The Importance of Sports

The Importance of Sports

Originally published on The Armchair All Americans.

As the final notes of “God Bless America” rang out on a saxophone at last night’s Texas Rangers game, fans began to chant “USA,” hoping to show signs of unity and healing. Eventually, the entire stadium joined in, demonstrating a rare moment where people of all backgrounds and all fanbases joined together as one.

America has an unfortunate history of tragedy at home, but a more hopeful history of healing through sports. After the events of 9/11, baseball became a “unifying moment in a time of crisis.” As the Yankees marched through the postseason that year, the city of New York came together.

After the Boston Bombing in 2013, the Red Sox embraced #BostonStrong as an ideal, and brought it wherever they went. The team participated in community outreaches, healed through a collective love of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” and player David Ortiz even said “This is our (expletive) city!”

Unity through sports is not unique to America, seen through South Africa in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Told in the film “Invictus,” South Africa won the World Cup just a year after the end of Apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela. Rugby did not fix the nation’s problems, but it united the nation in a single pursuit.

In any culture and in any society, one constant is sports. There is something about joining together with complete and total strangers and rooting together for a single goal. This common interest crosses boundaries of race, class, occupation. A common support of a single team can build bonds just as quickly as support of rival teams causes strife. Like it or not, sports are here, and fans are passionate.

The only Dallas-area major sports team active right now is the Texas Rangers, and they were in the difficult spot of playing a game in a town which desperately needs healing. Injustices had occurred across America as well as in the hometown. And this article is not about politics, but make no mistake, these were all injustices. The shooting of Alton Sterling in Louisiana was unjust. The shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota was unjust. And the mass shooting of police officers in Dallas was unjust.

In the face of injustice and an attack on their home, last night’s Texas Rangers game at Globe Life Park in Arlington at least started some form of healing. Earlier in the day, Rangers minor-leaguer Joey Gallo shared a story on Instagram of an experience he had months ago with current-Ranger Nomar Mazara.

While walking down the street, Patrick Zamarripa, one of the police officers killed in the Dallas shootings, had recognized Gallo and Mazara and requested a picture.

“He was an avid Rangers fan. But more importantly a great person, and family man,” said Gallo.

Before tonight’s game began, a two-jet flyover and a moment of silence honored Sterling, Castile, and those fallen in Dallas. With a somber, quieter mood than normal, the game begins.

As the game continues, the fans start to return to what some would call “normal.” They cuss at the umpire, cheer for all fly balls hit to mid-to-deep outfield, and boo a pitcher who considers a pickoff move. They even do the wave*. As runs score, fans who have never met high-five and share opinions on where the Rangers will go this season.

The lead changes hands multiple times throughout the game, but the final lead change comes in the bottom of the 6th inning. Shortstop Elvis Andrus triples to score Outfielder Nomar Mazara, and then scores the eventual game-winning run off of a sacrifice fly by catcher Bobby Wilson.

When the game reaches the seventh inning, fans rise for the singing of “God Bless America.” But today, it is played on a saxophone and the fans are left to sing the words. Upon the completion of the song, most of the audience is singing along, united as both fans, citizens of Dallas, and Americans. They start chanting “USA!” repeatedly until they sing again, this time “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

The rest of the game flows mostly smooth for Texas, and they win the game with a score of 6-5. Audio man Chuck Morgan plays victory song “I Like Texas,” by Pat Green and fans celebrate a much-needed win. Elvis Andrus is named player of the game, and speaks in support of the city in his post-game interview.

“Texas is really strong, the same way as Dallas,” said Andrus.


Follow @ACAllAmericans for quality and up-to-date sports reporting.

*this is not in any way an endorsement of the wave. But hey, Dallas had a bad day.

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VIDEO: Rangers’ Prospects Slugging Way Through Spring

VIDEO: Rangers’ Prospects Slugging Way Through Spring

Originally published on The Armchair All Americans in March 2016.

With roughly two weeks remaining of 2016 Spring Training, the Texas Rangers farm system is showing they earned the number seven spot in Baseball America’s organization rankings.

Few organizations have had as consistently great management as Texas; the team is always anticipating the arrival of at least one high-profile prospect. Their top three prospects, 22-year-old infielder Joey Gallo, 21-year-old outfielder Lewis Brinson, and 20-year-old outfielder Nomar Mazara, respectively.

They are all having phenomenal springs. Gallo is batting .333 with three homers, Brinson is batting .353 with one homer, and Mazara is batting .379 with a home run. Collectively, the trio is batting .357 in 70 at-bats. With that in mind, here is each player’s highlight of spring training (so far).

Top-Prospect Joey Gallo absolutely demolished a homer into the parking lot of Temple Diablo Stadium in a March 13th game against the Angels.

