Athens Review, Athens, Texas


December 26, 2013

Take me out to the ballgame

Athens — There are few, if any, places that mean as much to me as Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Funny thing is, it has little to do with the results of the games played on the field.

Long before the park opened on my birthday, April 11, 1994, my dad was a key figure in making sure Ranger fans had a home to be proud of.

Brownsboro High School graduate, Marshall Edward Wilson, Jr., helped build Rangers Ballpark and his name is forever enshrined near the first base entrance on a display for those who helped build the park.

As a young boy, I can remember my dad bringing home the blueprints from the ballpark, telling stories of the players who toured the facility and bringing home several momentos.

In fact, my dad was there as Juan Gonzalez, Pudge Rodriguez and other heavy hitters took part in a homerun derby while the stadium was still being constructed.

He watched in amazement as the ball flew out of the park and wondered what it might be like when 40,000 people filled the stands for a game.

Following the event my dad watched as Pudge was interviewed by local media. Shortly after, he received an autographed ball from the catcher.

Once the stadium was complete my dad loved attending games each year, setting high above the action in the “nose-bleed” seats. There is really not a bad seat in the house.

From tours around the park to listening to stories by my dad, a lifetime of memories are housed in Arlington.

Memories I will cherish forever as my dad unexpectedly died on his birthday last week. He was 56 years old.

He loved baseball, but more importantly he loved his kids.

Yes, we spent family outings at Six Flags, Lake Lewisville and other family-fun venues, but Rangers Ballpark is where the magic took place.

Sitting in the outfield bleachers as a young child on bat day with my dad, brother and sister making tons of noise, to attending the Rangers’ playoff game against the Tampa Rays in 2010, we have many fond memories of the park.

One of my top memories came in 2006 when I covered my second game as a member of the press and my dad was right there with me at the ballpark.

Our journey had come full circle. He helped build the park and now, his oldest son, was there working as well.

I enjoyed the experience as I was positioned as close to the field as possible in the photo well while my dad was seated in his favorite spot - high above the action in the nose bleed seats.

Later in life I met my wife for the first time on my way to the ballpark. Our first date, yep, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

While I proposed to her elsewhere, we did go to the ballpark later that day.

A new generation of the family, my nephew Hunter, fell in love with the ballpark on his first trip.  

My dad was there to watch his grandson’s eyes light up as a babe, that experience was priceless.

Text Only
  • 4-12 Rich mug.jpg Meal time for kitties can be an adventure

    I believe God gave us housecats because we didn’t have enough to worry about. They are puzzling little puffs of fur that seem to be constantly developing new sets of peculiarities.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG I've got my rib back!

    Much has changed since Jan. 19, 2008.
    Bruce Almighty, Man on the Moon, Major League – gone.
    Complete rooms decorated with sports memorabilia – gone.
    More than a dozen trips to catch baseball in Arlington – gone.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Exhausted, but happier than ever

    Wow, what a rush!
    I can not begin to explain the emotions I experienced on Monday, March 17 as Maylee Grace Wilson made her debut.
    Yes, there were tears.
    Yes, this “Iron Man” showed the emotion he hoped and prayed for.
    Over the two weeks I was home with Maylee and my wife Lacie, I experienced a plethora of emotions - emotions rather rare in my life.
    As expected, there was little sleep at the hospital. With the way Maylee acted her first night, I thought I might be able to catch a little shut-eye once we got home.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Music helps deal with life’s situations, good or bad

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”
    With music, it can help us deal with tragic situations, help us deal with the loss of a loved one, make us want to dance, make us want to sing along to the words, or help us calm down after a long day of work.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg ‘Small town, USA’ has advantages, disadvantages

    Living in a small town can have its advantages and disadvantages. For me, personally, I love “Small Town USA.”
    Some disadvantages possibly are: if you do something out of character, everyone will know by tomorrow morning; everybody tends to be related, so watch what you say;  limited resources;  it's not easy to broaden your horizons; and driving more than 50  miles to the nearest mall.



    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg A habit in a society and in a home that should stop

    It was Tuesday that I was walking back to my car on the Walmart parking lot, when a business acquaintance of mine who comes to the Review office sometimes, stopped her car in front of me to say hello.
    I noticed her doing something that happens at almost any moment she is around, without the office surroundings.  She had a cigarette in her hand.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • RICH-USE THIS ONE.jpg TVCC Lady Cards add to school’s winning legacy

    When I came to work in Henderson County in 1991, the Trinity Valley Community College Cheerleaders had already picked up a couple of national titles. Coach Connie Russell had the team doing things few had ever seen cheerleading squads do. Russell retired after winning five times on the national stage.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Let’s all follow Tom’s lead

    My first-born child is here and there is a hero for her to admire already.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMNIST.jpg Giving businesses choice is not legalizing discrimation

    The bar owner was blunt. A couple of weeks ago, he announced that people of a certain persuasion would not be allowed into his establishment.
    To demonstrate his seriousness, he had head shots printed of those who are not welcome to make sure that his security team would deny them entry.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG I am Iron Man, the suit and I are one

    The suit is damaged, it might not hold up this time.
    Like many men, I have hidden my emotions behind a suit of armor for years.
    Happy, sad, excited or mad – my external emotions were never displayed.
    In some ways that was a good thing, but in others...

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video