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Texas Rangers Caravan FanFest rolls into Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco Jan. 30

#Rangers Caravan is coming to Frisco on Jan. 30 w/ @Bannyrooster28 and more in attendance http://atmilb.com/1U3ap84
The Texas #Rangers Caravan is coming to Frisco on Jan. 30 w/ @Bannyrooster28 and more

Frisco TX – The Texas Rangers Winter Caravan, presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, 105.3 FM The Fan, ESPN Deportes, Fox Sports Southwest, and TXA 21/KTVT 11, is returning to Dr Pepper Ballpark, the home of the Frisco RoughRiders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30.

The three-week long tour that begins on Jan. 9 ends during its visit to Frisco’s Dr Pepper Ballpark. Fans will have the opportunity to meet Rangers players, collect autographs, and enjoy a day of festivities at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

The FanFest portion of the event will be held from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and is free and open to the public. In addition to the yearly autograph session with select Rangers players (Noon-1 p.m.), this year will include a more dynamic family-friendly experience. Fans can play catch on the field and kids can run the bases of Dr Pepper Ballpark as well as enjoy inflatables, airbrush artists, and the Primrose and McAfee Playgrounds. Ballpark concessions will also be available for purchase. All FanFest events are subject to change pending weather.

The Riders Outpost, the RoughRiders team store, will be open during the event, with specials on select merchandise. Additionally, fans who wish to purchase ticket packages for the 2016 season may do so during the FanFest.

New this year as well is “Rangers Caravan VIP Autograph Session & Brunch,” a private, ticketed event in the JCPenney Club from 10:30-11:45. For $50, fans can enjoy a private autograph session with the Rangers players in attendance AND a brunch featuring mimosas and bloody marys. Proceeds from ticket sales for the Rangers Caravan VIP Autograph Session & Brunch will benefit the RoughRiders Foundation, which supports programs and organizations in the local community. Availability is extremely limited for this event; to purchase tickets, CLICK NOW.

Texas Rangers Winter Caravan

10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30

10:30 a.m.: Dr Pepper Ballpark gates open to public

10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.: Rangers Caravan VIP Autograph Session & Brunch (purchase tickets)

11:45 a.m.-Noon: Media availability with Rangers Players/coaches, RoughRiders execs

10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: FanFest on the field and in the concourse (free and open to public)

Noon-1 p.m.: Autographs from select Rangers players (free and open to the public)

Dr Pepper Ballpark, 7300 RoughRiders Trail, Frisco, Texas 75034

Select Texas Rangers players (to be announced), Deuce, Daisy, and more!

Season ticket packages and group and hospitality offerings for the 2016 season can be reserved by calling 972-731-9200 or emailing info@ridersbaseball.com. Single-game tickets will go on sale to the public in March.

The Frisco RoughRiders are the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers and play their games at beautiful Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas. The team was founded in 2003 and has finished first among all Double-A franchises in attendance in each of the last 11 seasons (2005-2015). In August 2014, the RoughRiders were purchased by an ownership group led by Chuck Greenberg and Scott Sonju.

The new ownership group has spearheaded numerous major franchise improvements, from a completely new team identity to massive additions and upgrades to Dr Pepper Ballpark, including a giant new video board, sound system, sports bar, team store, improved food service and menu, and a complete overhaul of in-game entertainment.

The improvements earned the Riders and the City of Frisco “Best Ballpark Renovation” of 2015 by Ballpark Digest in the under $6 million category. More than 130 former RoughRiders players have gone on to play Major League Baseball, including All-Stars Chris Davis, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Gonzalez and Ian Kinsler. For more information on the Frisco RoughRiders and Dr Pepper Ballpark, please visit RidersBaseball.com

Frisco calls up Pelicans’ skipper to manage RoughRiders

The Frisco RoughRiders will have a new manager for the second time in as many seasons, as Joe Mikulik has been tabbed to lead the squad in 2015. Mikulik (pronounced “MICK-uh-lick”) will be the lone new face on RoughRiders coaching staff, and he replaces 2014 Texas League Manager of the Year Jason Wood, who will manage Triple-A Round Rock next year.

The other members of Frisco’s coaching staff will remain the same for the fourth consecutive season. Jeff Andrews will return as the pitching coach and Jason Hart will resume his duties as the hitting coach, with James Vilade serving as assistant hitting coach. Carlos Olivas will remain the athletic trainer and Eric McMahon will be back as the team’s strength and conditioning coach.

Joe Mikulik replaces 2014 Texas League Manager of the Year Jason Wood, who will manage Triple-A Round Rock next year.
Joe Mikulik replaces 2014 Texas League Manager of the Year Jason Wood, who will manage Triple-A Round Rock next year. (Photo courtesy of Frisco RoughRiders)

Mikulik, 51, managed the Advanced-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans to a Carolina League-best 82-56 record in 2014. The Pelicans won their first round matchup in the playoffs before falling in the circuit’s championship series. Mikulik joined the Rangers organization prior to the 2013 season and served as the roving minor league outfield instructor for one year before being named Myrtle Beach’s manager for 2014.

