Tagged: Athletics

Loyalties

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Folks at work often stop by and comment on all of the Texas Rangers/Dallas Stars junk cluttering up my cubicle.  They see my Houston Astros season schedule and probably think “Oh, that’s understandable, they’re a Texas team.” (I actually lived in Houston twice during my life, so my support of the Astros comes naturally…Summer of 1980 = AWESOME!)

Then they notice I also have a couple of Boston Red Sox trinkets adorning my geeky cubicle (geekible?), and more than once I’ve been schooled on this (apparently) unwritten rule:

“You can’t root for two teams in the same league!”

I’ve also seen this rule cited on many a baseball site, and I’ve never understood why it exists.  I can only assume it is a result of narrow minded, absolute thinking, so I suppose I should explain my fandom rationale/methodology:

First of all, when push comes to shove, I am only a “fan” of one MLB team, and that team is the Texas Rangers.  In other words, if someone has a gun to my head (this IS Texas) and tells me I have to choose one and only ONE team to root for, there is absolutely no hesitation in my response: “Whichever team Jessica Alba roots for…”.  But seriously, I’m only a fan of the Rangers.

However, at a more meta-level, I’m a fan of baseball in general, so naturally, there’s a darn good chance that I’m going to follow and “support” other teams outside the realm of Rangerdom.  The Astros are easily my NL team, because of proximity and my aforementioned tenures of residency in Houston.  Do I follow them with the same fervor and attention I give the Rangers?  No, but I always keep an eye on the goings-on down yonder.  Sadly, those goings-on have not been pretty the last few years and I don’t see much hope on the horizon.

So how do I justify my support for the Red Sox?  This just HAS to conflict with my Ranger fandom, right?  Wrong, but I’ll get to the actual fandom rationale here in a sec.  First, the obvious question: “Why the Red Sox?”  Back in 2000, while on a bidness trip to Boston, I naturally took in a game at Fenway Park, and instantly fell in love with the place.  The baseball atmosphere was incredible, so I’ve been a Red Sox supporter ever since.  I even returned there back in October of 2009 (the atmosphere wasn’t near as exciting, but it was just a meaningless end-of-regular-season game against Cleveland).

Anyway, on to my fandom methodology, or how I avoid conflicting American League baseball loyalties:

1. Head-to-head.  I always root for the Rangers when they play the Red Sox, unless the Rangers are so hopelessly out of the playoff picture and the head-to-head game is a “must win” for the Red Sox.  Even then, I’m hesitant.

2. AL Wild Card Race.  No brainer here.  If the Rangers and Red Sox are neck-and-neck in the race for the AL Wild Card spot, then I’m full-throttle Rangers.  No conflict here.

3. Someone in the AL East has to win the AL East.  This is unavoidable.  So I root for the Red Sox to win the AL East because I like ’em and they are not the MF Yankees.  I see no harm in this.

4. Post-season Baseball.  Until 2010, the words “Post-season” and “Rangers” hadn’t really been mentioned in the same sentence since the mid-to-late nineties, and I like to have someone to root for in the playoffs.  The last ten years, the Red Sox have pretty much been there, so I’ve rooted for them.

So I guess you could say I’m a conditional supporter of the Red Sox, and while this still probably breaks the silly One Team Per League unwritten rule, ultimately, I don’t really give a shiite…I’ll root for whatever team I want to root for.  :^P

I hope that clears things up.

Cheers,

-Jonestein

Foaty One

41_dirk2.JPGPictorial Countdown to Opening Day 2011, Starring Various Dallas/Foat Wuth Sports Stars Past and Present.


41

No brainer here with Dirk Nowitzki, who will no doubt go down as the greatest Dallas Maverick in the history of the franchise.

The top pic to your right is from one of the 2010 playoff games (ALDS I think) with His Dirkness sporting a shweeeet Dirk Rangers jersey.

Take notes, Michael Young – Dirk exhibits the requisite amount of greatness warranting whiny, primadonna-like behavior, except that he doesn’t act like a whiny primadonna… just sayin’.

41_waters.jpgImpossible for a DFW sports fan to not include this #41 – Charlie Waters.  He was the other half of the awesome duo of Cowboys safeties (see Cliff Harris from Day 43) from the Dallas teams of the 1970’s.

Ok, it’s impossible for folks from my generation to not include Charlie – I’m betting most modern day twenty-something fans don’t know or care who Charlie Waters was.  Their loss.

Happy Friday!

–Jonestein

Countdown to Opening Day: 42

42_robinson.jpgPictorial countdown to Opening Day 2011, starring various Dallas/Foat Wuth sports stars past and present.

42

Not a DFW star, but THE #42 in the world of baseball, Jackie Robinson.

42_tarpley.jpg…and a former local #42, the could-have-been-great Roy Tarpley of the Dallas Mavericks.  Dude couldn’t stay off the dope and got booted from the NBA.  What a waste of pure eff!ng basketball talent.

Le sigh.

–Jonestein 

Ohthankgawd!

bbalgod.jpgFor the first time in my baseball life, The Baseball Gods have bestowed upon yours truly a mercifully short off-season.  Don’t get me wrong,  hockey has done a very admirable job of sustaining me through The Bad Time the last coupla years, but brother, it just ain’t baseball.

Pitchers and Catchers, come hither, The Baseball Gods-Uh hath summoned thee!

Hells.  Yeah.

–Jonestein

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 Glass is Still Half Bankrupt

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I know, I’m supposed to be gushing with giddy optimism because the Rangers acquired Cliff Lee, but it just ain’t happenin’.  Yeah, there’s plenty of “gid”, Lee’s a bona fide bad a$s, probably the most legit ace the Rangers have had in eons, but I remain pessimistic for a number of reasons:

1. Brutal second-half schedule.
Starting with four at Boston, then a trip to that Rangers Hell known as Tigers Ballpark (I know, it’s known as something else, but I refuse to use dooshy corporate ballpark names).  Still have 14 games with Los Anaheim, as well as another series with Boston and the Yanks, not to mention road trips to Toronto, Tampa, Minnesooota, and I never thought I’d be weary of this one – a four game road trip to Baltimore.  Oh, and 43 of the remaining 74 games are on the road. 

2. Questionable pitching.
Even with the addition of His Leeness, this starting rotation is questionable at best.  Feldman just flat-out sucks, C.J. is meh, the jury is still out on Colby Lewis, as it is on Tommy Hunter.  The bullpen is warn out, though the Alexi Ogando call up and the acquisition of the inning-devouring Cliff Lee might ease the stress there.  Who the hell knows what we’ll get from Rich Harden when he returns, and I have a hunch that Derek Holland is done for the year.

3. Molina? Really?
I don’t know what the hell J.D. was thinking with this trade.  I thought the Treanor/Max Ramirez platoon behind the plate was working just fine.  It is downright painful to watch Molina labor around the base pads… this coming from a fat guy (me) who is getting really sick of the de-humanization of fat people in today’s society.  I might have been ok with JUST giving up Chris Ray for Molina, but wasting a good prospect like Michael Main?  This reeks of farm system mistakes from front offices past.  I’m told I’m wrong about this from baseball acquaintances seemingly more baseball sageier than I.  I hope they are right, cuz it looks to me like we just gave away a good prospect for a guy who looks like me running the bases.

I know I could probably itemize some more, but I’m already getting bored with this post.  It boils down to this: until this team makes it to, AT A MINIMUM, the ALCS, and AT LEAST puts up a hard-fought, go-to-seven-games fight, I will forever be a pessimist in the land of Rangerdom.

And please, don’t tell me to “just have faith”, “faith” is for…well, don’t get me started on that.

–Jonestein