ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Corey Seager took the stage to thunderous chants of “M-V-P!, M-V-P!” as the Texas Rangers celebrated the franchise’s first World Series championship Friday.
“Really this was truly special, we appreciate all of your support,” Seager, the second-time World Series MVP, said during the ceremony following a two-hour parade along a 2-mile route near the team’s ballpark.
Arlington fire officials estimated 400,000 to 700,000 fans attended the celebration.
While normally pretty stoic, though he had a couple of emphatic shows of emotion during the playoffs, Seager then took a swipe at the Houston Astros, the team that took the AL West title from Texas on the final day of the regular season. That made the Rangers a wild-card team, and they then set an MLB record by winning all 11 of their postseason road games.
“I’ve just got one thing to say. You know, everybody was wondering what would happen if the Rangers didn’t win the World Series. I guess we’ll never know,” Seager said, a clear retort to what Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said to start their champagne celebration when they clinched the division title.
Texas beat the Astros in the AL Championship Series, with the Rangers winning all four ALCS games played in Houston, including the Game 7 clincher.
Fans were stacked dozens deep at some spots during the parade, which came two days after the Rangers wrapped up the World Series title with a 5-0 win on the road in Game 5 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It came a week after Texas won the series opener at home on an 11th-inning homer by Adolis García after Seager hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to tie the game.
“Years from now, I’m going to think about this moment, and I’m going to cherish the time that I had to spend with (these players),” manager Bruce Bochy told the crowd. “We talked about it at spring training. We’re going to do something special. Well, fellas, we did something special here together. Thank you.”
Bochy then shared that his granddaughter, who was with him during the parade, said she wanted to do that again.
“Well, I’m with her. I want to do this again. Let’s go,” said the 68-year-old Bochy, the oldest manager in the majors.
The Rangers won their first championship in their 63rd season as a franchise, which began as the expansion Washington Senators in 1961 before the team moved to Texas in 1972.
AL Championship Series MVP García, Seager and all of the Rangers players were in the parade through the entertainment district of Arlington, the city where they play along Interstate 30 halfway between downtown Fort Worth and downtown Dallas.
Seager was also the World Series MVP in 2020 when playing for the Dodgers, who won that title in a neutral-site MLB postseason played during the COVID-19 pandemic at Globe Life Field, the Rangers’ retractable-roof stadium that opened that season. There was no celebration parade in Los Angeles that year.
The Rangers arrived home in North Texas on Thursday, with All-Star second baseman Marcus Semien exiting first and hoisting the World Series trophy into the air as he stepped off the plane. By that time, some fans were already staking out spots along the parade route.
After starting on the south side of Globe Life Park, the parade went along the side of AT&T Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, and up around Mark Holtz Lake, named after the late Rangers broadcaster known for his “Hello Win Column!” call. The parade then passed by the Rangers’ former ballpark where they played when making their only other World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.
“The Texas Rangers’ World Series victory is a dream five decades in the making,” Arlington Mayor Jim Ross said.
This is Bochy’s fourth World Series title. He won three with the San Francisco Giants, the first in 2010 with a Game 5 clincher in Texas. Bochy was named the Rangers’ manager a year ago, when the team was coming off its sixth consecutive losing season.
“I’ve been asked: Hey, does this ever get old. It doesn’t get old, trust me,” Bochy said. “No, not when you get to watch these guys with their deep determination, their resilience, and the heart that brought them together, and play as one to do what they did. These guys put aside their individual action to become (a) collective power to win a world championship here with the Texas Rangers for the first time in our franchise.”
At least six local school districts were closed Friday so students and faculty could join in the celebration. Several high school bands took part in the parade held on a picture-perfect day, with clear, sunny conditions and temperatures around 70 degrees.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb