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Caught up with the Rangers

I’m in danger of being considered a bandwagon fan. Well I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Unlike many new Texas Ranger fans out there, I admit that whether or not the Rangers won or ever competed for a World Series was not one of my major concerns. Before moving to Ennis last July, that is.

At that time, not really having a baseball team near me my entire life, I found myself rooting for the Rangers. I read about them in the Dallas Morning News each day while living at the Quality Inn here in Ennis, and I watched their highlights on TV each night. On July 22, 2009, I became a Ranger fan. When I moved here, they were in the race for a playoff Wild Card spot with the Boston Red Sox. They came up short, but my love for the Rangers began to grow.

It’s always great to be part of something special, and as fans we want to throw our support behind a team who has a chance to do something great. Living vicariously is what being a fan is all about.

Another great thing for me personally is watching the Yankees lose (the Rangers got them twice this year — once in the ALCS and the other in getting Cliff Lee after the Yanks failed to do so). Having grown up a New Orleans Saints fan there’s always been something annoying about watching other teams always win (sorry but at the time it included the Dallas Cowboys and their five Super Bowl rings). Last year aside, the Saints haven’t won anything in 43 years as a franchise. That’s what made last year so important to those fans who’ve watched the Saints toil in not just mediocrity, but atrocious play.

That hasn’t exactly been the case here, but still it took 50 years to reach the World Series.

I remember when future Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan came to Arlington and put the Rangers on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball almost weekly in the early 1990s. Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzales and the home run hitting Rangers of the mid to late ‘90s were fun to watch, but not worth much in the playoffs.

Having Alex Rodriguez come over a decade ago for a quarter of a billion dollars was amazing and showed a potential commitment to winning in Texas. But that prize never came and the Rangers couldn’t pay A-Rod and field a competitive team (and now oddly enough they’re still paying for him).

That was until the Rangers began rebuilding. Trading one of their few stars Mark Texiera to the Braves a couple of years ago for several key players, signing former No. 1 draft pick and substance abuse violator turned baseball phenom Josh Hamilton were strokes of genius from a front office still trying to overcome their own demise caused by the A-Rod deal.

Then manager Ron Washington’s own substance abuse threatened to tear a promising team apart, only to rekindle their love for the game and closeness to each other.

That’s what had fans coming back to Arlington. Now a World Series appearance has the Rangers in the game for maintaining that status among great baseball teams in the American League.

Much like the Saints, the Rangers have never won anything. Until now. Now there’s an American League pennant banner awaiting the team to hang next year and hopefully will become an after thought if a World Series championship is in the cards.

These are moments that bring communities together. And as much as I hate bandwagonning, I just can’t help myself.

Now, thanks to Lee and Hamilton, the best pitcher and hitter in baseball respectively, and a bunch of guys playing ball for the love of the game, an entire region has awoken to baseball’s greatness. These are the moments that build a fan base.

The stories behind why they are in this position are what really have me. Lee’s ridiculous pitching efforts seem to appear each October by one pitcher for one team — this year he’s our guy (despite Game 1 of the World Series he’s still the most feared pitcher in baseball).

Josh Hamilton is playing baseball at its highest level making other grown men and dominating athletes look like boys struggling to keep up.

The turmoil and frustration of Ranger fans is something I can latch onto and relate to. From a fan who seriously thought about wearing a bag on my head to a Saints game in 1993, the Rangers play this year is exciting to watch. It’s great to see David knock off Goliath, as the Rangers did to the Yankees last week.

Bandwagonner or not, I hope you can forgive me or understand me. I’m a Ranger fan for all the wrong reasons, maybe, now I’ll try to earn my place among you Rangers.

Tre is not a diehard baseball fan, but enjoys the drama of the fall classic. Email you favorite moments as a baseball fan to him at tre@ennisdailynews.com. Whether you were at the game or not, we’d like to hear your story.

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Posted by on Oct 31 2010. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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