Has the Metroplex finally fully embraced the Rangers?
Josh Hamilton and the rest of the Rangers are captivating fans in a serious way. And it's not just their bubbly personalities and colorful uniforms. It turns out winning is fun (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images).
WFAA Sports Blogger
Posted on April 5, 2012 at 4:20 PM
Thursday, Apr 5 at 4:22 PM
In the past two years, since Nolan Ryan’s ownership group took the reins, an amazing number of people have come seemingly out of the woodwork to claim their status as lifelong Rangers fans. Now, I don’t doubt that many of those people rooted for the Rangers, probably even went to games every now and again. But the numbers don’t lie.
Last season, attendance at the Ballpark totalled 2,946,949, an average of 36,382 per game. Those are near-Yankee Stadium numbers. To give you a frame of reference, back in 1988, the Rangers' numbers looked more like this: 1,581,901 for the year, or a measly 19,530 per game.
Obviously, all it took was back-to-back trips to the World Series to ensure that opening day for the 2012 season was an almost instant sell-out. But if we are being realistic, what are the chances of a three-peat or even, dare I say it, a World Series victory? I really hope that this rush of Rangers euphoria doesn’t turn into a low tide of fair weather fans. The Rangers need this kind of enthusiasm.
I like their chances at hanging onto this new fanbase, though. For years, it was cool to dismiss the Rangers because they had really had little to no success in the post-season. Sports fans in Dallas had the Jimmy-era Cowboys to keep them warm at night or the at-least-they-make-the-playoffs-every-year Mavericks. What had the Rangers done for them?
Of course, we all know that is a complete fallacy. There is nothing more maddening than being a Cowboys fan for the past decade and a half. It’s been a long, tortuous gauntlet of false hope, flubbed holds and terrible Decemebers.
The Mavericks, prior to winning the title last year, could fall into the same category. What fan didn’t threaten to never watch a game again after the first round loss to Golden State? And after they followed it up with another playoff exit at the Spurs' hands? If ever there was a great spot to jump off a bandwagon, that would have been it.
So as long as expectations are set to 'reasonable,' I see no reason why this isn’t the start of a new era in the Metroplex. One in which Texas Rangers baseball is seen as a viable, powerful player in the local economy and collective sports psyche.
In fact, I would argue that the only thing holding the Rangers back from being the hottest ticket in town each summer is the fact that it is a game of survival to watch a day game at the Ballpark in August.
Seriously, if they were to get a retractable shade or some sort of additional awning, the sky’s the limit.