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WSG3: Oh my – Rangers win first ever home Series game, 4-2

Man, this was such a cool game/day, that I don’t even know where to start with it. There’s just so much to write about, so I guess I’ll just start at the beginning. Once I was done being daddy (had to watch the baby for awhile), I got my gear together, and took off. Since I was hitting a tailgate, I stopped by Kroger to pick up some beer, and some dogs and whatnot. When I was done, I took a picture of the World Series Tickets in my car at the Kroger parking lot, and headed off to Arlington. I left Garland at 1:52PM, and headed out Rt 30.
But that first picture of the tickets there. Man, I NEVER thought I’d be going to a World Series game. Much less one with the Texas Rangers in it. It’s one of those surreal moments. I suppose if I was going to a World Series game in some other town besides Arlington it might seem more “real”, know what I mean? I mean, I’ve been going to games at this ballpark since 1995, and at the height of going, I went to about 25-30 games a season for a few years there. I know the route from around where I live (near Lake Ray Hubbard at Garland/Rockwall border) to Arlington. So when I headed out there again yesterday, it felt on the drive like any other game. Even my walk from my parking spot to where the tailgate party was seemed like any other game. But that’s about where it stopped. I went and hit up my friend Mike Gonterwitz’s tailgate, and noticed as I got closer to his tailgate area that the mood was different. The banners, the fan speak, the language, there wasn’t one single thing I saw or heard I can point to which made it that “Aha!” moment, it was the collective group of everything I saw and heard that made it different. The fans felt different than the other playoff tailgate game I went to. It was fun, from talking baseball with people I didn’t know, to watching fans run through the parking lot with flags screaming “Go Rangers” to predictions of sweeping San Fran, to the wheel of sausage, it was just a blast, man! Didn’t hear as much of that with the tailgating, the various tailgaters didn’t interact with each other. Kind of surprised by that, but it was a lot of fun anyway. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of fun going on out there, but it seemed like a ton of separate little groups of people, it wasn’t nearly as communal as I thought it might be. Headed into the game around 5PM, as the pre-game started at 5:30. Definitely wanted to see that.

 

I have to say again that the concourses when there’s crowds as big as this are awful. I had to walk 3/4 of the way around the stadium, and there were about 3-4 places where it bottlenecked so badly, you were just stopped. Couldn’t move anywhere. It was worse than LBJ during rush hour. It is NOT helped by all the extra booths in the concourse where people try (hahaha) to stop. They really need to put LESS of that stuff in there. If you were claustrophobic, I could seriously see you having a panic attack. It was pretty bad. One cool moment was that I got to say hi to Dave Winfield, who was out in the Fox booth in center field. Saw some other fans acting goofy inside the stadium – it was awesome. Had a blast with the atmosphere.

  

Once I got to my seats it was great! I mean, the World Series. You hear those stories about when you’re a little kid walking through the concourse, and having one of those “seeing the field for the first time and being amazed” feelings. Well, at 45 last night, I had one of those again. I’ve seen a ton of games in this park. I know what it looks like very well. Yet when I walked into the park last night I had the oft told tale of seeing the green of the field moment. It was a blast just being there. I’m sure plenty of others had the same feeling, too!

They did the traditional opening ceremonies, including the introductions of the players, which if I’m not mistaken was the fourth time this happened this season (opening day, and first home game of the three rounds of the playoffs). I’ve seen all four in person. That stuff never gets old, along with the ritual booing of the other team. Of course, being a Philly fan, I had to get in a slightly louder one for Pat Burrell, who continues to be old Philly Pat, which means strikeouts all over the place. Rather large boos for Cody Ross, of all people.

Anyway, once the game got started it had a nice pace. Some games take far too long, and some just fly by. This one felt right. Perhaps it had something to do with me not scoring the game for the first time in ages, but it had a flow that felt good. Not too fast, not too slow, had a “sweet molasses” feel to it. That might sound stupid, but it’s how I felt. Really enjoyed that part of it.

