By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (June 2, 2016) — Yu Darvish will be the starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers when they host the Seattle Mariners with first place in the American League West on the line Friday evening.
But Darvish won’t be the first to throw a pitch. That honor belongs to a Tarleton State baseball alumnus.
Byron Anderson, who earlier this year launched a home run to win season tickets to the Rangers’ 81 regular season home games, will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch Friday at Globe Life Part at Arlington.
Anderson played at Tarleton in 2001 and 2002. He teaches and coaches at Fossil Hill Middle School in Keller.
I caught up with Anderson by Facebook Messenger Thursday evening to ask him about the first pitch and to get his thoughts on the division-leading Rangers.
Brad: First of all, is this in connection with the home run u hit for the season tickets?
Byron: Yes, tomorrow night night is Fossil Hill Night (the school I work at in Keller) in honor of Byron Anderson. Other teachers and students can get discounted tickets to the game.
Brad: That’s awesome!
Byron: Definitely one of the coolest things about this entire process. Still can’t believe everything that has happened.
Brad: Well you obviously grew up playing baseball and played collegiately, but how thrilling is it to get to throw out the first pitch? … Does it add anything that it’s before a battle of division leaders with Darvish dealing?
Byron: Throwing out the first pitch another thing I can cross off my list of things I always wanted to do. I always thought I would get a chance to do this somewhere but I never dreamt it would be at a major league game.
Darvish pitching is just a cool bonus.
Brad: What’s it been like having season tickets and following them so closely? And how do you believe the Rangers will fare as the season continues?
Byron: Its been great. I am a coach as well as a teacher so I haven’t been able to go to a ton of games yet. But with summer starting tomorrow that will change.
I think the Rangers will make the playoffs this year. I have concerns about the bullpen and some of there middle of the order hitters. But I love Jeff Banister as a manager. He will put them in the best position to win. From that point you need a little luck and some big plays.