I don’t remember much of Friday night at all, because the majority of it was spent in a euphoric state that I’ve never been in before. To the outside observer, the Rangers are going to the World Series, but it’s so much more than that for people who are from here. For people who live here and have followed the Rangers for years on in, this is a culmination of loyalty, missteps, enthusiasm, dread, and any other positive, negative, and unsure emotion you have as a fan of your team.
Some people are concerned that this World Series won’t be any good, or won’t be as good as a Yankees-Phillies matchup, because it lacks star power, and I have to admit that there’s some truth to those concerns. Like my boy DragonflyJonez said the other night, basketball fans had similar concerns when a Suns-Magic NBA Finals was a distinct possibility. Even the most die-hard basketball fan would be foolish to think everyone would want to watch something like that. However, that’s what knowledgeable fans are for. My job, along with Ed’s and Phil’s (Phil is a San Francisco Giants fan, so he’s just as hype as me) is to convince you this is something you want to be a part of. The best way to do that is to make it relate to you in such a fashion that you will, at the very least, change your channel to FOX during commercial breaks of Wednesday Night Basketball on ESPN, as well as NBA on TNT on Thursday.
Here is what we know: both of these teams have considerably smaller payrolls than what fans are used to seeing, at least compared to what the Red Sox, Yankees, or the Phillies have at their disposal. What that also does is allow you to become familiar with a crop of players you’re not used to seeing. Sure, we all like familiarity, but as sports fans, we also like to act like we’re either the first ones who see anything, or we love to crown something that’s simply amazing.
There are enough quality players in this series that haven’t been getting national recognition, but now that they are, you’ll be able to crown them, just from having the usual teams out of the mix. You won’t just see Cliff Lee, or as The Rev calls him, The Greatest Man who ever Lived. As much as we love the man down here, we also love C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Big Game Tommy Hunter, Neftali Feliz, and other pitchers who have contributed to this amazing run, and they’ll get a shot to show the country what we’ve seen all season long.
There’s something else to keep in mind, in regards to this series. There’s a certain feeling in knowing that Rangers fans realize how big this is. Hell, my first Rangers game I attended was at eight years old, and the amount of games I’ve been to since then can’t be counted. I never thought this day would come, and with that, there’s an appreciation that comes from seeing this, and this goes for just about any resident of Dallas-Fort Worth that has a vested interest in the Rangers’ success.
We’re gonna act like we’ve never been there before, because we've never been there before. It’s kind of like the Saints run last year. At first, I thought it was annoying, but the Saints fans truly enjoyed their magical run all season, and once they made it to the Super Bowl, their emotions were so raw, pure, and heart-felt that even if you didn’t care for the Saints, you felt them, and you wanted to see them succeed. Fans will be loud, fans will stay at the games the entire time, and anytime you see anything associated with the Rangers, you’ll know it’s authentic, because, as I said earlier, this is our first time playing meaningful baseball in late-October and into November.
When you see the Rangers on prime-time television, you, as a sports fan, are seeing a reflection of yourself. If you’re a fan of a team who’s never made it before, and you’re not familiar with the Rangers, this will give you an opportunity to see what it’s like to see a team, and a fan base, experiencing something amazing for the first time. Besides, you always remember your first time (I’m purposely leaving that statement open for interpretation). It’s that simple. You’ll see baseball played in its purest form, because Big Ron Washington preaches it like baseball gospel, and if there's one thing that's certain in life, it's that Ron Washington knows baseball (shout-out to GAC and Chris Navarre).
You’ll see a team full of players who have paid their dues to be here and understand the significance of this moment for the city. You’ll see a team playing so well that it’s making people (temporarily) forget about the other act in town that resides in Jerry’s World. You’re gonna get a team of players who respect the game, and in turn, we should give them the same.
Come Wednesday night, the rest of the country will see the product of 38 years of hard work, tough times, luck, down years, and great timing. Come Wednesday night, the country will see a reflection of itself, played out on the diamond. The part that makes it the most gratifying is what the country gets the pleasure to see is a product of home.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!