And so it ended, on a Brett Nicholas fly out to left field in the half-shadowed Globe Life Park, the last swing of defiance against a 5-2 loss, and a 78-84 record, a swatting of the ball farther than most humans would have, but not far enough to extend the season even one second more. Baseball had seen enough, and so the ball landed in Khris Davis’ glove and the credits rolled.
It was an unremarkable game, beyond a few final see-you-laters. Daniel Mengden held the Rangers baserunner-less for the first four innings until Adrian Beltre, in the lineup as Jeff Banister’s way of contributing to fan appreciation day, singled up the middle, and was replaced with Joey Gallo. The fans obliged the moment with a standing ovation, and Beltre obliged them right back with a tip of the cap. Then the crowd pushed their luck and continued to cheer and chant until the future Hall of Famer re-emerged from the dugout to wave again.
Elvis Andrus, too, was removed for a pinch runner, and while his ovation did not require an encore, the fans did not miss out on a chance to thank him for his excellent season.
Cole Hamels went just three innings, allowing three runs in a third inning that featured some questionable defense. The Arlington faithful got one last look at Willie Calhoun, the likely early favorite to win the 2018 left field job. One by one, starters were plucked from the game, and backups were allowed to get one last taste of the rapidly-falling sun before the shadows and the autumn crept over the green grass for good.
It was a season with many stories, heart-warming and joyous almost in spite of the outcome of the games. Rather than send you a million links to remind you of all of them, I’ll just let you watch a video.
Thanks to everyone who read these stories and the Baseball Texas Dailies this season. It has been a pleasure to write for you and interact with and meet you when you come to the park. I hope you’ll all make it a point to say hi when we all reconvene here in this very park on March 29th, 2018.