March 31, 2014: Opening Day at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX. Fans, excited about the off-season additions of Prince Fielder and Shin Soo-Choo, flocked to the ballpark that those of us in the the know affectionately call The Temple. And, wow, did they get there early.
It was a 1:05pm (CST) first pitch, but the tailgating was going on long before then – 9am or earlier.
As the masses made their way to the home plate entrance, it appears as if there was a shortage of trash cans for fans to dispose of their cans or bottles before entering the stadium. So, instead of tossing them to the ground, they took what they probably thought was the safest option: placing the (presumable) empties on a monolith.
Unfortunately, this monolith was erected to honor the Brownwood firefighter Shannon Stone who lost his life in 2011 at the Temple trying to catch a ball tossed his way by Josh Hamilton. To make matters worse, a photo was taken of the trash on the memorial and sent out via Twitter by local station WFAA (and probably others), as well as being written about on sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sports. I’m sure it played on other sites, too, but for once I am going for brevity here.
The Rangers have since apologized (though it was no fault of the organization), and I made the not-so-bold claim that the memorial would never be defaced again. Texans hate a lot of shit, but at the top of the list is being made fun of or being embarrassed. I pity the person who dares place some trash on the Stone memorial next. Have you ever heard of mob rule?
Anyway, I was at the game tonight. After a walk-off win (literally), my friend Peggy and I found ourselves in front of the statue on the way to our car. No trash on it at all. Only a single flower. She took a photo, and it has since been retweeted by Yahoo! and others. But will anyone write about this? Doubtful, but I think I’m ok with that. I’m mature enough to know that not all Dodgers fans are assholes like the ones who beat up Giants fan Bryan Stow. And I feel very certain that the VAST majority of Rangers fans will police the heck out of that memorial from this day forward.
Baseball is a sport that is (usually) passed along from generation to generation. That’s why I love it. My family is from Rhode Island, thus huge Red Sox fans. I’ve been to Fenway with my grandpa, before he passed, and sat near Pesky’s Pole. Had hot dogs with spicy mustard. When we moved to Texas, my mom instantly embraced the Rangers. And so did I. And we loved the nachos.
So don’t let some Opening Day shenanigans by jerkwads that probably go to one game per year color your perception of Rangers fandom. Instead, look at this photo of the unblemished flower on the monolith (taken by Peggy) and realize one truth:
Despite what Josh Hamilton said, this IS a baseball town.