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World Series: How 'bout those Cowboys!

October 30, 2011 |  9:18 am

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Even though its baseball team made it to the last two World Series and its basketball team is the reigning NBA champion, Dallas -- and the entire state of Texas, really -- remains football country.

They didn't make "Friday Night Lights" about Game 7 of the World Series.

And that's all to the good. Because if Dallas took its baseball that seriously who knows the emotional carnage we would have been dealing with after the Texas Rangers came within a strike -- twice! -- of winning the World Series in Game 6, only to lose in extra innings. A night later the St. Louis Cardinals won the title.

The same thing happened to the Boston Red Sox in 1986, when they took a two-run lead to the bottom of the 10th against the New York Mets in Game 6. That's the game that ended with Mookie Wilson's ground ball squirting under Bill Buckner to score the winning run. The Mets rallied again in Game 7 to win the World Series, giving rise to the legendary Curse of the Bambino.

That won't happen in Texas. Twelve hours after the World Series ended, fans were already filing into college football games. And Sunday night the Dallas were scheduled to meet the Philadelphia Eagles.

Still, Rangers Manager Ron Washington said more people were beginning to care about his team, which drew nearly 3 millions fans during the hottest summer on record.

"It was nothing but the Dallas Cowboys," he said of the sports landscape when he first arrived in Dallas five seasons ago. "People love winners. And the Dallas Mavericks became a champion, a world champion, and the Texas Rangers began to develop four years ago, each year making progress.

"Last year we got an opportunity to go to the World Series. And in this business, I don't really consider yourself a winner until you can get the big one, which is the World Series. But we managed in four years to get there, and now in the fifth year we're there. I've never seen so much red, white and blue on the road with a "T" on it since I've been here. I mean, we have fans everywhere now, and we have great fans here that come out and support us. You know, and it's only because we're a winner. Everybody loves a winner.

"This town has changed, and I think the Texas Rangers have had a lot to do with some of the changes," Washington said. "But the Dallas Mavericks have, also, and the Dallas Cowboys have always. I know I'm happy to be in Texas."

In St. Louis, the mood was totally different. The Rams, the only winless team in the NFC, play in anonymity while fans decked out in Cardinal red filled the city center during the World Series. Several businesses carried messages of luck for the Cardinals. Purina, the giant pet-food company, altered a huge poster of a dog and cat on its building to make it look as if the cat was playing with a baseball. The words "Go Cardinals" was added to one corner.

Another office building downtown changed its lighting so that it glowed red every night. And, in the windows of the top floor of its building, one of the local utilities posted letters spelling out "GO CARDS." Those letters were also there in 2006, the last time the Cardinals won a World Series.

A statue in a downtown park was outfitted with a red Cardinals scarf and the Occupy St. Louis campground a couple of block from Busch Stadium flew a banner reading "Good Luck Cardinals. From the 99 Percent."

The Rams, by the way, returned to the field at home Sunday for the first time since the World Series and tens of thousands of people were expected to fill downtown St. Louis. However nearly all of them will be attending the Cardinals' victory parade, which will make it's way down Market Street at about the time the Rams game is ending.

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Photos: Rangers vs. Cardinals in World Series

-- Kevin Baxter reporting from St. Louis

Photo: Rangers Manager Ron Washington, left, congratulates Adrian Beltre, center, after he hit a solo home run in Game 6 of the World Series on Thursday night in St. Louis. Credit: John G. Mabanglo / EPA

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