October in Texas: Play Ball!

Congratulations to the Texas Rangers on winning the American League Championship!

Goin' back to the Series!

That being said, yes, I AM a New York Mets fan.  However, since they did not make it to the postseason I figured Mr. Met wouldn’t mind if I got caught up in the moment and rooted for the local team of my new home.  It really is a moment of such great joy and a genuine togetherness here in the Metroplex. From my students and fellow teachers to my in-laws’ neighbors everyone is feeling this one.

I started my day visiting what has become my go-to tourist attraction for the slowly-burgeoning stream of visitors we have had in our two months in the Metroplex.  When we lived in Northern Virginia, it was the Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport.  Ask yourself this.  If you visited Dallas what might be at the top of your list of places to see?  If you answered the Sixth Floor Museum then you’d have guessed where I was.  Yes, for the fourth time in ten weeks I found myself touring the former Texas School Book Depository and the Grassy Knoll reliving the fateful events of that dark November day almost fifty years ago.  This time it was with our dear friend, Crista.  With sunny skies and a temperature hovering around 95 degrees it was the perfect day to sightsee and Dealey Plaza proved a magnificent place to take in the sights!  And even here where our nation experienced one of her most tragic moments there was no shortage of Rangers fever.  By the way, I can now recite verbatim the script of the guided audio tour at the museum.

Next it was on to the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas.  Oak Cliff is across the Trinity Trickle, er, River.  At one time an independent municipality which was annexed by Dallas, Oak Cliff has not been without its struggles.  A derided community for its blight and decay, OC is once again on the rise.  As a guy who hails from a place universally derided for the same reasons and facing the same struggles but rising in the same manner (Newark) I can sympathize.  In this charming enclave we stopped off at the The Soda Gallery.  Imagine, if you will, a large showroom featuring nothing but exotic colas, ginger ales, and other carbonated drinks.  We bought a few.  For my money, the cucumber soda was phenomenal and I despise cucumbers.  A cucumber tried to kill me once.  We then walked across the street to a little boutique where the item of the day was the vintage Rangers jersey, complete with the original logo of a baseball topped with a ten gallon hat.  The excitement was definitely building!

Next we drove up the Stemmons Freeway back toward Irving and sat outside in this last weekend of summer air for some margaritas, patio style at Mi Cocina.  What were our fellow patrons wearing?  Rangers gear.  What was the topic of conversation?  The American League Championship Series.  Man, this was almost getting to be unbearable!  Yes, it was all locked up for us now.  All we had to do was beat Detroit tonight and we’d be back int he World Series.

We ended the night at my mother-in-law’s house watching the game.  What a one-sided blowout this thing was.  My sister-in-law, Kris, had gone shopping and furnished us with ballpark staples — hot dogs, pretzels, you name it.  My kids had a great time watching us cheer on the team.  For each of the Rangers’ fifteen runs my son, Ben, dropped what he was doing and applauded.  As the ninth inning approached and the game was effectively wrapped up I suggested to my wife that we throw the kids in the car and drive over to Arlington.  I’ve been having some pretty good ideas lately.  And that’s what we did.  Along with Kris, Crista, and the next door neighbor’s daughter Jade, we set out for the ten minute drive.  Well, wouldn’t you know that as I was coming off of TX 360 and onto I-30 about a quarter-mile from Rangers Ballpark the final out of the game was recorded?  Perfect timing.  Except that I was at a red light and a building blocked our view.  We heard the fireworks.  As we turned the corner all we saw was smoke drifting away.  No matter.  I started beeping my horn.  We rolled down the windows and yelled!  I just love living in these moments.  Everyone feels so close and there really is a great sense of unity.  Of course the man in front of me might have seen it a bit differently.  You see, I inadvertently followed him throught seven turns heading back to the highway, all the while honking my horn like there was no tomorrow.  I’m sure he thought I was nuts.

And so, for the second time in two years the Texas Rangers, once known as the second incarnation of the Washington Senators, a team no one gave much thought to, is heading to the World Series.  Do you know that they only won ONE playoff game prior to last season?  Pretty cool.  It’s amazing that all this is happening as we settle in to our new home.

I guess one of these days we’ll have to move to Queens so the Mets can finally make that comeback.

*Note: Come back to this page tomorrow when I hope to have added more pictures.


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