Tagged: AL West

WILL Jonestein’s Pessimism be Vanquished? Stay Tuned!

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Yes, dear readers, despite the current eight game lead the Rangers have in the AL West, yours truly STILL isn’t convinced, but that could all change during this upcoming nightmare of a schedule.

If the Boys in Blue (or that horrendous bright red, depending on which night you catch them) can get through the upcoming AL East gauntlet of Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and yes, Buckified Orioles, and remain 3-4 games up in the division, you may very well see a twinkle of optimism in my cynical Ranger fan eye.

Reasons for stretch-drive optimism:

1. Ding-Dong, the Hicks is Dead
It appears, save for a few formalities, that this club ownership ordeal is over. Tom Hicks has been vanquished, and Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan are poised to take us to the promised land.  This is a huge load off the players minds… now everyone can focus on the stretch drive, and not on whether their paychecks will clear the bank.

2. Cliff “Bad Mo-Fo” Lee
Since his acquisition the dude has gone at least eight innings in all of his starts.  His strikeout to walk ratio is downright Kryptonian.  If the bats would just wake up on a consistent basis, it’s almost a guaranteed “W” every time he takes the mound.  Barring a complete Rangers meltdown between now and October, Lee’s presence alone could very well mean getting past the ALDS for the FIRST TIME EVER.

3. The AL West is full of Suck.
I’m purdy sure the Angels are done and we can stick a fork in ’em.  I doubt that even His Scioscianess can right the sinking ship that is Los Anaheim. 

The Oakland A’s, especially Trevor Cahill, have definitely got the Rangers number, and with seven more games remaining with the Oaklanders this thing could get scary quick.  Unfortunately for the future San Jose A’s (it could happen), they just don’t have the bats to get-er-done, IMHO. 

The Mariners?  I weep for Seattle baseball fans.

All of this is well and good.  The 2010 Texas Rangers are easily the best iteration I’ve seen in Arlington during 30+ years of following this team.

However….

Reasons for stretch-drive pessimism:

1. The aforementioned schedule.
I only mentioned the upcoming 12 game stretch with the AL East (who the Rangers are a mere 9-16 against this year).  Even if they come out of said stretch alive, four out of the next five series are against teams that have kicked Ranger butt the last few years: 4 vs. Minnesooota, 3 against Oakland, 3 more at Minnesooota, 4 at Toronto, and 3 more at home against the Ranger-killing Yankees.  This ain’t good, folks.

2. Fatigue
I’m not even talking about the infamous Texas heat here.  The Rangers arrived at this August eight game lead on the backs of their bullpen, who have logged ten zillion innings thus far, and it is starting to show.  Darren Oliver, who was pretty much lights-out before the All Star Break, has seen his pitch control deteriorate of late and he pretty much cost Colby Lewis what should have been win numero ten-o on Sunday.  I hope Oli can turn it around, I really like this dude.

At the plate, and “god” I hope I’m wrong about this, Vladdy looks downright worn-out.  Which is a good lead-in to…

3. Inconsistent Offense
I never know what version of the offense is going to show up these days.  I’ll give ’em a pass against Trevor Cahill, that dude just has their number.  But against everyone else, this on-again/off-again crap has got to stop.  Otherwise, even if the Rangers make it into October, they’ll be partying like it’s 1999.  (not a good thing, folks)

4. Starting Rotation
Even with his Leeness leading the rotation, this bunch is spotty at best.  When they do manage to shine, the offense usually drys up.  CJ Wilson can look brilliant one night and frightening the next.  Rich Harden, unfortunately, is toast.  Scott Feldman, now in the bullpen because of a gawd-awful season, is not the answer. 

On the bright-side, Lee-Lewis-Tommy Hunter might just be enough to stave off the usual August meltdown and POSSIBLY get this team past the first round. 

For this reason, the Jonestein Outlook Alert System will remain at:

CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC

It’s a start, folks.

:^)

–Jonestein

Hilarious 2001 Texas Rangers Comic Book pic from here. 

The BAPL Hate List

lovehate.jpgSo I’m perusing the MLB page on ESPN.com and I run across this article:

Report says Indians most-hated team

…which is contrary to everything I was brought up to believe in the Teams-I’m-Supposed-to-Hate Department.

Naturally, this inspired me to write something, seeing as how it meshes two things I love:

1) “Hating” things.

2) Writing lists of things I hate.

