I love watching the Texas Rangers play baseball! I am a little biased on this front, but if you haven’t had a chance to watch them play, you are missing out on the most entertaining team around. They are the reason I have rediscovered my love for America’s game. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my NASCAR and my football, but there is just something about baseball that I truly love. This game has been around since the 19th century. It has seen many changes, but the core of it has remained the same. To quote a famous movie line…”you throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball”. It is simple as that.
I have been a fan of baseball since I can remember. Some of my fondest childhood memories are watching baseball games with my parents. We used to go to the Amarillo Gold Sox minor league games. They were the farm team for San Diego Padres back in the day. We would always sit behind the visitors dugout because we could sit in the box seats for a fair price. It was fun. Because they were part of the San Diego Padres farm system, the San Diego Chicken would come and visit from time to time. If you do not know who the San Diego Chicken is, well, then you don’t know baseball. I still have my autographed photo of the Chicken. The Padres were supposed to come play the Gold Sox for an exhibition game, but due to the baseball strike is was a no go. Let’s just say I was very disappointed baseball fan.
I remember hearing about the Big Red Machine from my father. He is the reason I am a huge fan of Pete Rose. I know he gambled on baseball, but I still believe he should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was amazing to watch on the baseball diamond. Along with Pete Rose, I loved watching Johnny Bench behind the plate. He is the best catcher of all time. Pudge Rodriguez, a former Ranger, is right up there in my book next to Johnny Bench. I consider Nolan Ryan the best pitcher of all time–hands down. He is the strike out king and has seven no hitters. I am pretty sure Robin Ventura feels the same way even after his beat down by Mr. Ryan. Nolan Ryan has turned the Rangers into a championship caliber team. They have made their way to the last two World Series. Granted they didn’t win and they came thisclose to winning it all last year, but I remember when the Rangers were the joke of baseball. I believe Roger Clemens was one of the best pitchers in baseball. My love of baseball wants to believe he didn’t start using steroids until he left Boston. I followed his career during that amazing season in 1986. He was just fun to watch. I think his own ego got in the way. He had to remain Roger Clemens and to do that well, sometimes players just have to turn to illegal things. Does he have Hall of Fame numbers? Sure, but they are tainted in the minds of many baseball fans. Same thing could be said when McGwire and Sosa were racing towards that 61 home run mark back in 1998. If the Hall of Fame decides to allow these players into the Hall of Fame, it should be denoted these accomplishments happened during the Steroid Era. As a history person, you can just hide the bad part of your history, you have to study it and accept it, so maybe we don’t repeat the mistakes down the road.
I am hoping to catch a Rangers game this year. I haven’t been to a professional baseball game since moving from Houston to Lubbock back in 1998. There is just something about attending a live game you have to experience. Most television broadcasts do their best to capture the game, but they miss out on all the atmosphere that makes baseball America’s pastime.
Just some musings from a baseball fan!