ARLINGTON, Texas — For diehard fans, two of the most beautiful words in the English language are play ball. The only two prettier might be opening day.
“There’s nothing like being here on Opening Day with the flag and the flyover,” said a mom who’s been bringing her son – who has autism – to the ballpark since 2006.
Thursday marked the final opening day at Globe Life Park - what truly is a beauty of a ballpark. “This is the 27th consecutive opening day for me and my son,” said fan Paul Schubert of Arlington. “Two at Arlington Stadium and we haven’t missed one here.”
Schubert and his son Brandon were at the game with Brandon’s 4-year-old son Winston. They got a little emotional talking about the legendary moments they’ve witnessed here.
“Kenny Rogers' perfect game” Paul said. “We had luxury suite tickets, and I was sitting next to Steve Busby. He’s got his arm around my son, who was only 8 at the time and he’s telling my son, 'You don’t know what’s going on here, but he’s in a zone.'”
“That’s a cool memory, you know?”
Some fans said Adrian Beltre’s 3,000th hit was their favorite memory, others said nothing could beat watching Hall of Famer Pudge Rodriguez catch and fellow Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan pitch.
“When we clinched a berth into the World Series,” said Michael Thomas, who sells programs at Globe Life Park. “I was able to get tickets to that game. And I saw Neftali Feliz strike out Alex Rodriguez.”
Few have the kind of memories the Schubert family has.
“We used to live about half a mile from here when he was growing up,” Paul said of his son Brandon. “We’d be playing catch in the driveway and listening to games. Nolan was carrying a no hitter deep into the seventh inning, we’d hop in the car and come out here, thinking we were going to get in. We’d get two blocks from the house and, ‘Oh a swing and a hit!’ so we’d turn around and go back home.”
The cranes that towered over the outfield on Thursday were a reminder that the end is near.
“It’s bittersweet,” Paul said.
“The end of an era,” Brandon.
Only 80 games to go.