Known for his passionate approach to managing, Mikulik will be entering his 17th season as a minor league skipper in 2015. Prior to joining the Rangers organization, he spent 13 seasons with the Colorado Rockies as a manager with the Single-A Asheville Tourists. Mikulik also managed the short-season Burlington Indians in 1997 and 1998.

He owns a career regular season managerial record of 1,061-957 (a .526 winning percentage) and has guided his teams to the playoffs five times, posting an 11-12 record in the postseason.

Under Mikulik, Asheville won the South Atlantic League championship in 2012; he was the league’s manager of the year four times (2000, 2002, 2007 and 2008) and was elected to the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame in 2010. He is the Tourists’ and South Atlantic League’s all-time leader in career victories as a manager (938).

Mikulik was born in Weimer, Texas, and lives in nearby Keller. After graduating from Bishop Forest High School in Schulenburg, Texas, he played for two seasons as San Jacinto Junior College in Pasadena, Texas, where he was an All-American.

Mikulik was Houston’s ninth round selection in the 1984 June Draft and played for 12 years in the Astros organization, rising to Triple-A Tucson. He was a career .274 hitter with 78 home runs, 161 doubles, 48 triples, 527 RBI and 135 steals in 1,053 games.

Outside of stints in Mexico and Venezuela, he manned the outfield for Astros affiliates for the entirety of his professional playing career.

He began his coaching career as a player/coach in the Cleveland organization for Double-A Canton-Akron in 1995. Mikulik’s managerial career began as an interim skipper when he replaced then-Burlington manager and former Rangers special assistant Harry Spilman late in the 1997 season.

After one season as Frisco’s manager, Wood will manage Texas’ Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express, in 2015. Wood was the Texas League Manager of the Year this past season, leading the RoughRiders to a league-best 80-59 record and a playoff berth. His .576 winning percentage ranks third best in team history, trailing only Dave Anderson (.607 in 2007) and Scott Little (.600 in 2008).

Andrews, 55, returns for his seventh season as Frisco’s pitching coach and his 30th as a minor league instructor. He joined the RoughRiders in 2009 and previously served in the same capacity on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ major league staff in 2008. Under Andrews’ tutelage, Frisco’s pitching staff posted its best statistical season in franchise history in 2014. The RoughRiders set club marks in ERA (3.39) and fewest hits allowed (1,136), led the Texas League in shutouts (12), were second in runs allowed (538), second in strikeouts (1,136) and third in fewest home runs surrendered (89).

Hart, 37, is back for his fourth season as the RoughRiders’ hitting coach and his seventh as a coach in the Rangers organization. Frisco’s offense had another strong season under Hart’s instruction, leading the Texas League in batting average (.266), hits (1,239), slugging percentage (.402), and OPS (.332). Five 2014 RoughRiders hitters reached the major leagues this past season (Rougned Odor, Ryan Rua, Luis Sardinas, Jake Smolinski and Tomas Telis), in part thanks to Hart. As a player, Hart played nine seasons of professional baseball, including the 2005 campaign with Frisco. He reached the major leagues with the Rangers in 2002 before a brain tumor disrupted his playing career.

Vilade, a Rangers scout, will return for his sixth season with the RoughRiders as an assistant hitting coach and will handle first base coaching duties for home games. Prior to his time with the Rangers, Vilade spent 12 years as an NCAA baseball coach, serving as head coach for 11 of those seasons. While at the University of Dallas and The University of Texas-Tyler, Vilade compiled a career record of 348-117. His .748 career winning percentage makes him the 18th-winningest coach in the history of NCAA baseball and the second-winningest coach in the history of NCAA baseball in Texas, trailing only Cliff Gustafson, the former University of Texas coach. In 2007, Vilade coached the UT-Tyler team to a 37-1 record. The team is featured in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Vilade played baseball for and is a graduate of Baylor University.

The RoughRiders’ award-winning athletic support staff will also return for the 2015 season.

Olivas is back for his fifth season as Frisco’s athletic trainer and his seventh year with the Rangers organization. He was named the Texas League’s Athletic Trainer of the Year for both the 2012 and 2013 seasons. McMahon will once again be the team’s strength and conditioning coach, his fifth with Frisco and seventh in the Texas organization. He was named the Texas League’s Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year for 2014, the second time in three years he has been honored with the award.

The RoughRiders open the 2015 season on April 9 against the Arkansas Travelers.  For tickets to see the RoughRiders in 2015, please call (972) 731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com, or visit www.RidersBaseball.com.

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