Baseball World Champs!!! (Los Rangers de Texas ganaron todo)

Wow, what a week, what a season! The season that began in Surprise, surprised everybody as the Texas Rangers won their first ever World Series, defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 at Chase Field, in Phoeniz, just 37 miles from the Rangers spring training complex in Surprise, Arizona.

It wasn’t easy, but it definitely was exciting and at times nerve wrecking. They needed to win the last game of the regular season in Seattle to win the American League West but failed to do so. Although they finished in a tie with their cross state nemesis Houston Astros, the title went to Houston because they had the better record in head-to-head competition this year.

Still the Rangers were in the playoffs as one of the Wild Card teams. Their post season began with a cross country six-hour flight from Seattle to Tampa. Little did many of us naysayers know the Rangers were about to embark in a historic road adventure where they would win 11 games on the road, defeating the Rays, Orioles, Astros, and Diamondbacks. Combining the first letter of each of these team’s names spells ROAD. The Rangers were definitely ROAD warriors.

Memories of the heartbreaks Rangers fans, life myself, suffered from the 2011 World Series when the Rangers twice were one strike away from winning it all quickly faded as they hoisted the coveted Commissioner’s Trophy.

What made it even more special was the Rangers dethroning the defending World Champions Houston Astros to win the American League League Championship and make it to their first World Series in more than 10 years.

In the seven-game series against the Astros, the Rangers won the first two games in Houston, only to lose the three games at Globe Life Field. The third game was a heart breaker and it included a bench clearing brawl after Rangers slugger Adolis Garcia was hit by a 99-miles-per-hour pitch from Astros hard throwing right-hander Bryan Abreu. Both Garcia and Abreu were ejected from the game.

Trailing the Astros 3-2 in the best of seven series meant the Rangers had to win two more games on the road, and the Road Warriors did just that. Garcia, who was heavily booed by the Houston crowd, was named the American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player (MVP), after hitting five home runs and driving in 15 runs.

They had punched their ticket to the World Series. It would be the second time Globe Life Field would be the site of the World Series as it hosted the 2020 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays in the shortened pandemic season.

But now it would be the Rangers playing in their home ballpark as they awaited the winner of the Philadelphia Phillies – Arizona Diamondbacks National League Championship Series. Regardless of who won that series the Rangers would host the first game at Globe Life Field because they had the better regular season record.

The Diamondbacks upset the heavy favored Phillies winning game six and seven in Philadelphia. Arizona’s next stop would be Arlington, Tex., for the beginning of the 119th Fall Classic.

Thus began a week of numerous activities. The first thing on my agenda was picking up my World Series media credential, which Major League Baseball issues to accredited media. As I waited in line I noticed several well-known national sportswriters and TV personalities also waiting to get theirs.

Then it was time for Media Day, where all players and coaches are made available to the media. Each player sits behind a small round table and for nearly an hour answer dozens of question addressed to them from worldwide media representatives.

Any and all kinds of questions are asked and answered. I asked third baseman Josh Jung, a Texas native, if he had enough tickets for family and friends and how he decides who gets them. "Yeah, I definitely have had a lot of requests for tickets, but I’m letting my mother handle that. I’m focused on winning the World Series right now," he said.

Then I asked six feet, six inch left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery, a former basketball player, if he could still dunk a basketball. "Not at this weight," said the 230 pounder. "Right now I’m just concentrating on pitching."

I encouraged rookie sensation Evan Carter to steal a base so everyone will be able to get a free taco at Taco Bell. "Really? I’ll try," he said.

As expected there were a lot of media members around Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, who would be named the World Series MVP, and, of course, Garcia.

Earlier in the day Diamondbacks players and coaches met with media and a horde of reporters surrounded Arizona bench coach Jeff Banister, who managed the Rangers from 2015 – 2018. Banister, who was manager of the year in 2015, said he regrets not being able to get the Rangers to the World Series during his tenure as Rangers manager. "That was a missed opportunity for us at that time," he said.

