It was 1:30 a.m. Thursday and it seemed as though nothing could stop the euphoria that Gerry May was feeling.
He was rolling through East Texas on Interstate 20 and probably didn’t even know his tires were hitting the pavement. A life-long dream had come true as his beloved Texas Rangers had just won their first World Series.
Though May hadn’t been there to witness it live, he had experienced “the next-best thing,” he says. May had been in Arlington among thousands of Rangers fans to watch it on screens in various locations in and around Globe Life Field.
May even stayed until the crowd thinned out to absorb as much as he could before making the three-hour trip home.
What could possibly ruin an evening like that?
Nothing. Not even a coyote.
“It just came out of nowhere in the pitch dark,” May said. “Busted up my radiator. I was able to limp into Marshall (Texas) and drop it off at a gas station. I walked to the motel next door.”
For his entire life, Gerry May has waited for the Texas Rangers to win a World Series. He even once served on the grounds crew at the old Arlington Stadium when he was in college. He suffered through the agony of being “one strike away” from winning it all in 2011. He remained hopeful even as the Rangers lost 102 games in 2021 and finished 38 games out of first place last year.
And on the night he waited for his entire Ranger-loving life, Gerry May spent it at a Motel 6 in Marshall, Texas.
If you think that ruined May’s celebration for even one second, think again.
After 37 years of being in news as a TV reporter/anchor – recently retiring from KTBS-TV in Shreveport – as well as being in almost a dozen movies, nothing matches the feeling of the Rangers winning the World Series.
All you have to do is ask him a few questions about his beloved team and it will become obvious by the amount of times he says “we.”
“I was worried when we didn’t have a hit through six innings.”
“We finally put it all together after two miserable seasons.”
“We had all kinds of injuries this year. We missed some position players for some significant periods of time.”
May grew up in Fort Worth and attended the University of Texas at Arlington, so he’s got some serious roots in the Metroplex.
If there’s a TV in a restaurant where he’s eating, he’s that guy who is always asking the person in charge to change it to the Rangers’ game.
Should you find yourself in a conversation with him about Rangers’ history, you’d be well advised to get comfortable.
He’s going to be a while.
Although it might not be a lengthy discussion when it comes to the 2011 World Series, when the Rangers were a strike away from beating the St. Louis Cardinals. There was a fly ball to right field that, well … let’s just not talk about that.
“That was the gut punch of all-time gut punches,” May says. “It’s good to erase that demon. We went from the lowest of lows now to the highest of highs.”
With new manager Bruce Bochy — “that dude is my hero now,” May says – and a revamped roster, the Texas Rangers are indeed a remarkable story.
The Rangers arrived in Arlington in 1972 as the franchise moved from Washington but it wasn’t until 1996 until they even made the playoffs.
But that’s ancient history for Gerry May and other dedicated Rangers’ fans who thought this day might never come.
So what’s next (after paying the car repair and Motel 6 bill)? He answers in the only way you’d expect from someone who drove over and (almost) back just to watch a game on TV with a few thousand of his closest friends.
“I’m already looking forward to next year,” he says. “We got pitcher (Jacob) deGrom coming back at some point and we will have (outfielder Evan) Carter for the whole year. If we can tighten the bullpen up a little bit, I think we can make another run.”
In other words, the Rangers just need to keep their eyes on the road ahead.
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