Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Swear, I Get Some Work Done

I have a fever. An itch, even.

No, it's not some new airborne plague carried by mosquitos or grackles. It's something I've had since I was about 10 years old: Baseball Fever. It has caused a nearly-unhealthy obsession with my childhood team, the Texas Rangers.

I'm from the Dallas area, so really, I have my choice of four major sports teams. The obvious choice is the Cowboys, a five-time champion, model franchise (until recently... but that's another subject); the Mavericks, a perennial contender and, were it not for some questionable/probably-paid-off officiating (YEAH, I WENT THERE), near champions; and the Stars, who won a championship a decade ago in a sport called 'hockey'. I think.

But no. The Rangers are on my pedestal. And from that pedestal, they continually reach down and beat me over the head, year in and year out. And still I come back every spring, as hopeful as ever. It truly is 'the audacity of hope' to root for them.

And now that I work here, I'm having a hard time stifling this obsession. Opening Day is like a holiday for me, and my dad and I had a good streak going of consecutive openers attended. This year it was an impossibility, so I did the next best thing: I wore my Rangers jersey to work on April 6th.

And it did multiple things. First off, it totally helped the Rangers win! I did it! Second, of course, it sent the message that I'm slightly unhinged when it comes to this team.

Which brings us to Wednesday night. If you've read the most recent installation of Bob's Banter... and there's no reason to think you haven't... you know that it was a bit of a light news night. So, if a television in the newsroom happened to get flipped to the Rangers/Toronto Blue Jays game, you might understand why.

Along the way, though, a few cooky things happened.

My beloved Rangers, already hovering somewhere around the .500 mark, found themselves on the losing end of a 7-4 score headed into the final inning. Then things got weird in a hurry. A Toronto error helped Texas climb to 7-6. Then Michael Young, who has been with the Rangers seemingly forever, stepped to the plate as their last hope... and didn't disappoint! The shortstop-turned-third-baseman, who is usually known for hitting singles and doubles, muscled up and crushed a pitch out of the Toronto Skydome to tie the game.

That means a few things happened: first, extra innings! The more baseball the better, I say. It also meant that all the highlights Sports Director David Robinett had been preparing just became obsolete. Sorry, David! Third, and most pertinent to this blog, I stopped what I was doing, stood up, and bellowed an ear-splitting "YYYESSSS!!!!" through the newsroom, forgetting for a moment that I was not, in fact, sitting in the bleachers. Sorry, everyone. Continue what you were doing. Nothing to see here.

This was after what may turn out in hindsight to be the most exciting moment of 2009 for Texas: the major league debut of Derek Holland. Holland, who made his first appearance as a relief pitcher, is set to eventually become an elite starting pitcher, and something the Rangers have never had: a dynamic power left-hander. We die-hards are ├╝ber-excited about this guy.

Then came the really weird part. Less than twelve hours earlier, the Rangers had a acquired a pitcher named Darren O'Day from the New York Mets. This guy went from eating lunch in Florida, to an airport in Tennessee, to a customs checkpoint in Toronto. As travel weary as he may have been, his day was just beginning. Team officials rushed O'Day directly to the stadium and warned him that he might get in the game that was going on right then. Turns out they were right.

There was just one minor issue: twelve hours didn't give the Rangers enough time to prepare a uniform for Darren O'Day. You know, the fancy ones with nice lettering that cost we the fans a hundred and fifty some-odd bucks or so. What did the Rangers brass do? Easy: they put him in someone else's uniform! Just like Bruce Wayne putting on a black rubber suit to become Batman, Darren O'Day put on someone else's jersey and became... Kason Gabbard? O'Day, a right-handed relief pitcher, was forced to wear the jersey that belongs to Gabbard, a lefty starter who isn't even currently on the Rangers roster.

And then, five pitches later, it was all over. O'Day/'Gabbard' gave up the winning run, and it was all over. Five pitches that will live in infamy.

I guess I could have just let him borrow my jersey... after all, the Rangers are undefeated when I've worn it in '09.

1 comment:

  1. Don't ever take off the jersey!