The Texas Rangers and Me: It's About Time It Was Time This Time
The Texas Rangers are— can you believe it?— but one win away from their first-ever trip to the World Series. They are one win away from sitting down the Mighty Yankees, the Bronx Bombers, Baseball's Bullies. One win away. Just one. "It's time."
This has been the slogan, the mantra, the battle-cry all season long from this club.
"It's about time."
This has been the thought in the back of my mind and on the tip of my tongue this entire MLB Postseason. I do not mean that in any sort of bitter sense, or in any form of exasperation. I am not rolling my eyes or wondering what took them so long.
Truth is, I never much minded that my Rangers were seldom serious contenders for anything. They gave me a major league baseball team to follow and cheer and reverence when I was discovering the pure joy of playing the sport myself. As a little leaguer in Mineral Wells, Texas, I would listen to those Rangers baseball games in my bedroom at night. The AM station WBAP was scratchy, but the signal was strong, especially at night. The smooth, dulcet tones of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel against the backdrop of crowd noise made the game come alive in my mind. I could see every pitch, every swing of the bat, every stare-down, every scratch and spit. I was there.
And it was glorious.
The World Series never entered my mind back then. I didn't have to fret over whether my team would in the Fall Classic or not the way fans in places like Boston, New York, Cincinnati, Oakland and Chicago did.
Heck, I knew my team wasn't going to any World Series. That was fine with me, because they might win this game tonight. Jim Sundberg might throw some poor slob out who tried to steal second. Gaylord Perry might give some hapless batter jelly-leg with that nasty curve ball of his. Bump Wills might swipe another base. Toby Harrah might flag down an uncatchable ball deep in the hole, whirl about, and from his knees, throw out the batter.
The big picture hardly mattered when the little picture was so exciting.
"It's about time." But when I say that, I mean it like this: "Time is what it's about."
Time is the one commodity you cannot horde or save for a rainy day. It won't stand still for you. It won't go in the bank so you can withdraw it with interest later. Time keeps marching on...and on...
Time is what we have. Maybe not much time, who knows? You can do plenty of things with your time:
- You can waste time
- You can "spend" time
- You can mark time
- You can invest your time
People talk about doing things if they "ever find the time."
You hear someone in a hurry say, "I haven't much time."
I have wasted plenty of time and invested some of it. I wouldn't mind having a second shot at the way I used some of the time I've had.
I do not, however, regret a moment of the time I spent following the Rangers. I learned plenty of lessons about hope, disappointment, patience, achievement and effort. I learned from my transistor radio to imagine a game in my mind so well that it is a wonder my first real trip to the ballpark to see a real game was not a disappointment.
I do not resent the time spent cheering for a team that was always going nowhere but taking me somewhere special in the meantime.
But this time it's time.
And it's about time.