By Ron Johnson
In 2011, the Texas Rangers watched as the St. Louis Cardinals celebrated an impressive comeback to win Game Six of the World Series and then celebrated winning their 11th World Series title in front of their hometown crowd. The Rangers watched as their hopes of winning the pennant were quickly dissipated. In 2011, the Rangers watched as their trip to the World Series turned out to be a bust for them.
12 years later, they get another chance at immortality.
Rangers Knockout Astros in ALCS
After sacrificing the AL West Division to the Astros at the end of the regular season, the Rangers scratched, clawed and fought their way back to the World Series. On a cool night in Houston on October 23, 2023 and led by ALCS MVP Adolis Garcia, the Rangers punched their ticket back to the Fall Classic with a 11-4 win over the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS.
Garcia’s performance in Game Seven was massive for the Rangers as he went 4-for-5 with a pair of homers to go with his five RBIs. Three weeks ago, the Rangers fell short of their goal to clinch the division and settled for a trip to St. Pete’s to face the Tampa Bay Rays. Now three weeks later, they await the winner of Game Seven of the NLCS between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies.
On the other side of the plate, there are the Astros, the team of inevitability. For the past seven years, the Astros have been that team to beat in the American League. They looked almost unstoppable even after losing a Series to Atlanta a few years back. In those seven years, they have claimed two pennants, multiple ALCS appearances and a pair of World Series Championships. This pales in comparison to the Rangers who were bearers of six straight losing seasons…
…but in one night, that all changed for both.
In a way the era of dominance is far from over for the Astros. But in a year where underdogs have been the story once more (Knights winning the Stanley Cup, Nuggets winning the NBA Title), the Rangers look to add their name to that list of underdogs to become champions finally.
For the Rangers, they were the road warriors of this series as they won every single game in Houston. Prior to them winning the AL pennant, they dominated the Rays and the big dog Orioles with surprising sweeps. This is a team that has overcome a high payroll, injuries and an often-criticized bullpen. You’d be stuck trying to find anyone pulling for the Rangers this postseason with a 4.77 bullpen ERA to end the regular season.
For new Rangers, this is a glorious moment to enjoy. For old Rangers, it is long overdue. For legends like Nolan Ryan, they may be smiling, but they are not celebrating until they’re able to hoist up the trophy that eluded them 12 years ago on a cold October night in St. Louis. For every Rangers fan, they are hoping that their storied franchise will finally have its first World Series win in franchise history.
It does make sense to have that mentality in 2023 considering that almost every champion this season has been a first…well almost. I’m pretty sure the Chiefs are the exception to that statement. But the Vegas Golden Knights and Denver Nuggets finally were able to call themselves champions. One lifetime ago, no one would’ve expected the Red Sox to break the Bambino Curse, but they did it twice.
No one expected some rookie named Tom Brady to build a dynasty in Foxborough, but he did. No one expected Craig Berube to be the one that brought the Gateway City its first Stanley Cup, but he did that. How many people had Joe Maddon being the guy to bring Chicago its first World Series title in over a century?
The bottom line is this: On any given sports day, anything can happen. Just ask the Jets.
Now the question becomes…who’s next?