Truckin': Rangers' spring gear off to Arizona

Truckin': Rangers' spring gear off to Arizona

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' equipment truck left Globe Life Park in Arlington on Tuesday afternoon, another tangible sign that Spring Training is coming up soon.

But the real excitement is not what is on the truck this year but the destination. After a 17-hour drive from Texas to Surprise, Ariz., the truck will be pulling up to a vastly upgraded and enlarged clubhouse at the club's Spring Training complex.

"We're looking forward to the new complex and getting everything in place," said Rangers equipment manager Brandon Boyd. "We are really excited about that."

This will be the 14th season for the Rangers in Surprise, but the first time their side of the complex has undergone major renovations.

"We have 70 lockers, when before we had 58," Boyd said. "It's a lot nicer. The dining room is bigger and we have a kitchen. The weight room is four times as big."

The Rangers will begin stocking the place later this week, when the truck arrives carrying everything from bats and balls, to bicycles.

"I think we have 10 bicycles the players use to ride in the mountains on the trail," Boyd said.

As always, most impressive is the number of baseballs on the truck. This year, it carries 80 cases. There are six dozen per case, which comes out to 5,760 baseballs just to get the Rangers started.

"There are another 250 cases being shipped out there," assistant clubhouse manager David Bales said. "That will get us through early-to-mid March. Then we'll look to order again, maybe another 250 cases."

So maybe the Rangers will use over 40,000 baseballs in the desert before showing up to Arlington for Opening Day on April 4.

Then there are uniforms, helmets, pitching machines, batting gloves, tape, sunflower seeds and anything else a Major League team needs to get ready for 162 games.

That's why Boyd, Bales and their crew of Mason and Cole McKenna, Parker Zavalla, Tim Plummer, Kyle Furin, Matt Onvani, Matt Waits, Cody Faulkner and Kelly Terrell have been packing since the beginning of January. This is Bales' 31st season with the Rangers.

"It has been a group effort by everybody," Boyd said. "It's a lot of packing, but the unpacking is really quick. We've got two or three days to unpack."

Fortunately, the complex is already well-stocked. The Rangers keep their Surprise facility open almost year-round, unlike the old days of Port Charlotte, Fla., when the organization packed up everything for six weeks and then hauled it back to Arlington when Spring Training was over.

"We used to have to take the whole weight room out and back again," Bales said.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.