We’re Due

I’m pretty sure it was the weekend of my 10th birthday.

We’d driven for hours, packed in the family car like the Griswolds. When we pulled into the parking lot it became a relay, each attendant giving us another, more specific direction. Go here. Drive down there. Turn here. Until finally, park there.

My almost, but not quite, 10 year old brain could not keep my bearings. From the backseat, I couldn’t seem to get a landmark to follow.

We got out and walked for days. Yes, days. The parking lot was that big.

Entering through the turnstiles it seemed dark, gloomy even. What, from far away, had seemed so massive and majestic was, in reality, all concrete and metal. We walked up a ramp, through a tunnel, and the sun shone so bright it was disorienting. Once my eyes were adjusted, there lay before us a wide expanse of the greenest green my eyes had ever seen. I was looking at left field of Arlington Stadium, home of our, no MY, Texas Rangers.

I know we played the Kansas City Royals. I remember seeing Pete Incaviglia, Steve Buechele, Bo Jackson, Ruben Sierra, and Oddibe McDowell. We won 1 out of 3 against the Royals that weekend. If we were at the game we won, I also saw Charlie Hough pitch a complete game.

I’ve been a Rangers fan for as long as I can remember. I was also a Houston Oilers fan and a Texas Tech fan. With the exception of one glorious NCAA Womens’ Basketball National Championship being a fan of my teams has brought little more than heartache.

Photo Credit-Rick Stewart Sports Illustrated/CNN

Over the years, I would sit behind first base and watch Nolan Ryan pitch. I would see Pudge Rodriguez make some amazing plays on both defense and offense, and win a few awards along the way (9 Gold Gloves and an AL MVP as a Ranger). I even shook hands with John Wetteland a few times, and I was in the Ballpark when the Rangers clinched the AL West Division Title in 1999.

But nothing can compete with the pure feeling of joy and elation that will come with seeing the Texas Rangers play to win the American League Pennant. It’s been a long time coming, and whatever happens I will be rooting for the Good Guys against ARod, Mark Teixera and the rest of the Yankees until the very last out. We may not have the pinstripes or the payroll, but those guys play hard every game and dammit, we’re due.