ARLINGTON, Texas — If Rangers fans could take any joy from Friday’s wild card loss to the Orioles, it’s that so many of the players celebrating on the field used to play for them.
A whopping seven members of the 2012 Orioles wore Rangers uniforms in 2011.
For players like Chris Davis, the moment was especially sweet since it occurred so close to his hometown of Longview in East Texas.
“It’s unbelievable,” Davis said while dodging champagne showers in the Orioles’ jubilant clubhouse. “Obviously this is where it all started for me. To be here this time and to be on the field, it’s huge for me. I have nothing but respect for that organization over there, but we’re really happy to be in this position and get the win for us.”
Davis started in right field in the 5-1 Orioles win and went 1 for 4 with a single.
“I didn’t have to get that many tickets because it was late notice,” Davis said. “But my family and friends were definitely here cheering me on.”
Darren O’Day, another former Ranger, gave up just one hit in two innings of relief Friday.
Other former Rangers heading to the AL Division Series include outfielder Endy Chavez, pitcher Tommy Hunter, infielder Omar Quintanilla, pitcher Pedro Strop and catcher Taylor Teagarden.
“It feels great, but more importantly, I’m so excited for the Baltimore Orioles,” said Teagarden, who went to high school in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton. “It’s been such a great season. Probably a lot of people didn’t expect us to be here. . . . To celebrate here against last year’s AL champions, it couldn’t get much better.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter also has Rangers ties. He managed the Rangers from 2003-06 and was fired by current Rangers general manager Jon Daniels following the 2006 season. Daniels then hired Ron Washington, who guided the Rangers to the last two World Series.
“I understand the shelf life of coaches and managers in sports,” Showalter said. “I was real thankful for the opportunity I got here and continue to be. They’ve got the perfect guy coming in behind me, and still do. I hope they realize that.”
The Orioles lost 93 games last season and but now are just one series win away from a World Series berth. And seven former Rangers wouldn’t mind going back there for another shot at redemption, even if it is in a different uniform. After all, it didn’t matter one bit on Friday.
“Obviously, we have a lot of guys that played for the Rangers,” Davis said, “but we just wanted to win this game for ourselves and for this team.”