I asked Arizona left fielder Lourdes Gurriel what he thought of his fellow countryman Adolis Garcia and if he was surprised the way the star outfielder was playing. "No, I’m not surprised at all. I always knew he was going to be a great player," said Gurriel who has known Garcia since the two played in Cuba early in their carrier. I also congratulated Gurriel on becoming a U.S. citizen earlier this year.

Following that media session, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy and Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo met separately with the media in the Rangers interview room. The were then followed by the two Game One starters.

Later that evening was the World Series Gala at Texas Live attended by media members, season-ticket holders, sponsors and Rangers front office staff. It was fun-filled evening that featured various activities, lots of food and pastries as well as spirit filled drinks.

Fans also watched Rangers 2023 season highlights on the giant 100-feet LED HD television screen. With the first 2023 World Series game just hours away fans started leaving Texas Live.

Game Day arrived and it was on to the ballpark and field for more media interviews. The stadium was in complete World Series décor with the 2023 World Series logo on the first and third base side of the field and red, white, and blue bunting throughout the stadium. Fans and tailgaters arrived early and a record 42,472 fans, the largest to attend a game at Globe Life Field, went through the turnstiles when the gates open a couple of hours before first pitch. Fans received red World Series rally towels that they waved throughout the game.

Players from both teams were lined up on each foul line and then the starting lineups were announced by Rangers public address announcer Chuck Morgan.

Two large flags adorned the field, the Texas flag on the left side and the American flag on the right as five-time Grammy Awards winner H.E.R. sang a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Then it was the ceremonial first pitch as George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States and former Texas Rangers owner, bounced the pitch to former Rangers catcher and Hall of Famer Ivan Pudge Rodriguez.

After the field was cleared from all the pre-game activities and after the umpires home plate meeting, Morgan announced that “it was World Series time in Texas.”

Home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn signaled to play ball and the game was underway. There was excitement throughout the game as the Rangers took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Arizona came back scoring three runs in the third inning and adding two more in the 4th and 5th inning. The Rangers scored one run in the third inning and after eight and a half innings trailed the Diamondbacks 5-3.

The fans never wavered, however, as they continued to cheer their home team. In the bottom of the ninth inning center fielder Leody Taveras walked and a batter later up came Seager, who sent a Paul Sewald’s fast ball to the stands in right field tying the game at five a piece. Then it was on to extra innings. Both teams failed to score in the 10th and Arizona was blanked in the top of the11th inning.

Leading off the bottom of the 11th inning Garcia connected on a Miguel Castro fastball that sailed over the right field fence giving the Rangers their first World Series win in more that a decade.

It was so exciting that fans did not want to leave as they savored the come from behind victory on Garcia’s walk off homer.

The celebration was short lived, however, as the Rangers lost Game Two 9-1. It was now on to the desert in Arizona for Games 3, 4, and 5, and post season road games 9, 10 and 11. The ROAD warriors never panicked.

They won their first game in Arizona 3-1, but lost potential seventh game starter Max Scherzer to a back injury and All Star slugger Garcia to a strained oblique.

On Halloween Day the Rangers scared the heck out of the Diamondbacks and their fans scoring 10 runs in the first three innings and eventually winning the game 11-7, despite being without the services of Garcia

Leading the best of seven series 3-1, they now prepared to win it all the following day, and they did shutting out the Diamondbacks 5-0. The last out came on a called third strike from pitcher Josh Sborz whose breaking ball froze hitter Ketel Marte.

Sborz threw his glove to the ground and was quickly embraced by catcher Jonah Heim as the rest of the team ran onto the field to begin their celebration. At Globe Life Field the more than 20,000 who watched the game on the giant video board erupted with excitement as did fans from all over the Meroplex. Even fans at the American Airlines were able to see the final out and they too joined in the celebration, as well they should.

After all, in the baseball club’s 63rd season and after 10,023 games the Senators/Rangers franchise finally won the World Series.

In 1969 there were the miracle Mets. Now in 2023 there are the Resilient Rangers. They went from losing 100 games to winning the World Series two seasons later.

