Texas Rangers games are banned from my TV, even though I grew up in Arlington and attended countless games through the years. I was there when Ted Williams coached. I saw David Clyde pitch his first game. I saw coach Billy Martin kick dirt on the umpire and get the ol’ heave ho. I sat in right field when the first game was played at the newly built Ballpark in Arlington. I cheered Nolan Ryan, Pudge Rodriguez, Rusty Greer, Mickey Tettleton, Will Clark, Mark McLemore, and all the hard working players on those 1990s teams.
But the wheels fell off for me in 2000s, and I was done with them. I haven’t watched the team play on TV in five or six years. Not a single game. In 2002, the team dumped Pudge, the best catcher in baseball and one of the hardest workers and most intense and productive players on the team. And they signed Juan Gonzalez after he’d already proven himself to be a sulky, injury prone, surly slacker. After Tom Hicks threw a $252 million contract at Alex Rodriguez, I was done. (What’s up with the extra $2 million? Did Hicks say, “I wouldn’t insult you, Alex, by offering only a quarter billion dollars, so I threw in a couple mil more.”)
However, on Tuesday night I was surfing the cable and came across the Rangers versus Houston Astros at the Ballpark and heard the announcers talking about the return of Pudge. Turns out he’s catching for the Astros. Was anybody aware of that? I wasn’t. Baseball is dead to me.
I started watching the game and the Rangers were playing some good ball. I didn’t recognize any of the players but they seemed like a hard-working and talented bunch. I saw Pudge hit a homerun for the Astros and heard he’d set the all-time record for most games caught, and it made me feel good to know he’d gone on to a stellar career and done himself proud after being shown the door by the dumbass Rangers. Ungrateful bastards….
Anyhoo, I got caught up in the game. Saw some hustle. Saw the Rangers win. Enjoyed Tom Grieve’s insightful commentary. And I gotta admit I had a good time. Maybe I’m ready to return to baseball this season. Maybe.