October 2010

Speechless

When I blogged before yesterday’s game, I thought that the Rangers HAD to play better in Game 2, because after their miserable performance in Game 1, it couldn’t get any worse.

I was wrong.

Game 2: Giants win 9-0.

Highs and Lows

Wow, what a drastic difference in the Rangers’ performance in their last 2 games!
Let’s start with the good. I was fortunate enough to attend Friday’s game, and it was absolutely magical. I mean, the ballpark was electric. Everyone knew that the Rangers could possibly clinch the AL title that night, and we were on pins and needles.
There were lots of ominous-looking clouds, and the threat of rain weighed heavy on everyone’s minds. And sure enough, when they were doing the pre-game ceremonies, it started raining.
It wasn’t bad at first, just sprinkles. But about halfway through the national anthem, the downpour came. But the guy who was singing the national anthem did a fabulous job.
Coincidentally, he was the guy who sang “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” and he handled it like a pro. He didn’t have an umbrella, but he didn’t speed up the pace of the song to get through sooner, and he didn’t go off-key. Impressive!
The rain stopped soon after the anthem was finished, and it only rained one other time all night – during the 1st inning. We had great seats, on the 1st deck 22 rows up from the 1st base bag. But we stood up for 80% of the game.
My step-dad (Larry) actually got us the tickets, and he and my mom accompanied me and my friend Matt Pesta. (Hi Pesta!)
My mom is NOT a baseball fan, and she said that someone at her work actually told her that she didn’t deserve to go to a playoff game because she didn’t know what the Claw and Antlers meant. I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment, but she really got into it and had a great time!
She was a little crabby through the first inning, because she got wet. But I called her out on it, (nicely, of course, the loving daughter that I am) and she made a concerted effort to have fun. Thanks, Mom!
The people around us definitely made our experience better too. Every out that Colby Lewis recorded was an occasion for high fives all around. I’m talking everybody behind us, next to us, and in front of us. It was great!
After the 7th inning, when the Rangers were leading 6-1, it started to dawn on people (including myself) that we only needed to get 6 more outs to win the game. From that point on, everybody was holding up fingers to signify how many more outs we needed.
The instant that A-Rod struck out, ending the game and sending the Rangers to the World Series for the first time ever, the stadium erupted, of course. But what I didn’t expect was all the red, white, and blue confetti that shot out from somewhere up above. It was everywhere!
The Rangers started celebrating by spraying each other with ginger ale, and the MLB people set up a stage on the field for the presentation of the awards.
Mrs. Gene Autry presented the American League Championship trophy to Nolan Ryan, because Gene Autry used to own the Angels when Nolan played with them or something. Then the emcee interviewed Nolan, Chuck, Wash, and JD.
Finally, Josh Hamilton was presented with the ALCS MVP award, and he was wonderful. First he said that he wanted to thank God, and then he thanked his teammates. When the emcee asked him about his performance in the ALCS, he said “I don’t want to talk about me; I want to talk about my teammates.”
He’s such a great person.
People stayed on the field for a long time doing interviews and such. My mom and Larry took off, but Pesta and I stayed for another hour or so, down by the Rangers’ dugout.
We were yelling at everybody on the field, and we even got some (semi)famous people to come over and talk to us! Dale Hansen, Mike Doocy, Emily Jones, and Tom Grieve each came over to speak to the fans.
After we finally left the ballpark, Pesta and I were still pretty amped up, so we decided to stop by IHOP. Seriously, I didn’t get home until around 2 AM! That was hands down the best experience I have ever had at the ballpark!!
And on the opposite end of the spectrum we have what happened last night in Game 1 of the World Series.
Cliff Lee was on the mound for the Rangers, and Tim Lincecum took the hill for the Giants. It was supposed to be a low-scoring game because of the pitchers, and the Rangers were favored to win.

Both assumptions were incorrect.

The final score of the game was 11-7 Giants. Cliff Lee started the game looking like the better pitcher, because Tim Lincecum started off with a brain fart that lasted about 2 innings.
The Rangers got on the board early with one run in each of the first 2 innings. In the bottom of the 3rd, however, the Giants tied it up 2-2. But that wasn’t what got us.

