October 15, 2010 — The American League Championship Series begins tonight at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan just threw out the ceremonial first pitch — and what a pitch it was. The Hall of Fame pitcher threw a fastball over the plate, which ignited an already wild crowd. The Texas faithful have not stopped waiving their white towels in the five minutes since Ryan tossed the pitch — and the game hasn’t even begun yet.
It’s 81 degrees outside, but it feels like it’s about 100 because of the humidity.
The Yankees are primed to hit the mute bottom tonight because they’re sending 21-game winner CC Sabathia to the mound. Sabathia has won big games in equally as hostile of environments, as have more than three quarters of the Yankees lineup. Derek Jeter has been in so many big games that when he was asked about a postseason contest in which the Yankees came from behind to beat the Rangers in the late ’90s, he couldn’t even remember it.
“That was a long time ago,” Jeter said yesterday during a press conference. “If we came from behind to win, we must have been pretty good. I’m focused on this series, and we’ve got our hands full with the Rangers. But we like the team we have, and we like the where we’re out right now.”
The Yankees are in the heart of Texas right now. And they are four wins away from going back to the World Series.
–Alfred Santasiere III