I want to start by saying that I had actually planned to write an entirely different column this week talking about real problems – but then game three of the ALDS happened and, as a Rangers fan, I had a lot of feelings about it so I wrote this instead.
I also want to establish that I’m a Rangers fan, but in general, I’m just a baseball fan. I have spent all 21 years of my life surrounded by the game – watching it on TV, collecting baseball cards, going to games, taking family vacations to see spring training in Arizona, or the legendary Green Monster of Fenway, or the ivy covered walls of Wrigley Field. I know the difference between a two seam fastball and a four seam fastball, I know Mariano Rivera is the greatest baseball player of all time (yes, that’s a fact), and I know they used the wrong bullpen in “The Rookie” and it bothers me every time I watch that movie.
And I spent my Sunday night watching game three of the ALDS just to see Toronto sweep the Rangers and steal our chance at postseason glory yet again.
And it made me think: why do I keep coming back to baseball, season after season, when the Rangers just can’t catch a break? Let’s be honest, being a Rangers fan is not all fun. They’re the oldest MLB team to have never won the World Series – despite being one strike away twice during that famed game 6 of the 2011 Series – and I know Tom Hanks said there’s no crying in baseball but I think that’s reason enough to cry. Or at least, it’s reason enough to feel upset, or frustrated, or maybe even mad. But I stick around after every loss, because it somehow still makes me happy and I don’t know why. Maybe because I was raised with it, maybe because it comforts me, maybe because it’s been the only consistent thing in my entire life. But I have never invested so much of myself into anything as much as I have invested myself into baseball, and I don’t even play the sport. I’m just a fan. I don’t even know what point I’m trying to make with this column – maybe I’m just trying to turn some of y’all into baseball fans.
But what probably keeps pulling me back is the beauty of the sport – a beauty that’s best explained in “Field of Dreams” when Shoeless Joe Jackson simply describes the game by saying, “This must be heaven.”
And if heaven looks anything like the Rangers ballpark on a sunny opening day, when the promise of a new season still holds endless potential – well, that’s fine by me.