October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment
The Texas Rangers. I love these guys. The 2010 and 2011 seasons have been ones that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Now, it’s always awesome when your team wins and goes deep into the playoffs, but that isn’t the main reason I’ll be remembering these years.
About six years ago my dad and I started a yearly pilgrimage to Surprise, AZ to take in some Spring Training. Around that same time I also started receiving the the Newberg Report. And as soon as it was released, I started using the MLB At Bat app for my iPhone. I have always been a Rangers fan, comes from growing up in the Dallas area, but these three things got me back into it in a big way. Actually seeing the new players in March and watching them progress and come up through the system over the years, reading about what Jamey Newberg and Scott Lucas had to say about them and the team, and being able to listen to all the games (Eric Nadel is the best sorts announcer as far as I can tell) makes it so much easier to get emotionally invested.
But these still aren’t why I’ll remember these runs. My dad has been a Rangers fan since before they were the Rangers. The Washington Senators were his team and when they moved to Texas, his loyalty followed. My mom has great stories of his devotion to the Rangers from back when they were dating and attending the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. There’d be evening when they be hanging out together, but when the game came on, he’d go sit out in the car to listen to the game. The radio in my mom’s apartment couldn’t pick up the station the games were being broadcast on, but my dad’s car radio had no such issues. He’d sit there for two or three hours and come back in when the game was over.
As fellow Rangers’ fans, we experienced the ups and downs of the 90’s teams that managed to make it to the playoffs and only win a single game between the three trips. I hated the Yankees before that, but having them knock us out all three times, made me hate them even more. Then Josh Daniels changed everything though. He put together The Plan. A five year push to meant to turn the Rangers into a serious contender in the 2011. He very methodically pulled in key players at the right times and developed the Rangers farm system into the envy of the league. Did I mention that he wasn’t even 30 when he stated this? Every year we were able to see more fruits of his labor, and the Rangers that weren’t suppose to come about until 2011 showed up a year early in 2010 to make an awesome run.
Oh and how I enjoyed these games. I am not going to lie. Over the last two years I have been very near useless at work during the postseason. I watched most of the games at my parents’ house, even if they were afternoon games. My dad and I would sit in the two chairs in front of the tv and yell and scream our heads off. Sharing the the fist bumps of victory and agony of defeats. First up in the 2010 playoffs was Tampa Bay and winning the Division Series against them was probably the memory I’ll remember most. When Upton popped up to Andrus to end the game, my dad turned to me and said, “Les, I literally have been waiting my whole life for this.” There may have been some wet eyes… It was an awesome thing to get to experience with my dad. The following roller coaster ride of beating the Yankees with Feliz striking out A-Rod to send us to the World Series for the first time in franchise history with all the symbolism and irony it entailed and then losing to the Giants in the Fall Classic just added to the memories. This year has been a great encore to that 2010 season. Back in the World Series again, but coming coming up short once again.
I was pretty depressed for about 2 hours after that final game, but then I shook it off. One of the things the Rangers did better than anyone else this year was to shake off a bad game and show up ready to place. Josh Hamilton said after game 6 that one’s ability to put yesterday’s game behind them is the difference between being a professional and a fan. I can’t say that I can completely let go, but I’ll do my best. I’ll be a professional fan.