There is nothing more American than drinking beer and watching baseball, likewise there is nothing more Japanese than drinking Sake and watching baseball or more Latin American than drinking Tequila and watching baseball. Basically if you want to be truly (insert nationality here), than pop open a bottle of whatever the locals are drinking and turn on a baseball game.
I discovered the game by accident, early in my life my BFF told me he'd be playing for his dads team and I should play. I figured there would be nothing better than to play this game of balls and bats with my BFF so I had my mother enter me. Some how or another, i ended up on the opposite local team than my BFF, no problem, I'll still get the thrill of being a part of a team with one common goal, getting through 7 innings of grown ups yelling so we can go to McDonalds. That train of thought though, is apparently not conducive to winning. As my team floundered and blazed its way into a last place finish, my BFF's team was the pride of the town easily winning the championship with my BFF himself being elected as an all star.
Still, life couldn't have been better. I had just played a dozen games, even made a couple Willie Mays-esque catches in center and had discovered my first love in life. Baseball. I guess I became a Rangers fan around 1989, the year the great Nolan Ryan became a Ranger. I knew one day I'd be standing on that same hill in Arlington Stadium that Nolan stood on. Twenty years later, athletically on par with my 8 year old self and no closer to Arlington Stadium or the Ballpark in Arlington (technically farther, but hey, screw the technicalities), I still root for the Rangers and I'm starting to wonder if Nolan could be talked into a comeback.
As a fan of the Texas Rangers, you learn to be cautiously optimistic the team will be competitive and you appreciate the individual achievements. You appreciate the MVP years of Juan going, going, Gone-zalez and Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. You appreciate four straight years of 200 hits for Michael Young, 50 homers by Alex Rodriguez, the home run off the head of Jose Canseco, well, you appreciate the laugh you got off that. You are THRILLED! by the AL West division championships in '96, '98, and '99. But you never, ever expect great things. you hope for a wild card birth, you expect to fall just short.
Still, even with these low expectations, the 2007 season may cause a mass suicide by Rangers fans everywhere. When you have one starting pitcher with a sub 6.00 ERA (Brandon McCarthy 5.90), you ponder the value of life. If there is one thing Rangers fans know, its bad pitching. We know bad pitching like Bo knows, well, everything. But when your entire starting staff is allowing more runs than the Boston marathon, you clutch your chest and hope its heart burn.
Through 44 games, we're 16.5 games out of first place, our compensatory individual achievements this year? A good bullpen which will probably be traded away a piece at a time and Sammy Sosa's 600th career home run.
Is it 2008 yet?