Never before, never again, will I be in the stands at a game like the American League championship win. What a road it’s been for the franchise, and what a turn they’ve taken – I hope everyone reading this has been along for the ride.
The fans, the group of players, Hamilton MVP and his testimony, heck, even the state this team is in ALL make being a part of this journey something so memorable, enjoyable and exciting. I’ve asked so many friends and basic baseball fans throughout this post season, “Are you goin’ for the Rangers?” and I generally get the same answer every time: “How could I not be?”
Fun, friendship and favor – sounds just like part of a southern sorority creed, right? Could be. But come back to the ballpark in Arlington with me and I’ll tell you how these qualities, not regarding baseball at all, play into the Rangers’ first ever post season success.
You’ve got a 22-year-old continuously smiling at shortstop, the AL MVP in center field quoting Anchorman in post-game interviews and a manager who is as calm as ever, letting his ‘boys be boys.’ Usually, being all about fun is for average teams. But allowing fun to fuel team momentum and serve as the catalyst for solid baseball is not something you see as a foundation for a winning team at the national level. After a double play at game six, we all witnessed Elvis and Ian run off the field side by side, step for step, grinning in each other’s faces. Just like little league, except this game was the second most-watched MLB game in cable history.
At the risk of sounding like such a girl, I’m goin’ for it anyway. Trust, confidence, forgiveness and encouragement remain as some of the most important qualities of true friendship. How many of you watched the Rangers celebrate with Ginger Ale instead of champagne so Josh Hamilton could join in on the celebration? His teammates forgot about the norm and put their own excitement aside for the sake of someone else. Easily one of the most touching stories from the entire 2010 season because his teammates cared enough about his past to let him be a part of their future. Sounds like a group of true friends to me.
I conclude with favor. The Rangers have gained favor and respect from the sports fans all across the nation, those people being Rangers fans or not. Like I mentioned above – people just feel it. The bandwagon for the Rangers’ trip to the world series exceeded it’s capacity a long time ago, but don’t be frustrated. It’s all because people want to be a part of something that no one can explain. Obvious reasons for fan invasion include: making it to the world series for the first time in franchise history, a team glowing with undying character that cannot go unnoticed and above all, no signs of stopping. The men Ron puts on the roster are game-ready every time they suit up. Plain and simple. They told the franchise with the most world series wins in history, “Not this time. We want it more.”
I want to share the last batter (A-Rod, classic) with you that I recorded from game 6. Neftali Feliz finished off Alex Rodriguez to win the ALCS. I apologize for the screaming and shakiness of the camera… PSYCH! First at last. And 4 to go.