ARLINGTON -- The Rangers held City of West Night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday. The organization provided game tickets, T-shirts and food coupons to over 4,500 residents of West, Texas.
There was a moment of silence before the game to honor the 15 people that died in the fertilizer explosion on April 17. The city received cash donations from Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, the Texas Rangers Foundation and the Rangers Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive. Fans donated new and gently used baseball and softball equipment collected by the Rangers Baseball Tomorrow Equipment Drive to benefit the Legacy West Education Foundation. Lance Berkman also donated a fire truck to the city during the pregame ceremony.
The Rangers wore a "Support West" patch on their jerseys Saturday, and plan to raffle the uniforms to raise additional funds. It's the first Rangers patch worn other than the Texas flag on their uniform since the 2011 World Series.
"This is a huge gift given by the Rangers' organization, and it's something that our citizens need," West mayor Tommy Muska said. "Of course, this is not normal to have a gift like this with free tickets to enjoy a ballgame, but they need normalcy in their lives more than anything. They've gone through 2 1/2 months of a nightmare, and to have them smile and have some fun is important to mental psyche."
Former Major Leaguer and West Native Scott Podsednik and former Ranger Kevin Mench, who's married to Podsednik's sister, were in attendance. Podsednik said he was in Colleyville when the explosion happened, but his wife was on the phone with his mother at the time of the event.
"Most of the early news I got was through mom," Podsednik said. "It's one of the biggest catastrophes anywhere close to here, maybe ever. It was tough to put into words what that was like."
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.