Academy Notebook: Youth Academy athletes watch Rangers sweep Baltimore in ALDS Game 3; Savannah Bananas hold tryouts at Rangers Youth Academy

October 13th, 2023

Youth Academy athletes watch Rangers sweep Baltimore in ALDS

On Oct. 10, a handful of Texas Rangers Youth Academy athletes received tickets to Game 3 of the American League Division Series, courtesy of Nike and Mastercard.

Youth Academy staff selected 25 baseball and softball players to attend the electric matchup alongside a guest for the first Rangers playoff game held at Globe Life Field, also the first MLB Postseason game for much of the group.

“As soon as I walked into the stadium, the energy was so electric with so many fans there,” said South Grand Prairie High School senior Jacob Ayala. “The whole experience overall was amazing, but I think the moment I enjoyed the most was in the bottom of the first inning when everyone in the crowd was screaming ‘MVP, MVP, MVP’ for Corey Seager, and on the next pitch, he hit a ball into ‘Corey’s Corner’ [Section 133]!”

Also in attendance were Elias, Damian, Abigail and Emiliano Maldonado, four siblings who all train at the Academy.

“It was fun for everyone, especially Elias [the youngest brother],” said Emiliano. “It was exciting to watch the Rangers advance to the ALCS. I enjoyed the fireworks after each home run. It was the best Rangers game I've been to!”

Amaad Garrett, another long-time Youth Academy athlete, thrived off the playoff energy, saying the event was “surreal” and that he’s never had a connection with 40,000-plus fans quite like this. And the opportunity to meet Rangers Hall of Famer Michael Young, who also attended Tuesday night’s game, pushed him over the edge.

“I’ve never had an experience like this before in my life,” said Garrett. “I enjoyed the camaraderie I shared with my friends and strangers, all rooting for the Rangers to dominate and win. The memories I got from that Tuesday night will last forever.

“As a member of the Rangers Youth Academy, it was also especially exciting to see the players you look up to, and hope to one day play with, compete for the number one goal in Major League Baseball, a World Series Championship.”

Two Youth Academy coaches try out for Savannah Bananas 2024 World Tour

The popular Savannah Bananas, best known for combining baseball and entertainment in their version of the sport, Banana Ball, held tryouts for their upcoming 2024 world tour at the Texas Rangers Youth Academy earlier this week.

Ball players, both male and female, traveled from areas across Texas and even as far as Minnesota for the invitation-only tryout, where more than 20 athletes showcased their skills on the diamond.

Among those invited to try out were Youth Academy coaches Dillon Van Oosbree and Dash Johnson, who also acts as the Youth Academy’s manager of baseball & softball operations.

As part of Tuesday morning’s event, participants learned two of the Bananas’ signature dances, Hey Baby and Kick Line, then showcased their traditional playing skills, followed by trick plays and a full game of Banana Ball on Johnny Oates Field.

Participating players will be notified in the coming weeks if they have earned a roster spot on one of the Banana Land teams.