When the Texas Rangers won their first World Series championship, it marked the climax of a long journey for many fans filled with too much heartbreak, disappointment, and A-Rod.
For gay sportswriter Alex Plinck, who has made a career out of proudly representing our community covering a franchise that chooses not to celebrate us, the epic quest culminated in an appropriate spot to watch Game 5: a Dallas gay bar called Alexandre’s.
Early on in the game, conversations around him veered in all kinds of directions. A cover band started up during the sixth inning and played a spot-on rendition of Incubus’ “Drive,” finishing with shouts of “Go Rangers!”
Then as the Rangers staged the Series-winning rally in the seventh, everybody in the bar locked in on the TV, cheering Mitch Garver’s go-ahead RBI single like it had granted everyone free Beyonce tickets and marveling at pitches that up lit the radar gun at 101 MPH.
When the bar erupted as Josh Sborz struck out Arizona’s Ketel Marte to clinch the championship, Plinck found himself in a fascinating emotional space for a lifelong Rangers fan: focusing more on feeling joyful for the players he covered.
There wasn’t too many folks out here tonight (cold and a Wednesday),— Alex Plinck ️ (@aplinckTX) November 2, 2023
But who says gays in Dallas don’t care about sports ️ pic.twitter.com/h6AXAdpzFR
“It didn’t really sink in,” he recalled, “One thing when you associate yourself with all these players and you see the journeys that they’ve gone through, the ups and downs, you’re more happy for them than you are [for] yourself.”
In fact, the emotion of the moment didn’t hit Plinck until he got in his car for the ride home. He turned on the postgame show and listened to former players like Mark McLemore and David Murphy reflect on what it meant to hear “World Series champions” and realize those words applied to the Rangers for the first time ever.
Even 24 hours later, he had trouble putting the feelings into words. “I hate to say indescribable but I feel like that’s kind of where it is,” he admitted.
As a beat writer, Plinck got to cover Games 1 and 2 of the World Series in person at Globe Life Field. This time, he would be representing Pride at a Rangers game on the national stage and he made sure to wear a rainbow bracelet and necklace while on the job.
Then when he was on the field before Game 2, Plinck found himself face to face in conversation with Rangers owner Ray Davis.
While no one has named names, we know that the reason the Rangers refuse to hold Pride Nights is because some influential person in ownership opposes them. And Davis is the face of Rangers ownership.
That was a moment that could have been awkward. But Plinck was confident in who he was and talked World Series baseball with the Rangers owner while displaying Pride gear as his true self.
“It sort of felt a place [where] everyone can just be who they want to be. Will that change anything in the future? Honestly, I don’t think so. But I will say there was no ‘Hey, I don’t want to speak to you’ or ‘I disagree with what you’re representing.’ It was just everybody being themselves,” he said.
Things had come a long way from the Rangers’ last World Series appearance in 2011 — for both the team and Plinck himself. He remembered being in college and watching the infamous Game 6 where the Rangers blew two separate opportunities to win the Series when they were one strike away — principally because he had to wake up the next morning and take an exam.
“I passed the class so that’s all that matters,” he said, “I was never really ‘distraught distraught’ over what happened. But I can definitely say that people aren’t going to be as bothered about bringing up 2011 Game 6 since now we can throw that out of the book.”
Plinck looked at his Rangers fandom from that bygone era and wished he could tell himself, “Hey, just hang in there because eventually, it’s going to come about. Eventually, it’ll hit and you’ll be able to witness a championship sort of in person and also on your TV screen.”
Now that the championship has happened, there are two specific details he’s relishing.
One is “MLB social media putting on their yearly graphic of teams that have never won the World Series and seeing the Rangers off that list. That’s another satisfying feeling as well. You never have to endure that ever again.”
The other? “Who can’t be excited about [backup catcher] Austin Hedges who now is going to go assless chaps during the parade?”
Maybe the Rangers might figure out this Pride thing yet.