ARLINGTON, Texas - Despite the Texas Rangers losing their home opener against world champions Houston Astros, fans took advantage of the nice weather with some old-fashion tailgating.
The Rangers lost 1-4 against the Astros.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister said he likes opening the season against baseball’s best.
“We respect their team. They’re a good team. Obviously, their record proved it. They proved it last year,” he said. “But anytime you get to play someone that’s sitting on the pedestal, there is a little bit of extra motivation.”
Cole Hamels was the Rangers’ starting pitcher. Houston countered with ace Justin Verlander.
The weather cooperated, making it a great day for Opening Day. Fans have been taking advantage of the great weather and tailgated at the ballpark all day.
Opening day tailgating is a spring ritual for baseball fans. The Globe Life Park parking lot was mixed with Rangers blue and red and a fair amount of orange and navy-clad Astros fans.
“I went to the very first Astros game in 1962 in Colt Stadium. So opening day is a special day every year and it has been for me for 57 years,” said Mike Connelly, who traveled from Houston.
For Zach Triplett and Rudy Ibarra, the rivalry started long before the first pitch.
"I walked out of my house. He told me to go back inside and put a different shirt on,” Triplett said.
"I didn't even want to go inside his house,” Ibarra said.
Rangers fans know the experts don't expect much from this team
"I don't want to say we're going to go 162 to 2,” said Rangers fan Blaine Harries. “But I think we're going to surprise a lot of folks."
It was the same optimism expressed by Rangers Hall of Famer Pudge Rodriguez, who tailgated with fans before the game and checked out some new prospects.
"Stay healthy, that's the key,” Rodriguez said. “We have a great team. What the Rangers need to do is take one game at a time. Go out there and have fun. Play hard."
For most fans, it's about the experience and the tradition. Rangers fans hoped for a win, but opening day is always special no matter the outcome.