Tag: Texas Rangers

Faith helped baseball coach Tony Beasley beat cancer

Faith helped baseball coach Tony Beasley beat cancer

Texas Rangers’ ‘inspiration’ sings the national anthem on Opening Day.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | For Religion News Service

ARLINGTON, Texas (RNS) Tony Beasley never lost faith, even when he was diagnosed with cancer.

“It’s been an opportunity for me to be who I said I am,” said Beasley, the third base coach for the Texas Rangers. “My favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 5:7: ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight.’ To have an opportunity to actually live that out was a blessing.”

With a giant U.S. flag unfurled in the outfield grass and a sellout crowd of 48,350 standing to honor America, all attention centered on Beasley this week (April 3) as he returned full time to the game he loves after a year spent battling rectal cancer.

“An inspiration to us all” is how longtime Rangers public address announcer Chuck Morgan introduced the 50-year-old coach, who was invited to sing the national anthem on Opening Day.

“You can ask anybody in here just how big an impact Beasley has on everybody as far as his faith and his attitude — it’s just contagious,” outfielder Delino DeShields told a reporter in the Rangers’ clubhouse at Globe Life Park. “Even last year, he came in with a smile on his face and always had positive words.”

Under blue skies on a 76-degree night, Beasley offered a soulful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” — and couldn’t help but reflect on his emotional journey of the past year.

“I actually closed my eyes when I sang, just to keep in rhythm with the beat and to block out the delay,” the coach said. “But it was an honor. It was a blessing.

“This time last year, I was undergoing chemotherapy,” added Beasley, who received his cancer diagnosis in January 2016, “and to be able to be back at full capacity, I just thank God for that.”

Read the rest of the story.

Religion News Service is a national wire service with more than 100 secular and religious media subscribers, including USA Today, the Washington Post and NPR.

Does ‘turn the other cheek’ apply to a baseball brawl?

Does ‘turn the other cheek’ apply to a baseball brawl?

After Rougned Odor’s now-famous punch of Jose Bautista, ministers and other church members debate whether a Christian can — or should — cheer for on-field violence.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

ARLINGTON, Texas — “Turn the other cheek” sounds so simple in Sunday morning Bible class.

The concept becomes a little more difficult when you’re a rabid Texas Rangers fan, sitting in the stands with 41,000 other cheering spectators, as a big-time baseball brawl breaks out.

That was the case Sunday afternoon for Travis Akins, young adults minister for the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

Akins, his wife, Laura, and their four children were enjoying the Rangers’ dramatic, come-from-behind win over the Toronto Blue Jays when a hit batter, a hard slide and the now-famous “Baseball Punch to End All Baseball Punches” occurred.

“I was into it,” Travis Akins said of Texas second baseman Rougned Odor’s pummeling of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. “Not the punch necessarily, but the whole atmosphere and the emotion of the moments. My kids … were wondering what was going on and why Dad was screaming.”

A few Christian Chronicle readers may recall that your friendly correspondent is a longtime Rangers fan. I first wrote about my love of God, family and baseball for the Chronicle a decade ago. And I’ve mentioned it a time or two since.

I was in the stands for the Texas-Toronto games on Friday and Saturday nights, but when the benches cleared Sunday afternoon, I was at the Keller Church of Christ for my nephew Nick’s graduating senior celebration.

However, when I heard about what happened, my Rangers fan adrenaline certainly surged.

Read the full column.

This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.

Trips to baseball heaven: Fans share cherished memories of first major-league games

“Take me out to the ball game” is my blog on major-league ballparks and the wonders of witnessing America’s favorite pastime up close.

• • •

By Bobby Ross Jr.

The stadium felt like a furnace — think obnoxious Texas heat in early July — when I walked into my first major-league baseball game at age 14.

By then, of course, I was already a big baseball fan, with thousands of baseball cards, an autographed picture of Pete Rose and a dream of growing up to do radio play-by-play.

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Me, with my children Keaton, Brady and Kendall, at a Texas Rangers game in 2013.

For all the hours I had spent watching televised games and poring over newspaper box scores, though, I had never actually been to a game.

But in 1982, my family moved to Dallas-Fort Worth, and a heaven with the greenest grass I had ever seen beckoned us.

We made it to our bleacher seats in the bottom of the first inning, just as Texas Rangers slugger Larry Parrish stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. That Saturday was “Bat Day,” so 10,000 wooden bats banged thunderously against the concrete and the crowd roared at an obscene decibel as the ball sailed over the fence — a grand slam!

A young lifetime of rooting for the Cincinnati Reds suddenly vanished. I fell in love with the Rangers that day.

Continue reading “Trips to baseball heaven: Fans share cherished memories of first major-league games”

Embracing family, friends and faith on Opening Day

with Keaton

Embracing family, friends and faith on Opening Day (column from Arlington, Texas): Why I love root, root, rooting for the home team.

ARLINGTON, Texas — My three favorite holidays: Thanksgiving. Christmas. Opening Day.

I was blessed to join my 16-year-old son, Keaton, and 49,029 fellow baseball fans at my beloved Texas Rangers’ season opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday afternoon.

I originally planned to watch the game from the comfort of my couch in Oklahoma City. But at the last minute, my friend Trey Morgan, minister for the Childress Church of Christ in the Texas Panhandle, texted to let me know he had two extra tickets to the game.