Outfielder Lewis Brinson hit a walk-off home run just a couple days ago, in a high-profile game at the Alamodome against defending World Series champions, the Kansas City Royals.

Nomar Mazara starting spring training with an absolutely beautiful homer on March second. I covered this just a couple weeks ago, but here it is again. Unfortunately, Mazara left yesterday’s game after fouling a ball off of his foot. He is listed as day-to-day.

For more analysis of the Texas Rangers, follow the author @justjustin42 on Twitter.

All stats provided by Baseball-Reference.com.  Featured Image Credit: (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

Top 10 Crying Jordan Memes

Top 10 Crying Jordan Memes

Source

In the past year, the meme known as “Crying Jordan” has swept the internet. Taking over the relatively small demographic of sports fans who are also social media lovers, the Crying Jordan has grown rapidly in popularity. The meme uses this image of Michael Jordan, taken at his Hall of Fame induction:

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AP

Then it is photoshopped over the face of a sad person, typically after a devastating sports loss, a joke at the expense of the “loser”. This weekend a new meme featuring Jordan’s crying face over both Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey went viral, after McGregor’s loss Saturday night and Ronda Rousey’s loss last November. In honor of this post, here is the definitive ranking of the top 10 Crying Jordan memes.

10. Cryin’ Fitzpatrick

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Credit: barstoolsports.com

9. Crying Megatron

8. Crying Tom

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Twitter: User @clutchlikeromo

7. Crying LeBatman

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Twitter: User @highkin

Note: See LeBron’s recent Instagram post for clarification

6. Crying Vikings

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Twitter: User @whoisjoserivera

5. Crying Kanye

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Twitter: User @writerfrombklyn

A parody of the cover of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Kanye’s bank account. 

4. Crying Panther

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Twitter: User @world_wide_wob

3. Crying Apple

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Twitter: User @TheScore

Note: Typically a Home Run Apple.

2. Crying Champions

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Twitter: User @boneystarks

1. Crying Fans

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Twitter: User @nick_pants

Easy to miss the subtlety in this one. In the midst of Steph Curry’s logic defying shot to beat Oklahoma City last week, notable Twitter photoshopper @nick_pants saw an opportunity. He placed a Crying Jordan on the face of every fan in the audience doing the “surrender cobra,” placing both hands on the back of their head in anguish. The result is an image worth zooming in and attempting to count.

And this Honorable Mention would definitely have made it on the list, but is not technically a Crying Jordan meme. In a reverse, twitter ‘shopper @whoisjoserivera placed Leonardo DiCaprio’s face on a dunking Jordan, celebrating his recent Academy Award.

HM. Dunking Leo

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Twitter: User @whoisjoserivera

So what do you think? Did I miss any Crying Jordan memes you love? Please let us know and leave them in the comments!

 

Rangers Rookie Nomar Mazara Shines in First Two Weeks

Rangers Rookie Nomar Mazara Shines in First Two Weeks

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On Sunday, some were recuperating from Beyoncé’s absolute dominance of the internet or watching to see if [SPOILER] actually [SPOILER]’d at the end of last season, but Rangers’ rookie outfielder Nomar Mazara continued to show his proficiency at a big-league-level.

The Texas Rangers officially called up Nomar Mazara to replace Shin-Soo Choo just recently on April 10. After a fantastic spring, many Rangers fans hoped he would make the team outright, but the team decided to give the 20-year-old another year to mature with the game. But in the end he became a major leaguer anyways, and has earned the title.

In only 12 games, Mazara (affectionately called “Maz,” by a fanbase which has a history of loving nicknames) has wildly impressed the Rangers. The expectations of Mazara were a strong offensive set, but disappointing defensive output. He proved the offensive expectations dead-on, with a pair of homers and a slash of .356/.404/.533. Here is video of yesterday’s massive 418 foot bomb, which came off of the bat at 110 MPH according to Evan Grant of the DMN:

The most impressive aspect of Mazara’s game up to this point has been the unexpectedly high level of defense he has played. With quite a few great plays and little to no errors, Mazara simply plays smart baseball (something which cannot always be said about starting center fielder Delino DeShields). And when the Rangers faced a tough situation against the White Sox in the bottom of the ninth inning, Maz was not prepared to lose:

Jared Sandler, reporter for 105.3 The Fan, claims that if Mazara continues to play at this rate, he will stay even when Choo and/or Hamilton return from injury.

In only two weeks of play, Nomar Mazara has caused a great stir among Rangers fans not just about the present but the future. With great hope not just for this year but the ones to come, Texas will look to Mazara as a key component

All stats from espn.com. Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@Rangers

For more Rangers info and opinions (and possibly Game of Thrones spoilers and the odd Beyoncé tweet), follow the author on twitter @justjustin42.