The miraculous season began taking shape October 21, 2022, when new Rangers General Manager Chris Young lured the 68-year-old Bochy out of retirement and hiring him as the team’s new manager. Bochy’s managerial resume included winning four league championship titles and three World Series Championships. Ironically, his first World Series title was against the Rangers in 2010.

He now becomes the sixth manager in history to win at least six World Series Championships.

But as Bochy said, "This World Series win was special."

For me, a lifelong Rangers fan since their Washington Senators day, it was very special, a day I had long awaited. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement. The first Major League game I saw in person was in 1970, when I saw the Senators play the Detroit Tigers at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, D.C. I was in the Army then, stationed at Ft. McNair in DC, and quickly became a Senators fan. Little did I know than they would move to my home state and become the Texas Rangers.

With every World Series title comes a Victory Parade and two days later Arlington was the site of the largest parades anyone has seen here as more than 500,000 fans were on hand to celebrate the special occasion. There was never any doubt the parade would be held in Arlington. "This is where the Rangers play so it’s only proper that the parade be in Arlington," said one city official.

Many area schools canceled classes to allow students and staff to attend the parade, that included players, coaches, front office personnel, former players and the mayors of several Metroplex cities as well as bands from various Arlington High Schools. The parade ran through the city’s entertainment district and eventually ended on the north entrance of Globe Life Field.

"This is a historic event and all these students are getting a history lesson here," said Martin High School teacher Cindy Holland of Arlington. "There is so much history being written here in Arlington. History that students will long remember."

Following the parade nobody wanted to leave, including the players and coaches. They wanted to cherish the moment, the excitement, the history.

It was a victory celebration fans had been waiting more than 50 years.

It was also a victory celebration to area businesses as millions of dollars were spent providing a significant economic impact to Arlington and the Metroplex. It also put Arlington in the limelight.

Arlington will once again be in the limelight when Globe Life Field hosts the 2024 All Star Game, July 16, where the American League All Stars will by non other that Bochy, the manager of the World Champions Texas Rangers

Ozzie Garza has been writing about the Rangers for more than 20 years. He wrote this piece for HOY Dallas.

It wasn’t easy, but it definitely was exciting and at times nerve wrecking. They needed to win the last game of the regular season in Seattle to win the American League West but failed to do so. Although they finished in a tie with their cross state nemesis Houston Astros, the title went to Houston because they had the better record in head-to-head competition this year.

Still the Rangers were in the playoffs as one of the Wild Card teams. Their post season began with a cross country six-hour flight from Seattle to Tampa. Little did many of us naysayers know the Rangers were about to embark in a historic road adventure where they would win 11 games on the road, defeating the Rays, Orioles, Astros, and Diamondbacks. Combining the first letter of each of these team’s names spells ROAD. The Rangers were definitely ROAD warriors.

Memories of the heartbreaks Rangers fans, life myself, suffered from the 2011 World Series when the Rangers twice were one strike away from winning it all quickly faded as they hoisted the coveted Commissioner’s Trophy.

What made it even more special was the Rangers dethroning the defending World Champions Houston Astros to win the American League League Championship and make it to their first World Series in more than 10 years.

In the seven-game series against the Astros, the Rangers won the first two games in Houston, only to lose the three games at Globe Life Field. The third game was a heart breaker and it included a bench clearing brawl after Rangers slugger Adolis Garcia was hit by a 99-miles-per-hour pitch from Astros hard throwing right-hander Bryan Abreu. Both Garcia and Abreu were ejected from the game.

Trailing the Astros 3-2 in the best of seven series meant the Rangers had to win two more games on the road, and the Road Warriors did just that. Garcia, who was heavily booed by the Houston crowd, was named the American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player (MVP), after hitting five home runs and driving in 15 runs.

They had punched their ticket to the World Series. It would be the second time Globe Life Field would be the site of the World Series as it hosted the 2020 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays in the shortened pandemic season.

