The perfect storm of sports nirvana has descended upon DFW over the last year as fans have been treated to the 2010 World Series, Super Bowl XLV, the Dallas Mavericks magical run to the NBA championship and we are currently riding the emotional wave of the 2011 World Series. And let's not forget the 2010 NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium kick-started this run!
We arrived three hours early for Game 5 of the World Series at Rangers Ballpark to discover the parking lots were already close to capacity. That's right, 4 p.m. on a Monday afternoon in October and baseball fever was in the air in Arlington! Tailgaters -- who presumably had the day off work -- abounded with grills and tents and an anticipation of a Texas Rangers victory. Texas fans clad in red with antlers atop their baseball caps screamed "Let's go Rangers!" at every entrance to the ballpark. The fans seemed ready, willing and able to will the home team to a World Series triumph.
The night began with Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer Roger Staubach throwing the ceremonial first pitch and Demi Lovato performing the National Anthem. I snagged a spot inside the Cuervo Club behind home plate, which provided a perfect sight line just above the Ashley Furniture Lounge fans in the comfy leather recliners. Ironically, the amount of beautiful women inside the club resembled the scene of the Platinum Club at a Mavs game.
In what could possibly be his last start with the Rangers due to impending free agency, C.J. Wilson took the mound and was often erratic, but he held the Cardinals in check long enough for the Texas bats to come alive in a 4-2 victory. Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre had solo shots, but it was catcher Mike Napoli who delivered a two-run double to break the 2-2 tie. The win puts Texas on the brink of the franchise's first championship.
Several things stood out from this game: A failed hit-and-run that Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols may or may not have called which resulted in Allen Craig being thrown out stealing second. And the St. Louis bullpen having the wrong guy warming up in the eighth inning. The team's response was the 51,459 fans were so loud that they could not hear the manager's request on the phone. If the Rangers prevail in the series, Cardinals mythical manager Tony LaRussa will be second-guessed for eternity.
When closer Neftali Feliz struck out Lance Berkman to seal the win, the Rangers fans raised the volume to a level I have not experienced since the Mavs fans at American Airlines Center for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. And we all know how that series turned out! Game 6 of the World Series is 7:05 on Wednesday in St. Louis.
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