I’ve never held myself out as much of a baseball fan. Part of it, I’m sure, is that I grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and everything there — particularly when I was a kid — began and ended with the Dallas Cowboys. I also imagine that the state of the area’s professional baseball team, the Texas Rangers, had much to do with it. Simply put, they’ve been bad most of my life.
Emphasis on most of. They certainly aren’t bad now. For the second consecutive season, they’re in the World Series, and they head into Saturday’s Game 3 against the St. Louis Cardinals with the series tied 1-1.
This later-in-my-life success by my hometown team has made me an eager and unapologetic bandwagon jumper. For a bit of perspective, I turned to my stepfather, Charles Clines, a former sportswriter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram who, as a beat writer covering the Rangers in the 1970s, had a front-and-center seat for that bad bit of baseball theater.
Here are a few memories from Charles:
I don’t remember a whole lot, except for some of the crazy stuff. I don’t remember the players focusing on winning their division, or even talking about it. I think they were just happy to win a game every now and then, though several of them had other things on their minds when out of town.
The team had several guys who I would classify as self-centered losers. There were a few of the players I respected, though, with Jim Sundberg being at the top of the list. And a couple of them were fun to be around and who didn’t mind associating with a sportswriter.
Of course, there wasn’t a great fan base because the team wasn’t winning. That’s the main reason they showcased David Clyde, the pitcher just out of high school. I was lucky enough to be one of the writers at his pitching debut, the first sellout ever at Arlington Stadium. It was quite an outing for Clyde, who struck out and baffled some great hitters. (Here’s the boxscore from that game.) Too bad the Rangers didn’t protect him better and bring him along at a slower pace, but they needed the fans and the money at his expense.
What I remember the most is how immature many of the players were. Remember many baseball players come right out of high school, and they have never had a lot of media or public contact. Sometimes on the team bus when on a trip it was like being on a high school bus with unruly teens — maybe worse.
I don’t know how to compare those players with the current Rangers because I have no contact with the current team. But they obviously are MUCH more talented and hopefully much more mature, and they seem as if they are and they not only talk about winning their division, but winning the World Series. That would have only been in the dreams of the teams that I helped cover.
It’s not that I have disdain for the old one; it’s simply that I outgrew it.
As time has gone on, it’s become increasingly difficult to deal with a blog and a website that were in separate places and required separate content management systems (a 21st-century phrase if there ever were one).
By moving here, I have everything in one handy spot.
The new place is habitable, but not all the furniture and knickknacks have completed the move. Please exercise patience as I get things spiffed up.