Allie Spillyards

Ranger Superfans the ‘Net Men' Reflect on 26 Years in Globe Life Park

As the lights darken on Globe Life Park, it's hard to imagine just how many traditions Ranger fans have shared there during its 26-year history. But it's no doubt one of the best known happened during its early years, as the so-called Net Men collected dozens of foul balls with the help of fishing nets.

Brian Sperry and Greg Kinzer said it all started during the Rangers' first season at Globe Life Park back in 1994 when they were just a couple of college kids.

"For a few games a year we got the opportunity to sit down the third base line. So we thought, 'A glove's not going to reach all the way down to the field, but a fishing net might,'" Sperry said.

They decided to test out their theory. And not only did they make it past security, but they captured two balls on their very first try.

It wasn't long before others started to notice.

"That was the first year of the ballpark as well, so there were 40,000 or 50,000 people at every game. It didn't matter who they were playing. It didn't matter how hot it was. It was a full house. So a lot of people saw these kids, basically, snagging balls on the third base line, and it just kind of caught on in the coming years," Kinzer said.

It caught the attention of NBC 5 and even the late Rangers' broadcaster Mark Holtz.

"He would say, 'The Net Men got another one. They're going to have who knows how many by the end of the year,'" Sperry said.

Over several years, the friends collected dozens of balls, souvenirs sometimes marking momentous moments from games they never wanted to forget.

Eventually though, the Net Men retired their nets to share their love of the Rangers with families.

Shortly after exchanging vows, Sperry and his wife, still in a tux and wedding dress, caught a game in those seats right behind third base.

They've continued to bring their four kids to games and even named their youngest for a Rangers' great.

Now a couple of decades past their Net Men years, the friends both said it's sad to see the Rangers wrap up their time at Globe Life Park.

But as they reflect on the way the team has evolved, they know a new space will allow a new generation of fans to create their own traditions.

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