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'The Last Strike...Twice' – If the 2011 Texas Rangers Were the Next Hit Docuseries

"The Last Dance" has captivated sports fans amid the coronavirus pandemic. A painful memory in Texas Rangers history could be a great subject of a docuseries.

ESPN's 10-part docuseries "The Last Dance" has taken the world by storm over the past couple of weeks. The miniseries focuses on the career of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, with footage from the 1997-98 NBA season. 

Being not just a baseball writer, but a Texas Rangers writer, I look for ways to be creative in a Rangers-themed sense. Through's weekly preparation to produce video, an interesting topic came to light. If there was ever a moment, game, or season that would grasp at the heartstrings of Rangers' fans, for better or worse, what would it be? I immediately arrived at the 2011 season. Specifically, Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.

Every October 27, Rangers fans are reminded of the pain and anguish of being one strike away from the first World Series championship in franchise history. One strike away – and not once. TWICE. It's one of those moments where you remember specifically where you were when David Freese's line drive soared over Nelson Cruz's glove in right field. 

Before Rangers fans click out of this story and block me on Twitter, just let me tell a quick story. I'm not immune to the tragedy of that night. Like Rangers fans, I surely have an eclectic mix of sorrow, rage, and melancholy build deep within my soul every single time I see that clip come across my Twitter feed. But it's not my own, but a lifelong fan's anguish that cannot be quelled.

My wife, a Dallas-Fort Worth native, is not one to tune in to many sporting events. She'd much rather attend games. Yet on this night, she was perched right next to me on our living room couch, fully engaged in the possibility of the Rangers finally winning the World Series. When Texas recorded the second out of the ninth inning, she reached over for her phone, grasping it ever so tightly in anticipation of calling her father, a lifelong Rangers fan, when they recorded the 27th out.

From the time my wife and I started dating in 2009, we'd make consistent trips on Sunday afternoon's to my future father-in-law's house for lunch. Their house was adorned with Rangers decor, including iconic images of Nolan Ryan – his favorite player – hung on the wall. Those Sunday afternoons often included a carbohydrate-heavy meal and a Rangers game on TV accompanied with talk of how this team could be competitive very soon.

When the tying run scored after Freese slid into third base, we sat there stunned. It almost didn't feel real. "That didn't just happen," she numbly exclaimed. Unfortunately, it did. And then we were tortured again with the rollercoaster ride of Josh Hamilton's go-ahead two-run home run in the 10th inning, only to blow the lead with only strike remaining again. Then we were thrown from the rollercoaster when Freese hit his walk off home run accompanied by Joe Buck's famous call, "We will see you tomorrow night."

My father-in-law never got to see his beloved Rangers win the World Series. He passed away from cancer the following year. And every time I see that clip, I'm reminded of that reality. Seriously, he loved the Rangers. At his funeral, every single person (even his some of his Astro-fan family members) wore Texas Rangers apparel. He loved his Rangers, so it was only appropriate to honor his life while sporting Rangers red, white, and blue.

Regardless of my own personal feelings or any other Rangers fan's anguish from that night, the drama that comes from that night is what sports is all about. It's sports at its highest attainable glory – when a moment captivates us all and has one side cheering and crying while the other side is stunned and, well, also crying. Rangers fans are forced to relive that game more times than they ever want to because it's rightfully considered to be one of the greatest games in World Series history. To the dismay of Rangers faithful, Texas was on the wrong end of the result. 

There are many Rangers fans who likely have their own tale of where they were on that dreadful night in October of 2011. And maybe one day, the Rangers will finally record the 27th out of a fourth win in the World Series that will help erase the sorrow from 2011.

Will the 2011 World Series ever be the focal point of a 10-part docuseries? No, probably not. Rangers fans would like to keep it that way.

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