I have been watching this baseball team struggle, shine and fall for closing in on four decades.
I remember plastic batting helmets filled with ice cream. I remember when Nachos were new. I remember the first dot race. I remember Buddy Bell. I remember the anticipation of going to the game that night with my Father, Mother and Brother. I remember each and every fan that sat around us as we all laughed and died in the stands.
I remember Toby Harrah.
I remember Bump Willis. I remember that plastic placemat with all my favortie Rangers' pictures on it. I remember my once formidable collection of "Beat The Yankees Hankees". I remember bat night. I remember the Toronto Blue Jays. I remember sneaking down beneath the centerfield bleachers to play with the other kids at the old Arlington Stadium. I remember the heat. I also remember the "Summer Swoons".
I remember Jim Sundberg.
I remember Steve Beuchelle. I remember Nolan Kicking the crap out of Robin Ventura. I remember watching a no hitter while working at Bennigans and telling my customers to go F$%K themselves in the 9th inning enough times that they finally gave up and watched the game with me. I remember the Chicken. I remember Hawiaan Falls. I remember those hot aliminum bench seats in old Arlington Stadium. I remember the surly vendor that sold me a beer when my dad sent me to get one.
I remember 1996.
I remember Johnny Oates and the immediate respectability he gave the team. I remember walking through the newly built Ballpark and trying out each seat. I remember sneaking in to the game with friends. I remember batting practice and autographs. I remember my brother telling Toby Harrah he would give him HIS autograph. I remember Toby Harrah taking it. I remember Don Slaught. I remember Mark Holtz. I remember how Chuck Morgan's voice always made me feel like I was at home.
I remember "Haaaaaaaaaaaaawt Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaawgsssss!"
But most of all...I remember the feeling I had THIS DAY when I just knew this team was going to win this whole fucking thing.
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