Thursday, May 21, 2009

Date with Daigle and Ryan

I got an email about two weeks ago asking if I would be interested in attending the Texas Rangers Foundation Triple Play charity dinner.  I jumped at the chance.  Tickets normally run about $350, but this particular person bought a table of 10 and invited little old me, and a guest, to join them.

It was quite the debate on who to take with me.  Despite it being on King’s birthday, he is overseas all month for work.  So I came up with strict criteria…1. Male 2. Single 3. Know baseball 4. Be a fan of (or at least appreciate) the Rangers 5. Own a suit 6. Be able to behave at a dinner table and in front of VIPs.

So, I email Daigle, a buddy from high school.  I have not seen/spoken to him in four years, but he is a walking, talking Beckett book of Ranger facts, figures, and fan-demonium.  Honestly, he is a complete freak show when it comes to team stats.  I knew he would be excited and a bit hesitant as well.  I mean really, this old friend comes out of nowhere and offers you a $350 dinner … with your favorite people on earth … for free?  Hmmmm.

He takes the offer and picks me up.
On the way there I ask him if there is anyone he really wants to meet.  He mentions Nolan Ryan and I tell him I can guarantee to get him close enough to introduce himself.   (I have no shame doing that for other people.)  He promptly tells me he would “punch him in the face from sheer excitement.”  I get a little worried.  I mean I knew Daigle’s favorite number was 34 and his room was plastered with posters of Nolan in high school, but I guess I never really had a childhood hero like this before. (Pic below of what Nolan can do if someone comes after him.  Click for the video.)

We are told to take our seats, and we find the table which ends up being front and center.  There is another couple there and a lovely woman standing alone.  We all introduce ourselves with first names and sit.  Daigle looks at me, eyes about to pop out of his head, and tells me the woman is Nolan Ryan’s wife.  I just smile.  Tom Hicks and his wife Cinda then join us at the table as well.  Then Derek Holland joins us.  (He is our new, fresh pitcher we drafted from junior college 2 years ago and just brought up to play this year.  God, I hope he can turn our pitching around!)

There is one empty chair.  It is at Daigle’s immediate left.

He looks at me in a burst of bridled giddiness I could never describe and forces out, “Is he going to sit next to me?”  I just laugh.  He tells me his hands are shaking and sure enough I look down to see a grand mal seizure going on from wrist to fingertip.  Before we knew it, Mr. Ryan was shaking our hands and saying “nice to meet you”.  I thought Daigle was going to pass out.  It was SO FREAKING COOL!! They were all incredibly nice and funny to boot!  After dinner, the players entertain everyone with a round of Fielder’s Feud.  It is like Family Feud, but the “families” are the Infielders vs. the Outfielders.  Pretty.  Stinkin’.  Funny.  Next up was a lovely serenade of "Afternoon Delight" by the rookies in full '70s Anchorman attire.  Ballplayers in tight pants, platform heels, and singing = greatness.  Elvis Andrus with maracas is quite possibly the most entertaining thing I have seen in a long time.  

Then there was a Guys and Dolls (the theme of the evening) battle of the sexes game with the players and their wives.  Dolls won.  Not surprising!

I did not get pictures with any of the players because of where I was sitting.  I did not think it would be a good idea to turn into a swooning, blubbering, psycho fan in 9/10 of a second, but I did get a baseball autographed by Michael Young and Josh Hamilton.  Seriously…they are all so kind!! 

Josh Hamilton 1 Peter 2:24  He has an incredible story!!

Michael Young

Needless to say, the evening was FANTASTIC and will remain one of the greatest nights of my life for…well…pretty much forever.  It was an added bonus that I got to witness Daigle meet his “all-time idol,” and no, he did not punch him.  


Tiffany said...

Wow - So much fun! Too bad I only fit the criteria for #6 (and sort of #s 3 & 4). Daigle was the perfect date for you to choose. And I'm glad he didn't punch Nolan Ryan in the face, although it would have made for an interesting story.

Monica said...

I.AM.SO.JEALOUS! 'Nuf said!

Columbia Lily said...

very cool. i can't guarantee any celebrity sightings in seattle ...sorry.

Just say Julie said...

so much fun! I would have paid to see Nolan in a throw down, I think he could have held his own :) Glad the dress worked out and you had fun!

The Blonde Duck said...

Sounds like fun!

Ricky, Becky & Brooklyn said...

Okay so I missed your criteria by two...One I'm not single, and two I wouldn't have been able to behave. I also want to point out that I was at the Robin Ventura vs. Nolan Ryan game sitting front row next to the first base dug out. My dad traded in the 4 season tickets to a scalper for the 2 front rows. Not a bad dealio. I got to hear on the radio the rookie's song and it sounded hilarious. I could only imagine what an amazing night it was. So was it Mr. Hicks that invited you? Just curious.