Rangers in the Fall Classic? Are You World Serious?
Up until today, the Texas Rangers Baseball Club had two major impacts on my life: They are my favorite team in the American League and they introduced me to nachos
Up until I was eight, we lived in San Diego — thanks to the U.S. Navy — and attended many San Diego Padres games. If we didn’t go to the Boll Weevil before the game for a Steerburger, which was my preference, I was bound to eat a hot dog. Probably peanuts, too. A box of Cracker Jack if dad had one too many Olympia Golds. Two Olympia Golds and I’d get a pennant or a helmet.
By 1977, we’d moved to Texas. It took me a while to take a liking to the Rangers. What I didn’t know was in that same year the snack tide shifted at Arlington Stadium, an uninspired place for the even less-inspired Texas Rangers. That’s where stadium nachos were introduced and Rico’s cheese began a crusade to corner the softened, processed cheese market.
It took until 1982 for me to make it up from Austin to Arlington for a game. My uncle Ben, who as far as I know had zero proclivity for serving rice, ordered us some nachos. Everything changed. I already loved chips as a 13-year-old so this substitution of gooey cheese mixed with pickled jalapenos was right down my alley. I think it was probably that day I started loving the Rangers.
It wasn’t until uncle Ben died four years later that I became an addict for the star-crossed franchise. After his funeral, we stayed with my aunt Polly for a couple weeks to help her cope with the loss as they never had children other than black-hearted Scottish Terrier named Barty.
As my aunt and parents went over her options and helped her prepare her house for sale, I was left in the TV room, decorated in curios from Ben and Polly’s travels around the U.S., watching Texas Rangers baseball on the Gaylord family’s Channel 11. I watched rookies Ruben Sierra and ex-Oklahoma State starPete Incaviglia along with former Sooner standout Bobby Witt and knuckleballer Charlie Hough. The team brimmed with young promise that despite later additions like Nolan Ryan, Pudge Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez would be a team known far more for its failures than its successes.
It seems like yesterday when fellow ex-Oklahoman Sports Desk staffers and Ranger fans Jim Stafford and Chris Maxon (Confession time, Chris: It was I whom you were bidding against for what turned out to be a tiny retro Rangers pennant. Didn’t have the heart to tell you, sorry!) would join me at a south-facing window in the Oklahoman building to listen to a scratchy radio broadcast of Rangers baseball, hoping to hear the dearly departed Mark Holtz holler, “Hello, win column!”
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