The Texas Rangers won 90 regular season games and the American League West title this season. But it took the Rangers’ 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in the opening game of the AL Division Series Wednesday, October 6 to really get their fans to climb aboard the bandwagon.
Of course, that victory Wednesday was only the Rangers’ second playoff win in their 50-season history—as well as their first playoff game, period, since 1999—so some skepticism among the fanbase was to be expected. But now that the Rangers have the upper hand on the Rays, demand for tickets to Game Three and, if necessary, Game Four of the ALDS at the Ballpark at Arlington Saturday, October 9 and Sunday, October 10 is rising. At press time today, October 7, the Rangers also were leading in Game 2.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of calls on the next series [the AL Championship Series], we’re kind of going game-by-game,” Texas Tickets owner Scott Baima told TicketNews. “In fact, until [Wednesday], we hadn’t had much response on the second [ALDS] home game.”
Baima said interest in Rangers tickets is as high as it is for the Dallas Cowboys, quite an accomplishment in a football-crazed state. “Usually by now it’s all Cowboys,” Baima said. “Just them playing in October is unusual for Rangers fans to see.”
In fact, the Rangers are expected to sell out both their ALDS home games even though those contests will go directly against a pair of football tilts at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington—the Arkansas at Texas A&M college game at 3:30 Saturday and the Tennessee Titans at Dallas NFL game at 4:15 Sunday.
At StubHub the afternoon of Thursday, October 7, the cheapest ticket to Game Three was $68 for a Grandstand Reserved seat, more than twice its list price of $30.
“It’s nice to see,” Baima said. “Usually you can’t give tickets away at the end of the season. Now they’re in the postseason and there’s interest. Most years it’s ‘What are the Cowboys and [Dallas] Mavericks going to do?’ once October hits.”
Interest has been building all season in the Rangers, whose average crowd was 4,311 fans higher this year (30,928) than last year (26,617). That was the second-highest increase in baseball and the biggest among teams playing in the same stadium as a year ago.
“We’ve been selling all along—Rangers fans haven’t seen a playoff game in 10 or 11 years so it’s been pretty hectic,” Baima said. “I’d say the last couple months, we’ve actually done well.”
And now, Rangers fans conditioned to expect the briefest of playoff forays—the win Wednesday snapped a nine-game playoff losing streak dating back to 1996 for the Rangers, who were swept by the New York Yankees in their last two ALDS appearances in 1998 and 1999—are beginning to speak optimistically about how quickly they can get to the AL Championship Series against either the Yankees or Minnesota Twins.
“There still might not be a Game Four,” Baima said.