What he said: ‘I’m really proud that the Texas Rangers are my team’

Ready to see #Rangers win the #ALDS! #NeverEverQuit #rangersscoreboard

A post shared by Bobby Ross Jr. (@bobbyrossjr) on

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“Take me out to the ball game” is my blog on major-league ballparks and the wonders of witnessing America’s favorite pastime up close.

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By Bobby Ross Jr.

The stadium felt like a furnace — think obnoxious Texas heat in early July — when I walked into my first major-league baseball game at age 14.

By then, of course, I was already a big baseball fan, with thousands of baseball cards, an autographed picture of Pete Rose and a dream of growing up to do radio play-by-play. For all the hours I had spent watching televised games and poring over newspaper box scores, though, I had never actually been to a game.

But in 1982, my family moved to Dallas-Fort Worth, and a heaven with the greenest grass I had ever seen beckoned us.

We made it to our bleacher seats in the bottom of the first inning, just as Texas Rangers slugger Larry Parrish stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. That Saturday was “Bat Day,” so 10,000 wooden bats banged thunderously against the concrete and the crowd roared at an obscene decibel as the ball sailed over the fence — a grand slam!

A young lifetime of rooting for the Cincinnati Reds suddenly vanished. I fell in love with the Rangers that day. (They have won exactly one playoff game since.)

ARLINGTON, Texas — In my 2006 Christian Chronicle column “For love of God, family and baseball,”  I shared the story of how I fell in love with the Texas Rangers.

In the decade since I wrote that column, my Rangers have provided more than a few postseason thrills. They advanced to the World Series in 2010 and 2011 (please don’t mention Game 6). And they rode a #NeverEverQuit mindset to an improbable American League West Division championship this season.

Alas, the 2015 season ended in brutal fashion Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Division Series against the Toronto Blue Jays:

But as popular Rangers blogger Jamey Newberg put it so well today, “I’m really proud that the Texas Rangers are my team.”

And as Texas manager Jeff Banister told reporters, “One inning won’t define who this ballclub is, and who they’ve been all year long. We won the West when nobody thought we would do anything. I’m more proud of how those guys played all year long.”

For Rangers fans looking for a little inspiration, a front-page feature published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before Wednesday’s loss might provide it:

Despite the disappointing end to this season, I’m already eager for the next one to start.

My Rangers will be back — better than ever — in 2016. Trust me on that.

Editor’s note: This piece is adapted from a media criticism post that I wrote for GetReligion.org.