On Saturday, they stopped. The players who don't normally watch baseball watched. The ones who normally go to sleep early stayed up late. They tweeted and texted.
For a night at least, Team USA and the World Baseball Classic mattered to the American-born Rangers.
Facing a win-or-go-home scenario, Team USA overcame an early deficit, got a breathtaking go-ahead home run from Giancarlo Stanton and a gasp-inducing, game-saving catch from Adam Jones and eliminated the defending champion Dominican Republic, 6-3. The U.S., with Rangers Sam Dyson and Jonathan Lucroy both playing, advanced to the semifinals.
"I hope it mattered to the fans," said shortstop Elvis Andrus, who played for Venezuela in 2013. "Especially after [Saturday]. If not, people are missing out. It's a great tournament and it's only going to get better now."
Here, then, are a few snippets from the night when the Americans finally got the drift of the intention of the international tournament:
A skipper's eye
Even as a fan, Jeff Banister was a manager.
As he watched the game, Banister thought about the players he'd be getting back to camp and into a regular routine. He thought about the little things his players did more than the more grand, highlight-reel plays.
He watched Jonathan Lucroy execute a hit-and-run that helped lead to the first run. He marveled at Sam Dyson's pitch efficiency: 11 pitches, nine strikes; five outs, four on ground balls.
"It was emotional from both sides because you've got players on both teams," he said. "Throughout this whole thing, you have emotions for the singular players and the game itself. What a great time to go with Lucroy and with what I've seen him do. Sam Dyson was efficient with his pitches and was so calm in how he did it and then [to] go back out [for a second inning] -- those are all huge plusses for me and this organization."
Delino DeShields doesn't spend a lot of time watching baseball when he's not at the park.
On Saturday night, though, he found himself glued to the tiniest of pictures on Mike Napoli's cellphone for the bus ride back to camp after the Rangers' return flight from San Antonio. DeShields, Napoli and Will Middlebrooks watched the first hour of the game on the cellphone, then the young outfielder rushed home to watch the rest of the game.
He tweeted in excitement after Stanton's monumental home run. He did so again after Adam Jones went above the wall in center field to take away a homer from his Baltimore teammate Manny Machado.
He wrote: "How would you feel if your teammate robbed you? Can't even be mad Machado. Lol."
"I was locked in the whole way," DeShields said Sunday. "Adam Jones robbing his own teammate was really ironic and very crucial. He had to have a lot of emotion going. He came away with that smile like 'I got you, dawg.' He went after it with a never, ever quit mindset. It was just a great play and a great moment."