But now it would be the Rangers playing in their home ballpark as they awaited the winner of the Philadelphia Phillies – Arizona Diamondbacks National League Championship Series. Regardless of who won that series the Rangers would host the first game at Globe Life Field because they had the better regular season record.

The Diamondbacks upset the heavy favored Phillies winning game six and seven in Philadelphia. Arizona’s next stop would be Arlington, Tex., for the beginning of the 119th Fall Classic.

Thus began a week of numerous activities. The first thing on my agenda was picking up my World Series media credential, which Major League Baseball issues to accredited media. As I waited in line I noticed several well-known national sportswriters and TV personalities also waiting to get theirs.

Then it was time for Media Day, where all players and coaches are made available to the media. Each player sits behind a small round table and for nearly an hour answer dozens of question addressed to them from worldwide media representatives.

Any and all kinds of questions are asked and answered. I asked third baseman Josh Jung, a Texas native, if he had enough tickets for family and friends and how he decides who gets them. "Yeah, I definitely have had a lot of requests for tickets, but I’m letting my mother handle that. I’m focused on winning the World Series right now," he said.

Then I asked six feet, six inch left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery, a former basketball player, if he could still dunk a basketball. "Not at this weight," said the 230 pounder. "Right now I’m just concentrating on pitching."

I encouraged rookie sensation Evan Carter to steal a base so everyone will be able to get a free taco at Taco Bell. "Really? I’ll try," he said.

As expected there were a lot of media members around Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, who would be named the World Series MVP, and, of course, Garcia.

Earlier in the day Diamondbacks players and coaches met with media and a horde of reporters surrounded Arizona bench coach Jeff Banister, who managed the Rangers from 2015 – 2018. Banister, who was manager of the year in 2015, said he regrets not being able to get the Rangers to the World Series during his tenure as Rangers manager. "That was a missed opportunity for us at that time," he said.

I asked Arizona left fielder Lourdes Gurriel what he thought of his fellow countryman Adolis Garcia and if he was surprised the way the star outfielder was playing. "No, I’m not surprised at all. I always knew he was going to be a great player," said Gurriel who has known Garcia since the two played in Cuba early in their carrier. I also congratulated Gurriel on becoming a U.S. citizen earlier this year.

Following that media session, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy and Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo met separately with the media in the Rangers interview room. The were then followed by the two Game One starters.

Later that evening was the World Series Gala at Texas Live attended by media members, season-ticket holders, sponsors and Rangers front office staff. It was fun-filled evening that featured various activities, lots of food and pastries as well as spirit filled drinks.

Fans also watched Rangers 2023 season highlights on the giant 100-feet LED HD television screen. With the first 2023 World Series game just hours away fans started leaving Texas Live.

Game Day arrived and it was on to the ballpark and field for more media interviews. The stadium was in complete World Series décor with the 2023 World Series logo on the first and third base side of the field and red, white, and blue bunting throughout the stadium. Fans and tailgaters arrived early and a record 42,472 fans, the largest to attend a game at Globe Life Field, went through the turnstiles when the gates open a couple of hours before first pitch. Fans received red World Series rally towels that they waved throughout the game.

Players from both teams were lined up on each foul line and then the starting lineups were announced by Rangers public address announcer Chuck Morgan.

Two large flags adorned the field, the Texas flag on the left side and the American flag on the right as five-time Grammy Awards winner H.E.R. sang a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Then it was the ceremonial first pitch as George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States and former Texas Rangers owner, bounced the pitch to former Rangers catcher and Hall of Famer Ivan Pudge Rodriguez.

After the field was cleared from all the pre-game activities and after the umpires home plate meeting, Morgan announced that “it was World Series time in Texas.”

Home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn signaled to play ball and the game was underway. There was excitement throughout the game as the Rangers took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Arizona came back scoring three runs in the third inning and adding two more in the 4th and 5th inning. The Rangers scored one run in the third inning and after eight and a half innings trailed the Diamondbacks 5-3.

