Rangers Ballpark In Arlington is a mere 8-hour drive from my front door, so you’ll forgive me if I’m not seen at a Rangers home game more than a few times a year. In fact, it’s now been over a year since I saw my last Rangers game live. Yes, I sometimes feel sorry for myself but fortunately, the Astros’ games are no longer on Fox Sports Southwest, so I can pretty much watch any Rangers game on TV save for the Friday night games which are only shown locally in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
What I’m trying to say here is I won’t be at RBiA tonight to see the opener of the Texas Rangers and the defending American League Champion Detroit Tigers. I live too far away, I don’t have enough scratch to make the trip and there have been no wealthy benefactors offering to pay my way there.
Here’s what I can’t understand, though. This isn’t just the first game matching up the last two American League Champions. It is also a match-up of two of the best starting pitchers playing in the game today. Yu Darvish vs. Justin Verlander. One’s a Cy Young Award winner, the other is pitching like he wants the CYA this year.
As much of a Rangers fan as I am, I also know I cannot watch each and every game of the season. Besides the aforementioned Friday night games, this year I’m now forced to accept my age and retire for the night before a West Coast game can reach its conclusion. Family and work responsibilities get in the way of a number of other games. Believe it or not, sometimes I’d rather just watch something else on the tube instead of the Rangers game.
There is, however, a time when I will move heaven and earth to make sure I get to see my beloved Rangers play, and that is a game in which Yu Darvish takes the mound for Texas. It has literally been almost 20 years since a Rangers pitcher has compelled me to watch a game whenever he took the mound. The last pitcher from so long ago? Nolan Ryan.
Over the years, Texas Rangers baseball has been appointment viewing for me because of hitters like Ruben Sierra, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Josh Hamilton, even Pete Incaviglia for a short while. A pitcher? Only twice. Ryan and now Darvish. Had I lived in Texas back then, perhaps Fergie Jenkins might have elicited a reaction as well.
The variety of Darvish’s pitching repertoire, the movement he has on some of his pitches and the prodigious number of strikeouts makes Darvish appointment television for me all of 400+ miles away from the site it’s occurring in. Then, when you add Justin Verlander to the equation as the opponent on the mound, this is a must-see event only slightly below a playoff game in importance.
I say this because, as of this writing, tonight’s Darvish-Verlander match-up is shaping up to have the lowest attendance of any game in the 4-game set. I know it’s the only game of the four not being played on the weekend, but for goodness sake, IT’S DARVISH AGAINST VERLANDER!!! I’d let my kids and grandkids miss school the next day to see a pitching match-up like this. If it were a day game and I were a teacher, I’d set up a TV in my classroom to let my students see it. If my wife threatened to leave me tonight, I might even consider asking her to wait a couple of hours so we can talk about it after the game (I really wouldn’t, but you get my point).
Darvish vs. Verlander and as of lunchtime today, there were almost 10,000 tickets still available for the game. Is the American Idol finale really THAT important??? I guess fans don’t care about pitching match-ups as much as they used to. What a shame, because this could be one of the better games any fan could see this season.
- Preview: Tigers at Rangers (wyff4.com)
- PODCAST: Yu Darvish vs Justin Verlander tonight in Arlington as the Texas Rangers face the Detroit Tigers (rattleandhumsports.com)
- Darvish, Verlander Set For Showdown Thursday (dfw.cbslocal.com)