THEY MAY NEVER GET OVER IT

     Fans throughout the state of Texas are still stunned after the sixth game of the recently completed World Series. Fans’ champagne botttles remain unpopped, or if they were prematurely opened, they may stil be sitting on the kitchen table, untouched, getting flatter by the day. 

     Good people of the Lone Star State, I am not going to lie to you.  You may NEVER get over it.  This is not hyperbole.  I know from experience.  In 1986, the Red Sox were in the very same position as Texas, a quarter century later.  We had Mookie Wilson to hate, you’ve got David Freese.  Not only did Freese hit the bomb in the 11th inning to force Game 7, he also tied it with a two run triple with two outs and two strikes in the ninth.  TWO STRIKES!  Two lousy strikes.  One pitch away from the first World Series Championship in franchise history.  Unthinkable.  Unfathomable.  Unimaginable.  Do you know how many times I’ve lamented the same fate that befell Boston against the Mets in 1986.  There’s a young man in Fort Worth who will question his allegiance to the Rangers many times over.  There’s an elderly woman in Dallas who will pass away some time before the Rangers ever win it all.  There are thousands of poor saps in Arlington who will continue to toss and turn and ask “Why” for years.  Don’t want to blame Freese?  OK, Lance Berkman then.  The Rangers were a strike away in the tenth inning too!  Josh Hamilton gave Texas a reprieve with a tenth inning homer but Berkman tied it in the tenth.

     My God, Rangers fans.  I know your collective heads are still spinning.  It’s been the topic of conversation at the stockyards, the banks, the supermarkets, the gyms.  Where ever people gather.  Heck, there doesn’t even have to be anyone else around.  You will drive yourselves nuts.  FOREVER! 

     To this day, I look away when I know that ball is going to elude Bill Buckner yet again.  I just can’t bring myself to watch it.  You will hate Neftali Feliz like I’ve hated Buckner, all these years.  I’m sure Buckner is a fine man.  Had a super career, but committed the biggest error in Sox history.  Just have not been able to forgive.

     Maybe I have a problem.  I’m just not ready to let Billy Buck off the hook.  I know I’m not alone.  I’m just the only one honest enough to admit it.  25 years is a long time to hold a grudge.  Half my life, to be precise.  I’ve invested a lot of time in this.  2004 was phenomenal.  So was 2007.  I saw my first heartbreak as a 6 year old when Bob Gibson and the Cardinals stuck it to the Sox.  8 years later, I cried as the Big Red Machine won it in 7 over my hero Carlton Fisk and the Red Sox.  In 1986 I was a grown man, but nothing has ever affected me as much (that didn’t have to do with me or my family directly) as that loss to the Mets.  I, like you Texans, was ready to savor the moment.  A moment that I thought was going to be the greatest moment of my life. (My kids hadn’t been born yet.)

     I know what I’m talking about Rangers fans.  You will never find solace in “being in the Series”.  It was an opportunity you may never get again.  If you do get another chance, you still can’t get this one back.  I know what I’m talking about, all too well.

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