Texas catcher Robinson Chirinos and his wife Heidi were the honorary spokespersons for the Cowboy Santas drive. The program provides toys to children from low-income families in Tarrant County. Texas fans were encouraged to bring new unwrapped toys to the event, and they showed up in droves to see veteran players like Chirinos, pitchers Derek Holland and Shawn Tolleson and new players like reliever Tony Barnette, who agreed to a two-year deal with Texas on Tuesday.
Chirinos, who is heavily involved in charities in the area, was thrilled with the turnout.
"They help so many people and so many families in need, it really got my attention," Chirinos said. "I wanted to be able to contribute to the Cowboy Santas. They put it together and I was really excited when they asked me to do this. And I know, not only me, but the whole team, we get out here, and it's nice to be able to bring a smile to families."
Tolleson, who saved 35 games for the Rangers in 2015, was happy to be back at the park in a non-baseball capacity. Getting a chance to meet fans and thank them for their support meant a lot to the Texas native who grew up in the area.
"I like interacting with fans and it's fun to get to know them," he said. "When they come to something like this, you know that they're here because they're doing a lot for the kids. That's what this season is all about. This puts you in the holiday spirit for sure."
Texas manager Jeff Banister was new to the team and the area last year after being hired in the offseason. He spent his 2014 holiday season trying to adjust to his new setting. Now Texas fans know what to expect out of Banister, who won the American League Manager of the Year Award.
Banister, who knows what the expectation level is for Texas fans after winning an AL West title in '15, spent as much time thanking them for their support as he did thanking them for their donations.
Banister added that the holiday season means Spring Training isn't too far away. Mingling with players, coaches and fans on Tuesday just reinforced that.
"Being in this for 30 years now, Christmas kind of sends that alarm clock bell that it's time to really get going because it's right around the corner," Banister said.