Archive | November, 2010

Root Root Root for the Home team

4 Nov

Let me start off by saying I’m very proud of the Texas Rangers. I grew up a Cowboys fan and was 14 the first time we won a Super Bowl. It was a big deal. I lived in Dallas for three Super Bowl wins.

It was cool, but after the first one, everyone always expected the Boys to win. We were used to it. Texas is a football state. And Dallas was a Dynasty even before I was born. My dad and my uncles were alive when they won titles in the 70’s.

They always told me stories of when they were great. Legends of Tony Dorsett, Randy White, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Roger Staubach, Cliff Harris, Mel Renfro.

And because of that I was just waiting my turn for my own moments to witness “Super Bowl Greatness” and in 1992 it came.

But I never in my life imagined or dreamed that there was a chance the Rangers would ever make it to the World Series in my lifetime.

Well I realized a couple of weeks ago, that truly anything is possible.

I was rooting for the Mavs in ’06 and I ‘d have been happy if they’d have won. But I’ve never really been a Mavs fan like I was Rangers and Boys, they just sucked too much during my formative sports years. They were atrocious. The joke around Dallas was that they’d win less games than the Dallas Cowboys. In fact I think they won one more game I think in 1993. They were terrible.

So when I started watching basketball my favorite player was Philly’s Charles Barkley and when he got traded to the Suns I rooted for them and the New York Knicks (for whatever reason I really liked Xavier McDaniel who played for them then–plus I hated Jordan)

But before the Cowboys became relevant again, I was in love with the loveable losers, the Texas Rangers. They were always a pitcher or two from making some noise in the AL West (this was back when the A’s won the division every year for like six straight years)

They always had the bats but never enough pitching and always lacked the fielders. But they were charming. I used to go to old Arlington Stadium. My first game there was a double header experience with Nolan Ryan pitching the nightcap after Charlie Hough pitched during the day game. We brought food and drinks into the bleachers and it was a big party. Wally Joyner and Dave Winfield played for the Angels back then–as did Luis Polonia.

This was 1989. I spent the next 6 summers in agaony watching those guys lose. But they had personalities and good players and would score 8 runs but give up 11.

But Nolan then was the big draw. Everything he did was legendary. No hitters, big curveballs for strikeouts and high heat. I remember him striking out Wade Boggs four times in a game once. It was incredible.

A true Texas Legend

Every fifth day was pure excitement. What was going to happen? What milestone were we going to see? Who could he strike out next? Alomar? Bo? Rickey? If I didn’t watch many games, I always made sure to tune in when Nolan pitched. The Rangers (and baseball) were a bigger part of my teenage years than anything else.

I even had my senior prom at The Ballpark in Arlington. Where I spent half of it looking out at the field in awe instead of dancing.

They finally made the playoffs in 96 and I was on board but the Yankees then stood in our way and the extra round of playoffs seemed to cheapen the whole affair for me. So it didn’t hurt at all during those years. I was heavy into my own life and there was the strike of ’94 and I had bigger fish to fry at that point. College was looming and as well as the necessity of getting out of my Dad’s house.

So I kept up with them but always at a distance and I didn’t even watch baseball for at least a couple of years. I knew they were good this year but in the back of my mind was a wait and see approach. They had to get through the summer first, then past the first round to peak my interest.

And sure enough they did. And sure enough they did again. And sure enough they did again.

I watched World Series and rooted for other teams and it was always great when someone beat the Yankees but it wasn’t until last month when I really understood what its like to see your hometown actually get “in.”

I almost cried after the last Yankee out. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
And it’s only now that I really understand. And its really changed my perspective on what it means to be a sports fan. I can root against the Lakers and root for the Celtics because they have a lot fo my favorite players. I was extremely happy when the Celts won the title in ’08. Because it was against the Lakers and because I liked the Celtics team.

But it wasn’t nearly the sense of satisfaction of seeing my hometown Rangers win against the dreaded Yankees (the team that always drubbed us in the mid ’90s). I felt like I had a stake in the team’s destiny. I felt like they’d won it for my grandmother who didn’t quite make it to see our favorite team make the World Series.

This girl at my job is a Yankees fan and and she’s not from New York. She’s from Tulsa. If they ‘d have won, she’d have been happy but how happy could she have been in comparison to sombeone who’s hometown wins? She’s never even been to New York. She has no real stake in it other than hating Texas (and why would anyone hate Texas? It’s the greatest country in the world)

It aint the same man. Not even close.

Now I know what it feels like to root for my home team in the World Series and now I know how it feels to be dealt a crushing blow when that World Series opponent hits a game winning home run. It hurts. And I felt it immediately, but also I felt grateful just to be in the position to feel that pain–kinda like yer first true love and consequent heartbreak.

And it hurt to see the Giants celebrate the title. It hurt almost as badly as when the Niners took the title away from the Cowboys in 1994.
(And now I have even more reasons to hate the city of San Francisco. And I thought it was because they’re stuck up and pretentious– but it runs deeper than that doesn’t it?)

Watching those teams celebrate was like watching my worst enemy get married to my one true love, and having to watch helplessly from the pews.

All you kept hearing was how SF was a baseball town and how there was gonna be a huge party when they won. I’m sorry. I’m calling bullshit. I’ve spent lots of time in San Francisco and I know their definition of a party.

It involves a lot of wine and a little bit of dope and everyone leaves around 11pm , and the party dies down around 1:15 and then people go to sleep. Fuck that. THey don’t know what partying is. I’m from Texas and I went to college in Denton and in Austin. I know a good party when I attend one and I can honeslty say that they do not know how to party in San Fran. (L.A. maybe but that usually involves cocaine–and that to me is cheating)

I’m proud of my boys though. I just wanted them to beat the Yankees and everything else was a bonus. I can’t say they’ll be back because you never know. But I thoroughly enjoyed this playoff run and I’m grateful that the Rangers gave me a reason to tune into baseball again. Congratulations on a great season fellas.

Our first true ace since the legendary Nolan Ryan

Mick

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

4 Nov

I put an end finally to my facebook account. I feel free.
There reasons I had started my account were no longer applicable.
I’ve got nothing to hock on the internet and frankly it wasn’t helping me at all. So long to social networks. I wanna minimize my internet interactions to emails.

I’ll miss the pictures of everyone I can’t possibly keep up with day to day. I’ll miss the updates about so and so getting engaged. But I won’t miss the dumb posts that half of my friends put on their walls. I won’t miss the dumb posts that I caught myself leaving either.

I’m sure I can find better things to do with my time, like practicing Spanish, planning my next trip and studying for my upcoming certification tests. No room for superficial relationships right now. I need to be more present. Lock it down. Tighten up.

Mick