Ask any true baseball fan about the grind of an MLB season and they will all come to the same consensus in regards to any of the30 teams in the show; baseball season ebbs and flows. There are times when the tide of adversity rears its head and teams struggle. This happens to even the best of teams.
But there are also times when the sun emerges from behind an ominous gray sky, the clouds clear and winning can be seen on the horizon.
No team epitomizes this analogy like the Texas Rangers. My mistake, I meant to say the first place Texas Rangers…as in all of baseball.
With a 47-28 record, it wouldn’t seem like the club’s fan base would have that much to be pessimistic about. But in a sports town with fans that have suddenly, for a lack of better words, developed a sense of entitlement after seeing its basketball team win the finals last season and witnessing the baseball club appear in back-to-back World Series there seems to be a shortage of patience and an increase in ridiculous expectations.
What “regular” or bandwagon fans fail to realize is that in the course of a 162 game season, your team will lose. The will lose a lot. No one will ever go 162-0 or 152-10 as I predicted but they will lose some games. The Rangers will most likely lose about 50-60 games this season, but that is still 112-102 wins. They are 76 games into their season and have lost just 28 games. If they match this record for the next 76 games, they will be at 94-56 with 12 games to play and yet someone will still argue about some call the sipper makes or some move the GM didn’t make in some mundane scenario that will have bearing only to the Skip Baylesses of the metroplex.
The team is less than a year removed from their last WS appearance and the haters are still questioning the leadership of the club. Rangers manager Ron Washington is still viewed by some as a guy just along for the ride…eating seeds and hugging Jackie Moore after every victory. They decry the fact that he will not tinker with a lineup that for the most part has been the same for the past two years the victories have increased. Did I mention that they were in the World Series?
But an average May record and two series losses in the beginning of June to division rivals had some of Wash’s and the team’s detractors crying that the tea was in a tail spin and big changes had to be made. They didn’t take into account that the rotation and its replacements were dropping like flies. Key sections of the offense went through slumps to which they are just beginning to break out of now. The fans had become spoiled because they were treated to an exciting opening month. Coming back to reality was like a hard crash after an all-night bender at a gay bar-it was unbelievable.
The team was 14-13 in May and played some atrocious baseball but they also learned from their mistakes which translated into June. While the pretenders like the Athletics, Mariners, Blue Jays and Rays (God I hate the Rays) remembered who they were, the Rangers remained calm and played one game at a time. June started off with a 4-6 record only to see the team go 12-3 and winning six straight series, sweeping two in the process. They are currently 16-9 with the A’s in town tonight as they look to extend their lead over division rival LA Angels who have been in the Rangers rear-view but have been closing fast.
Fans need to have faith in our team, our manager and our front office. They have proven over the last two years that they have a plan and are sticking to it. Fans need to understand that injuries happen, teams have losing streaks, players can’t hit the broad side of a barn, managers make dumb decisions and some acquisitions don’t always pan out. But for about 35 years we wished we had the problems we have now. The only conversation fans had about Rangers’ players in the playoffs was when they were being watched on other teams.
Fans need to return the patient fans they were when the Rangers were losing, couldn’t pitch or manufacture runs and enjoy what they are witnessing every day no matter the outcome. Otherwise, we are just Yankee fans.