If I had to pinpoint one thing that caused the Rangers loss it would have to be… that Cliff Lee gave up 6 freaking runs in the 5th inning!!!
The bottom of the 5th started out with the score tied. But by the time the Rangers finally got 3 outs, the score was 8-2 Giants.

Yeah, that inning was torture.

The Rangers also made 4 errors last night, and 2 of them were made by Vlad Guerrero in right field.
I love Vladdy, and he’s got a great bat. How many other baseball players do you know that can hit a ball after it’s bounced in the dirt or that’s a foot outside the strike zone?? But he should NOT play in the outfield!!!
The one bright spot in the game was when Cliff Lee got a double off Tim Lincecum. It was beautiful! He showed bunt, and then pulled the bat back and launched one into the gap!
As disappointing as last night’s game was, I have faith that the Rangers can come back tonight and even up the series. The ballplayers that took the field last night were not the Rangers we’ve all come to know and love.
Let’s just chalk last night up to the fact that none of the Rangers had played in a game for at least 4 days. Last night, we knocked the rust off, and tonight we’re back in playing shape. GO RANGERS!!!

Amazing!

Last night, one of the announcers mentioned that it was hard coming up with new superlatives to explain Cliff Lee’s performance. Let me try:

Amazing, Astounding, Awesome, Beautiful, Catastrophic, Delightful, Dominant, Excellent, Fabulous, Fantastic, Great, Ingenious, Marvelous, Masterful, Outstanding, Phenomenal, Resplendent, Sterling, Transcendent, Tremendous, Wonderful, and ultimately…

VICTORIOUS!!

I’ll admit it; I was worried about Cliff Lee in July and August. He wasn’t pitching well and no one knew why. I had blind faith that he would help us in the postseason, but I worried.

Now, it appears that my worry was completely baseless. But hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Just in case you were under a rock last night and didn’t hear about the game, I’ll elaborate: Cliff Lee fired 122 pitches in 8 innings with 1 walk, 2 hits, 13 strikeouts and no runs.

Yes, that’s right, the Rangers blanked the Yankees in an ALCS game! IN THEIR HOUSE!

In the top of the 1st inning, Michael Young got on base (he was 3 for 5 on the night, btw) and Josh Hamilton launched a homer over the right field wall, putting the Rangers up 2-0.

But that was the only bad pitch delivered by Andy Pettitte, who did a great job for the Yankees over 7 innings of work. He gave up just 5 hits and no walks while throwing 110 pitches.

There was no more scoring until the 9th inning, when the Rangers ran away with the game by scoring six more runs. I was giggling like a little kid!

In the bottom of the 9th, Neftali Feliz closed it out, and the Rangers won 8-0.

Tommy Hunter will pitch tonight against A.J. Burnett. Tommy pitched in Game 4 of the ALDS, and he lost that game, posting a 4.50 ERA. But in the regular season he was 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA.

A.J. did not have to pitch in the ALDS, since the Yankees swept the Twins in 3 games, so he hasn’t pitched in a game in 17 days. He was 10-15 in the regular season with a 5.26 ERA.

But he’s 4-3 with a 3.66 ERA against Texas. And last year, he pitched for the Yankees in Game 2 of the World Series, and he was dominant.

It won’t be easy, but I think the Rangers definitely have a solid chance to make it to the World Series. But I’m kind of hoping that the Yankees win either tonight or tomorrow, which would force a Game 6, because I have tickets. And I would love to see the Rangers clinch at home!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 90-72, 5-3 postseason
My Rangers’ record: 16-10, 0-3 postseason
Days ’til my next (potential) game: 2

Merry Cliffmas!!

Wow, has it really been 2 weeks since my last blog posting? Once again, I apologize for my dereliction of duty. But I DO have a real job and family and friends that need my attention.

Okay, so… the past 2 weeks have been a wild ride! I went to the last regular season Rangers’ game of the year, and even though the Rangers lost the game, IT WAS AMAZING!

I’ve gone to the last game of the season several times in recent years, but this year it felt completely different.

That’s because in previous years, I always knew that it really was the last Rangers’ game for 6 months. But not this year!!

