Closure (and Other Ramblings)

Earlier this year, I was hoping that, on this day, I would be writing a blog celebrating the Red Sox’s 3rd World Series victory of this century. All of the numbers said they would win it all this year. Of course, those same numbers said that they would be playing the Phillies in the Series. We all know what happened. The Sox collapsed in September, amidst all of the drama that was going on in the clubhouse. The Rays wound up winning the wild card on the very last night of the season.

Earlier this week, I was hoping that, on this day, I would be writing a blog celebrating the Rangers’ first World Series in franchise history (including their time as the Washington Senators). The Evil Empire and the Phillies, the two teams with the best records in their respective leagues, were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. No numbers predicted that. (For the record, I don’t buy “Sabermetrics.” There are too many variables that pure math can’t predict. The stats are fun, but you just can’t predict who’s going to win based on stats alone. “Moneyball” proved that.) The Rangers repeated their victory over the Rays in the ALDS. Then the Rangers beat the Tigers in the ALCS to earn their second trip to baseball’s crowning glory, the World Series. This time, they won more than one game. This time, they had it in their grasp. Thursday night, they were, twice, within one strike of being World Series champions. But it was not meant to be. The Cardinals, this year’s NL wild card (brought about by the Braves collapsing in September, just like the Red Sox did), fought back and won game six, taking the wind out of the Rangers’ sails. This was evident in game seven. The Rangers came out quick, and scored two runs. But that would be all they could achieve. Even the ill-conceived idea of intentionally walking the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, when Feldman was already having trouble finding the strike zone (resulting in him walking in a run on the next batter), and C.J. Wilson’s plunking Rafael Furcal to walk in another, really didn’t matter. The game was already lost. It was heartbreaking. (At least to the Rangers fans.)

That’s the problem with baseball. It (should I call it “she?”) lures you in with promises of glory, then rips out your heart and stomps on it. To the point that I really want to spend a week or so without thinking about it at all. In fact, I commented earlier today that this is the first time that I have ever been really GLAD that baseball season is over. I’m exhausted. Emotionally and physically exhausted. I need a break. I’ll be back into it come opening day next year, cheering on the Red Sox and whoever happens to be their new manager, as well as the Rangers, when they aren’t playing the Red Sox.

I don’t blame anyone for the Rangers losing the Series. (See this entry in my other blog.) Well…I might blame Bud Selig, the worst commissioner in baseball history. You see, it’s his stupid rule that caused the Cardinals to have home field advantage for the World Series. The Rangers lost one home game. The Cardinals lost one home game. But the Cardinals, the wild card team of the National League, not to mention the team with the worst record of all of the playoff teams, had home field advantage because the National League won the otherwise meaningless All-Star game. It’s time for that stupid rule (along with Bud Selig, I might add) to go away.

Enough about baseball. I want to talk about an experience we had today. After getting up and going to The Exchange extra early for setup, we then traveled to downtown Fort Worth, to a place called Unity Park, which seems to be a hangout for homeless people. There, with others from The Exchange, we “Rocked the Block,” with bounce houses, music, games, and food that was provided for the homeless people on site. I’ll write a little more about this tomorrow morning in my devotional blog.

After we got home from that, we decided to see about getting a new battery for our Lexus RX400H. (We bought this used at Carmax…we could never afford a new one of those!) We first went to Auto Zone to check it out. They had the batteries, but they wouldn’t change it out for us, because of it being a hybrid. Apparently, it is a lot more complicated to change the battery on a hybrid. They say that you have to provide a constant power source to the computer during the switch, and there are other things involved. It’s a good thing they told us this…we could have really messed something up if we had tried to do this ourselves. We tried Meineke next, but they didn’t have the equipment to do it either. Obviously, we would have to take it to the dealer. We called Park Place Lexus, in Grapevine, the closest Lexus dealership we know of. Their service dept was open until 6pm, and they would be waiting for us to arrive. So we drove to Grapevine. When we arrived at Park Place Lexus, we found the service drop-off, manned by people who looked like they should be working valet parking at the Ritz Carlton. Then a “service advisor” came out and talked to us about what we needed. He took us into his office (you would have thought we were buying a car), where the service was set up. We were then told that, if the car needed something more extensive, we would be provided with a loan car, and it would be ready Monday. He directed us to the lounge area, which had many comfortable chairs, two big screen televisions, free wi-fi, as well as three computers with internet access, and free fountain-style sodas. We sat and watched some college football (and almost took a nap…very tired) for a while, and after about an hour, our “service advisor” came back and told us that the battery would be $160, and we needed a positive cable, as well. The battery at Auto Zone was $109. At Park Place Lexus, it is $160, installed! I was good with that. Plus it has a two-year free replacement warranty. In addition, he told us, there are two recalls existing on the vehicle, so they want to fix those and we will get the car back Monday after work. We drove home in a white RX400 (not “H”) with half a tank of gas in it, and we are supposed to bring it back empty. The young lady who arranged our loan car was named “Tesla.” I’m not making that up. What follows is my brief conversation with her.

Me: Hey, you invented the radio!
Tesla: I did!
Me: I expected you to be much older.
Tesla: I’m very old.
Me: You must be a vampire!
Tesla: Don’t tell anyone.
Me: Your secret is safe with me.

I have never, ever, EVER been treated so well in a customer-service environment. I felt like Bill Gates! The funny thing is, that we bought our car used at Carmax, and they didn’t even care! All they knew was that we were Lexus owners, and that, as far as they were concerned, we were royalty! Everyone should go buy a Lexus! (Not new, though…too expensive.)

And to think we bought that car just because we could get free valet parking at Rangers Ballpark.

TTFN, y’all!


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