500,000 people crowded into Arlington to see the unthinkable: A Texas Rangers parade

From as far away as five miles people made the walk, and they might have been OK had the distance been 52 miles.

Fifty-two miles for all 52 years of the Texas Rangers.

On Friday morning in Arlington, the traffic was, at least, tolerable. And by “tolerable” we mean utterly God awful terrible.

This latest version of DFW gridlock was only tolerable, this time, because nearly everyone involved in this moving parking lot were headed to see, and revel, in history.

Take Houston and combine it with Los Angeles at rush hour and that will give you an idea of just how bad the traffic was in Arlington in the morning hours leading up to the Texas Rangers’ World Series parade.

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In some spots, cars were double and triple parked on sidewalks. In more than a few areas cars were parked in spots that looked not big enough for one unicycle.

Angry store owners in Arlington threatened people they would tow their car unless they moved it. The car owners took the risk.

There are are better cities designed to host a parade than Arlington, Texas, but you would be hard pressed to find a city that wanted this parade more than Arlington, Texas.

Arlington has hosted parades before, but somehow what happened here on Nov. 3, 2023, felt just a bit bigger than the ones held every year for the Fourth of July.

By noon, vendors all over the place had run out of beer. By 12:05 p.m., many of those same vendors only had fireball shots to sell, which consumers “reluctantly” accepted.

At least one of those beers was tossed by a fan to Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe during the actual parade. He caught it, slammed it, and took off his shirt. Because, when in Arlington ...

Texas Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe during the World Series parade in Arlington on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023.
Texas Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe during the World Series parade in Arlington on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023.

No one was ready for this, because how could even the most trained PhD, or “Parade Expert,” adequately prepare for something that has never before happened? “Texas Rangers World Series Parade” are not words that go in the same sentence.

So everybody came to see if an event that still feels surreal was actually real. Rest assured, this all happened.

Fans wearing their new $40 Rangers World Series champions T-shirts were everywhere, so were those wearing their new $35 Rangers World Series champions hats.

As fate would have it, the Lord could not have given Arlington a better weather day. Awash in sunlight, and no one was sweating to death.

Fans of all ages lined up in some places 20 people deep around the streets of Arlington’s entertainment district to enjoy something that people were justifiably convinced they would never live long enough to witness. Because a lot of Rangers fans, unfortunately, did not live long enough to see this.

Rangers fan Juan Hernandez, 41, of Irving left work on Friday morning to drive with his family to see this in person. They walked for probably two miles to get a glimpse of the parade, and then watch the ensuing ceremonies in front of Globe Life Field.

“I’ve been coming to games with my dad since they moved into the first stadium,” he said. “I’ve been to all three stadiums. I really don’t know if I ever thought I’d see this. We came so close in ‘11.

“When they won it, my dad called me and said, ‘Do I need to get tissues?’”

There never has been a meeting of so many Texas Rangers’ fans in one spot before. Even the most hardened, defeated Rangers’ observer would have asked, “Who knew there are this many Rangers fans?”

For a club that ranked 16th in attendance in 2023, the numbers don’t add up. Early estimates for the size of the crowd, according to the Arlington Police Department, were 500,000. In some spots, the figure looked closer to 500 million.

Minus the skyline and the giant floats, this looked like something from the Macy’s Day Parade in New York City. Minus the flowers, this looked like something from the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

To start the actual ceremonies, longtime Rangers public address announcer Chuck Morgan stood behind a lectern and said into the microphone the words he has waited more than 3,000 games to say, “Please welcome the World Champion, Texas Rangers.”

With Creed’s “Higher” blaring in the background, the players came out to take turns holding the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Rangers shortstop Corey Seager, not exactly one for long statements, told the audience, “Everybody was wondering what would happen if the Rangers didn’t win the World Series. I guess we’ll never know.”

It was a thinly veiled shot at Houston Astros outfielder Alex Bregman, who said after Houston won the American League West title on the last day of the regular season, “People were wondering what it was gonna be like if the Astros didn’t win the division I guess we’ll never know.”

You had to see this to believe it actually happened.

“Rangers fans,” Morgan said told the audience, “your lives are now complete.”

It made a five-mile walk, and horrendous traffic, worth it all.