The fans never wavered, however, as they continued to cheer their home team. In the bottom of the ninth inning center fielder Leody Taveras walked and a batter later up came Seager, who sent a Paul Sewald’s fast ball to the stands in right field tying the game at five a piece. Then it was on to extra innings. Both teams failed to score in the 10th and Arizona was blanked in the top of the11th inning.

Leading off the bottom of the 11th inning Garcia connected on a Miguel Castro fastball that sailed over the right field fence giving the Rangers their first World Series win in more that a decade.

It was so exciting that fans did not want to leave as they savored the come from behind victory on Garcia’s walk off homer.

The celebration was short lived, however, as the Rangers lost Game Two 9-1. It was now on to the desert in Arizona for Games 3, 4, and 5, and post season road games 9, 10 and 11. The ROAD warriors never panicked.

They won their first game in Arizona 3-1, but lost potential seventh game starter Max Scherzer to a back injury and All Star slugger Garcia to a strained oblique.

On Halloween Day the Rangers scared the heck out of the Diamondbacks and their fans scoring 10 runs in the first three innings and eventually winning the game 11-7, despite being without the services of Garcia

Leading the best of seven series 3-1, they now prepared to win it all the following day, and they did shutting out the Diamondbacks 5-0. The last out came on a called third strike from pitcher Josh Sborz whose breaking ball froze hitter Ketel Marte.

Sborz threw his glove to the ground and was quickly embraced by catcher Jonah Heim as the rest of the team ran onto the field to begin their celebration. At Globe Life Field the more than 20,000 who watched the game on the giant video board erupted with excitement as did fans from all over the Meroplex. Even fans at the American Airlines were able to see the final out and they too joined in the celebration, as well they should.

After all, in the baseball club’s 63rd season and after 10,023 games the Senators/Rangers franchise finally won the World Series.

In 1969 there were the miracle Mets. Now in 2023 there are the Resilient Rangers. They went from losing 100 games to winning the World Series two seasons later.

The miraculous season began taking shape October 21, 2022, when new Rangers General Manager Chris Young lured the 68-year-old Bochy out of retirement and hiring him as the team’s new manager. Bochy’s managerial resume included winning four league championship titles and three World Series Championships. Ironically, his first World Series title was against the Rangers in 2010.

He now becomes the sixth manager in history to win at least six World Series Championships.

But as Bochy said, "This World Series win was special."

For me, a lifelong Rangers fan since their Washington Senators day, it was very special, a day I had long awaited. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement. The first Major League game I saw in person was in 1970, when I saw the Senators play the Detroit Tigers at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, D.C. I was in the Army then, stationed at Ft. McNair in DC, and quickly became a Senators fan. Little did I know than they would move to my home state and become the Texas Rangers.

With every World Series title comes a Victory Parade and two days later Arlington was the site of the largest parades anyone has seen here as more than 500,000 fans were on hand to celebrate the special occasion. There was never any doubt the parade would be held in Arlington. "This is where the Rangers play so it’s only proper that the parade be in Arlington," said one city official.

Many area schools canceled classes to allow students and staff to attend the parade, that included players, coaches, front office personnel, former players and the mayors of several Metroplex cities as well as bands from various Arlington High Schools. The parade ran through the city’s entertainment district and eventually ended on the north entrance of Globe Life Field.

"This is a historic event and all these students are getting a history lesson here," said Martin High School teacher Cindy Holland of Arlington. "There is so much history being written here in Arlington. History that students will long remember."

Following the parade nobody wanted to leave, including the players and coaches. They wanted to cherish the moment, the excitement, the history.

It was a victory celebration fans had been waiting more than 50 years.

It was also a victory celebration to area businesses as millions of dollars were spent providing a significant economic impact to Arlington and the Metroplex. It also put Arlington in the limelight.

Arlington will once again be in the limelight when Globe Life Field hosts the 2024 All Star Game, July 16, where the American League All Stars will by non other that Bochy, the manager of the World Champions Texas Rangers

Ozzie Garza has been writing about the Rangers for more than 20 years. He wrote this piece for HOY Dallas.