Gonterwitz hooked on Rangers since age of 9

Gonterwitz hooked on Rangers since age of 9

Gonterwitz hooked on Rangers since age of 9
ARLINGTON -- Michael Gonterwitz was 9 years old in 1991 when he attended his first Rangers game at Arlington Stadium.

"Ever since my first game sitting in the upper deck of Arlington Stadium, I was hooked," Gonterwitz said. "Nolan Ryan was my idol growing up. I went to a lot of games as a kid, and now, as a season-ticket holder, I don't miss a game. Why? I love my team, through thick and thin. I've seen some of the worst years, and the best."

Now Gonterwitz, an application specialist for GDSX who lives in Bedford, Texas, never misses a game from his front-row seat in section 15 down the third-base line.

"The Rangers could be 20 games out of first place in September, and I would still be in my seat at 7:05 p.m.," Gonterwitz said. "Of course, I never want that to be the Rangers' place in the standings! As a season-ticket holder, I've made some great friends that I wouldn't trade for the world."

He was at the ballpark on July 19, 2009, when the Rangers and the Twins were tied at 3-3 and going into extra innings. 

"In the bottom of the 12th, Ian Kinsler was at the plate," Gonterwitz said. "He fouled a ball over to the third-base side near the tarp. I leaned out with my glove and caught the ball on the fly. I couldn't believe that I caught it. The next pitch, Kinsler put in the stands for a walk-off home run. A perfect end to a perfect night."

He was also there in 2008 when Marlon Byrd hit a walk-off grand slam to beat the Yankees, but, like most Rangers fans, his greatest moment came in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.

"For so many years, I dreamed of attending a World Series game that had my team in it, and that night made it all possible," Gonterwitz said. "Having the players come right up to me and high-five and spray what was left of the ginger ale was an added bonus. I certainly hope that we will get to experience that again in 2011. I'll just make sure to not wear a white jersey that night."

He has not missed a game since Sept. 5, 2008.

"This includes one game where I was involved in a car accident in which my car ended up being totaled on my way to the ballpark, but was still able to get to the gate and scan my ticket," Gonterwitz said. "I'm not sure what the consecutive games record is for Rangers fans. I even asked Chuck Morgan about this, and he said that Zonk was the only one who came to mind.

"Although I am now a season-ticket holder who sits in his seat every night, in college I was a member of Hank's Homies from 2004-06. Some of my friends at The University of Texas-Arlington and various other local colleges started it up, and I joined in a couple months later. So I know how to put on the cowboy hat and eye black and stand in Section 5 or put on my Rangers cap and sunglasses [for the first few innings] and sit in Row 1."

Gonterwitz is one of three finalists to be the Rangers' representative in the Sprint All Together Fan promotion. Fans on texasrangers.com can vote for one of the three nominees to represent the Rangers as the Fan Voice on MLB Network for the Aug. 25 game against the Red Sox. By voting, fans are automatically entered for a chance to win two tickets to the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City.

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