Results tagged ‘ Dr Pepper Ballpark ’
This time ten years ago, the Frisco RoughRiders Inaugural season was just getting under way. 2012 was the 10th season of ‘Riders baseball, but 2013 marks ten full years in Frisco. As we continue Opening Weekend at Dr Pepper Ballpark, we’d like to take a small look at the past ten years.
Recently, while cleaning a storage area in the press box, we came across an April 1, 2003 Special Edition issue of The Dallas Morning News featuring Opening Day of the Frisco RoughRiders at Dr Pepper/Seven Up Ballpark.
Much can change in ten years. This time ten years ago, the US had been at war in Iraq for a little more than a month, occupying the majority of news coverage. In sports, A-Rod was playing his last season with the Rangers, and Don Nelson was still in Dallas as coach of the Mavs.
In their ten-year history, the RoughRiders organization and Dr Pepper Ballpark have had a number of changes and improvements added. However, it is neat to take a look at the ballpark and at the team as they were ten years ago. In 2003, Tim Ireland was the manager of the ‘Riders. Since then, others have taken the role, including Darryl Kennedy (’05-’06) Dave Anderson (‘07), Scott Little (‘08), Mike Miccuci (’09) and our current manager, former Rangers’ third baseman Steve Buchele, who made his Frisco debut in 2010.
Dr Pepper /Seven Up Ballpark was renamed Dr Pepper Ballpark on March 31, 2006, and has held the name since. Since 2003, many changes have been made to the ballpark itself with the addition and renovation of the concessions, scoreboard and lighting systems and other aspects. Just prior to the 2013 season, the ballpark underwent a major improvement process on new concessions and playground areas. Since its opening, Dr Pepper Ballpark has earned numerous recognition for its unique design, feel and fan amenities.
There have been 324 players to have played in the ‘Riders uniform, with 97 former RoughRiders making it to the big leagues. Many big-name players have starred in Frisco in these ten years, and the RoughRiders have had many successful season and memorable highlights. We look forward to another ten years of Frisco RoughRiders baseball.
Baseball term of the day: Through the Slot- A pitch that passes directly over home plate.
The ‘Riders home opener is less than a week away, coming next Thursday against the Arkansas Travelers at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The gates will open to all the lovely sights, sounds and smells of baseball: the perfectly manicured infield and outfield grass, players flinging the ball in warm-ups, the bustle and chatter of fans and, of course, the smell of ballpark food.
The RoughRiders poured in over $1 million in concessions this off-season into Dr Pepper Ballpark, upgrading and refreshing food and beverage options for the approximately half-a-million fans expected to pass through the gates this season.
The provisional rosters for the teams competing in the World Baseball Classic were recently announced and the RoughRiders will be well-represented in the third iteration of this relatively new showcase event. Of course, there may be some players added on or taken off before the tournament starts on March 2, but a quick scan of each squad’s roster reveals 15 players who at one point wore a RoughRiders uniform. Not including big league rehabbers, that number is 11. Here’s the full list of players who once plied their trade at Dr Pepper Ballpark that will soon be seeking baseball’s greatest international achievement:
United States of America
RHP R.A. Dickey (rehabbed with the ’Riders in 2004, making four starts)
LHP Derek Holland (made four starts during 2008 season, his last as a minor leaguer)
1B Mark Teixeira (rehabbed in 2004 & 2007 for two total games)
OF Tim Smith (played 36 games in 2009)
OF Nelson Cruz (rehabbed in 2010 & 2011 for six total games)
RHP Pedro Strop (made 36 relief appearances in 2009)
RHP Edinson Volquez (started 10 games in 2005 & 11 games in 2007)
RHP Jason Grilli (made a one-inning rehab start in 2009)
1B Adrian Gonzalez (played 45 games in 2003)
IF/OF Edgar Gonzalez (played 106 games in 2004)
RHP Luis Mendoza (pitched in 27 games – 26 starts – in 2007 & 2008)
SS Jurickson Profar (played 126 games in 2012)
OF Engel Beltre (played 302 games between 2009 & 2012)
C Salomon Manriquez (played 71 games in 2007)
SS Elvis Andrus (played 118 games in 2008)
As a bonus entry, LHP Richard Bleier (a RoughRider from 2010 – 2012) pitched for Team Israel in last fall’s WBC qualifying tournament. Israel lost to Spain in the Jupiter, Florida qualifier, failing to gain entry into the main event.
