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7-game World Series matchup starts in Texas — Rangers meet Arizona Diamondbacks

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Game 1 of the World Series starts tonight in Texas. The best-of-seven series begins in Arlington, where the Texas Rangers square off against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now, at the start of the season, almost no baseball experts picked these two teams to reach the Fall Classic. As Toluwani Osibamowo with member station KERA reports, North Texans are hoping for the Rangers first championship in franchise history.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: We're going to the World Series.

TOLUWANI OSIBAMOWO, BYLINE: The Rangers return to the Fall Classic may have come as a shock to the rest of the baseball world. The team hasn't been to the World Series since back-to-back appearances - and losses - in 2010 and 2011, but the Rangers' decisive Game 7 triumph put most people's doubts to rest.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Let's go, Rangers.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Yeah.

OSIBAMOWO: North Texas fans celebrated the win during a watch party at Globe Life Field in Arlington Monday night. Joshua Contreras has been a Rangers fan since he could throw a baseball. He says the win was a long time coming, but he never doubted the team.

JOSHUA CONTRERAS: This is amazing, you know, journey. We should have had this from, you know, Game 4. But it's OK. It's OK. We got it at the Game 7. So that was all we needed.

OSIBAMOWO: Arlington's Convention and Visitors Bureau says the team's success has also been a boon for the city's economy and pride. Arlington Mayor Jim Ross says he's been getting a lot of calls for tickets.

JIM ROSS: I was getting phone calls of mayors from all over saying, hey, Mayor, how are you doing? Any way we can get World Series tickets (laughter)? And I'm like, yeah, I'm not a ticket broker.

OSIBAMOWO: Ross says the Rangers have already won over a lot of new fans.

ROSS: There were tons of us out there beforehand, but those people who were lukewarm, I think, have really started to heat up.

OSIBAMOWO: Their opponents, the Arizona Diamondbacks, also surprised the baseball world. Arizona is one of the biggest underdogs to make the World Series. They beat the Philadelphia Phillies in seven games to clinch their first series appearance since 2001, when they upset the defending champion, the New York Yankees, in seven games.

For NPR News, I'm Toluwani Osibamowo in Arlington, Texas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Toluwani Osibamowo