Thursday, August 8, 2013

"How can you not be romantic about baseball?"

I'm not sure I've fully expressed my love for baseball in this space.

Or rather I'm not sure I've explained it.

You see, I was raised by Chicago Cubs fans.  We watched games when they were on TV, and I went to a lot of my high school team's games and some I-Cubs games, but I never would have said I liked baseball back then.  In fact, I thought it was kind of boring.  Oh man, I want to slap teenage me right about now.

In case you missed it, I'm a pretty diehard Texas Rangers fan now.  And I get asked a lot how I became a fan of that team when I live in Iowa.  It's kind of a fun story, so grab a beverage and enjoy.

I moved to Texas right after college.  I lived just southeast of Dallas, so naturally I went into the city a lot. Most of my co-workers were men who were very into sports, so when they invited me to Rangers games, I was happy to go along and socialize. Plus, like I said, I've always enjoyed going to games, I just didn't always understand the sport. I thought the ballpark was fun, and I mostly watched the people and the videoboard, but I still didn't really "get" baseball just yet.

I found the ticket from my first ever Rangers game.

Everything changed on April 16, 2005.

Yes, I remember the exact date I fell in love with baseball and the Texas Rangers.

My parents were visiting me in Texas and we decided to go to a game.  I don't really know why that game was different than the other two I'd been to, but it was.  Suddenly, I was captivated by what was going on down on the field.  The Rangers lost that night, and when I look at the box score, I'm confused about how that night changed my view of the game.  But I'm thankful that it did.

That season, I went to more than 30 Rangers games with my friend, Amy, whom I had met just a few months earlier on a music message board.  Once she learned I was also interested in baseball, our friendship took off.  And so did my fandom. We even took a roadtrip to Houston for a series.  She grew up watching the Rangers, so I learned a lot from her that season and during the following winter.  We spent hours obsessing over the players, the latest game, the trades, and everything to do with the team.  We went on at least four ballpark tours and a few other off-season events as well.

Amy and I were on TV a lot in 2005.

Me and Amy with pitcher Kameron Loe. He was my favorite!

As the new season rolled around, Amy and I bought a mini-game plan and had even plotted out on our calendars which games we were going to attend.  We were eager to beat our attendance from the previous season.  Sadly, a few weeks into spring training those plans were shattered. As you might know, Amy passed away in her sleep in March of 2006.  She was 29 years old and completely healthy.  To say I was shocked is an understatement.  I'm not even sure "devastated" covers it.

Her death changed a lot for me.  I'd lost a lifetime of plans, a daily stream of conversations, and someone who understood me better than most.  Beyond that, Rangers baseball just wasn't the same.  But I went to the games anyway.  Our favorite ushers asked me about her the first time I showed up without her, but it got easier after that.

I continued to enjoy the games, but I no longer had anyone with whom to discuss them.

So I started a blog.

It's purely a labor of love.  I'm not sure anyone even reads it, and I will never proclaim to be a stat geek or a baseball expert.  I write about my thoughts and feelings about the games, the players, and all things Rangers.  It's my outlet, and I enjoy it thoroughly.

I moved back to Iowa in June of 2006, but my Rangers fandom really hasn't wavered a bit.  In fact, I'd say it's stronger.

::  My Christmas tree is decked out in red, blue, and Rangers every year.  (And I truly believe Opening Day is as exciting as Christmas Day.)

Happy holidays, indeed!
 
:: During the season, I spend most game nights on Twitter, live tweeting the games with other Rangers fans.  No one will ever replace Amy, but these fans have helped fill the void she left.  I've met a lot of incredible Rangers fans online and in person.

This is a sample of what you might see from me on game night.

:: I've seen my boys play in Anaheim, Oakland, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Minnesota, Chicago, and Kansas City.  I'd love to see them play in all 30 parks someday, although I realize that could take some time.

My brother and me at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. It's probably my favorite MLB park.

 :: I've been to spring training once and would happily go back again.
Me and Lacy during Spring Training 2011.
:: I have a pretty great collection of Rangers memorabilia. It certainly helps that some of my Twitter friends send me extra giveaways that they pick up at games.

These are just a few of my bobbleheads.

::  I have a baseball heart tattoo, and as soon as the Rangers win a World Series, I'll add their logo to the design somehow.

I actually got it done when I was in Texas for Opening Day in 2009.

I live and die by this team.  I've lost sleep over them and cried tears of joy and anguish.  My nightmares about game 6 of the 2011 World Series have only recently gone away (although one ESPN broadcast seems to bring them back).

My heart truly belongs to the Texas Rangers.  I expect my future husband to understand that even though I'm totally committed to him, baseball will always be my boyfriend.


6 comments:

  1. Hey... Shay understands my love for NKOTB (and other boybands)... So it's definitely possible! :)

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  2. Oh I love this post! As a Houstonian, I'm more of a L'Astros fan. Trust me it's hard. If you ever get the chance to go to Pittsburgh to see a Rangers game do it! PNC Park is awesome and these days the Pirates aren't so bad! We loved going to games when we lived in Pittsburgh!

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  3. This is a great post!! I love it! And my future husband will have to realize that I probably love baseball just a little bit more than him. LOL!! And I'm glad that I'm one of the friends you have met through Twitter and your love of baseball!!

    :)

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  4. Great post, especially for your future husband (who obviously has to read this). I'm sorry that I'm not much of a baseball fan UNLESS I get to watch it in person. Then it's exciting and fun. Plus... hotdogs at the ballpark. :) Or is that just me?

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  5. What a great post! I've loved baseball and the Yankees for as long as I remember but it wasn't until I met Texas Rangers fans that I encountered anything like the love y'all have for your team (team decorations in my house were unheard of until Donny). I love it. :)

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  6. Oh Micah, I love this post so much! I had no idea about your friend Amy, and I can see why it made your love of baseball grow even stronger. Baseball is such an awesome sport and I wish more people would love it and not think it's boring!! And Opening Day IS almost as exciting as Christmas--it should be a national holiday!

    P.S. I was super excited to see that your first game was also a Tribe game ;)

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