Shutting it down.

I’m a big believer in acting like you’ve been there before.  But I haven’t been here.

At the end of the night tonight, most of us will be either somewhere on the continuum within reach of frustrated, drained, and uneasy, or somewhere entirely different.  Somewhere we haven’t been before.

(Quick aside: For those of you who will be in St. Louis today and interested in getting together with other Rangers fans, you can click here and here.)

The Cowboys and Mavs and Stars and Horns titles were awesome for me – but they weren’t what this would be.

After every year of the part of my life when I cared about sports, including 29 spring training games and 162 regular season games and 15 playoff games this year, I sit here at my desk, half a day away if weather permits, from Game 207, a game the likes of which I’ve never been able to get ready for, and I have no idea what to say.

So I’m not writing today.  Because I’m not able to draw on anything.

I don’t have any idea what it’s going to feel like if Texas manages to win tonight, or tomorrow (or Friday), and I’m not going to sit here and dump out a bunch of words, acting like I’ve been there before.

I wrote this last year, hours before Game Six of the Rangers-Yankees ALCS:

You know that scene in one of the Star Wars movies where Luke shuts his cockpit controls off and fires the kill shot to destroy the Death Star, relying just on instincts?

These two teams have played each other for a week now.  Forty-four innings, 386 pitcher-hitter faceoffs, 1621 pitches.  The front offices have done everything they can, and so have the advance scouts.  There shouldn’t be any tricks left, no alarms and no surprises.

Tonight, and maybe tomorrow, come down to two really good baseball teams, very familiar with each other, going at it in hand-to-hand combat, each looking for the kill shot.  The next series that one of these two teams will get to play will have some novelty to it, but not this one, not anymore.  This is raw, primal baseball, and I can’t stand that Game Six doesn’t start right this second.

It’s funny as I look back on that.  That was the moment last year, the penultimate match point, that I didn’t know how to handle.  A place I’d never been.

Texas has won four more post-season games this year than it had won at that time last year.  Which puts us all in a new place.

This morning, I hope with your understanding, I’m not going to try and manufacture something that’s not there.

I’m just going to shut the controls off for now, visualizing Ian Kinsler stepping into the box for the 867th time in 2011, as Jaime Garcia gets ready to throw his 3,492nd pitch of the year, and as I settle in for the first moment like it of my life.

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