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Last night, the impossible happened.
The past 4-5 years have seen quite a few think happen in my own sports world. The UTA Mavericks finally reached the World Series, and then they finally opened a true sports arena to play in.
Compared to those, the Rangers finally making the World Series was more possible but no less wonderful. But the most unlikely event happened last night when, for the first time ever, the team drew three million in attendance – essentially the magic mark for baseball popularity.
The team commemorated this by getting everyone in attendance that night to pout on “Ranger Republic” shirts during the sixth inning. (And Chuck Morgan didn’t even need to constantly berate them like the Maverick’s Sean Heath does.) Following that inning, the person designated as the official there millionth was given season tickets for his family for next year.
Am i glad this has happened? Of course I am. This is absolutely necessary for any hope that this franchise will become stable.
Does this mean I can finally stop my harsh criticism toward the supposed lack of true support the Rangers get and will finally start saying yes, this has become a baseball town?
I’m sorry. I just can’t yet.
Imagine you were the kid that got picked on in school all the time. The cool kids slammed you into the lockers, the pretty girls always looked upon you with disdain, and everyone on campus tried to drill into your head that you were a worthless loser that would never amount to anything. Now it’s 20 years later, you show up at the reunion having completely transformed yourself into a Wall Street tycoon with a Greek god-like body, and suddenly all those ex-classmates now want to be your friend..But deep down, you know they’re all phonies, because you remember what they’r ere ally like.
That’s more or less how I can’t help but feel.
One single year of the Rangers finally reaching that magic mark can’t just make up for nearly 20 years of the overwhelming majority of DFW, be it in the streets, the newspapers or the airwaves, spewing hate toward this team and the sport and treating it’s die-hard fans like less than second class citizens.
And no, the excuse of “this is a winner’s town” doesn’t work. If that was the case, the Dallas Cowboys would have been playing to half capacity crowds years ago due to their repeated abysmal failures.
Yes, I’m going back to the elephant in the room that my followers wish I would stop talking about. The Rangers’ inability to get any love from this area for, well, ever, has little to do with supposed lack of success on the field but the ginormous shadow of a football team that still insists on calling itself America’s Team when most of America hates them as much as the New York Yankees.
As long as I have given full support to Rangers baseball, I have endured the disdain, ridicule and abuse from Cowboys and football fans. You know the type – those who believe baseball (along with other sports) is not a real sport because it does not require abusive violence in order to be played. If you don’t play a game where you hit and hurt all the time, you ain’t a real man.
I still remember football players at Martin High School teasing all of us baseball fans ever single time the Rangers lost. I remember radio hosts practically stating they can’t wait for August training camp so they can stop talking baseball.
And I know I can’t be the only one who knows this.
There’s really no other way to explain the disdain to outright hatred of the Rangers this are has shown while giving undying love and belief to a Cowboys team that has been even less successful over the past 15 years. Since 1996, the Cowboys have seen zero Super Bowl trips while the Rangers Mavericks and Stars have all been to their championship rounds twice. But preseason Cowboy games still outdraw Rangers World Series games in the TV ratings.
So excuse me if I can’t see this mark as a sign of this area finally accepting baseball but just a bunch of front-runners desperately trying to cling to whoever’s winning. It took the near impossible task of making the World Series twice to reach this; other teams do it with less on field success.
Can my views of this change? Anything’s possible. But it’s just going to take more than one season of three million fans. The people of DFW have to show that, like this team, they’re in it for the long haul.
As much as I want the Rangers to return to and this time win the World Series. I am waiting on what will happen when this streak comes to an end. A loss in even the ALCS, and we’re back down to 20,000 a game at best, in my guess. If the Cowboys pull of the absolutely impossible and go back to the Super Bowl, those numbers for the Rangers will plummet farther. More money into Jerry;s hegemony; Nolan and Company get left on the side of the road.
Prove me wring, DFW. You did this once. Now like the team did in 2011, prove that this first time wasn’t a fluke.