It's come to this. Two Team Enter One Team Leaves! We know these neighbors. We used to mock them when they were overpaying for Rick Helling and Kevin Brown. We've made Kenny Rogers jokes a plenty. Now the Rangers have gone out and purchased a pair of big boy pants. They've got a whiz kid GM and a boatload of bandwagon fans. Astros and Rangers in the same division.
Metroplex, prepare to deal with the Houston Astros FULL TIME!
If you really want to know about the true Texas Rangers look no further than the classic Mike Schropeshire ode, "Seasons in Hell". I've read this work 6 times and it sits at constant ready near my toilet. The book covers the 1970's Texas Rangers and managers Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin. Here's a taste:
Herzog sat naked at his desk, stroking a cold, sixteen-ounce can of Busch Bavarian, smoking a cigar and gazing at David Fink (of the Dallas Times Herald) with the sort of expression a man might muster after discovering that somebody had spray-painted "Eat Me" across the side of his new car. Fink had his notebook open. "How about some first-day evaluations, Whitey ... ahem ... any surprises?" Herzog leaned back, gazed at the ceiling, and finally said, "Yeah. I was surprised to see that Bill Madlock is black. Mostly, blacks don't go by Bill, you know. They call themselves Willie."
The account of Billy Martin's attempt to be the fly weight champion of Grand Prairie are wonderful. They don't make managers or players like that anymore.
The Rangers have come a long way from those days. Well, I should say, it took them a long time to come a long way.
The Kids Are Alright, Well They'd Better Be
The Rangers have summarily let go CJ Wilson, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, and Michale Young in the past two offseasons. Of these losses, Napoli will hurt the worst, a backstop that can hit like that joker is hard to find. The Rangers have endless hope in their rebuilt farm system which includes hot shots Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, and Mike Gallo. They've also got a ton of young live arms who are lighting up the northern skies of Frisco and the southern plains of Round Rock. The question is are they ready?
They'd better be because the Rangers let a ton of talent walk in the hopes that they are. They are also hoping guys like Mitch Moreland, David Murphy and Craig Gentry are ready for more prime time slots.
Don't Disrespect Nolan
This is less the objective journalism you've become accustomed to on this site and more a direct threat of harm to the Rangers powers that be: Don't you dare fire or disrespect Texas treasure Nolan Ryan.
That man has given blood, sweat and parts of Robin Ventura's skull for baseball in this state. He's a saint, an icon, and the closest thing we have to John Wayne left. Know that if you do fire Nolan, the Astros will walk to Dallas to give Nolan a piggy back ride to Minute Maid.
You Were A Strike Away...Twice!
In the 2011 World Series the Rangers had the Cardinals in the barrel twice and came away with a second place finish. Terry Collins will tell you, second place is first loser. Does Nellie Cruz replay that fly ball in his head nightly? I hope so. Then the Rangers turned around in game 7 and proved that game 6 could beat you twice.
Don't worry Championships are easy to come by. Just ask the Chicago Cubs or Dan Marino. These opportunities are a dime a dozen.
At least the Astros had the decency to get swept by the White Sox in their trip to the Fall Classic. No one around here got all worked up by a couple of wins. We were just happy to be there.
The Rangers are hoping some of their young talent can be primed and ready for a stretch run. They've got a ton of pitching talent out with various elbow ailments including Nefti Feliz. The lineup ain't bad. Kinsler, Cruz, Beltre, Andrus. The pitching could use a couple of the young live arms mentioned above, but the brass is hoping that Darvish, Harrison, and Derek the Dutch Oven Holland can hold things together.
On a side note the Rangers signed AJ Pierzynski this offseason. I hate that guy. On a side note, they signed Lance Berkman. I love that guy. Unleash the Puma Texas, you'll be glad you did.
The Silver Boot is Real
This time the battle for the boot, the contrived trophy given during interleague play, is legit. Let us as the bud add to the stakes a bit. I say take it up a notch, the winner of the Silver Boot gets to carry it around like the Stanley Cup. Each player gets it for a day in the offseason. Fill it with Jello, wear it as an actual boot, pull a Dallas Stars move and sink in a swimming pool at a Pantera party. You know add some class to the whole thing.