Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said he won’t have any flashbacks Friday when the team sets foot in St. Louis’ Busch Stadium.
He may be the only one with any ties to the Rangers who feels that way.
It’s been almost two years since the Rangers last played in St. Louis, but the memories and wounds from the 2011 World Series are still fresh for some.
Like every time outfielder Nelson Cruz makes a tough catch in right field, as he did in the eighth inning of Thursday’s 4-3 victory over Oakland.
The three-game series will be the first trip to St. Louis for the Rangers since the World Series, and it will bring back memories for almost all of those who played a role.
“I have good memories,” said Cruz, who couldn’t make the Game 6 catch in right that would have won the World Series. “I have bad memories. Let the bad ones go away.”
Second baseman Ian Kinsler feels the same way, but has also shifted his focus to trying to beat arguably the best team in baseball.
“I’m sure there will be some flashbacks driving into the stadium and some memories, good and bad,” Kinsler said. “We’ve got to go there and win the series. That’s not our focus. Our focus is go play good baseball and try to win another series.”
The good memories for the Rangers in the stadium are limited to Game 2 of the 2011 Series, which was the only game the club won. Texas lost Games 1, 6 and 7 against the Cardinals.
But nothing that happened in 2011 will have a bearing on what happens this weekend. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski wasn’t on that Rangers team. Neither was closer Joe Nathan. Or ace Yu Darvish.
There are also a pair of Rangers who have a much different perspective on the 2011 Series. Both designated hitter Lance Berkman and reliever Kyle McClellan have World Series rings they won with the Cardinals.
McClellan, who spent his entire career with St. Louis before signing with the Rangers, is looking forward to seeing old friends and teammates.
“I’m definitely excited,” McClellan said. “Any time you get to go back to 1) where you lived, and 2) where you spend your whole career up to this point is always exciting. There are a lot of people I’m looking forward to seeing. It’s definitely been a trip we’ve had circled for a while.”
McClellan, who was injured and didn’t play in the World Series, also realizes he may be in the minority.
“I’m sure there are some people here who have a much different perspective,” he said.
Only every time a ball is hit to Cruz in right field.