Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead

This contribution was provided by Jamey Newberg of The Newberg Report. The Newberg Report provides daily coverage of the Texas Rangers.

I’ve been part of a season ticket group since Rangers Ballpark opened in 1994, the same year that I moved back to Dallas and started my law career. That group originated at the law firm I started with and moved with those of us who opened our new firm six years ago.

There are some very savvy baseball fans in our group, and so when we divide the tickets up every March, it’s necessary to bring some strategy to the table. For many, many years, my focus was on Opening Day plus a fairly even distribution of games throughout the season, so I could spread out the serenity-adrenaline over those six months that were so much better than the other six months on the calendar. I’d pay some perfunctory attention to trial settings and kids’ recitals and other competing appointments, but the general priority was to make sure I never went too long without a visit to the Temple.

The last few years — the contender years — there’s been a slight shift in the plan, which this year was executed to an extreme: Almost all of the games I chose on Ticket Draft Day were in April and September. When your team is great, a thing that I now expect of the Texas Rangers every March, those are the two best months of the regular season. While there’s plenty of appeal to the out-of-school months, for me that doesn’t measure up to the April crave or the September intensity of a ticket to the ballgame, and in 2013 I set things up accordingly.

Next year I’m sure I’ll try to do the same. The 2014 schedule was unveiled yesterday, and Texas opens at home — against Philadelphia, which should mean Yu Darvish against Cliff Lee on an awesome Monday afternoon — and plays 17 of its final 26 games at home, including the last seven, which will be against Houston and Oakland, also awesome (for different reasons). I expect Chuck Morgan to introduce a very different Rangers team next March 31, but I have no doubt that it’s going to be a strong team, postured to play crucial games in September and poised to continue playing into October.

In spite of the last two nights and the last four series, I’m not sitting here diverting my thoughts toward next year in any sort of disconsolate, resigned way. I’m thinking squarely about Matt Garza vs. A.J. Burnett and how huge today’s game is and about how badly the Rangers need to win this afternoon for all kinds of reasons and about #CastleDoctrine and about how glad I am that I decided in March to load up on September tickets, including today’s. There have been many more years since 1994 when mid-September baseball thoughts were centered on “next year” than not, but 2013 is not one of them.

It’s just that next year’s schedule came out yesterday.

And with that, I’m done thinking about 2014 and how many times I’ll be on hand next April and next September, and instead focused single-mindedly on how many times I’m going to have the opportunity to sit in our seats at the Ballpark next month.