I arrive at my hotel, the Baymont Inn at Six Flags with about 10 minutes to spare before the last Arlington Trolley makes it's stop there. The Trolley provides a free service from area hotels to Rangers Ballpark which is about a mile away. With no hassles to worry about parking, this is a nice option for seeing a Rangers game or watching that other team that thinks it is “America's Team”.
Dropped off across the street from the main ticket booth area, $8 later and I can check another ballpark of the list to visit. Standing in an area along the third base side of the field, there is an unmistakable warm and positive energy in the home of The Defending American League Champions.
This is not my first time being in Dallas on the anniversary of 9-11 and in a few minutes I have bittersweet memories of previously being here. As we observe a moment of silence for the victims of that tragic day, you can almost hear a pin drop in the stadium filled with thousands.
“The Colors Of The United States Of America” is presented by members of the US Coast Guard and “The Star Spangled Banner” is solemnly echoed across the ballpark as a huge flag is unfolded down on the field. Like others, I have a sense that Texans are proud to be Americans and show the uttermost respect for those that serve our country. In this regard, I share their thoughts and feelings.
The AL Defending Champions are introduced and it is not long before the fans are cheering on their favorites.
“Let's Go Rangers, Let's Go Rangers”
The Cleveland Indians are facing two opponents tonight and unfortunately for them, one of the opponents has a powerful friend with the right moves in their corner. As I am standing watching the excitement, I get a jolt as none other than “The King” brushes pass me. Elvis is a Rangers fan. Soon Elvis and his entourage are into a “Whoop There It Is” dance and now I know the Indians are really in trouble.
I know you have heard many things are “BIG” in TEXAS and you can have my word that at least when it comes to corn dogs that is certainly true. In fact, I am told by one fan, “It darn took almost twenty minutes to make this thing”.
One of the nice things for me in visiting ballparks is collecting baseball hats when they are not too expensive. An interesting opportunity presents itself for me to do so when I participate in a Rangers charity donation spin the wheel contest. I know you would not believe me if I told you, but I won me two hats. Now that's almost the nicest thing anyone has done for me at a ballpark.
“Cotton Candy, Cotton Candy Here”. No Cheese On It,.. Just Sweets For Your Sweet, I am told as I interact and video tape one of the stadium workers performing an entertaining routine.
“Cotton Candy, Cotton Candy Here”.
Somewhere in all of this excitement and entertainment a baseball game is going on. A little CSI deduction from the crowd's reaction and you do not even need to look at the scoreboard, you know the Rangers are winning. Night has fallen over the ballpark and I discovered another interesting thing about Texas. The stars are also “BIG” and bright deep in the heart of Texas.
Into the sixth inning the game takes an exciting twist that has the fans booing. A few minutes later our attention is drawn to the fact that the previous play is under review. This gives all the baseball “experts” including myself the chance to display and voice our expert opinions about the matter.
Finally, the decision comes down and a short burst of fireworks explodes above center field. What was initially ruled a double is overturned into a Rangers Home Run. However, this is not the best part of the decision. This occurred during a “Promotional Inning” and now all the fans in the ballpark are going to get a “Free Crunchy Taco” from Taco Bueno.
As if to join in the celebration soon a few Texas Legends are racing around the field. Dave Crockett, Jim Bowie and Sam Houston can really move.
I am not sure if this is a regular part of Rangers tradition and it would not surprise me if it was. Once again, I feel honored that I am here as a tribute is made to the men and women of our Armed Services at home and around the world.
Regardless of your religious belief or political persuasion, I imagine it would be difficult to not be touched in some way by this tribute and the singing of “God Bless America”.
It's “The 7th Inning Stretch” and the crowd is just as excited about the game as they were in the 1st inning. As if the 34,765 fans needed anymore encouragement or bonding, soon we are all singing about “Minnnie The Moocher”.
Hidehidehidehi, Hodehodehodeho, Hedehedehedehe.
The Indians make a run for it in the last innings but after a few of their pitchers are given “The Texas Boot”, the Rangers finish them off 6-4.