Before this morning’s snow started to melt away, I snapped a few photos of Dr Pepper Ballpark. Enjoy, and remember it’s 79 days until Opening Day! (click on the photos to view in full-size)
A few weeks ago, Dude Perfect, a group of guys that plays basketball on the internet, came out to Dr Pepper Ballpark for their next round amazing feats.
Spring training provides the chance for players to prepare for the upcoming season. For those in the front office, it’s no different. Events go on year-round at the ballpark including the recent One Direction concert. Preparations for these events take many people working hard behind-the-scenes to make everything appear to be flawless.
The exhibition game between the Frisco RoughRiders and the Texas Rangers was no different and helped to kick off this year’s baseball season and introduced players to the North Texas community.
The Rangers played a series of exhibition games playing against the Round Rock Express, the Diablos Rojos del Mexico and the Frisco RoughRiders. They opened their season with a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.
David Murphy swings and misses on a pitch to Zach Zaneski. Murphy would account for one of Texas’ six runs after moving to second on a squeeze bunt from Craig Gentry, a wild pitch and a squeeze bunt by Jose Felix.
Photos By: Alex Yocum-Beeman & James Garner
Written By: Jarah Wright
As you might imagine, the ballpark is pretty quiet on a Friday in early November. The cooler weather has finally found Frisco and it’s starting to “feel” like college football outside.
Even though things are a little slower since the end of the World Series, here are some of the things happening here, with the Rangers, and around minor league baseball:
- Last night at 8:00, the Rangers and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced that Texas Rangers’ infielder Michael Young is the winner of the 2011 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. The award is presented to the player “whose on-field and off-field performance most inspires others to higher levels of achievement by displaying as much passion to give back to others as he shows between the lines on the baseball diamond.” Young becomes the third player to ever win the award twice (John Smoltz, 2002, 2003; Jim Thome, 2001, 2004).
- The Rangers also announced yesterday a series of improvements to the Ballpark in Arlington totaling $11.5 million. Upgrades for 2012 include a complete renovation of Vandergriff Plaza and much of the office building first floor in centerfield with the construction of a new Batter’s Eye Club, Restaurant/Sports Bar, Kid’s Zone, and concession stands. In addition, the areas that previously contained the bleacher seating will be remodeled and the visitors bullpen will be reconfigured.
- The Akron Aeros (Double-A, Indians) of the Eastern League will not be changing their name after all. A contest held by the team and the local newspaper asked fans to choose their favorite possible team name from a list including Aeros, RubberDucks,Vulcans, Tire Jacks and Gum Dippers (are you kidding me!!). The Aeros nickname won in a landslide, garnering 67% of the vote. (ballparkdigest.com)
- If you’re not aware, it’s officially “Movember.” Movember is the month formerly known as November, where men and women across the globe join together to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues. To help achieve this, men grow a Mo (moustache) for 30 days. Since a number of us can’t grow a mustache (mainly me), our graphics designer Alex Yocum-Beeman helped us out (if you can’t recognize me, I’m the top left corner):
We have been working on a special version of the PlayBall! game program for the playoffs, and you can get a sneak peak at the feature story here. It is a summary of the 2011 season, and it brings back some memories from a tremendous five-month.
The RoughRiders’ Run to the Playoffs
For the sixth time in franchise history, the RoughRiders are in the Texas League playoffs. Find out how the ‘Riders reached this point in our season rewind.
