Rangers spread holiday cheer at Youth Academy

December 19th, 2019

Families gathered at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota, on Wednesday night for a Christmas party thrown by Texas Rangers chief operating officer Neil Leibman.

The night featured games on the field, crafts, food and appearances by Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, Anna and Elsa (from Disney's "Frozen"), and even Texas Rangers Manager Chris Woodward.

“It’s fantastic,” Woodward said of the event. “I get to see it all the time with our ownership and our front office and our players. We care. Our team truly does care. And to come back and show that and be a part of that, to look at these kids’ faces and get to know them a little bit, they’ll remember me a couple years from now. … One of these days we’re going to have a big leaguer come out of here and maybe one day, I’ll manage one of these kids.”

For Academy participant Ricardo Rangel, a senior at Duncanville High School, seeing Woodward was just one of the highlights of the night.

“It shows that they want to give back. It’s what they always do,” Rangel said.

Over 200 Academy participants who attended the festivities also received gifts to take home and open on Christmas morning.

Academy athlete Adolfo Verdin, a senior at Molina High School, volunteered at the event as his younger siblings joined in on the activities.

“It’s special to be out here on Christmas with your family, your friends, and everybody you’re close to around here,” Verdin said. “Everybody’s pretty close. They know each other. It’s a really special event. You’re not playing against each other, you’re just out here having fun, coming together.”

The athletes weren’t the only ones enjoying themselves. Steven King, who brought his two sons, appreciated seeing Woodward and Rangers ownership at the facility where his sons attend camps and play in the Academy’s RBI league.

“It shows that it’s not just the facility," said King. "It’s actually something that everybody’s behind and they’re here to show the kids that ‘we’ve got your back.’ I like that.”