news. In both Boston and West, the spirit of kindness shined through the destruction as complete strangers stepped in to lend a helping hand and a prayerful heart to those in need.
During the three-game weekend series with Seattle, the Texas Rangers collected tens of thousands of essential items for the West victims and residents that filled two large meeting areas at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as well as thousands of dollars in gift cards. In addition, some $40,000 in cash donations went to the citizens of West from Texas Rangers fans and employees and the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. Players’ wives, Rangers employees and former Rangers outfield Kevin Mench, who has family in West, loaded the boxes of toiletries, food and supplies were loaded into a truck to take to West yesterday morning. The Fox Sports Southwest Fan Express accompanied the equipment truck to West, and delivered the items to the West Fairgrounds.
Along with the collection of supplies for West, the Rangers teamed with Carter BloodCare and reported that 80 donors were processed during the blood drive at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington prior to Sunday’s game against the Mariners. The number of units of blood drawn equates to over 200 lives saved.
“Texas Rangers fans demonstrated overwhelming generosity for the team’s relief initiatives for the devastating explosion and fires in West, Texas last week,” said the Rangers in a press release yesterday.
The Rangers’ efforts to help the town of West were one of many in Texas and around the country. Lines at blood banks stretched far outside the doors in Waco and the DFW area in the days following the explosion. Students at Baylor, UNT and other nearby colleges held drives for food, toiletries, school supplies and other necessities to aid the families in West. Companies and organizations all over Texas held similar drives, encouraging people to give as much as they could for those whose lives have been shaken. Nearby school districts donated desks, chairs and even a few buildings for the school that was destroyed by the fire. All these efforts brought to light how, in the midst of tragedy and destruction, people will come together to help one another.
The next few weeks and months will be difficult for those affected by the tragedies in West and Boston; please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers as they begin the rebuilding process.
Tomorrow (Thursday, April 25), a public memorial will be held at 2 p.m. inside Baylor University’s Ferrell Center for the firefighters and first responders who lost their lives in the explosion.
RoughRiders Game Notes:
Tonight, the RoughRiders continue their series against the Missions in San Antonio. Kevin Pucetas looks to bounce back from a defeat his last time out against San Antonio’s Matt Andriese. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 tonight. Read the game notes here.
Baseball Term of the Day: Cowhide Joyride: a home run