A Texas League season is a grind, with long trips, steamy temperatures, and few breaks. It is a long journey with peaks and valleys. Here in the RoughRiders’ ninth season, there were enough peaks for Frisco to enjoy playoff baseball for the sixth time.
April was a struggle for second-year skipper Steve Buechele’s club. The ‘Riders finished the month in the South Division’s basement at 8-14. The signature moment of the rough April was quite a notable one, though. Martin Perez, the Rangers’ top prospect, tossed a rain-shortened perfect game at Arkansas April 19.
By May 13, the ‘Riders worked their way back to the .500 mark. Later in the month, Frisco staked its claim to second place with a four-game sweep of Midland at Dr Pepper Ballpark. From this point on, the ‘Riders spent more time in second place than any other team in the Texas League.
The RoughRiders received some temporary help in May. Last year’s American League Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton hit a home run during his two-day rehab stint in Frisco. Nelson Cruz also graced the middle of the ‘Riders’ order for three games while battling back from an injury. Big name pitchers like Neftali Feliz, Tommy Hunter and Brandon Webb rehabbed in Frisco, too.
Also, outfielder Leonys Martin made his stateside debut with the RoughRiders after the Rangers inked Martin to a $15.5 million dollar contract. Martin hit .348 in 29 games with the ‘Riders before heading to Triple-A Round Rock.
Frisco finished the first half strongly, but a 40-30 mark was not good enough to notch a division championship after San Antonio’s 49-win showing. Individually, Tommy Mendonca was the star of the show in June. Mendonca was the Texas League’s Player of the Month after boasting a .375 batting average and driving in 30 runs.
July was a month for the record books in Frisco. The ‘Riders matched a franchise-high in runs in their 19-4 thumping of Corpus Christi July 22. Mendonca hit three of the RoughRiders’ record-setting eight home runs.
One week later, Joe Wieland became the first RoughRider to single-handedly throw a nine-inning no-hitter at San Antonio. Less than 48 hours after the no-no, the Rangers dealt Wieland and Robbie Erlin to San Diego for big league reliever Mike Adams. As a result, the former Frisco duo joined San Antonio’s loaded rotation.
The RoughRiders spent the month of August holding off Midland for a playoff berth. They officially clinched a spot in the season’s final week, a few days after the ‘Riders took three of four from their first round opponent—San Antonio.
Over the course of 140 games, the ‘Riders played well enough to earn a chance to vie for the Texas League’s richest prize. The club has been among the best in the league in most categories this season, and Frisco is well positioned to have a September to remember for the first time since 2004—the franchise’s first and only championship season.
The RoughRiders have won regularly here in 2011, and now only six playoff wins separate the ‘Riders from a title.
The Director of Game Entertainment, Gabe Wilhelm, does a fantastic job orchestrating and delivering entertainment for fans on a nightly basis. His “Crew” is at the forefront of every spectacle and performance at Dr Pepper Ballpark in order to make games entertaining. So how does one become a part of the Crew? Reid Copeland finds out.
Who is in the Crew?
The 16-man roster consists of high school and college students 16-years-of-age and older. Each member has a unique style and talent they showcase in front of as many as 11,000 screaming fans.
The position of a Crew member requires that you wear many hats. “For instance, when you are at the front gate, you are a greeter exercising a customer service side. When you interact with the fans, you are a teacher. When the Cupid Shuffle is performed, you are a performer. During the game, you are a cheerleader, so there are many aspects to this job.”
Five-year veteran Becca McCoy, who was Gabe’s first hire to the Crew and is a hospitality major in college, is the longest tenured member and gushes with excitement about her job.
“It’s just not your typical summer job,” Becca said. “It’s not retail. You aren’t stuck folding clothes or anything. You are outside having fun, meeting new people, sweating, goofing around, and that’s what keeps me coming back.”
Last weekend, the Crew enjoyed a couple hours of sun and relaxation before a home game at the ‘Riders Pool Zone. Gabe and the Crew exchanged funny stories of mess-ups and crazy fans, while some shared personal revelations of the job that Gabe really takes to heart.
