What Is The Price Of A Ticket Worth……………By RC

In the fall of 1957 my third grade teacher assigned our class a book report. By that age I had already fallen in love with sports, (yep sports of all sorts). As I scanned our library of about 25 books, I came upon one designed for elementary students called “The Lou Gehrig Story”. I immediately fell in love with the “Iron Horse” and the New York Yankees. I had my heart broken later on in that fall as the Milwaukee Braves (that isn’t a misprint) beat my beloved Yankees in the World Series. But from that point on I was a die hard Yankee fan. So much that when the Rangers moved from being the Washington Senators to Arlington Texas, it never phased me. But now that the Rangers have risen to the top of the American League I find myself in the gross minority. And have I paid dearly for my Yankee loyalty: not only among friends but from my family as well……………………………..

But with all that said I cannot deny that I have a place in my heart for the Rangers not only because they are Texas based but because in a sports world dominated by mega-sized egos the Ranger players seemingly are extremely well grounded. I give much of that credit to the “Legend” himself, Nolan Ryan as well as manager Ron Washington who seems to be the real deal. So yes I will be styling in my Ranger garb and pulling for those guys to bring the first ever world championship to Arlington…………………

But here is why I am writing this piece: Mona and I had the opportunity to attend the first ALDS game with the Tampa Bay Rays. Sure the 9-0 Rays victory was a downer but before the game ever began I had already realized the value of my ticket, times a thousand. We all remember the tragic evening when Shannon Stone, the Brownwood firefighter, had fallen from the stands trying to catch a ball tossed his way by #32 Josh Hamilton. Left alone in the stands that night calling for his father was little six year old Cooper. Thanks to the quality organization that they are, the Rangers made sure that his loneliness was very brief. And the effort on behalf of the Texas Rangers since that fatal night has been far beyond extraordinary. But fast forward to the first playoff game……………………………………………

Little Cooper Stone was invited to throw out the first pitch of the postseason. On the receiving end of the toss was, you guessed it, #32 Josh Hamilton. Josh stepped out from the plate a received a near perfect pitch from the little man from Brownwood. Josh hugged him, hugged his Mom, hugged him again, spoke at length with Mrs. Stone, and hugged little Cooper one last time. As Cooper departed the field being shown on the big screen at the park, my eyes were blurred with giant tears. But so were the eyes of everyone around me in that section. Of all the things that I have seen in major league baseball since that World Series of 1957, nothing stands any taller than that moment. One thing I learned in my book report, and it has been well documented through the ages, was that Lou Gehrig was not only a great Hall of Fame baseball player but a true gentleman of great character and integrity. And now in my world I am proud to say that #32 Josh Hamilton has earned all those same accolades and there is no doubt in my mind that a place for him in Cooperstown awaits…………………………………

That $55 dollar ticket proved to be an incredible buy, and it would have been an incredible buy even if the cost had been $5500………………………………….. RC

About Ronnie Clifton

Ronnie Clifton was a Texas Football Coach for 29 years. In addition to football, Clifton also served as the head coach in basketball and both girls and boys track. “I loved being involved in and playing sports as a kid, and I soaked up every ounce of available information about any sporting event; I also love to write. What better combo for me than becoming the writer of a sports blog?”
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