Amazing ride

Wow, this year has been amazing ride for the Rangers. I’m actually kind of looking forward to the 3 months before Spring Training starts, so that I can recuperate. I don’t think my heart could have taken too much more.

I went to the 1st World Series game ever in Arlington, which was Game 3 on Saturday. And it was absolutely magnificent!!!

My dad and my friend Matt Pesta met me at my apartment at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, and we arrived at the Ballpark a few minutes before 10:00. We headed to the parking lot where we usually park by the 1st base entrance (Lot A)… but a rope was across the entrance and there were no parking lot attendants to be found.

We were actually the 1st people to arrive at that lot, and we looked around for a while not knowing what to do. Daddy asked Pesta to check the rope to see if it could be easily removed, and lo and behold… it was unlocked! We decided to go ahead and park the truck, and we would pay the parking lot attendants as soon as they arrived.

We had just started to unload our chairs out of the back of the truck when a security guard drove up. He told us that the lots weren’t opening until noon, so we had to move the truck. He said that we could go ahead and set up the chairs and stuff in the parking space that we wanted, though, and we could park the truck right by the parking lot entrance.

At this point, about half a dozen other cars had shown up to tailgate as well. We passed along the message and everybody started staking their claims.

Pesta and I decided to go to the Majestic Grand Slam Gift Shop to buy a bunch of World Series stuff, while my dad walked around talking to all of the other tailgaters.

The gift shop was absolutely slammed! I felt like I was in a can of sardines! But I got a World Series shirt, and I got Dad a World Series hat (because I couldn’t find any WS shirts in XXXL!)

Pesta and I had to wait in line for forever, and we headed back to the tailgaters at around 11:30. My back was killing me after standing around for so long, so we just hung out until they opened the parking lot. After Dad parked and got the grill set up, Pesta and I left to walk around the stadium and take pictures.

As we walked, we saw Giants fans scattered here and there. When I saw the first ones, I muttered, “Oh crap. Here we go,” as I rolled my eyes. “Hey, no,” Pesta said. “I have a lot of respect for them, because they have the courage to come out here in enemy territory wearing Giants stuff. I mean, if you had the opportunity to go to the World Series games in San Francisco, wouldn’t you show up sporting your Rangers’ gear?”

I admitted that he was right. If the situation was reversed, I would totally be the obnoxious Rangers’ fan at AT&T Park. So we decided to be nice to them, so that they didn’t go back to California talking about how rude everybody was in Texas. Texans are supposed to be known for being friendly.

Pesta walked up to a couple, shook their hands, and asked if they had traveled here all the way from San Francisco. And it turned out that they were actually very nice! Pesta offered to take a picture of the two of them with their camera, so that they could have a picture with both of them in it.

And then they wanted to take a picture of us, because they said they wanted to remember the nice Rangers’ fans. Aww!!

Next we saw an older gentleman by himself wearing a Giants’ jacket, and we ended up talking to him for quite a while. It turned out that he was actually born in New York (and he had a New York accent), but he lives in San Francisco now and the Giants have become his team.

He talked about how great it was that the Giants were in the World Series again, because they hadn’t won the World Series since 1954. “But the Rangers have NEVER been in the World Series,” I said, “so I’m sorry, but you’re going down!”

He took my good-natured trash talking in stride, and when we said goodbye, I told him that I hoped that other Rangers’ fans wouldn’t be too rude to him. His reaction? “Honey, I’m from New York. I know all about rude fans.” OOH, BURN!!!

Then we happened to run into a Giants’ fan wearing a fake black beard (in support of Giants’ closer Brian Wilson), and Pesta got a picture of me and him. Score!

Just as we were finishing our circuit, our friend Rachel called to say that she was entering the parking lot where my dad had set up. (She was the owner of our 4th World Series ticket.) We told her we were on the way and headed back to the truck.

When we got there, Rachel had already found my dad, and we found out that she had brought her dad just for the tailgating. (He lives in Arlington anyway.) The more the merrier!

While we had been gone, Dad had been cooking up hamburgers and hot dogs. So after we all hugged hello, it was already time to eat!

And bravo, Daddy, because that food was absolutely delicious!! I mean, seriously, I don’t know what you did, but it was perfect!

While we were eating, a guy came around selling special commemorative “Rangers’ editions” of the Fort Worth Star Telegram for a dollar apiece. He barely got the first sentence out before I blurted out, “Only a dollar? Sure, we’ll take a bunch! We’re not a hard sell!” All 5 of us ended up getting one.

