Rival Newspaper: Fans from Cardinal Nation find themselves in football country

World Series Game 4 St. Louis Cardinals Texas Rangers

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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.

Rams v Cowboys

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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.

Murray gains 253 yards, Cowboys top Rams 34-7

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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

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