6:27 p.m. 10/27/2011: Every Texas Rangers fan is going through the same scenario in their minds right now – they are remembering their first trip to a Rangers game, and are still amazed how far this team has really come.
For the better part of 40 years the Texas Rangers were the also-rans of baseball – former Rangers beat writer Mike Shropshire’s memoir of his time covering the team is called ‘Seasons in Hell‘ for good reason. The Rangers, for most of our collective lives, have been awful. Those days are gone, but old times are not forgotten.
Granted, Rangers fans had their ‘wow’ moment last year, the season that ended with the Rangers in their first World Series.
But this year has been different. We fans have been able to sense from the team that they KNOW they are going to win their first World Champion crown.
As an old-school Texas Rangers fan, I’m going to go off script for a moment and write from the heart.
No, that does not mean I’m going to hate on everyone and call them a bandwagoner, or call out their true Rangers fan creds – I freely welcome you to the wagon, I’ve just been sitting here longer.
No, this little trip down memory lane is just that, a collection of memories that every Rangers fan can emulate – you all have your stories and emotions that are coming out as you watch.
I’ve been a Rangers fan since I was 6. I guess I could have said I’ve been one since birth, but the truth is I was a fan of the A-Team first, then the Transformers, then my Hot Weels. But I discovered baseball in 1985, and the Rangers have had my heart since.
NPR’s Robert Krulwich recently had an article about how we become fans of our father’s teams. As a child of divorce I have to say that was not the case for me. I became a fan of my mother’s team.
My mom was one of the few women I’ve met over the years who was truly passionate about baseball. I know there are plenty of women out there who love the game, but I didn’t know them as intimately as I did my mom.
My mom and I easily went to hundreds of games when I was growing up. She worked at a place where tickets were easy to come by, so we spent a lot of time in old Arlington Stadium, sitting along the 3rd base line and watching such powerhouse players as Oil Can Boyd, Don Slaught, and the great Bobby Witt.
I can’t explain cheering for Bobby Witt other than to say I recently came across his 1991 Fleer baseball card (the ones with the really bright yellow border) – so memories flood back of me sitting in our seats underneath the Diamond Suites. I carried a bag with me to hold a scorecard, some peanuts, and my baseball cards.
Those memories are made much more real each time the Rangers inch closer to the ultimate celebration in baseball. It’s almost like living through that as a fan gives you much more license to cheer than if you never experienced the bad years. We’ve had plenty of bad years.
I no longer have my mom here to cheer with during these games, but I know that if she were here she’d be cheering as loud as anyone. She would be one of those fans who dropped everything to get to St. Louis Wednesday only to have it called for rain. She wouldn’t have complained either – she’d make the most of the visit with other fans.
So tonight, Rangers fan, as you watch Game 6 remember those long summer nights at Arlington Stadium or the Ballpark, and think about the people who you watched them with. Cheer for these Rangers, because they are about to do something truly special for you – they are about to win the World Series.
P.S. – We know you have your memories, please share them below, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org