It’s time for my only happy postseason memory to be replaced. That memory was the sole Rangers postseason victory before 2010. And I didn’t even get to witness it. I was playing a baseball game myself. I was eleven.
It’s time to replace that with the memory of watching the game with my dad and girlfriend (a Cubs fan, but she’s forgiven for hating the Yankees). A few hours of nerves and excitement that I had never felt before in all my time watching sports, culminating in a absolute moment of relief when Kinsler drove the final nail in the coffin and feeling like I was in a dream as I watched Cliff Lee finish his complete game to send the Rangers to the ALCS.
It’s time to be thankful for Nolan Ryan, Chuck Greenburg, John Daniels, Ron Washington, and Mike Maddox. Whether it was the old-school approach to pitching, buying the team from an awful owner, making fantastic trades, sticking to the course of developing our young talent (and actually holding on to them for once), focusing on defense and base-running, or creating a clubhouse atmosphere unlike any in baseball, none of this happens without them.
It’s time to appreciate just how damned important that zero-hour signing of Justin Smoak was after he was drafted in 2008. That deadline draft-pick signing turned into a Cliff Lee trade that turned into two of this organization’s biggest wins ever.
It’s time to leave all the awful seasons, awful trades, awful owners, awful contracts, and awful postseason history behind. And oh my have there been a bunch of all of the above.
It’s time to celebrate as Rangers fans, especially those of us that have stayed with this team through thick and thin: from Nolan Ryan to Chan Ho Park and back again to Cliff Lee.
It’s time to laugh at Sports Illustrated for picking the Rays to sweep the Rangers because that “beast from the AL East” would easily win with their “superior pitching staff”. That sound you hear is Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson laughing their asses off.
It’s time to welcome the Yankees into our house for a change. Where last time they visited, we swept them. Where Mo Rivera has blown multiple saves. Where yes, we have still yet to win a single playoff game in our history.
It’s time to change that as well.
It’s time to show the Yankees and the rest of the baseball world that there is nothing more dangerous than a team that has nothing to lose, one playing with house money and a chip on their shoulders. A team that has just tossed the franchise postseason gorilla off their backs, one that traces back all the way to Washington D.C. when they were the revived Senators. A team who, previously known only for a huge slugging offense, broke two ALDS pitching records (team strikeouts in a series and Cliff Lee for individual strikeouts), and scored the majority of their runs tonight on nothing more than aggressive and smart base-running.