San Antonio.- Major League Baseball is coming to San Antonio this March, not permanently as some diehard baseball fans hope, but at least for two days.
Nolan Ryan made the announcement Friday at the Alamodome where next March his Texas Rangers will face the San Diego Padres, coincidentally, the San Antonio Missions MLB affiliate.
“San Antonio is obviously a special city,” said Nolan Ryan. “We have a lot of fans in San Antonio and South Texas that come up to our ballgames, so we thought why not come down here and play a couple of games.”
The Alamodome is a prime venue for not only seating capacity (52, 295) but more so for left-handed hitters.
Right field only measures 280-feet which is 12 feet shorter than the next closest ballpark, Fenway Park in Boston.
“I think you’re going to pitch left-handers low and away,” Nolan Ryan said with chuckle. “That would be the position I would take and hope they’d hit it the other way.”
One left-hander the Rangers hope to have back in uniform in the spring is Josh Hamilton.
“I concern myself with Josh Hamilton because of the talent he is,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington. “I’m certainly watching it close, but I think it’s just going to come down to Josh Hamilton. If he wants to be here in Texas I think that Nolan and Jon Daniels will do everything they can to keep him here.”
“So far he has gone anywhere so we’re still in the running,” Washington said optimistically.
Reports have rumored that Hamilton could be headed to Boston or Philadelphia and is seeking a Seven-year, $175 million contract. Considering he is 31 and has a history with injuries and drug abuse that might be a stretch, however, not many players compare to Hamilton when he’s healthy.
“We’re in the process of talking with Josh’s agent,” Ryan said Friday. “We agreed with Josh back in the spring to allow him to go through the season and not negotiate a contract with the agreement that the season was over they could go out and see what the market is and come back and see if there was something we could do and that has been our approach.”
Hamilton or not, one thing is certain, the Rangers will play in the Alamodome on March 29 and 30, 2013.
Unlike other spring exhibition games where the starters are mainly watching on the bench while the youngsters get their at-bats the games played in San Antonio are toward the end of spring training which means more starters will play.
“It will be much more intense than a normal spring training game say earlier in March,” Ryan said.
“Guys will be getting there last at-bats, the position players will play longer in the game and our pitchers will have their last opportunity before we start the season,” he added.
Tickets can be purchased at bigleagueweekend.com and will range from $10 to $55.
Dennis M. Ayotte, Jr. is a reporter for La
Prensa de San Antonio. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.