I’m not gonna go all Josh Hamilton on you this morning and proclaim that DFW isn’t a “baseball town.” But I’ve been reminded of this while watching the NLCS:
Baseball just simply means more to the fans of Chicago and New York than to those in our Metroplex.
I’ve been to playoff and World Series games in Arlington. I’ve emceed watch parties at various local watering holes during post-season road games. I’ve experienced a Wrigley Field day game, but never a night playoff game.
But if you were watching last night’s loss to the Mets that put their team in an 0-3 hole and effectively will continue their World Series-less streak to a 107th year, you saw the fans’ pain. Their anguish. Their complete demoralization. Their lives were literally affected.
The opposite was true when TBS showed live shots from McFadden’s sports bar in New York. When the Mets won, women in jerseys and backward caps hopped up on the bar and danced – without a care in the world about their hair or makeup or what someone watching might be thinking of them.
You just get the sense that while we’re momentarily entertained by the Rangers, Cubs’ and Mets’ fans are eternally – emotionally and physically – invested in their teams.
Time has a way of filtering the pretenders and exacerbating the yearning. I know, as Rangers’ fans we’ve never won a championship and endured the heartache of being one strike away twice in 2011. Moreover, it took 38 years for them to even get into their first World Series in Texas.
Cubs’ fans say our despair wouldn’t fill their grandma’s sewing thimble. They haven’t been to a World Series since World War II (1945). They haven’t won a championship since the year Ford invented the car and rolled out the Model T (1908).
In Chicago they wear baseball. In Arlington we wear whatever looks best on us.
In Chicago they get lost in baseball. In Arlington we watch intently, until our friends texts us with what they’re doing.
In Arlington we chant “Let’s Go Rangers!,” but only when prompted by Chuck Morgan. And we stand and cheer, especially when the pretty fireworks explode after a home run.
In Chicago? They never sit down. They never shut up. They don't need audible cues.
In Chicago the Cubs are like the Cowboys, if that is, the Cowboys were a college football team. In DFW, only the Cowboys are like the Cowboys.
I asked one of my buddies – biggest Rangers’ fan I know – how long it took him to get over the excruciating Game 5 loss to Toronto. “Man,” he grumbled, “I didn’t sleep very well that night.” I’m guessing Cubs’ fans are headed more for a sleepless entire winter.
Again, this isn’t a knock on DFW baseball teams. We may indeed be a baseball town. But, let’s face it, we have a football soul.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.