Last Friday my beloved Texas Rangers 40th season (in Texas, not counting the Senators) got underway. It was a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox that was won with great starting pitching and timely hitting. Something that has eluded this franchise for pretty much the duration of my life until recently. The Texas Rangers franchise has historically been a combination of bad pitching (ERA’s in the stratosphere), strange events (10 cent beer night in Cleveland, public auction on courthouse steps) and a total of 3 playoff appearances up until 2010. By the way, during those 3 playoff appearance we were beat by the Yankees all three times mustering 1 win in 1996 and swept in the other two series 98,99. And then the dark days came. Billionaire Tom Hicks bought the team, hired John Hart as a GM, signed A-Rod to a $252 million dollar contract that eventually caused so much grief in terms of financial stress that we traded him to the Yankees for Soriano and in a salary dumped him the following year. When the markets crashed so did ownership financial flexibility. Tom Hicks was one of the worst things to happen to an already downtrodden franchise.
The mid-2000’s were some lean times without much hope but a funny thing happened. Hicks hired Jon Daniels as a young, upstart GM to replace John Hart and Ron Washington eventually replaced Buck Showalter. The organization made the decision to no matter what, grow the farm system and accumulate prospects like never before. Nothing can change the winds of fortune in a baseball franchise like trades and Daniels has excelled at that. Even with the team eventually in bankruptcy there was enough talent in our farm system to pull an acquisition of Cliff Lee in 2010 to propel us to the World Series.
2010 was so special. 2nd playoff win ever. First division series win. First conference series win. Beating the Yankees in the conference series. Going to the World Series and losing to the Giants. The next year was another great year as we became one of the few teams to go back to back to the World Series and lost to the Cardinals. As a baseball fan they were great games and great memories, but it’s time to win one! Last year’s loss was devastating!
Expectations have changed here in Texas for the Rangers. Yes, they have. This is not your father’s Texas Rangers. We expect to compete year in and year out. The team is constructed that way. The new ownership group has money to get us where we need to be. The fans feel confident that ownership and management headed by Nolan Ryan will make smart decisions. It’s a great time to be a Rangers fan. It fills me with pride to don that old logo t-shirt…you know the one with the Cowboy hat on the baseball. You gotta love it!
Exciting times ahead!
What will this year bring, we shall see but last night was one of the biggest nights in the history of the Texas Rangers franchise! The first start of the year by much heralded Japanese pitching phenom Yu Darvish . He was a little amped up and the first inning kinda got away from him but he showed in the following innings at one point retiring 10 straight, gut through 6 innings, get a win and show why everyone thinks so highly of him. We received word at the end of the night that Ian Kinsler signed a contract extension that will keep him here through 2018. Very exciting times indeed. Hard to believe this was another loss franchise just a few short years ago. Cellar dwellers and fodder for the big boys….not any longer. We grew up and it feels real good! Go Rangers!