Now, a quick disclaimer before I get the hate train a rollin’ – I don’t really “hate” anyone, at least in the watch-them-suffer-and-die meaning of the word.  Yeah, I rail on religion and leftist politics and politicians, but I would never seriously do or wish harm on anyone (yeah, yeah, I’ve blustered about wishing a quick and expedient expiration for certain politicians and religilous figures, but that was just blowing off steam)Truth be known, I’m actually just a big cuddly teddy bear.

Anyway, when it comes to “hating” sports teams, it’s the fun, rival kind of hate.  Yeah I may have some serious problems with some of the actions of certain teams and players, but there exists no true hate.  So please don’t take it personally if your team shows up on my Hatedar, it’s all in good fandom fun. 

Now that all of that preamble filler is on the table, here we go:

BAPL Top Hated MLB Teams

1. New York Yankees
From a fiscal, Capitalist, money-making mo-fo perspective, I love these guys.  But they are the Yankees, and as I stated in a previous blog, I’m genetically predisposed to despise Yankees, given my southern roots.  Also, from a fandom perspective, the Yanks are like that bully in school that always picked on you.  Not only could he beat your a$s, no matter how hard you’d fight back, he also just happened to be a filthy rich bully who would beat your a$s then drive off in the BMW mommy and daddy bought for him.

2. Los Anaheim Angeles of Los Californias de Leftiste Coastas
They are the Yankees of the AL West with their deep pockets, always bullying my Rangers.  Plus, they reside in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia.  Plus, they can’t make up their mind what to call themselves.  Plus, their uniforms are ugly.  Plus, Vladimir Guerro is a…wait, he’s one of us now, never mind.

3. Washington Natinals
This is pure hate by proximity.  I hate Washington D.C. and our bloated, overreaching, liberty snuffing federal government.  The Nats, well, I liked ’em just fine when they were playing in front of the dozens of Expos fans back in Montreal.
(Side note: Needless to say, I’m f**king giddy that the Habs knocked out the Caps in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs!  <Nelson> NYA-HA! </Nelson>)

4. Cincinnati Reds
I hate their colors and uniforms, otherwise, they barely even exist in my baseball world.
*Update 4/30/10* – I just signed Mike Leake to my fantasy team, so the Reds, for now, exist a little bit more in my baseball world.  Mr. Leake could potentially help remove his team from this list if he starts getting me some lucrative points the rest of the season.

5. Toronto Blue Jays
I have no idea why I hate this team, other than their ugly-as-hell powder blue throwback unis.

6. Kansas City Royals
Back in the early 80’s, when they were in the AL West, the Royals were always knocking the Rangers out of contention and I’ve hated ’em ever since.  Now I just hate them because they suck and they’re wasting Zack Greinke’s best years because of said suckitude.

7. Detroit Tigers
Because they have the Rangers number for some weird reason and they are Allen Krause’s favorite team.  ;^)

8. Baltimore Orioles
Another aesthetically rooted hate.  Their unis and team colors are hideous.  Plus, seeing Jim Palmer’s alien-like bronze skin on TV during the ’79 World Series traumatized me as a kid.

9. Oakland A’s
Because when Los Anaheim isn’t hogging the AL West crowns, these guys are.

10. Florida Marlins/Arizona Diamondbacks/Colorado Rockies/Tampa Bay Rays
This is pure petty hate, I actually like all of these clubs, especially the Rays and Rockies.  I’m just bitter that these recent (to 45 year old me) expansion teams have managed to come into the league and make it to the World Series whilst my Rangers haven’t even won a damn ALDS series.  *grumble*

Happy Hate Day!

–Jonestein 

Image from here.

A Final, Fleeting Gasp of Timid Optimism

optimism.jpgYes, I realize just two posts ago I declared my Texas Rangers DOA, but another glance at the remaining schedules of Los Anaheim and Los Arlington, along with a dash of irrational hope, gives me pause to think my boys can still win the AL West.

My irrational hope is of course contingent upon several baseball planets agreeing to align:

1. The mighty Rangers offense must awake from it’s untimely slumber.  One miserable run in the last thirty-seven innings…the thought makes me want to short-circuit this post immediately and don my Red Sox gear.

2. Despite what our bargain-basement manager, Ron Washington says, taking JUST two of three from the Angels this weekend ain’t gonna cut it!  Two of three would net us one lousy game in the AL West Standings, which, Ron, is still 5.5 games back with just 14 games left.  ONLY a sweep of the Angels will do.

