It’s official now. The Rangers and Astros will square off in the ALCS in a best of seven showdown for a trip to the World Series. So, the first thing I did this morning when I arrived at my study was to rearrange some furniture. Not furniture. They’re knickknacks. Keepsakes. Souvenirs. My office here at church is decorated (Carrie-Anne uses the word ‘littered’) with sports memorabilia. Most of it’s really old and represents my former fondness of the Cowboys, my current rooting interests in the Stars and Mavs, and my everlasting obsession with the Rangers. You’ll also find in my office, here and there, some really old artifacts that reflect my love of Texas history. Three of these items are Houston Astros items.
Rooting for the Astros as my second favorite team was never a problem. Houston was always in the National League and my Rangers were always in the American League. The two never played one another and the only way they could ever meet would be in a World Series. Well, there was never any chance of that.
Until interleague play began in 1997. No big deal. Friendly in-state rivalry. No real impact on the division standings. Just a fun in-season diversion a couple of times a year.
Then, Bud Selig fleeced Drayton McClane in 2013 and moved the Astros to the American League West against everybody’s wishes. Everybody’s. Today those games against Houston really matter. Every contest is a two-game swing in the division. And now, for the first time in history, the Rangers and Astros are meeting in the playoffs with the AL pennant at stake. A four-out-of-seven series up and down I-45 for a ticket to the 2023 World Series.
There’s a lot on the line here. This is important. Heavy. Thus, with the Rangers being my absolute favorite team and baseball being by far the most superstitious of all the sports, I’ve rearranged a few things this morning in my office.
The ceramic Astros piggy-bank from the ’60s that has sheepishly smiled from a prominent place on my bookshelf is now turned around backwards.
The Astros ashtray from the ’70s that’s suspended on my wall under the matching Oilers ashtray is now hanging upside down.
And the old metal Houston Astros lunchbox that serves alongside my Juan Gonzalez lunchkit as a backdrop to my myriad bobbleheads has been turned over on its side with the Rangers lunchbox now perched on top in a superior and conquering position.
I’m ready. I’m ready for this still-budding rivalry to completely take over our football-crazed Republic. I’m ready for six or seven games over the coming ten days or so to totally dominate our conversations and our imagination. I’m ready for the exhilarating victories and I’m prepared for the inevitable gut punch of the ultimate defeat — I am a Rangers fan, you know.
I do believe it’s going to be the Rangers and Astros battling each other for American League pennants for the next several years. I’ve been targeting next year, 2024, all along as the year the baton gets passed from Houston to Arlington. I believe the Rangers are, today, where the Astros were in 2016 and it’s about to get really fun. Houston got their Dusty Baker and now we’ve got our Bruce Bochy.
Let’s Go Rangers!
Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap!