To say the 2011 MLB postseason has been a roller coaster ride would be an understatement. At the end of August, it looked like things would be simple. The Rangers were a pretty safe bet to make it to the postseason for the second year in a row, and the Cardinals were 10.5 games back. Nice and simple. In April — hell, even in September — if you had told me these two teams would be playing each other in the World Series, I would have asked you if you also saw dead people or heard voices. You’d be a certified crazy person.
Then the Cardinals just stopped losing, and the Braves did the exact opposite. Fast forward to the last day of the season. I’m sitting at home watching 4 — yes, 4 — baseball games simultaneously. Rangers/Angels on the big TV, Tigers/Indians on my iPad, Cardinals/Astros on my other TV that I dragged into my living room and Braves/Phillies. The Rangers needed to win (or the Tigers to lose) to ensure homefield advantage for the ALDS. The Cardinals had to win in order to keep their postseason dreams alive. Then the unexpected happened. Rangers won. Cardinals won. Braves lost — in 13 innings. Just wow. I was big ball o’ crazy.
Thus began the most intense postseason I have ever experienced. It’s hard enough following 1 team closely throughout the season, so following 2 definitely takes its toll. Until this point, I’ve only had 1 team in the playoffs at a time. Two was going to take some dedication — and some rearranging of my schedule since TV networks aren’t at all conscious that people have jobs and can’t watch baseball several times a week at 3 p.m. (See rant here.)
The Rangers’ postseason has been exactly what I expected. They got the job done. A few heart-stopping moments here and there, but never did I once fear they weren’t going to make it to the World Series. They’re pretty solid. Their lineup is simply terrifying, and the bullpen has been remarkable.
The Cardinals, on the other hand? There are no words. This team may go down as my favorite of all their teams over the years. Reaching the postseason was a miracle in and of itself, but beating the Phillies? Then the Brewers? Unbelievable.
Wait. Why am I Cardinals fan AND a Rangers fan, you ask? Well, I grew up a Cardinals fan — my dad’s family is from St. Louis; my mom’s family are die-hard Cardinals fans; both my brother and I went to college in St. Louis — it was inevitable.
Then I moved to Dallas, where I tried hard to like the Texas Rangers. Guys, it was TOUGH. I’d go to games in my new Rangers tee, and no one would be there. The only time the crowd got into a game was if the wave started. It was sad. I’m pretty certain few people knew who even pitched for the Rangers besides Kenny Rogers. I won’t lie, the small fanbase was disappointing, but it also meant great, cheap seats. I regularly sat by the Rangers’ dugout for only $5. That part was sorta awesome.
Then, the Mark Teixeria trade happened in 2007. This is when I fell in love. This Jon Daniels kid totally knew what he was doing. The baseball nerd in me researched who we got in the trade, and well, I couldn’t wait for 2010 when these kids would join the major league team. Yeah, I was totally right. (Seriously, do Braves fans just HATE the Rangers? I would. They should be in the World Series right now with this team.) Since then, I adopted the team as my own. I started buying ticket packages at the beginning of the season — considering season tickets if the ballpark wasn’t so freaking far away. Watching the brilliant moves of the Rangers’ front office and how far this team has come, I feel like a proud parent. They’re all grown up. *sniff*
So what do you do when your first true love is up against your new one? One of my Twitter friends – @TodMeisner – described it best : “My sports worlds are colliding, and it’s making me uncomfortable.”
Because I’ve been getting asked who I’d cheer for in the World Series ENDLESSLY over the past couple of weeks should this happen, I’ll answer: I don’t know. I plan to let my gut decide for me in Game 1 — I promise to remain consistent after that. I have an idea of which way I may go, but I just don’t know. I considered just wearing red to all the games and going neutral, but I feel like that’s lame. I fear my love for the Cardinals may tarnish my love for the Rangers should the Rangers win — I’m pretty good at holding grudges. It also doesn’t help that all of my friends here are rooting for the home team.
So, what’s a girl to do? Help.
NOTE: It’s OK to dislike me since I’m whining about both of my teams being in the postseason. Go. Right. Ahead.