G155: Rangers clinch AL West title with 10-3 sweep win!

The Rangers are the 99 AL West Champions!

Oh man – what a high! I was at this game and we won. We won big, we won at home, WE WON!
I’m running late at work, I won’t have time to write my commentary right now, but I will tomorrow. I’m actually going again tonight to the Mariners game (the final game of my 1999 Mini Plan package), so I’ll do this tomorrow.
I took a bunch of pictures with the digital camera of the game and the celebration, I’ll be posting them tomorrow, too. In the meantime, here’s one of me standing outside my car after the game was over. What you can’t see in this picture is that my car has a Texas Rangers license plate, and a window sticker on it, too. :)
UPDATE: As I sit down to write this on Tuesday afternoon, the game is a blur. I don’t remember much about the specifics of the game except for the Rafael Palmeiro grand slam that hit the foul pole. After that, the buzz (at least I felt this) was that the game was over when they hit that slam. Todd Zeile did have a home run earlier that felt good, but the Palmeiro slam was positively awesome. That’s the third Grand Slam I’d seen with my own eyes this year (the other two were another by Palmeiro and one by Roberto Kelly). This was just awesome.
It was really cool that my wife and I were at the game to see the win in person. What made this even sweeter was that we didn’t have to pay for the game. When Jim Lites took over as president of the Rangers, a package was sent out to all season ticket holders with a bunch of discount coupons and the like. One thing in there was a voucher for two free tickets to a game in September (you got to pick from three). We picked this game (back in August). What a lucky break that was. And to make matters even cooler, it was fan appreciation weekend, and we also got vouchers for two free tickets to a game in April or May of 2000! What a deal!
Thinking back to the game itself, Esteban Loaiza pitched really well, going 7 innings, allowing only four hits and one earned run. Matter of fact, he retired mostly everyone except for one inning. It was a nice bounce back from a few mediocre outings. Jeff Zimmerman though, wasn’t as dominating. He allowed another home run, and has shown in the second half of the season that he’s a “real person”. :) His ERA has gone up to 2.39, which is still awesome, but isn’t the same way he was pitching in the first half of the season. The rest of the game is a blur to me, I just remembered a few points, but the big deal here was the division title.
What was particularly cool about the post game celebration was that Chuck Morgan played Frank Sinatra’s “New York New York” on the PA while “Bring on the Yankees” was flashed on the scoreboard. They also played the locker room celebration that was shown on Fox Sports Southwest on the Jumbotron, which was very cool. They invited folks to stay in the stands to watch (normally, you get chased out quickly, which I never like). I was surprised more people didn’t hang around to watch it. It was very awesome.
I don’t know what else to say. It was totally awesome that we won this at home with a win, instead of backing into it like we did the previous two years. Perhaps this is an omen for further success in the playoffs. :)
UPDATE #2: The pictures I took at this game are now online. Check ’em out here.
My wife’s commentary:
WOW! This game can be summed up with just that one word. After being a Ranger fan (and season ticket holder) for the past three seasons, clinching the AL West at home with a big win was so sweet.
The Rangers did something in their pre-game activities that I hadn’t seen before. They played the video clip from the movie, “Rudy“, where the Head Coach of Notre Dame gives the pre-game speech: “No one, I mean NO ONE comes into our house and pushes us around…” The scoreboard below the Jumbotron kept flashing “OUR HOUSE”. I thought it was a great way to show the fans how big this game was to the Rangers. They also replayed the same video clip in the top of the 9th inning.
This was a long game, but the biggest offensive plays were Juan’s triple, Todd’s homerun, and Palmeiro’s grand slam. Where we were sitting (upper deck section 329), I thought the ball was foul until Joe yelled, “It hit the foul pole, it’s a grand slam!!!”. The house went crazy, and what made it even better was that Palmeiro came back out and tipped his hat to the fans. That was the first time that I saw that in person.
The Ranger’s fans were so into this game, and they were so LOUD!!! Mostly everyone stayed until the last out of the ninth, and the Ranger’s won the West. There were fireworks, and “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” was played. It was so great to see all the Rangers run out onto the field for such a big celebration. Then, it was announced that the clubhouse party would be shown on the Jumbotron for all the fans to enjoy. I do wish that the Rangers would have had some sort of ceremony on the field to include the fans more, but at least we could watch all the champagne flowing on the Jumbotron with thousands of other Ranger fans.
After the game, my voice was almost gone, and we were a bit sunburned, but it was so worth it. Let’s go Rangers, and get to the World Series!!