Man, I never would have thought I would be here. I was certain they were going to roll. I was afraid for my friend's long-term well-being and then, magically, a week ago it all came together. The Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in a best of 5 series—without winning a single game at home. (This, oddly, made them still without a home playoff win in their entire existence until their current series.)
Now, they've embarked on the journey that all Davids must undergo if they want to take down baseball's ultimate crown: that perpetual Goliath, the New York Yankees.
As a baseball hater, when October inevitably arrives each year, I usually turn my rooting interests the way of the Yankees. They're usually pretty good, they win a good percentage of the time, and they're at least somewhat entertaining, especially given their links to Jay-Z.
Now, however, I'll have to root against my pseudo-team. And I'll be happy to do so. Despite any troll comments online, the Texas Rangers' story only gets better and better to me. Turns out, when they clinched the American League Division Series in game five, the team celebrated with ginger ale before breaking out the champagne. Why? Slugger Josh Hamilton is a recovering alcoholic. Plenty of smart-mouthed sports fans made negative cracks about that in the last week, but imagine being him and seeing your teammates holding back on their celebration out of respect for you. My fandom of the Rangers begins at that noble point.
Count Cliff Lee, their pitcher extraordinaire, as reason No. 2. With an ERA of 3.18, through the regular season, he ranked sixth in the American League this year. He's been in the league a mere eight years, and made it to the World Series in 2009 with the Philadelphia Phillies, only to fall to the New York Yankees. Added intrigue to an already interesting storyline? Count me in. Through the fourth game of the American League Championship Series, Lee's pitching at an insane 1.26 ERA and hasn't lost a single game he's started.
Last but not least, I default to the somewhat bizarre case of the Rangers' sad luck. Having made it to the playoffs only three times before this year, they've always been eliminated by, you guessed it, the New York Yankees. Now, with a chance to get back at the bully in the ALCS, there's a lot to root for. Game 4 was played in New York yesterday, with the Rangers walking all over the Yankees, for the second night in a row. The Rangers lost their first home game last Friday, but proceeded to win (their first postseason home victory in the history of their franchise!) on Saturday. Things stayed cheerful for the Texas boys in New York, and with the win last night they're only one away from their first ever trip to the World Series.
Tune in today at 2:07 p.m. on TBS as the Rangers try to wrap things up in New York.