If you're an Astros fan, you might be surprised to learn that the baseball season did not end back in July -- that was just whenthe Astros season
was deemed over. Baseball has continued to be played and, for the first time ever, the Texas Rangers are within a step of reaching the World Series.
That's because for the first time in their existence, they actually won a playoff series this year. Their American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees begins tonight.
Five things you need to know about the team from up north:
5. They are to the Astros what the Oilers/Texans were/are to the Cowboys
Face it, no one ever gives a stray thought to the Texas Rangers more than a couple of times a decade --when they give a ridiculous contract to A-Rod, when their owner goes bankrupt, times like that. People in the Dallas-Fort Worth area don't care about them, except when a bandwagon gets rolling. Houston football fans can relate, although the Rangers haven't even had an equivalent of the "Love Ya Blue" era.
4. Their stadium makes Reliant and the Astrodome seem like they're in the heart of downtown
You want to go see a Ranger game after work? It's probably best if you just don't go back to the office after lunch. Whatever They're Calling It Ballpark is in the middle of the suburban prairie, miles and miles and miles of traffic-filled freeway from Dallas. Spontaneous trips to a game are difficult, not to mention highly annoying, if you work as late as most people.
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3. The Rangers refuse to acknowledge they are playing a) in Texas; b) in the summer
No roof, solid or sliding, for Arlington's Team. We used to live in Dallas and attended a lot of games in the Rangers' previous stadium, a bleacher-dominated but still homey place that featured a Texas-shaped scoreboard. The Panhandle portion of that scoreboard featured a readout of the current temperature, just to remind you how much you were suffering. Fans would bet on what inning it would be before the thing finally went below 100 degrees. You could be pretty much assured that by the time it happened, the Rangers starting pitcher would be in the showers.
2. The Rangers are partly responsible for the Iraq War
The 2000 presidential election was all about how George W. Bush was a bi-partisan leader and savvy businessman, as evidenced by his working with the (highly conservative) Democrats in the Texas legislature and his steering of the Texas Rangers. Reporters who had jumped on every ginned-up "scandal" about Bill Clinton, or who skewered Al Gore for "inventing the Internet," didn't seem that interested in examining how W's Rangers experience consisted of being gifted by his daddy's rich friends and making a ton of money thereby. And not doing anything for the team except trading Sammy Sosa, and not for PED reasons. W got elected on the strength of those claims, and the rest is history.
1. The Rangers are going to be better than the Astros for quite some time
Rangers: Run by Nolan Ryan. Astros: Run by Drayton McLane. Enough said.
Rest assured, though, that the `Stros will forever lead their North Texas rivals in the category of tacky ballpark advertising.