ARLINGTON -- A doll house for David Murphy's daughters is on the road to Arizona. So are more than $100,000 worth of baseballs as well as sunflower seeds, soft drinks, snack foods, batting helmets, sanitary socks and chewing gum. Also, don't forget about 300 pounds of powdered laundry detergent, all sitting in the Rangers' equipment truck that left the Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday afternoon bound for Arizona. "I think I have a couple of bats and a pair of cleats on there," outfielder Craig Gentry said.
Murphy's three children have more than that, enough to keep them occupied during six weeks of Spring Training. Most players bring their children to Spring Training in Arizona. "I'm not sure what is all in there because my wife packed the bins," Murphy said. Murphy did have them take his baseball equipment, too. The full-size moving van took everything needed for the Rangers to conduct Spring Training at their facility in Surprise. The X-ray machine and video equipment are also on-board, right next to 20 cases of sunflower seeds. There are 48 boxes to a case. "We have bicycles, kids' playground equipment, we're even taking water coolers for the Minor Leagues," Rangers equipment manager Richard Price said. "We're taking our own supply of coffee." The Rangers are not training in Outer Mongolia. It's not like the Rangers will be out of touch with civilization and can't buy what's needed in Arizona. "But we like to deal with our own local sponsors here and take it all west," Price said. About the only thing not on the truck are the bats. The Rangers have two dozen bats for each player shipped directly to Surprise. For some players, two dozen is more than enough. "I think it's enough for me for the first half of the season," Murphy said. That's not the case with Josh Hamilton. Two dozen bats won't last him six weeks, between the ones that he cracks and the ones that slip out of his hands and go flying into the stands. "I used to see that as a bat flying into the stands," Price said. "Now I see that as $100 flying into the stands. Josh breaks more bats and goes through more bats than anybody." Then there are the baseballs. The Rangers are taking 100 cases of regular baseballs and 80 cases of practice baseballs. Each case includes six dozen baseballs for a total cost of $115,275. Only about 100 dozen will make it back to Texas. "It just depends on how many we hit out and how many we give away," Price said. The difference between a regular ball and one that is labeled as a "practice" ball? "There is something in a practice ball that Rawlings deems is not quality," Price said. "A lot of our guys can see that with one pitch." Now you can see why the Rangers need a full-sized moving van to haul all of this stuff even though their facility in Surprise is open year-round and has all the amenities that a player needs to prepare for a season. "When I first started, Joe Macko and I drove one of those 24-foot U-Haul trucks and took everything we had to Pompano Beach [Fla.]," Price said. "It took 2 1/2 days for us to drive to Florida." This truck will be in Arizona in time to unload everything on Friday morning. The dollhouse, bicycles and playground equipment will be ready when the children arrive.
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.