Every year the Rangers participate in what they call their “Winter Caravan.” They travel around southern Oklahoma and north Texas bringing a small group of players/coaches/media personalities to Academy Sports locations or TownHall meetings to sign autographs and meet with fans. During the 2011 Caravan, after the Rangers had been to and lost their first World Series, they stopped here in Wichita Falls at Academy Sports. For this stop they had brought along John Rhadigan, who was about to start his short-lived gig in the Rangers television broadcast booth, Tommy Hunter, bench coach Jackie Moore, and Ranger great Mark McClemore.
I was excited to get to meet Hunter and McClemore. Of course Mac has been one of my favorite Rangers for a long time, and my wife was a big fan of Tommy Hunter. He kind of looks like her sister’s husband so she feels they have some sort of connection. She was very disappointed to see him traded to the Orioles.
We got there early and lined up outside the store with other Ranger fans and waited. The Ranger representatives were seated at a table just inside the entrance to the store. Once everything started they funneled us through pretty quickly. There were no individual pictures allowed. That is, you couldn’t have one of the “players” stop and take a picture with you, but you could have a family member or friend snap a picture of you having them sign your item. After a rather short period, my wife, my daughter and I were next in line to meet the four Rangers. As we stepped up to the table, Mark McClemore pushed his chair back, stood up and announced, “I have to go to the bathroom.” As he walked away towards the facilities, the woman who was managing the line asked me if I wanted his autograph or if my family and I could just move on through the line with the three guys who were left. I politely told her that McClemore was one of the main reasons why we came to the store that day, and she was very kind enough to hold up the line until he got back. So, we waited.
We waited long enough that I had a nice conversation with John Rhadigan about his new job in the television booth. My wife was able to discuss with Tommy Hunter how much her sister’s husband looks like him, and he was nice enough to let her and my daughter have their picture taken with him.
(I want to make sure you notice Rhadigan peaking around from the back)
And then we waited some more.
Finally, after more than enough time to realize that Mark was not going #1, he arrived back at the table and signed a baseball for me and one for my wife and we moved on.
It was a good day for this Ranger fan. We got to meet two of our favorite players, got some autographs, didn’t have to stand in line too long, and were the only people in the entire crowd that actually had time to make conversation and even get a personal picture taken with Tommy Hunter. All thanks to Mark McClemore having to go to the bathroom.