On This Day, This Year, We Can Let Go
I don’t have Timehop. I have a pretty sharp memory for long term things, and the things I want to remember, or the things that had a pretty significant impact on my life, I remember. The things I don’t remember – insignificant tweets, opinions on things that ultimately have no impact on me long term – I don’t care to be reminded of.
Today, however, I woke up, and Anthony Andro (shook hands with the guy, have a picture with him with my Do It For Durrett shirt, so, yes, I’m name dropping) had posted just some fantastic, and I mean just brilliant, Timehop moments via Facebook.
“One freakin’ strike.”
“Down to one strike again……”
“This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.”
My wife, then girlfriend, had just moved into my condo with me a shade under two months earlier. I had opted not to purchase a television service for my place, because A) I could always catch up on anything I needed to hold a conversation about on Hulu or Netflix, and B) When all I watched was baseball, why pay for anything else? I had started my job at the hotel I currently work at around the same time. People already knew how much of a fanatic I was about the Texas Rangers (it wasn’t until that following year that I religiously followed every Major League team), because the day after the team made it to the World Series for the second year in a row, I wore my newly-purchased-just-for-that-reason Texas Rangers tie. Our dog was not yet a year old. I had not yet been as active a Twitter user as I am today (follow me @NextWaveMLB). I was following Twitter for reactions and news updates and letting out all of my emotion on my poor Facebook friends (most of whom didn’t give two craps about what was going on with the World Series).
That game was going late. I had to be up at 5:00 the next morning, but I didn’t care. Eric Nadel was about to sing the sweet praises of a World Championship for this organization for the first time. I was in bed, but definitely not sleeping. I committed what is now a Cardinal (pun…?) sin, and I counted outs on Facebook. Capital letters were used and I was not ashamed, no matter how many non-baseball friends told me I was flooding their timelines with the excitement I couldn’t contain. She was tired, I knew I was going to be the next day, and I was hanging on every single word coming out of Nadel’s mouth.
“…he can’t get it…! It’s beyond his reach! One…”
The rest of the words faded away. If only to continue and show that I hadn’t dropped off the face of the earth in between batters, I’m sure I posted something involving curse words or capital letters or something along the lines of “Oh my God.” The game was tied.
I felt triumph again as Steve Busby called Josh Hamilton‘s game tying home run in the 10th. Pain as Darren Oliver allowed it to be one run closer after that. Pain as Scott Feldman allowed future Ranger Lance Berkman to tie it. Pain as Mark Lowe gave up the ghost to David Freese. Nothing would ever compare to how I felt when Cruz misplayed that ball (that only cost the Rangers because there were two men on base, the tying run being one that Feliz walked, so…before we get into blaming only Cruz for that…), and the Rangers’ best chance at a World Series victory slipped from their grasp.
The game set the bar for drama in a Postseason game. I remember one of my professional wrestling heroes, Tommy Dreamer, himself a baseball guy from Yonkers, New York and currently on a mission to see every Major League ballpark, tweeting out that Game 6 was like a great, dramatic wrestling match. Finishing moves, kick outs, finishing moves, kick outs…just when you think one is going down, the other lands a haymaker to put them right back in the fight. Until the Rangers were not in the fight.
Now, in 2015, four years later, on the anniversary of one of the organization’s biggest gut…no, nut…punches, I forced myself to watch video clips of that fateful night. I forced myself to watch and listen to those calls again and again so I could write this article. I watched Nelson Cruz miss that ball on that day, and I pulled from more recent memory several instances where he, in another team’s uniform, made that play. I watched Mark Lowe give up that home run, forever marking himself as a punchline for Rangers fans, who rejoice when he comes up to face the Rangers now, probably for the continued opportunity to do something that makes us feel better about sending that 2011 World Series to Game 7.
I watched. And it was cathartic. I found myself shaking my head, but I didn’t feel that sting. I didn’t feel the tears welling up in my eyes.
Why? Because we will get there again, Rangers’ fans. We saw flashes of that drive, that spirit, that fun that we had four years ago. We did that this year. We did that with the 2015 team, and that team wasn’t even at full strength. Imagine what they’ll do when they are at full strength?
I tweeted out after the nearly-as-painful-but-not-really-on-the-same-scale-painful Game 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays, in which two Gold Glove potential defenders failed on three plays in the same half-inning following a half-inning in which a potential Silver Slugger (and Gold Glove defender) at second base did base-running things that there are no awards for, but when you watch him do the things he did, make you think that there should be awards for base-running, that before my child, due on December 31st, develops tangent memories (which is apparently around the three-year mark), I believe the Texas Rangers will win a World Series, and I’ll be able to say, “Before you could remember…”
I believe that because of 2015.
Also, because of 2015, I will forever, vividly remember this day in the year 2011, and I will no longer feel like I have to yell at the TV when montages are played of that Series.
I remember 2011 as one of the most amazing days in Postseason Baseball history.
Where were you?