Category: Stanglin Family (Page 2 of 22)

The Rangers Ride & Tyler’s Throat

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to D.D. Lewis…

The stupid Rangers. What a crazy day-by-day ride it’s been with this team, especially over the past six weeks. The Rangers held first place in the AL West for 148 of the first 149 days of the season, then fell into third place with 20 games to play, then regained first place and held it for the final nine days of the regular season, only to lose it with a shutout loss in Seattle on the season’s final day. Texas needed to win two out of four games in Seattle to clinch the division title and a first round bye in the playoffs. Instead, they lost three of four, got blanked in two of those losses, and are playing the Rays in Tampa this afternoon in the Wild Card round. How does the number one offense in MLB — number one among all teams all year in batting average, runs, and home runs — with a division championship and playoff positioning on the line, get shutout by a team that got eliminated from the race the day before? That’s the nature of the roller coaster ride the Rangers have been for the past month-and-a-half. Stomach churning ups and downs, disorienting twists and turns, nausea-inducing loops and corkscrews, exhilarating highs and devastating lows — I’ve never experienced anything quite like this. And I’m expecting it to continue. The Rangers will play a best two-out-of-three at Tropicana Field, where the Rays had the best home record in baseball, and we won’t know what to expect each of the next two or three afternoons until we’re caught up (or down) in the middle of it and it’s too late. I love roller coasters. But there’s a dread in my head and my gut tells me this one crashes and burns quickly. Maybe I’m tamping down my own expectations so I’m not too fried when it ends. But most of me feels like it’s already over.

My biggest gripe with Jerry Wayne’s ownership / general managership of the Cowboys is how, over the past 27-years, he has systemically lowered the bar for this once proud franchise and its fans. He’s touting Ezekiel Elliott now for the hallowed Ring of Honor. Shouldn’t a guy win at least one divisional playoff game in his career before he’s enshrined with the likes of Lilly, Staubach, Dorsett, and Emmitt?

The red zone issues are going to be the downfall of this current Cowboys team. He calls it the Texas Coast offense because he wants to control the ball with runs and short passes, but McCarthy’s roster isn’t built for it. I know you can’t pay Elliott the money he was making just to specialize as a short yardage back, but Dallas does not have the guy to muscle into the end zone from down close. Plus, the Cowboys receivers are all quick and fast, but they’re thin as rails and not designed to post up for contested balls in the paint. Dallas’ best option inside the 20 is running it with Dak, but that will get him injured. So, until one of those new-ish tight ends steps up, it looks like a record-breaking year for the Cowboys kicker, but no playoffs.

I’m not feeling great about Steven Tyler’s situation. Aerosmith has canceled all their concerts for the remainder of the year, including the November 7 gig at AAC in Dallas for which we are holding seven tickets, due to the lead singer’s fractured larynx. A fractured larynx?!? Does a 75-year-old man even come back from that? If he fractured it by singing those high notes at the end of “Walk This Way” (I’m only guessing; it could have been any of those high screeching notes in any of their songs), how does it not happen again the very next time he tries? I’m worried that my promise to take our two younger daughters to see Aerosmith before Tyler dies is not going to happen. I’m also worried about the process for getting my money back when they inevitably call it quits.

Our move from the gym back into our newly remodeled worship center at GCR Church this past Sunday was a tremendous success. All 485 of us walked from the Family Center, through the breezeway, into the Gathering Space, and down to the worship center as several of our brothers and sisters read aloud from the Psalms of Ascent. As we approached the south rotunda, we could hear the sounds of the Christians singing songs of praise from the inside. Jim and Brenda and a few others welcomed us with bright smiles and enthusiastic eyes. I was surprised by the emotion I felt at that moment, just feet away from the new room, surrounded by people I’ve barely known for two years. During the walk over, I was personally distracted by the many details of my job that were swirling in my head — how many songs has Cory sung, how much time do I have, I need to change out my mic pack for the different room, where are Carrie-Anne and Whitney? And then I heard the singing, I saw the faces of my co-ministers, and I choked up. Our church unity was on full display. The accomplishment was right in front of us. The grace of our God was so evident. Our Lord was very good to us during the nine months we worshiped in the gym. He is good to us today. And he is blessing us together in the future. Praise him.

Peace,

Allan

Gut Punch

Over the years, I have watched a lot of bad Rangers baseball at three different Arlington parks. I’ve seen it all. I’ve experienced some awful stuff. But nothing like what Whitney and I endured against the Astros Monday and Tuesday. The soul-crushing sweep was overwhelming. Houston was up 9-0 Tuesday before the Rangers could get through their order one time. Including last night’s 12-3 drubbing in which the pitching matchup for the ages was relegated to overrated status by Yordan Alvarez in the first inning, Houston hit 16 homers and scored 39 runs in the three games.

The worst part of being there in the stadium is that by the final couple of innings, there are 20,000 Astros fans in the building and 43 Rangers fans. It’s terrible. At the very least, Whitney and I can say we were there in person when the super fun, out-of-nowhere, exciting 2023 season came to an end. It’s over. You can see it. You can feel it. Body language on and off the field. The pressure. The frustration. The deer in the headlights look. This team is cooked. And so is the season.

Texas has lost 15 of their last 19 games to fall from first to third in the AL West and currently out of the playoff picture altogether. Adolis Garcia injured his knee last night leaping unsuccessfully for another Houston homer. Mad Max only lasted three innings last night, giving up seven runs. Nathan Eovaldi is very much a question mark and there are no guarantees Josh Jung will return any time soon. And that bullpen is unsalvagable. I think it’s over.

