ARLINGTON -- Mariners right-hander Blake Beavan was still soaking up the moment on Wednesday, relishing his first start at the Ballpark in Arlington, where he and his brothers used to come so often to watch the Rangers while growing up in nearby Irving.
The 23-year-old right-hander had never pitched at Rangers Ballpark during his time in Texas, not even after being drafted in the first round by the Rangers in 2007, but threw 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a 1-0 loss on Tuesday in front of about 50 family members and friends in the crowd of 25,723.
"After that first inning, it sunk in pretty good that I was pitching in Arlington," Beavan said. "I just kind of looked around, just to see the difference between sitting in the stands and actually playing on that field. It was pretty fun, for me, just growing up here. I think everybody would feel the same way if they got that opportunity.
"We usually just bought $5 tickets and stole somebody else's seats," he said. "We got told to move a few times. But back then, there'd only be maybe 17,000 or 18,000 people and the stadium holds 50,000, so it wasn't that hard to get down close."
Beavan was only 5 when the ballpark opened in 1994. He said his parents and older brothers attended games in the former Arlington Stadium.
"They got Nolan Ryan's 4,000th and 5,000th strikeout ticket stubs," Beavan said. "They were big card collectors, so they had all kinds of rookie cards and ticket stubs. It was pretty cool to go through their box of collections."
His family was torn when its hometown team traded him away in the Cliff Lee deal, but has come to understand the opportunity that came with it.
"All of them had pretty mixed emotions when I got traded," Beavan said. "I don't think anybody saw that coming. But as I told them from the get-go, everything happens for a reason. I don't try to get too spiritual, but things happen for a reason and I took advantage of it when I got here and I plan on trying to keep doing that."