It’s amazing what a World Series appearance did for the Texas Rangers.
Some locals (chiefly me) grew weary of our local baseball franchise after four decades of underachieving teams and consistently poor personnel decisions by the front office. Our interest waned.
Throw in the state of professional sports in general — petulant players, outrageous contracts, soaring ticket prices, overly long games — and it made it hard to give a damn.
In recent years I”ve pretty much given up on pro sports other than the NFL, which I grew up watching and still enjoy. But it’s even been tough to love the Cowboys lately.
Winning changes things.
Fair-weather fans came clamoring back and sat glued to the TV during last season’s World Series when the Rangers put up a good fight. Now I’m kind of a fan again. They lost the Series, but they overachieved. This season I’m following the team more closely than I have in years.
As for the Mavs, they made it to the Finals a few years ago. They lost to the Miami Heat, but fans still felt good about their effort. However, losing another Finals to the Heat this season will be considered a let down.
Winning will make them the local darlings — they’ll be the only local pro team to take the top prize in their sport since the beginning of the new millenium. That’s a long dry spell. Local teams have whiffed since the Dallas Stars took home the Stanley Cup in 1999.
So there’s a lot at stake this week as the Mavs take on the Heat and its impressive roster of star power. Give us a good show tonight in Game 1, play your asses off during the series, and bring home some hardware, and maybe fair-weather fans will even care about the most boring sport of all, pro basketball, which has become a glorified foul shooting contest.