Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm a Born-Again Texas Ranger fan! (redux)

With two outs in the top of the 9th, I wonder what Alex Rodriguez was thinking when he stepped up to the plate against the Rangers.

“That’s right – I’m Alex Rodriguez and I’m in the house. Time for you little boys to learn why I get paid the big bucks.” Either that or, “Alex, Alex, I’m your man. If I can’t do it, nobody can.” And I'm sure in his mind he thought it with an Antonio Banderas accent.

But, as we all know, Mighty Casey struck out (I feel quite certain as he headed toward the locker room, A-Rod thought, "I want my mommy"), and now the Rangers are in the World Series, making history as we speak.

Oh, did I mention I was a Ranger fan? Well, to be honest, I never gave them much thought until they were winning, which proves I’m a shallow guy who only jumps on the sports bandwagon when a winner is in town – but I’m sure there are a lot of other “born again” fans out there just like me, so don’t judge me too harshly.

You see, it takes a mature mind to appreciate the game of baseball. It’s not for those of us who are constant channel surfers, or people who need continuous oral or visual stimulation. I’m sure Wall Street financiers detest the game, and it’s too fast-paced for peach farmers.

No, it takes a mature mind to sit and watch practically nothing for hours and then get excited at extra innings where you can sit and watch practically nothing for a little bit longer. But I actually did get excited about the Rangers winning the pennant for the first time, even though I have no idea what a pennant is, or how you're supposed to wear one.

I guess my problem is I just don’t know much about the game. In fact, everything I do know about baseball I learned from the late comedian George Carlin. He said, and I paraphrase, baseball is a game played on a field by men who hit a ball with a stick and run real fast to get home where it’s safe.

(You have to admit, George Carlin had a way with words.)

And now, since last Friday, I’m a true blue Texas Ranger fan, and I think this love affair will last at least for another week. Who knows, I might even buy a Ranger T-shirt, or a sweatband. I might even start quoting stats to my friends and neighbors, and reading the box scores, or whatever they’re called.

“Wow, did you watch that game last night? The stadium was packed. That’s 2 for 3 in the ‘standing room only’ category. And if everybody ate 1.4 bags of peanuts, that’s well over 100,000 tossed bags without relief throwers in the bullpen, not to mention the hotdogs and beer.”

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand baseball stats, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

Let me wrap up this story by saying this: I’m glad the Rangers made it to the World Series, and even if they lose, they have still accomplished something that my grandpa would have said was "a foolish waste of time enjoyed by rich boys who have no idea what it's like to milk cows, or eat potatoes for a week because that's all you got, or mow yards just to bring in a little money to provide food and shelter for the ones you love. It's just a game."

Yes, grandpa -- but oh what a game.

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