This past January, 14-time All-Star Ivan Rodriguez became just the second Texas Rangers player ever voted into the Hall of Fame. But for those who can't attend the storied catcher's induction ceremony in Cooperstown, there's another unique way to get a closer look at the Hall of Fame. From April 5-14, fans can pay a visit to MLB's Hall of Fame Tour experience -- a cutting-edge collaboration of baseball and technology -- at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas.
On April 5, the traveling exhibition is scheduled to make its second stop of the year at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas, home of the Frisco RoughRiders. The Rangers' Double-A affiliate finished with a 63-76 record last season, and the roster even featured some Big Leaguers in brief stints or during rehab assignemnts such as Shin-Soo Choo, Josh Hamilton, Matt Bush and Colby Lewis.
The Tour is a one-of-a-kind attraction that blends state-of-the-art virtual reality with Hall of Fame artifacts and interactive displays to give fans a truly unique baseball experience. New to the Hall of Fame Tour in 2017 is MLBAM's state-of-the-art virtual reality video game, "Home Run Derby," which allows fans to compete in a Major League Home Run Derby within the unparalleled 3D environment of one of eight iconic ballparks. A separate VR experience also lets baseball fanatics relive the 2016 postseason, from the Wild Card Game all the way through the clinching moment of the Cubs' historic World Series victory. And of course, this cutting-edge technology is paired with a collection of timeless artifacts from Cooperstown itself that any baseball diehard can appreciate.
After a successful first circuit in 2016, which included stops at five cities with deep baseball roots, the We Are Baseball experience took to the road again in March. Its first destination in 2017 was Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training complex shared by the Rockies and D-backs in Scottsdale, Ariz., which has housed plenty of notable events and tournaments over the years including the Arizona Fall League, 2011 MLB All-Star Game Jr. RBI Classic, 2013 World Baseball Classic, and 2014 AIA Baseball State Championship, among others.
Texas is a hotbed for baseball, and the RoughRiders' ballpark provides a natural second stop for the Tour. Sixteen total Cooperstown members hail from The Lone Star State, with Pudge set to join the ranks this summer, and there are plenty of current Major Leaguers that got their start in Texas. The Rangers' Double-A affiliate has seen some impressive players take to the diamond at Dr Pepper Ballpark since its inaugural season in 2003, including Yu Darvish, Chris Davis, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Gonzalez and others. And for fans looking for an extra treat, you never know what notable baseball alumni may stop by to view the Tour in Texas. Last year, surprise guests included Hall of Famers George Brett in Kansas City, Andre Dawson in Minnesota and Ozzie Smith in St. Louis.
The Tour will be in Frisco from April 5-14 and is about 30 minutes away from Dallas or Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Rangers host the A's from April 7-9 if you're up for a day trip, or if you're in the Frisco area, the RoughRiders are on a six-game homestand from April 6-11. Take in a game and then stop by the traveling baseball experience to usher in the 2017 season.
Joseph Sparacio is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.