Otherwise, it was a great getaway for the Whitster and me. After Monday’s game, we ate dinner with our dear friends Chris and Liz Moore at Pappasito’s. On Tuesday we spent some time with Carley and Collin at their new house and ate lunch together at Underdog’s on the new Flower Mound river walk. And before Tuesday’s game, we hooked up with good ol’ Jim Gardner for some excellent brisket tacos at Texas Live! These are some of our best friends and most influential people in our lives. And it was a joy to hang out together again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The baseball part of the trip didn’t go so well. It was historic in its gore.

The Rangers do play eleven of their final 20 games against the teams directly ahead of them in the wildcard standings. So, yes, they are playing meaningful baseball in September which, back in April, we would have taken in a heartbeat. Three games back in the division and half a game back in the wild card race? In September? Absolutely! Now, because of the team’s unforeseen success, the expectations have changed. This is disappointing. A gut punch. On paper, it’s still very much within their grasp. But I think they’ve run out of steam. I think it’s over.

Peace,

Allan

With Family in Houston

 

Carrie-Anne and I have endured four appointments over two days at M.D. Anderson’s main hospital in Houston and the campus in Sugarland. C-A has been poked and prodded, we’ve had all the conversations and signed all the waivers, and we’re ready for her reconstruction surgery at 7a tomorrow. We are cancer-free and overflowing with gratitude. And we’re waking up at 4a in the morning to be at M.D. Anderson before 530a as the temporary expanders are coming out, and the permanent implants are going in. Finally!

The best part of our day today was spending a couple of hours with my sister Sharon and her husband Brent at Pappasito’s across from NRG Stadium. Brent was recently diagnosed with lymphoma – C-A’s last day of chemotherapy was Brent’s first day for his treatments – and they happen to be in H-Town tonight for some of their own appointments tomorrow. So we compared doctors and cussed and discussed the pros and cons of ports, caught up on our kids, and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Y’all lift up my precious wife to the Lord tonight. And say a prayer for Brent.

Peace,

Allan

Face Off and Peace Out

The Stars just don’t lose two games in a row. Joe Pavelski scored his sixth goal of the series as Dallas routed the Kraken in Seattle last night 6-3 to even up their second round playoff at two games each. The Stars went two-for-three on the power play and dominated the energy and jump on every inch of the ice. Now it’s a best two-out-of-three series with Game Five tomorrow at American Airlines Center. At 8:40pm. Again. The effects of all these late night face offs are beginning to accumulate. It’s not quite a Stars hangover today like what happens when a late start goes into double or triple overtime. But when Carrie-Anne kisses me goodnight and heads to bed before they even drop the first puck, that’s trouble. Thankfully, Game Six has been set for a 6:00pm face off on Saturday. It was just announced. That’s very good news for a Sunday morning preacher.

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Our youngest daughter Carley was in Midland last weekend to help out with all the unknowns related to Carrie-Anne’s new phase of chemotherapy. Of course, she proved to be very helpful with meals and dishes and providing all around compassionate care for her mother. But Carley did the family her greatest service by buying our Aerosmith tickets Friday while we were in the middle of chemo. Aerosmith just announced their “Peace Out” tour, their farewell concert tour, and the tickets all went on sale Friday. So we gave Carley the credit card and our TicketMaster account info and told her to get seven tickets for the November 7 show in Dallas no matter what. And she did. It was a stressful and sweaty experience. It was more difficult, she claims, than getting tickets to that Taylor Swift show they attended in Arizona. But working with her sister Valerie via facetime from Tulsa, they slogged through the digital red tape together and got our seven seats in a row in Section 103!

I’ve seen Aerosmith six times, dating back to my first Texxas Jam during the summer of ’85. Carrie-Anne and I have seen the band three times together, including the 2008 show at the Starplex Theater in Dallas – we took a fifteen-year-old Whitney with us to that concert. But Valerie and Carley have never seen Aerosmith. We’ve been trying for the past ten years but, with Steven Tyler’s health and COVID, there haven’t been any opportunities. So, with this last and best chance, we’re making it a family affair – all five of us and the two sons-in-law. Tyler promises this will be their best ever show. Ever. And he is vowing that this is absolutely Aerosmith’s last ever concert tour. Ever.

We couldn’t miss it. And we can’t wait.

Peace,

Allan

‘Twas the Month Before Christmas

When the kids get married and move away, you do what you can to celebrate the holidays together. If that means combining and cramming all your Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions into one weekend, you do it. If that means softening your hard lines on the order and timing of those traditions, you do it. If it means listening to the Chipmunks Christmas album at full volume two mornings in a row – back to back – instead of relaxing with a month in between, you do it. If it means setting up and decorating the tree and pretending it’s Christmas Eve the day after Thanksgiving, you do it. If it means waking up today and feeling like it’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, so be it.

Valerie and David made the trip in from Tulsa and Carley and Collin came in from Nashville for a wonderfully truncated holiday season here in Midland. Thursday: turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie, a disappointing Cowboys win, ping-pong and pool and 99, and It’s a Wonderful Life. Friday: pancakes for breakfast, decorating the tree and the house, going out to eat, popcorn and egg nog and Dr Pepper while watching Scrooge, Christmas PJs, the Stanglin family dance and the clicking of the heels (sorry, Collin; I know Carley didn’t tell you about that), and the official reading of ‘Twas  the Night Before Christmas. Saturday: Carrie-Anne’s cinnamon rolls, followed by stockings and presents (put it on!) and the house empty by the time Michigan turned out the lights on Ohio State.

Whew!

Carrie-Anne called it Thanksmas. I’m calling it good.

Peace,

Allan

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