“Would you know anyone who might want them?” he asked.

(Insert rowdy scene of me doing the happy dance and calling my wonderful wife, Tamie, to beg permission to make an unscheduled trip down south.)

This column appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.

After 25 seasons, life as baseball announcer still thrills Nadel

After 25 seasons, life as baseball announcer still thrills Nadel

August 16, 2003, Saturday, BC cycle

After 25 seasons, life as baseball announcer still thrills Nadel

BYLINE: By BOBBY ROSS JR., Associated Press Writer

SECTION: State and Regional; Sports News

LENGTH: 926 words

DATELINE: ARLINGTON, Texas

Thirty minutes before welcoming listeners to “the beautiful Ballpark in Arlington,” Eric Nadel and his partner, Vince Cotroneo, swing open the windows of the Texas Rangers’ air-conditioned radio booth overlooking home plate.

A brisk, 93-degree breeze rattles stat sheets and blows open the pages of the “Complete Baseball Record Book.”

And the sounds and smells of the ballpark rush in: the voices of the gap-toothed boys begging A-Rod and company for autographs; the sweet aroma of $1 Hot Dog Night; the wind-blown smoke from the fireworks that erupt after each Ranger home run.

“You don’t have the feel of the game if you don’t open the windows,” said Nadel, 52, in his 25th season calling games for a perennial cellar dweller that has won one playoff game in its history.

Nadel’s career with the Rangers has spanned six broadcast partners, 10 managers and roughly 4,000 games. He teamed with the late Mark Holtz for 13 seasons – a duo that endeared itself to a generation of Texas fans.

“More and more, I hear from people that grew up listening to me, usually to Mark Holtz and me,” Nadel said. “To know that in some way I provided a connection between them and the Rangers, it’s a wonderful feeling because it’s the same feeling I had growing up with the announcers for the Mets and Yankees.”

Flash back to a spring day in Brooklyn, as a 7-year-old boy rides with his father in a 1955 De Soto convertible, listening to the Yankees’ game on the radio.

“Is Mel Allen getting paid?” the boy asks.

“Yeah, that’s his job,” his dad responds.

“Well, that’s what I want to do, then,” the boy replies.

Along the way, though, Nadel became a hockey fan while listening to Marv Albert call New York Rangers games. As an undergraduate, he worked on hockey broadcasts at Brown University, an Ivy League hockey power. After graduation, he spent six years broadcasting minor-league hockey in Muskegon, Mich., Oklahoma City and Dallas before his big break came – in baseball – as a No. 4 broadcaster and part-time salesman for the Rangers’ network.

“He didn’t have a baseball background when he got into this job, but he’s learned the game and knows the game as well as anyone,” said Tom Grieve, a former Rangers player and general manager in his ninth season as the team’s television analyst.

“Anytime I’ve got an interpretation of the rules or a question to ask during the game that I need to know a quick answer, I just zip right into the booth and ask Eric. He’s usually the most reliable guy.”

As Nadel took quick bites of a turkey sandwich and scanned press notes in preparation for a game against the Boston Red Sox, highlights of Nolan Ryan’s five years with the Rangers flashed on the big screen behind the Home Run Porch. The all-time strikeout king pitched two of his record seven no-hitters and won his 300th game with the Rangers.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Ryan stands out among the hundreds of players Nadel has known.

“Every time he pitched was a special night and you knew that something special might happen,” Nadel said. “I was lucky enough to call his 5,000th strikeout.”

In the Hall of Fame pitcher’s view, Texas is fortunate to call Nadel its own.

“He’s obviously well prepared when he goes on the air, and I think he’s very supportive of the players, which I think is important,” Ryan said. “He’s one of the broadcasters that I do truly enjoy listening to.”

When Nadel joined the Rangers, game preparation consisted mainly of sitting down with the opposing team’s broadcasters and manager on the first day of a series and comparing notes.

Now, he spends about two hours a day researching players and teams on the Internet and thumbing through 400-page media guides. He supplements that knowledge with his own handwritten notes.

“These are notebooks that I’ve kept on guys over the years, writing down stuff all the time as I accumulate it,” he said. “As players get traded, I move their pages from book to book.”

In a way, it’s a job – putting on earphones and describing pitch after pitch, swing after swing, night after night.

But for a broadcaster such as Nadel, it’s more like a calling.

It’s a chance to be the friend to his listeners that Allen and Red Barber, the Yankees’ announcers, were to him.

It’s the eternal hope of each new game, the possibility that the home team – no matter how far back in the standings – might win today. That lesson, too, he learned as a boy, from Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson, who always sounded happy to be at Mets’ games, even when the team was terrible.

“Sometimes, the big picture isn’t what you want it to be … but each individual game is fun to do,” Nadel said. “I still consider all the other things I could be doing.

For Nadel, none compares to the thrill of the broadcast booth.

He never tires of drawing mental pictures for the fans – telling them exactly which direction the wind is blowing, as evidenced by the ballpark flags, or reminding them that the Rangers are wearing their home white jerseys.

And yes, his voice will rise with excitement at the crack of the bat, as Rangers rookie Mark Teixeira “swings and blasts one to deep right field!

“It’s history!” Nadel proclaims, using his trademark phrase. “What a shot by Teixeira! Gone from the moment it left the bat! A line drive several rows back in the lower deck! A three-run jimmy-jack and it’s five-nothing Texas!”

AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this story.

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