FRISCO - Since pitcher Yu Darvish joined the team, the Texas Rangers bring with them a media herd when they arrive in town.
"People aren't as welcome to see us anymore when we bring all these people with us," said Texas Rangers VP and Director of Communications John Blake. "Especially in these small ballparks."
While the number dropped from several hundred in spring training, to 75 for Wednesday's game in Frisco versus the Double-A Roughriders, the Rangers have become a team with international coverage. Forty of the media horde Wednesday were international.
"I covered Dice-K [Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka] when he first came over here, so I kind of expected it," said San Onoda, a media member from NHK Japan.
Dr Pepper Park is designed to be fan-friendly, so when Darvish warmed up for his Texas debut, most fans had a perfect view.
One fan said he looks a lot taller. Another said he loved to hear the leather pop as Darvish's pitches came in.
The game was a sellout before it was announced that Darvish was pitching. With him on the mound, it became a standing-room-only crowd, and a lot of folks who were at work came down with the 'Yu flu.'
"Yeah, the Yu Flu, exactly," said Roughriders president Scott Sonju. "A lot of folks caught it all of a sudden. Thankfully, it's only like a 24-hour thing."
"That would be me," said Rangers fan Gwen Harker Poole with a laugh. "I'm feeling better now that I’ve gotten some sun and a little fresh air."
As for Darvish, pitching in the heavier Texas air didn't seem to faze him.
"I didn't think there was going to be that much different or be this comfortable throwing over here," Darvish said through an interpreter.
Darvish pitched four shutout innings and struck out five on his way to winning his last start before his major league debut on Monday.