Nick Benbrook (left), a Cardinals fan, and Will Head, a Rangers fan, keep an eye on the Rams game while watching batting practice before Game 4 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers Sunday, October 23, 2011 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Laurie Skrivan
ARLINGTON, Texas • The hulking Cowboys Stadium casts a Texas-sized shadow over Rangers Ballpark.
As the lesser-known brick-face ballpark next door prepared to host the Cardinals in the World Series on Sunday, Cowboys Stadium welcomed the St. Louis Rams.
St. Louis fans in town on Sunday clamored to get tickets to see both of their hometown teams collide in the same city, but the reaction here to the coincidental contests punctuated what everyone already knows: This is football country.
Star outfielders Lance Berkman of the Cardinals and Josh Hamilton of the Rangers were on the football field as guests for the ceremonial coin-toss. They represented cities who are as different as the two sides of the coin: Dallas loves the Cowboys like St. Louis loves the Cardinals.
“Texas is just a football state,” said Ronnie Diffey of Henderson, Texas. “We like baseball, but football is where it’s at. Always has been.”
His wife, Cindy, wore a Rangers jersey as a “show of support because I can’t go to the game.”
But Ronnie Diffey was dressed in full Cowboys regalia. Over his shoulder stood Cowboys Stadium, at which he proudly pointed and called “a wonder.”
The shiny retractable roof and sloping glass windows proudly assert the dreamy Dallas Cowboys swagger. The Cowboys bill it as “the largest, most technologically advanced entertainment venue in the world.” It’s a certified attraction by itself, open to tours. Inside is the largest video board in the world. The structure is a testament to the football franchise nicknamed “America’s team.”
The stadium is built into a fabric of highways and parking lots that also houses Rangers Ballpark and a Six Flags. Its stats are staggering: 3 million square feet, holds 111,000 people, $1.2 billion.
Even Rams fans were in awe on Sunday.
“Look at that,” said Richard Dortch, 22, of Hazelwood, as he checked out the stadium. “That’s something else.”
Dortch drove to Texas from Missouri with his brother, Damon. They said they plastered their car with Rams and Cardinals paraphernalia.
“Mostly Cardinals stuff,” Damon Dortch, 36, said. “But we had Rams stuff, too.”
The brothers had planned the Texas trip before the Cardinals made their dramatic playoff run. They said they hoped to attend the World Series, which collided with their planned football trip, but it was too expensive.
Tickets at Cowboys Stadium could be found for as cheap as $50. Standing room tickets at Rangers Ballpark were selling for $250.
“It’s unbelievable” Damon Dortch said. “Maybe we’ll make something happen after the football game.”
The Dallas Cowboys started in 1960 as an expansion team. The organization, known throughout the world by its blue star logo, quickly developed a rabid following after stringing together winning seasons and Super Bowl victories under legendary coach Tom Landry. By comparison, the Rangers moved to Texas in 1972, and have never won a World Series.
“It’s like our Cardinal Nation down here,” Damon Dortch said. “They take the Cowboys seriously. But the fans have been nice to us, even with our Rams jerseys.”
Several Rams players attended Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night, along with head coach Steve Spagnuolo.
Bob Hawkins of Wentzville stood outside that night with his son hoping to get a ticket.
They had long-planned to attend the Rams-Cowboys game on Sunday, but they wanted to take advantage of the World Series’ proximity.
“I’ve been to every Cardinals World Series since 1968,” Hawkins said. “Now I can see one on the road.”
The chance meeting of the two teams now seems by design. The Rams hosted the Philadelphia Eagles when the Cardinals started their improbable playoff run against the Phillies. Perhaps even more noteworthy: On Oct. 16, the Green Bay Packers hosted the Rams, the night the Cardinals won the National League Championship Series in Milwaukee.
Courtesy: NICHOLAS J.C. PISTOR | St. Louis Post Dispatch