If you've ever dreamed of catching a pitch from a baseball Hall of Famer, the Round Rock Express — Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers — would like to make your dream come true by offering up an opportunity to catch Nolan Ryan's ceremonial first pitch prior to their home opener on April 3.
It's a part of their Catch Nolan contest — which you can sign up for at CatchNolan.com — that coincides with the team's 15th anniversary celebration. The team was actually founded by Ryan's son Reid Ryan and owned is owned by Ryan-Sanders Baseball, so the family connection remains very strong with the Rangers organization despite Nolan's resignation as CEO in October.
The rules of the contest are pretty simple: All you have to do is sign up, and one lucky winner will receive four VIP tickets, a plaque commemorating the event, an autographed item and an opportunity to ice their palm after catching Ryan's first pitch.
Hey, you don't think he'll take it easy just because you're a fan, do you? It's going to be a heater.
After all, this is the same Nolan Ryan who used to have his wife catch for him during the offseason. He didn't reach 95 during those sessions, but he was still popping the mitt and working on his fastball. One day, he even knocked the wind out of her when she got distracted and missed the catch.
We're not trying to scare you off or anything, but these are things that need to be considered before signing up.
If you're lucky enough to attend the game, the first 2,500 fans to enter the stadium will receive 15th Season Medallions. There will also be a huge fireworks show after the game, so the team is obviously loading it up to make it feel like a special occasion.
Check it out if you're in the area. And feel free to take video. We'd love to see how this first pitch plays out at Dell Diamond.
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