As we were putting all the food up, a guy walked through selling t-shirts. “Whatcha got there?” I asked. They were royal blue shirts with a big picture of Ron Washington’s smiling face in the middle, along with the slogan, “That’s how baseball go.”

“Oh my gosh, I HAVE to have one of those!!” I exclaimed. So $15 later, I was changing my shirt in the cab of the truck. And I tell you what, it was probably the best $15 I’ve ever spent!

Next we wandered ‘next door’ to talk to the other tailgaters. They had a little trailer set up with a big screen TV and a beer tap! Plus they had ridiculous amounts of food (3 briskets, hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst…), and they even brought their own portable potty!

These people have truly perfected the art of tailgating. They were longhorns, which caused me to recoil initially, but they turned out to be very nice people. Pesta and the “patriarch” of the family (Gabriel) even exchanged phone numbers, and they invited us to come tailgate with them during the A&M/tu game this Thanksgiving!

While Pesta, Rachel, and I were talking to them, by dad bought us these World Series lanyards with a clear plastic place on the end to put your ticket. “Seriously, Dad? This thing was $10! What a waste of money!” I said.

But then he showed me the pin that came with it. It said “World Series 2010. I WAS THERE.” Now how awesome is that??

Wow, I haven’t even talked about the game yet! Okay, we headed into the stadium at about 5:00, and even though the game didn’t start until 6:57, the place was already crowded. We made our way to our seats, and the journey up to the top of the 3rd deck was treacherous, but once we got up there, I realized that our seats were actually pretty awesome.

We were sitting on the 1st base side between home plate and 1st base (really closer to home plate), and we were seriously like 5 rows from the very top. But the view was amazing, and the ballplayers didn’t look like ants!

The only thing I didn’t like was that the incline is so steep up there, and every time I had to use the steps, I felt like I was gonna pass out. I have terrible balance (an unfortunate side effect from The Accident), so me + steep steps = a very scary situation.

The vendors also don’t visit the 3rd deck as often. Or if they do, they stand at the bottom and wait for someone to flag them down. Only a couple of vendors actually climbed the steps to hawk their wares.

So that meant that I had to brave the stairs in order to get something to eat, which brings me back to my origina
l complaint.

If it wasn’t for those 2 things, I’d get my season ticket plan for next year on the 3rd deck. I liked the view as much as I like the view from the Corner Box, and but Corner Box tickets are like 3 times more expensive!

And the people on the 3rd deck are a lot more fun! Someone was always starting a chant, and it would get picked up immediately by everyone in the general vicinity.

Man, the more I think about it, the more I want to get season tix on the 3rd deck! Maybe I could get some on one of the first few rows of the 3rd deck, so I wouldn’t have to climb stairs very often. Hmm…

Anyway, the Rangers were up 3-0 in the 2nd inning due to a 3-run homer by Mitch Moreland, but after Josh Hamilton hit a solo homer in the 5th inning, we were winning 4-0. That was when I actually realized that the Rangers were probably going to win, and that I would be witness to the Rangers 1st World Series victory EVER!

Those last few innings were very stressful, because the Giants started to chip away at the Rangers’ 4-run lead. They were able to get 2 solo homers of their own, one in the 7th and one in the 8th, and I was afraid the Rangers would lose their fragile 2-run lead.

Colby Lewis was magnificent, giving up only 1 run on 3 hits over 7 2/3 innings. I worried about Colby, because it was hard to remember how good he could be when he wasn’t getting any run support. But obviously, my worries were unfounded.

I just can’t believe my good fortune baseball-wise this year. I was there when the Rangers clinched the ALCS for the first time in history, and I was also there for the Rangers’ first World Series game ever (and first World Series WIN)!

Unfortunately, the game I attended was the only Rangers’ World Series win, and the Giants became the World Champions in 5 games. During the entire World Series (even the game they won), it just looked like the Rangers were tired.

Maybe it was because they’re not used to playing for so long. Mid February through the beginning of November makes for a long season!

Fortunately for us, we have a new ownership group who can finally infuse some cash into the team, we signed Ron Washington for 2 more years, we have a great bunch of players, and now we have some post-season experience. You’d better watch out for the Rangers over the next few years!

Words can’t fully describe how amazing this season was for the Rangers, and I am so glad that I got to be a part of it. I can’t wait until the start of the 2011 season!!

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