CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — One Hooks fan who rarely ever misses a game made it out to Whataburger Field on Thursday for opening night. She not only builds relationships with the team, but also with the fans who she brings to fill the seats. That baseball family makes the greatest impact.
"Everybody knows that if you can't find Mrs. Marty, you know she's at Whataburger Field," said Marty Barnett, season ticket holder for 18 years.
Marty Barnett has walked down these steps for 17 years, going into her 18th season as a Corpus Christi Hooks season ticket holder.
"My sister bought the tickets originally and she had two extras," Barnett said. "Every time she wasn't using them she called me to meet her at the games."
She never goes alone, bringing kids with good faith.
"They have been bugging me for probably a month," Barnett said. "When's the Hooks first game? When's the Hooks first game?"
She invites kids and young adults from the First Baptist Church in Orange Grove.
"Literally there are times coming into the ballgames that the conversation will lead to something about church," Barnett said. "We'll have our own little Sunday school class right there in the car because it takes us 45 minutes to get here."
Over the years, Barnett has built strong relationships with Hooks players including Triple-A Space Cowboys manager Wladimir Sutil and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.
"One of my kids that comes with me regularly, should be here tonight, he's always been kind of short," Barnett said. "I just keep reminding him look at Altuve. You don't have to be the biggest guy on the field."
For someone like Barnett who did not grow up as a baseball fan, Barnett grew to love the game through family.
"Can honestly say I just fell in love with it and I got hooked on the Hooks," Barnett said.