“It helps me gauge my performance as a boss to these guys,” Gabe said. “I get to see and hear how I can improve season to season and how they feel about their job as a part of this group.”
What does it take to be a member of the Game Crew?
“First of all, you need to have a great attitude and willingness to have fun,” Gabe said. “Humility is a must in order to succeed as an entertainer at the ballpark. Those who are teachable, have good verbal skills, and communicate well will, without a doubt, succeed.”
Gabe was adamant that Crew members didn’t have to have special talents to make the squad. “It helps to have a special talent, but it’s not necessary,” Gabe said. “Having a little bit of rhythm helps to learn the dances for each night, but most of all it’s how they interact with others and how well do they communicate with people.”
What specifically do you look for in candidates and what is required of each member?
“Instead of a look or type, really I hone in on context clues, something about someone that makes an impression,” Gabe said. “This past year for auditions we had 40 people, the most of any season since I’ve been here. It was about who stands out.”
Is there an age limit? Any experience needed?
This year’s Crew ranges from 16-28 years of age with the majority being high school seniors and college students. No experience is necessary. Simply put, most Crew members are young men and women looking to have a great time making money in a fun setting.
What, if any, prep is needed prior to each game?
Memorization and pre-game rehearsals will help all Crew members. Gabe hands out skit information and dance choreography information before each season for members to study.
“I like to rehearse the night’s performances prior to first pitch so everyone is on the same page since not everyone performs each dance nightly, or even weekly,” Gabe said.
For those interested in applying, how do they get more information?
Those interested in the Crew must stay up-to-date with the RoughRiders’ official website at ridersbaseball.com. For more information, you can email Gabe at firstname.lastname@example.org. Auditions vary in time and place.
It is hard to summarize a 70-game period, but we are going to try with the beauty of numbers. I’m not a stat genius like Michael Damman, the head of the RoughRiders Statistical Research Department and the writer of this blog. However, I’m going to put on my best Damman-esque performance and give you a “First Half By The Numbers” edition of the Facts.
- 76 – The number of days it took for the RoughRiders to complete the 70-game half.
- 203:19 – The combined time of the 70 games in the first half, shown in hours and minutes.
- 8.47 – That’s the equivalent in days to the time shown in the bullet above.
- 266,774 – The number of fans that passed through the Dr Pepper Ballpark turnstiles during the 34-game home schedule. That’s good for an average of 7,846, which is by far the best mark in the Texas League.
- 40 – The number of wins for Frisco, which is the tied for the sixth-most in a half in the history of the franchise.
- 69 – Frisco’s home run total, which is one better than the RoughRiders’ home run count for all of the 2010 season (68).
- 386 – The number of runs the ‘Riders scored in the first 70 games. That amounts to 5.5 per game.
- 2746 – The number of batters that Frisco pitching faced during the first half.
- 22 – The combined total of at bats for Julio Borbon, Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton while with the RoughRiders on rehab stints. That trio played in a combined seven games with Frisco during the first half.
- 78 – Martin Perez’s strikeout total, which was second in the Texas League. Only Corpus Christi’s Xavier Cedeno (79) had more.
- 65 – The number of transactions that the RoughRiders made, which included things such as a trade with Cincinnati, a promotion from Low-A Hickory, a $15.5 million-dollar addition, and much more.
- 17 – Frisco’s come-from-behind victories during the first half. This means that the ‘Riders trailed at some point during 42.5% of their wins.
- 2 – The number of days that the RoughRiders spent in a tie for first place. Frisco never had the top spot to itself because of the dominance of San Antonio (49-21 in the first half).
- 9 – The number of RoughRiders who will head to San Antonio for the 75th Texas League All-Star Game.
- 44 – The number of players who have appeared for the RoughRiders this season. 24 of those are pitchers.
- 2.8 – The percentage of the second half that has been completed.
That last number means that there is still a long way to go in 2011. Join us for game three of half two tonight along the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:35 for the ‘Riders and the Hooks. Enjoy!