3. Assuming the improbable sweep of the Halos, we must, somehow, someway, figure out HOW TO BEAT THE G’DAMN LAST PLACE OAKLAND FKN A’S!  Three of four next week in the gangsta-infested land of green and yellow would suffice, assuming…

4….the Yankees don’t lie down next week in their three game set in Los Anaheim.  A Yankees sweep of the Halos coupled with some semblance of baseball competence in the Land of Oaks would put us within a half game of first in the AL West.

5. Any combination of break even-ness Sept 25-27, but preferably sweepage by the Rangers and at least one loss by the Angels. (Tampa @Texas, Oakland @Los Anaheim)  Which sets the stage for…

6. …Sept 28 – Oct 1 in Los Anaheim between the Halos and Rangers.  A series win could vault the Rangers into first place. (on a side note: I’ll be at Fenway watching the Sox play the Injuns on Oct 1)

7. But then they face the M’s at Seattle for the final three, with the Halos at Oakland, so it would be a matter of the Rangers clinging for dear life in the Pacific Northwest…hopefully we would not have to face Felix Hernandez in this scenario.

Yeah, I know, this sequence of improbables is as likely to happen as the socialist goons in D.C. thrusting a non-disasterous universal health care system(redundant) upon us, but I can dream (along with the naive supporters of said [insert clever/insulting word prepended with “Obama”].

Stick a Fork in ’em

rangers_med.jpegYeah, I know.  Those of you outside of Rangers (Stag)Nation probably think I’m being a bit premature here[insert self-degrading “stamina” joke here], but trust me, when it comes to Texas Rangers baseball, I’m like the curmudgeonly old man who predicts the weather based on the ache in his bones.  The now tied-for-first-place Texas Rangers are plummeting towards one of their classic post-All Star Break collapses…a whole MONTH ahead of schedule! 

You younger, more naive Ranger fans will likely want to say it’s “just a slump”, call me names, and one-star poo-poo this blog entry for my overly-confident pessimism, but again, you’re just gonna have to trust me.  I’ve been following the Rangers since I was seven years old…1972…club inception…and while the ’72-’77 memories are all but a blur, the past 32 of the club’s 37 year existence is crystal clear.  Like it or not folks, it’s nosedive time in Arlington.  I’m betting we’ll be challenging Oakland for the AL West cellar before the Shindig in St. Louis on July 14.

My baseball bones are a achin’…

 

Underwhelmed: Mother Nature, Rays, Bailout Texas

rangers_med.jpegI remember back in the mid-nineties when I was living in San Antonio, driving up to Fort Worth one evening and listening to the Rangers “clinch” their first ever AL West division title.  You’d think I would’ve been ecstatic about this historical moment in Rangerdom.  Trouble was, the Rangers had just lost 4-3 to the Angels when Eric Nadel announced that Seattle had fallen to Oakland that evening, clinching the AL West for Texas.

Needless to say, I was underwhelmed.  I wanted the Boys from Arlington to win the AL West, not have it handed to them.   Yeah, I know, in this day and age of Dubya/Obamessiah Big Government bailouts, this attitude may seem radical. 

Fast-forward 13 years later to this fine Fort Worth morning when, during my first cup of Joe, I point my browser to the standings page on mlb.com and see my Rangers up by 4.5 over Seattle and Los Anaheim.  Yet, once again, I find myself underwhelmed.

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Sure, Kevin Millwood did another stellar job on the mound last night (his current record doesn’t reflect how effective he’s been), and the Rangers defense was nothing short of spectacular, as they’ve been all season.  But once again, for the third night this week, the vaunted Texas bats were MIA.  David Murphy was the only piece of Ranger offense that bothered to show up last night in their epic 1-0 win over Toronto.

I guess I shouldn’t be complaining, the Rangers did win and managed to pick up a game and a half on LA the last two nights, but they needed assists from Mother Nature(Wed rain-out) and the Tampa Bay Rays to do so.  Oh well, one constant you can always count on in Rangerdom is the word “but“. 

Bring on the Dodgers this weekend(I’m going to all three), but sans Manny Ramirez. 

:^)

EDIT – Just checked the ESPN MLB Power Rankings where the Rangers fell from #3 to #6 with this comment in the PR table: “The Rangers are 13-3 against West Division teams, but 17-20 against AL East and AL Central teams.”  LOL!  This also reminded me that while watching Baseball Tonight last night, during the Rangers/Blue Jays highlights the analyst describing the highlights started to say something positive about the Rangers, only to have the other guy interrupt and say “BUT, they (Rangers) have some serious starting pitching issues…”

ROFLMAO!!  I’m really not kidding about the plethora of “buts” here in Rangerdom.  :^)