Finally made it out to the new Disch-Falk Field today to watch game two of the three game series between the 'Horns and the Cardinal. Although Texas came up just short today, the game was very entertaining. I got a chance to see almost everything I wanted to check out, except for Kyle Russell, but more on that later. My thoughts:
- Texas is not content- I don't know that I've seen more frustration from a team at Texas. Several times during the game, something would go wrong and a Longhorn would make some kind of angry gesture. Auggie had some issues with the umpiring, and I believe shouted at one point, "Get that man a uniform!" Kyle Russell. Wow. I don't know what Kyle's raging on, but he's just not very happy out there. Auggie told him to sac-bunt in the bottom of the second, but Kyle lost his chance after bunting one foul to get to 0-2. Then he took a swing and grounded out to third, advancing Clark to second. Most players would have been fine with the effective bunt, but Russell tore off his glove and stomped off the field. On his next at-bat in the fourth, Kyle got called for some kind of bizarre strikeout, then turned around and snapped something at the umpire, who promptly ejected him. As this is my first game, I'm not sure if this is the norm this season, but I do know that Auggie got tossed from the Tennessee game earlier this year, so maybe we're onto something.
- Ken Kasparek is huge- In both stature and in terms of his importance to this team. He had a bit of a wobbly start, giving up two runs, four hits and a walk in his first three innings, but he made up for it in the fourth. With one out and a runner at first, Kasparek had the ball hit right back to him, turned and threw to Hernandez at second to start an easy double-play, but Hernandez just missed the catch, leaving both runners safe. Ken really stepped up here, though, and struck out the next two batters to save the inning. Really impressive.
- Pitching Merry-Go-Round - After that great fourth inning, Ken was replaced by Kyle Walker, who gave up two runs in .1 innings before being pulled for Keith Shinaberry, the submariner, who threw a strike and then forced a grounder to short to turn the double play. Marcus Tackett then took over for Shinaberry in the sixth, pitching two great innings save for a two-run homer given up in the seventh that would give the Cardinal the lead for good. Tackett is very quick with his pickoff throws, and nearly got two Stanford runners at first. Stayton Thomas took over in the eighth and closed out the game perfectly for the 'Horns, but the runs never came in for Texas and Tackett would get the loss.
- The New Field is Great - Disch-Falk is a great place to watch a game. 54b will be glad to know that the toilets are decently clean, and just roomy enough for him to do a little 7th-inning butt-stretching after all those chili dogs. General admission is the way to go this early in the season, as there are plenty of great season ticket seats left empty. I sat right behind first base and over the Longhorn dugout with an empty seat on each side of me. Despite its sparseness, however, the crowd was pretty good. All the things we hate about our football and basketball crowds are what make a fun baseball atmosphere. The crowd is very laid back, doesn't have to cheer loudly, just on time, and slightly witty (for a crowd) in the way they heckle the umpires or the first baseman. We even got sort of loud during the last three innings when we desperately needed to score the tying run. I'll bet the Texas Golf crowd is legendary.
Russell Moldenhauer bangs in an RBI single in the bottom of the 2nd
More pictures after the break...
The coolest part of the ballpark is the glass-enclosed stairway to the luxury suites. Chances are this doesn't concern you any more than it does me. Oh well.
The park is basically a bunch of brick pillars behind the stands, but in a cool way.
I don't think the stands are much different from last season, unless you have a luxury box.
Auggie tells you how a national champion would exit the stadium in case of an emergency.
Ken Kasparek's hulking mass reminds you that not all Longhorns are created equal.
This is why you should also come to games against nobodies. They'll let this freak pitch more than twice in a game, and it's fun to watch. Look at the rest of the team:
"We should check his arm for cork, man,"
"Are you retarded?"
I had a nice seat.