America's Past Time At Its Best

With an old fashioned band playing "Take Me out to the Ballgame," the moment you stepped into the gate at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, you could feel it: America's past time at its best.

"It's opening day," said Rangers fan Brad Zane. "It's a holiday!"

"It's the best time to come out with your dad and all your friends and see the world's greatest team," Brent O'Bannon said. "It's the best day!"

The sellout crowd of 51,548 joined to root for the home team. Some were on vacation. Some playing hooky from the boss. Some were the boss.

"I'm self-employed," James Ballard said with a laugh, "I take off a lot."

For once in Arlington, the opposing Red Sox Nation did not overwhelm the stands.  When asked if he had seen any Red Sox fans, Brent O'Bannon said with a smile, "yeah a couple that were running down the street. That's the only time that I saw Red Sox fans. They were scared and they just wanted to hurry and get out of here."

The Rangers were all smiles in the dugout. After an 0-3 road trip to start the season, it was good to be home.

The American game started with a tribute to the American armed forces. Challenger the bald eagle soared over the crowd during the National Anthem and bomber jets rocked the bleachers as they flew over head.

Hall of fame inductee Michael Irvin threw out the first pitch. The Playmaker did not disappoint, putting the ball right over the plate.

Then, the stars of the show took to the field. Sammy Sosa back in a Rangers uniform for the first time since 1989.

The man most fans hope can get the team back to the post season was welcomed to his new home: rookie manager Ron Washington.

"I think they're going to be average, 75 wins," Zane said. "Hopefully Ron Washington can get them motivated to turn their pitching around."

Then came the familiar argument from Rangers fans. "They need better pitching than what they have now," Ballard said.

One of the other big changes this season, home for the team is no longer Ameriquest Field but the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. A little fact that made Friday's home opener for the team and the fans feel a lot more like home.