Because we made the playoffs this year, there was a completely different atmosphere in the ballpark for that final game of the regular season. No one was really that disappointed when the Rangers lost, because everyone knew the game didn’t matter and the Rangers would soon get to play in games that DID matter!

Since the Rangers are post-season newbies and the Tampa Bay Rays can’t seem to get any fans in their ballpark, both of the first 2 games were on while I was at work. I couldn’t pay really close attention to them, but the Rangers completely dominated those games.

Cliff Lee put David Price to shame in Game 1, and C.J. Wilson dazzled in Game 2. It was beautiful, and I couldn’t wait for the Rangers to come back to Arlington!

I had tickets to both Saturday and Sunday’s games in Arlington, but I didn’t think that Sunday’s game would be necessary. My dad and I took brooms to the ballpark, and I truly believed that the Rangers would sweep the Rays.

My dad wore his beloved antler batting helmet, which got a lot of praise, of course! We arrived at the ballpark early, and we were sitting in our seats when Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas spotted the antlers and made his way over to us for an interview.

I had met Richard back in January through TR Sullivan, but he didn’t realize that the “antler man” was with me until after he had already introduced himself to my dad. It was kind of a “hey, small world” moment.

Here is a link to the article: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/texas-rangers/post/_/id/4855711/fans-arrive-early-pumped-for-game-3

The atmosphere at the ballpark on Saturday was absolutely electric! The Rangers were leading until the late innings, when Tampa Bay surged and overtook them. I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach.

But I wasn’t too worried, because the Rangers could still beat the Rays at home on Sunday, and I would be there for that game as well.

But Sunday’s game was even more pathetic than Saturday’s had been. And so it was down to the final game in Florida last night.

I met some friends of mine (and my dad) at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the game, and I’m so glad I did! They had the game on just about every TV in there, and there were a ton of Rangers’ fans.

Every time a Ranger would get a hit or Cliff Lee would work himself out of a jam, there would be spontaneous applause. I was doing “the Claw” with complete strangers!

About the 7th inning, when the Rangers were leading 3-1, I looked across the table at my childhood friend Rachel. I said, “Holy $#!+, Rach. They could actually win this game and make it past the first round of the playoffs for the first time ever!”

“Oh wow, they really might do it!” she said with wide eyes. And that was when it really sunk in for me.

Ian Kinsler’s 2-run home run in the 8th solidified the Rangers lead, making the final score 5-1. Coincidentally, Game 1 of this series was played in Tampa Bay with Cliff Lee and David Price as the starting pitchers, and the Rangers won 5-1. Hmm…

Cliff Lee was phenomenal, throwing 120 pitches for a complete game. Cliff Lee is now 7-0 in the playoffs. Maybe he should be the new Mr. October!

I didn’t make it home last night until about 11:00, and I didn’t get to bed until after midnight. So I’ve been pretty bleary-eyed all day. But elated!

I have tickets to the first ALCS game this Friday, and I’m excited about the game, but it will be a bittersweet day.  I don’t mean to depress everybody, but I just found out that my only remaining grandparent has passed away. He was 91 years old, so he lived a long and happy life, but it’s still tough.

Anyway, his funeral will most likely be on Friday morning. Hopefully the Rangers will whip some Yankee butt for my Paw Paw’s sake. He LOVED the Rangers!!

But the Yankees still scare me. Oh, by the way, I already bought World Series tickets. Since I had a 16-game mini-plan this year, they let me buy tickets during the pre-sale today. So if the Rangers make it that far, I’ll be there!

I love you, Paw Paw! LETS GO RANGERS!!

Overall Rangers record: 90-72 / 3-2 in the playoffs
My Rangers’ record: 16-10 / 0-2 in the playoffs
Days ’til my next game: 2

How awesome!

When the Rangers celebrated their AL West championship, Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson couldn’t participate in the celebration. Josh is a recovering alcoholic/drug addict, and C.J. made a personal decision not to ever consume alcohol.

But to celebrate their ALDS win, the Rangers decided that they should be included, so the beer/champagne shower was replaced by… ginger ale!!

http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101013&content_id=15608712&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

So awesome! Another blog will be coming today to discuss the ALDS champion Rangers!

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