Texas Rangers owner Ray Davis made a promise to the team’s fans on Thursday when he accepted a key to the city of Fort Worth at Billy Bob’s Texas during a celebration of the franchise’s World Series title.
“I apologize to all long-suffering fans, of which I’m one, that it took so long,” Davis said. “But let me assure you, the next one won’t take as long.”
No one was more excited to hear that promise than Rangers fan Jason Williams, who said he and his friend Jason Hicks got in line at 7 a.m. on Thursday for the event that started at 12:30 p.m.
Williams and his friends showed passion with chants, eliciting cheers and laughs from the crowd throughout the event.
Williams, a lifelong Ranger fan, said he remembered the heartache of past World Series failures.
“In 2011, I was standing outside of an athletic store waiting for the [World Series Champion] T-shirts and we had pulled the truck around to listen to the game and we heard that Nelly Cruz missed that ball and we lost the game and they came and took the T-shirts away from the door and it was like heartbreaking,” said Williams, “So to get healing and like just to be here today is just incredible.”
The long-suffering franchise ended those pains on Nov. 1 when they beat Arizona to win its first title since moving to Tarrant County in 1972.
Rangers field reporter Emily Jones hosted Thursday’s celebration and energized the crowd early with one simple question to kick off the celebration:
“I don’t know if y’all heard, but the Rangers won the World Series,” said Jones. The comment prompted the crowd to erupt into joyous applause.
Before Jones appeared, fans hurried toward the stage to grab pictures and take selfies with the World Series trophy.
The music of Creed could be heard blaring over the speakers leading up to the ceremony.
Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker told the crowd how the celebration came together.
“Here’s how we ended up here,’ she said. “We got a phone call from this amazing Rangers team and they said they want to present the trophy at City Hall to dignitaries and I said, ‘Well, that’s boring, right?’ Because the fans of Fort Worth deserve to see this amazing trophy in person because this is our team.”
Parker was also serenaded by the crowd in honor of her 40th birthday which coincided with the ceremony day.
The applause only got louder when Rangers pitcher Andrew Heaney and coach Mike Maddux appeared on the stage alongside long-time players Tom Grieve and David Murphy.
Heaney spoke about what it meant to be a champion with the Rangers and why he re-signed with the team.
“I mean, when you find a place where the family is comfortable, you enjoy showing them to the ballpark every day, you enjoy the guys,” said Heaney, “You can’t put a price on that.”
Murphy was on the 2010 and ‘11 Rangers World Series teams that came up short. He said he felt so happy for the Rangers for finishing the job. Murphy also said he thought of Maddux, who also coached the 2010-2011 Rangers, and Heaney whom he played with briefly at the end of his career.
“We had our shot, we didn’t get it done, these guys did and they brought home the trophy. So I’m just, I’m so happy for them,” said Murphy, “I’m so thrilled that that’s not the last World Series memory for the Texas Rangers.”