Tuesday, October 19, 2010

America's Pastime: My ALDS Experience.

Now, before my cigar followers throw up a fit about another baseball post, I will tell you that cigars played a pivotal roll this particular weekend.

On Tuesday, October 5th, my boss buzzed my office. 

"What are you doing Saturday?" he asked.  "I was planning on working to tell you the truth," I answered, figuring he was casually reminding me to do so.

Boy, was I wrong.

"Want to go to the ball game?"  he asked, probably already knowing the answer.  My response was a combination of disbelief and jubilation.  I reapeated, "The ALDS?!" several times before I went to his office to make sure he wasn't playing a shameles prank or forgot to ask another member of our team if they wanted the tickets first ( I'm the newest member of the office).

I was in awe and overwhelmed by my boss's generousity.  My excitement was very hard to contain.  I usually don't call my wife at work, but this is one of those moments that called for a small infraction of unprofessionalism.  She was equally excited, especially when I asked her to be my guest.

My week reached its high point when my boss handed me the physical tickets.  I held onto them like platinum.

This is the part of the entry where I disappoint some by stating that I have little care for the Texas Rangers.  Don't get me wrong, living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex this baseball season has been exciting, but I honestly do not consider myself a Texas Rangers fan.  However, I hate the Tampa Bay Rays.  I do love cigars that hail from J.C. Newman Cigar Co, which is located there.  But as far as the Rays are concerned, they can stick it.

The new America's Team.
The day came, Saturday, October 9, 2010.  Between the ALDS, the various college football games being played at Cowboys Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, TCU, UNT, and FC Dallas's game it was estimated that at least one-quarter of a million people were watching a live sporting event at some point that day in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. 

My wife and I cheered, ate hot dogs, shared a beer, basked in the sun, and watched in vain as the Rangers could not complete the sweep of the Rays. 

Over the course of the game we met (or came into contact) with some interesting people.

First there were a pair of father & sons, sitting in front of us.  It was a picture that one day I hope to be blessed with.  Except, that these kids were being very obnoxious.  The "awww that's cute" factor wore off rather quickly.  One of the kids had come up with a sign that was very clever at the time.  "SWEEP THE RAYS, CUZ THEY'RE DIRTY!"  Nice, right?  It was extremely clever for his nine year old mind.  However, over the course of nine innings, I heard, "THE RAYS ARE DIRTY!" about 700 times.  The fathers finally wised up and quited them when he shouted, "CARLOS PENA--- YOUR MOM IS DIRTY!"   That was the end of that, eight and half innings too late.
The crowd was electric.

Next, there was George, a sixty-something male sitting behind us with his wife.  As my wife tried to take a photo of us, self-portrait style, George eagerly chimed in, "I'll take a picture for ya!"  As I turned to see Geoge for the first time, I couldn't help but see my future in front of me.  Here was a man, on his feet at baseball game, chewing on an unlit Oliva Serie V belicoso sitting with his wife and grand kids.  I should be so lucky. 

And lastly there was Ricardo, a modest and quiet man about 40 years old.  He also had his son with him.  They also gained amusment from the "dirty kids" in front of us and enjoyed the game.  About the 4th inning, when the Rangers were up 1-0, Ricardo leaned over and asked my wife what we were doing the following day.  No plans.  He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out two tickets for the possible game four for the next day.  He offered them to us- no charge.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  "I'm playing the lottery when we get home," I litterally thought to myself.  This was not just awesome, but also interesting.  Had I been a true fan, I would have yelled, "Put those away, don't jinx this!"
The lone Ray fan at the ballpark...he had fun.

Alas, Ricardo must have, the Rangers fell to the Rays 6-3.  The game tied up in the sixth and the Rangers were kicked into submission in the 8th and 9th innings when the Rays went 7-13 in the last two innings, including two home runs.

We left the stadium sad, but excited that we'd be able to return for Game 4 the following day.  As we sat in the car patiently (wink) waiting for cars to move, my wife suggested I light a cigar.  You don't have to tell me twice and I lit up a wonderful Perdomo Lot 23 robusto.  It took us nearly an hour just to get out of the parking lot, but I had great company and an awesome smoke to keep me sane.

Game 4, came and went with as much excitement and ultimate disappoinment in the home team's demise.  The Rays were victorius once again, this time 5-2.  There would be a Game 5 in Tampa Bay and Cliff Lee would return to the mound.

We'll be back tomorrow.
Everyone now knows that Texas went onto win the ALDS and advance to meet the Yankees in their first ALCS, still without winning a home game in the playoffs in their history.  While there was no storybook sweep or fantastic come-from-behind victory, there still was baseball.  Fantastic moments painted in my memory by three of my true loves- my wife, cigars, and baseball.

A very warm thank you goes out to my boss, Andrew, for allowing me this amazing experience.  The joy over the course of those 18 innings could have allowed me to fly.

At Game 4.

So, here's to the Rangers and their first ever ALCS birth, may they beat the Yankees into submission and go on to the glory that this team has earned this season.  To the quote a young Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, "May your feet be swift, may your bats be mighty, and may your balls...be plentiful."

Remember, Ranger fans and all others alike, there is nothing wrong with knowing you are the best.


1 comment:

  1. Great story. Congrats on getting a second pair of tickets!! Isn't that awesome? Sounds like you've got a great companion with you at the games as well :)