From KERA News:
The Texas Rangers’ journey back to the World Series has been a dream 12 years in the making.
The Rangers are hoping for their first-ever World Series ring against the Arizona Diamondbacks, with the first two games of the seven-game series at home at Globe Life Field on Friday and Saturday.
The underdog Arlington team’s return to the Fall Classic might have been an unwelcome surprise for their Lone Star rivals the Houston Astros and a shock to the rest of the baseball world, but they’re backed by a proud city and championship-hungry North Texas sports fans.
A rocky history
The Rangers haven’t been to the World Series since back-to-back appearances and losses in 2010 to the San Francisco Giants and in 2011 to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The team has struggled over the past few years: For seven straight seasons the Rangers lost more games than they won, ranking second-to-last in all of Major League Baseball in the shortened 2020 season.
Though undefeated on the road, the Rangers’ successful ALCS run included three straight losses at home against the Astros, last year’s World Series champions.
But the Rangers’ Game 7 triumph quickly silenced the doubters, with the team putting three runs on the board in the first inning and never looking back.
A homer from series MVP Adolis García — who set a new MLB postseason series record for RBIs — helped pad the team’s decisive 11-4 win. Fans have also credited veteran manager Bruce Bochy with the Rangers’ newfound success.
D Magazine sports editor Mike Piellucci told The Texas Standard the ALCS victory inspired hope in North Texas sports fans that had been missing for a while.
“This is really the first time in a long time that Dallas has had a team that everybody’s been able to rally round in person, the way it should be done in a big sports town like this one,” he said.
Hundreds of North Texas fans celebrated the win during a watch party at Globe Life Field Monday night.
For fans like Arlington resident Juliana Monroy, even tying the series with the Astros before the final game was a relief.
“I think it’s just really exciting to get to see the Rangers make it so far,” Monroy said. “Of course, we want to go all the way.”
The 26-year-old Monroy and her partner Marcus Moreno, 25, said true fans never lost faith in the team — even during the rough patches.
“The Rangers are my team and the fans are great all the time,” Moreno said. “The energy here is just great. And we just want to get a World Series. We need that.”
Arlington Mayor Jim Ross remembers getting calls as late as 1 a.m. Tuesday morning after the Game 7 win.
“I was getting phone calls of mayors from all over saying, ‘hey, Mayor, how are you doing? Any way we can get World Series tickets?’” he said laughing. “And I’m like, yeah, I’m not a ticket broker.”
The Rangers’ growing popularity and success haven’t just benefitted the team. The Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated the three ALCS games played at Globe Life Field last week would bring in as much as $18 million in revenue for the city.
Arlington — home to Six Flags, the Dallas Cowboys and their AT&T Stadium — already has a lucrative entertainment district. But Ross said the Rangers have awakened the city like nothing else he’s seen.
“I think the Rangers have gone a long way of winning a lot of new baseball fans, a lot of new Ranger fans,” Ross said. “There were tons of us out there beforehand, but those people who were lukewarm, I think it really started to heat up.”