Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler celebrating — Photo courtesy of Keith Allison
If there's any team that has catapulted itself into the minds of the casual sports fan over the past few years, it's been the Texas Rangers, the MLB team who plays its home games in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers participated in consecutive World Series in 2010 and 2011, achieving that feat through their development of power bats and arms. Don't visit the great Dallas area in baseball season without catching a game.
The Rangers play in the American League's Western Division. They began play in Texas in 1972, have been owned by George W. Bush, and are currently owned by a group that former ace Nolan Ryan heads up. The Rangers play their home games at the Ballpark in Arlington which is a prodigious hitters ball park, fitting given their lineup construction of pure sluggers.
Because of the weather in Texas and the dimensions of their park, they have always been a team that hits home runs. This has definitely helped their drawing power, seeing as the new age of baseball fan fiends the long ball. This has gotten the team into trouble in the past. Having been forced to power their way past the opposition, the players felt pressure to get bigger and stronger. The Rangers' clubhouse was at the center of the Mitchell Report on steroids, as a good amount of their players were linked to steroid use.
Once Nolan Ryan's group officially closed on the team in 2010, things turned for the best. Players such as Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz rallied around the hard play style fostered by manager Ron Washington. Even though they've lost both World Series they attended, the team captured the hearts of fans nationally with their fun style of play. In 2010, the team developed a series of hand signals, the "Claw and Antlers", that put their team unity on showcase. The "Claw" represented power and strength and was flashed whenever a player reached base. The "Antlers" (hands placed behind ears like a deer) demonstrated speed and agility and was flashed whenever a base was stolen successfully.
Josh Hamilton getting crazy — Photo courtesy of Keith Allison
Starting in 2013, the Rangers in-state rival Astros of Houston will move to their division, creating some hostile battles that will surely be fun to attend. When planning to attend one of these match-ups or any others that take place during the mid-summer months, be sure to factor in the heat. Avoid sitting in the bleachers (which have direct sun exposure) and be sure to make mid-inning stops to one of their many in-stadium restaurants which are fully air conditioned. Free parking is available in the area; the restaurant Humperdinks usually has a good amount of spaces.