It was a beautiful day for baseball as we arrived in North Arlington to witness first-hand the Texas Rangers hosting the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of the 2010 World Series. I honestly felt as if I wandered off into a heavenly cornfield and that this game was part of an amazing Field of Dreams-type experience.
The huge "World Series" banner hanging above the First Base entryway gave me the chills. I NEVER thought I would see anything like this here with the Texas Rangers. Perhaps it was divine intervention after they exorcised themselves from a brutal owner that nearly drowned the hometown team. Or maybe the Rangers are just a really good young team that has a chance to do this on an annual basis, especially if they can retain the services of the nicest baseball player I've ever met --the Chuck Norris-like super starting pitcher Cliff Lee. I sure hope so, because I could get use to this!
As we crossed Nolan Ryan Expressway, we had to dodge a motorcade that featured MLB Commissioner Bud Selig in a random Chrysler minivan. The stadium was nearly full when we arrived 30 minutes prior to the first pitch. Rangers legend (and team president) Nolan Ryan threw out the first pitch to another Rangers legend, Pudge Rodriguez. The first American Idol, Kellly Clarkson, performed the national anthem with an American flag shaped like the USA in the outfield. When four F-16s zoomed above us, it was one of those "Wow" moments.
After that, everything just seemed to fall into place. I'll freely admit that while I go to multiple sporting events every week, I usually go to check out the crowd. However, at this game, I was so enthralled with the action that all I really noticed was a sea of red among the record crowd of 52,419. Even the Ballpark's grass seemed a little "greener." After the No. 9 hitter Mitch Moreland deposited a three-run homer into the right field seats, the music from The Natural played and everything else just came together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. Suddenly the guy next to me did not really smell that bad. The kid standing in front of me the whole game was really just full of joy. And the typical drunk guy behind me was actually funny as he compared Michael Young to Roger Dorn from Major League.
When Rangers rookie Neftali Feliz shut the Giants down in the ninth to close out the 4-2 victory, nobody wanted to leave. We were all in this perfect "Shangri-La" and once we reached Randol Mill Road we would be back in the real world. As Rangers fans headed into the night for some Halloween shenanigans, as corney and hokey as this sounds, all I could think about was how I wanted to go play catch with my dad. And you know what, I will.
I've got my official program, $10 souvenir cup, a lanyard for my ticket and memories that will last a lifetime.
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