Truck of goodies headed to Surprise

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers loaded a huge 18-wheeler full of stuff and a crew began the 18-hour drive to Surprise, Ariz., on Tuesday.

So what were some of the things inside that truck? A look:

* 100 cases of baseballs. That breaks down to 1,800 dozen balls -- 1,000 dozen of the regular balls and another 800 dozen of the balls marked "practice." The practice balls don't cost as much to make and are, consequently, about $10 cheaper per dozen. That's nearly 22,000 baseballs at a price tag of $115,275. The club will likely bring back about 200 dozen and will then re-stock for the regular season.

"Some of our guys hit one of those balls out on one pitch and they're gone," Rangers equipment manager Richard "Hoggy" Price said. "And it depends on how many they give away too."

Many of those balls are already "rubbed," thanks to bullpen catcher Josh Frasier and a deal he has with a school in Rockwall. He hosts a party every Super Bowl Sunday and the group breaks in the baseballs while watching the game.

* 200 helmets

* Two dozen bats for each player on the team. Many of those aren't actually in the truck, but they'll be shipped to Arizona. The club gets a list of what kind of bat each player uses and then purchases the bats. The cost: About $100 per bat. For most players, like Michael Young, two dozens bats is enough to use the entire spring training. For others, like Josh Hamilton, it won't be. Not only does Hamilton break some of them, but he'll likely lose a few in the crowd too.

"I used to see that as a bat flying into the stands, but now I see a 100 dollar bill flying," Price said. "Josh breaks more bats and goes through more of them than anybody."

* 20 cases of sunflower seeds. The club brings various kinds for the players and coaches.

* 50 cases of coffee. Price likes to be sure the team and the staff have the coffee they like. But he also prefers to shop and use the club's sponsors in Texas, where prices are cheaper, than shopping in Arizona.

* David Murphy said he's got a dollhouse and some other toys on the truck. It's stuff his wife packed for his kids, who will be going to spring training as well. That's not unusual. Many players will have their families with them since it's such a long stay in Surprise. So toys will make the journey west.

Price said he remembers getting the largest U-Haul truck he could in the late 1970s and driving to Florida with everything he could imagine. It would take nearly three days.

"Now, we've got a facility that's used year round, so you don't need quite as much," Price said. "That's nice."

The truck will be fully unloaded by Friday and everything set up quickly thereafter. By the time activity heats up next week, all the food and equipment will be ready to go.