Pitching wise, Colby Lewis started, and carried on his post season track record. His pitching line was pretty darned good, and was exactly what the Rangers needed in this Game 3. No way could we go down 0-3 and expect to win this thing. Colby went 7.2 innings, gave up five hits and two earned runs. Walked two and punched out six. His line was better than the two runs – as for the longest time, the Giants had no runs – they didn’t score at all until the 7th, and for awhile just two or three hits. Colby was awesome. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I was wrong about him. His return was not a desperation move like I thought it was at the time we signed him. This was a steal of a pickup. Japan fixed him, that’s for sure. Anyway, the two runs he gave up were both on solo home runs. One to Cody Ross in the seventh, and the other to Andres Torres in the 8th. Both were solo’s, so it didn’t hurt too much, but it did seem that Lewis was running out of gas just a little in the 8th. Darren O’Day came out to the big chant that gets done to his name, “Oh-DAY-Oh-Day-Oday. Oooo DAY o DAY!” Was a lot of fun despite the mood right around me of “Uh-oh. It’s the bullpen, look out!” After O’Day got his final out of the 8th, it was turned over to Neftali Feliz who was just lights out. 1-2-3, no problem. 13 pitches, two strikeouts. If there was any worry about Feliz not appearing in a situation so far in the World Series, this performance showed there was no concern. He just closed it, game over!

Offensively, our four runs all came on home runs, too. The big shot was in the second when Mitch Moreland got the hit of the series so far. A three run home run to right, scoring Cruz & Molina. He worked the count before that, looked like a guy either who had been there a million times, or it wasn’t a World Series game. Josh Hamilton added a no doubter later on, but Moreland’s was by far the moment of the series so far.

When the game ended, nobody really wanted to leave it seemed. It wasn’t quite a series clincher atmosphere, or what I imagine it would have been like to win the World Series totally at home, but man was IT FUN! This is where it got communal, with everyone high fiving each other, smiling about the game, just being “one fan”. It was a cool moment. Once we finally got started going out, we noticed that the Fox broadcast booth was behind our section. They were JUST coming on the air, and of course fans started hooting and hollering. My friend I was with (Jeff) and I just kind of mingled our way in there, as it was a fun moment. The fans there were really shouting LOUDLY “Let’s go Rangers!” over and over again. At one point Ozzie Guillen turned around with a look on his face like “What the hell?” He turned back around again, and during the time they were on the air, he turned around and blew the crowd kisses a few times. It was funny, because several people started shouting Ozzie’s name, which prompted me to say “What is this, a Black Sabbath concert?” It was a blast, and I was showing my hat, doing the claw, and when the crowd was chanting Ozzie’s name, I did the Molloy (look it up, it’s an old Jewish custom). Anyway it was right around this time that my daughter at home was watching the post game stuff with Lynn, and Samantha saw me on TV. She apparently got SO excited that she dropped her ice cream all over her shirt, and started bouncing off the walls. Lynn broke out the camera at home, and of course, I’m captured doing the Molloy thing (also is close to the Longhorns “Hook ‘em Horns” salute), not the claw or my hat or something. Check it out:

When I finally got out of the stadium, there was more goofiness. People with signs, everyone screaming, yelling, it was a seriously intense post game feel. More high fives, and whatnot. I took a stroll past my tailgate area, but none of them had left yet, so I headed back to the car to go home.

Even then it didn’t stop – I had about 3 or 4 people ask me as I walked by what I thought of the game, what I thought of the series. When I finally did make it to my car, there were about half a dozen people who had camped out in the exit lanes of the parking lot high fiving everyone who was driving by. When I got past them, there were people lining the streets urging the cars to honk their horns.

This was probably the single most fun Texas Rangers game I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot of them. Finally fulfilled a kid’s dream of going to a World Series game.

I have Chris Wilson of Fleishman-Hillard and Donna McLallen of Chevrolet (I think she’s with Chevy) for hooking me up with all of this. I’ve been doing a promotion for them by driving around a 2011 Chevy Cruze car that has antlers on it and the Antler Yourself website on the side. They hooked me up with the tickets to the game last night, and I wouldn’t have been there without them. I’m thankful to both of them for helping to fulfill this kid’s dream.

I think a good summary of this game would be this song, which should be totally familiar to Ranger fans.