The New York Yankees forked out $206 million to their players this year, taking the number one spot on MLB team salary rankings for 2010 — and that’s the only first place the Yankees will get credit for this year.
Texas Rangers’ closer 22-year-old Neftali Feliz shocked Yankee nation when strike three, an outside breaking ball, buzzed past Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez to clutch the pennant, moving the team to face the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 World Series.
With an overall team salary less than half that of the Yankees, and never succeeding in a single American League Division series, the Texas Rangers are living proof that anything is possible.
Some students may support the franchise by wearing T-shirts and painting faces but die-hard fans and siblings Sam and Rachel VanHoozer show their loyalty by road tripping with their family to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Sam is a junior exercise sports science major, and Rachel is a freshman nursing major.
“I grew up a Rangers fan and have been going to games since I was very little,” Sam said.
He doesn’t recall his exact age when he began attending the games or how many times he’s been to the ballpark, but he does “remember watching the older guys like Juan Gonzales and Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez play,” he said. “My Dad has always been a season ticket holder, so I would go every chance I could.”
Rachel began attending games just last year, and so far this season, the VanHoozers have attended about 12 games.
Together, their favorite memory was witnessing the team clinch the American League Champion Series. “I’ve been to a ton of Ranger games, but the celebration and atmosphere after that win was like nothing I’ve ever been a part of,” Sam said.
The two share the same favorite player, center fielder Josh Hamilton. He was awarded MVP of the ALCS game.
“He’s come from so much,” Rachel said, “And he’s made the team stronger.”
“He’s an amazing player and has been through nothing you would ever imagine,” he said. “If you haven’t read his book, I really encourage you to read it …. He gives all he has each game and gives all the glory to God every single night,” Sam said.
The VanHoozers were in Arlington Oct. 30, and weren’t the only Crusaders there.
Senior business management major Grant Coomes and his dad, Kenny Coomes, had the honor of holding the American flag before the Rangers and Giants took the field. The opportunity came about when the Rangers front office emailed all season ticket holders, giving them an option to volunteer to participate.
“The first 100 people to respond back got the opportunity to be the one to go out there,” Coomes said.
He found out they were going to hold the fl ag by an e-mail forwarded from his dad.
The Coomes family has been season ticket holders since the park opened in 1994.
Coomes was born a fan. Growing up right across I-30 from the stadium, he has been to about 400 games.
“I’ve been a fan all my life, and basically they’ve never been good,” he said. “My favorite player is Michael Young. He’s been there the longest.”
He is proud of the Rangers for getting this far and has loved seeing the stands completely filled with fans. Win or lose the 2010 World Series, the Texas Rangers have made MLB history.
Coomes said, “I hate to say it, but beating the Yankees and clinching the ALCS, and Feliz striking out A-Rod to end the game was the best sports experience of my life.”