Friday, October 22, 2010

Texas Baseball

Life is good for a baseball fan in Texas.  For the first time in 50 years as a franchise, the Texas Rangers are headed to the World Series.  As someone who has followed Texas Rangers baseball for half of that time, and the vast majority of my life, I'm particularly excited.  (And the fact that their most recently vanquished opponent is the New York Yankees just adds to the joy.)

Our family moved to North Texas when I was 4 years old, and I started following the Rangers within the next couple of years.  While not knowing the nuances of the game, an occasional trip to the old Arlington Stadium was always a treat, even if the product on the field wasn't very good.  I remember Bobby Valentine and Pete O'Brien, Julio Franco and Ruben Sierra, and Nolan Ryan bringing the heat (and occasionally a fist).

I lived and died by baseball.  Before the Internet, I spent summer nights falling asleep to the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel calling the games.  I'd never make it to the end, though, and would have to wait until the following evening when my dad brought home the paper to learn the result.  I'd pour over box scores and standings, just in time to catch the next game.  I still remember my first personal complete game: Nolan Ryan's 300th win.

When a teenager, I'd still listen to the Rangers' games on the radio, and usually to completion.  I made a habit of winning free tickets to the game once a season by knowing the play-of-the-game and calling it in the local radio station.  We went with friends on dollar 'dog night, we'd sit in the nickel seats, and get sit on hotdogs and cotton candy.  And earlier this year, I took Hannah to her first Rangers game, watching a 2-hitter by Colby Lewis at Houston.  (She remembers the cotton candy more than anything else.)

Hannah and Hyrum at Rangers Game in June
This season has been a bit surreal.  The Rangers have always had a way of doing well just long enough to keep fans interested, and then fading in August and September.  But not this year.  They took the lead in June and never looked back (and I started tracking their magic number in mid-July).  And they beat the Rays in convincing fashion in an elimination game 5.  And after a demoralizing start to the ALCS in game 1 (which I was at), they handled the Yankees with aplomb, winning the series 4-2.

And now the Rangers are finally in the World Series.  I sat in a hospital room earlier this evening with our one-day-old daughter in my arms, watching Feliz fan Rodriguez for the final out of the ALCS.  With that perspective, it's easy to see that baseball isn't the most important thing in life, but for somebody who has followed this sport, and this team, for so long, this season has been an exciting run.  I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks.

1 comment:

Züsi said...

Dear Heather and Hyrum
Congratulations on the arrival of your baby daughter!!!! (You hid the news very well within your baseball post, though). We hope everything is well and send you all our best wishes

Franziska + Oleg