Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Field of Dreams

In a couple of hours, my alma mater, the University of Arkansas, will take the field against the University of Virginia in the College World Series. The loser is eliminated and goes home. The winner remains in Omaha, Neb., to pursue college baseball supremacy — however slim the odds may be.

But that's the way it is with baseball fans. Until that last out is recorded, hope springs eternal. Comebacks are always possible, even if you appear to be down to your last strike. This isn't like football or basketball, where the players and fans are at the mercy of the clock and leads can become too great to be overcome in the time that remains.

Anything can happen. That's why they call it the field of dreams.

The pastor of my church here in Dallas is a baseball fan — from what I gather, a pretty knowledgeable one, too. He grew up in this area so he remembers the very first days of the local major league franchise, the Texas Rangers, and he's been here to see all the local fans drink the Kool–Aid before the seasons began — and listen to the rationalizations when the dream inevitably came apart at the seams.

Usually, they stop passing around the Kool–Aid here by May and start anticipating football season, even though the first exhibition games are more than two months away. But sometimes the Rangers tantalize their fans a bit longer, and that's what they've been doing this year.

When the season began back in April, my pastor gave, in his blog, his case for withholding support for the Rangers until they had proven themselves worthy of it.

But the Rangers got off to a strong start this season. And, unfortunately, my pastor still seems to be prone to drinking the Kool–Aid — at least, to a certain extent.

Not that he's alone. There seem to be a lot of people in this area who are eager to see the Rangers in the playoffs, and they have readily welcomed the Rangers' hot start this year.

The Rangers have cooled off a little lately. They won the opener of their series with the majors' hottest club, the Dodgers, last Friday, but then they proceeded to lose the next couple of games. They beat Houston last night, so they're 5–5 in their last 10 games, but their primary division rivals, the Angels, are on a five–game winning streak and have pulled to within two games in the standings.

In his blog last week, my pastor said he could admit when he was wrong, and I've sort of said the same thing recently. But I've been warning that the Rangers tend to wither with the heat. I still think that's what is going to happen. And it's been unusually warm here lately.

If I'm wrong, well, I, too, can admit it. But I don't think I'll have to.

Because I've seen this movie before. Several times.

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