“Yeah, the Rangers are doing great this year, so long as Cliff Lee don’t pitch. That guy really sucks.”
Now, I know I’m going to sound like a snot-a$s baseball elitist here, but this guy obviously hasn’t watched The Cliff pitch more than a couple of times this year, if at all. Yes, Lee has had a rough go of it his last 3-4 starts (which we now know is likely due to some undisclosed back pain he’s been experiencing), but “suck”? No, sir, you are just eff!ing wrong.
Up until his recent rough patch, Lee almost single-handedly saved our worn-out bullpen. He’s been an invaluable mentor for the rest of the pitching staff (see C.J. Wilson, Michael Kirkman, etc), and still, despite the unfortunate W/L record, has a downright Kryptonian strikeout-to-walk ratio.
So please, casual fans, quit spreading idiotic memes. If you can’t, please go back across the street to JerryWorld and discuss the merits of Dez Bryant’s rookie toe cheese.
End of snotty, elitist rant.
I’m in one of my writing funks, dear readers, so please bear with me as I attempt to stir up my muse using that time-honored writing stimulus technique of b!tching about petty things totally out of my control.
Let’s start with one of my favorite petty issues: hearing a professional sportscaster “clarify” to the audience that he’s referring to the New York “football” Giants.
Curt Menefee was kind enough to clarify this Sunday on the FOX NFL Today show. NEWSFLASH, CURT: The New York “BASEBALL” Giants have been in San Francisco for over half a century now…I think we’ve figured out that the only Giants team in New York are the “football” Giants…and they’re actually in New Jersey!
Ok, let’s see, what else can I gripe about in lieu of actually writing something…hmmm…gonna have to resort to list format:
1. Marlon Byrd is now a $15 million dollar Chicago Cub. I do not understand why the Rangers, even while in ownership limbo, couldn’t have inked the same 5mil/3 year deal for this guy. He kicked a$s in center field in 2009, is a fan favorite, he actually LIKED playing for the Rangers…again, I just don’t get it.
2. Best line re: Xmas gift-giving I’ve ever heard, courtesy of the Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper: (Reacting to the knowledge that Penny is going to give him a Xmas gift) “You haven’t given me a gift, you’ve given me an obligation!”
As you may or may not know, I effing hate Christmas, and not for the pseudo-religious reasons. Hell, I despised the holiday back when I was a delusional Christian. Sheldon’s line pretty much sums it up.
3. The Dallas Stars are stuck in mediocre mode. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that they are owned by the same moron who owns the Texas Rangers, Tom Hicks. Tuesday, they beat the Chicago Blackhawks, currently the best team in the NHL, followup with a win against Anaheim, then totally flub against Vancouver. They’ve managed to beat the “best team in the NHL” (NJ, San Jose, Chicago) at least 3-4 times this year, but have yet to put together a win streak larger than two games all year. Naturally, I pick this year to start following hockey.
4. Despite Sunday’s big win over Philly, I’m still skeptical about the 2009/10 Cowboys. After a decade of constant post-season flops, most of us here in Big D are in “Believe it when I see it mode.”
5. The Dallas Mavericks got absolutely destroyed by the Lakers last night. It was a complete embarrassment…I had to turn it off. The Mavs, like the Stars, have been horribly inconsistent this year.
Speaking of the Mavs, I absolutely HATE their new ’09/’10 alternate uniforms. They are no doubt trying to tap into the “North Carolina Gangsta Light Blue” Market with these latest abominations. These are only slightly less hideous than the green ones from the last few years. Please, Mr. Cuban, nuke these awful things and stick with the at home Whites and the Midnight Blue Road unis.
Yeah, yeah, it isn’t quite the same light blue (it’s darker in this pic for some reason), but I’ve noticed a rash of teams adopting a lighter blue as one of their main colors of choice. My theory is that they are indeed trying to tap into the NC Gangsta Blue market, and the Mavs new alternate unis are just the latest entrant into said market.
Ok, this isn’t working. Will Pitchers and catchers kindly report to Spring Training? I need something to blog about.
Now, I know what you must be thinking: “There’s a new Fall League starting up in North Texas?”…and rightfully so, seeing as how the only October baseball we’ve seen in these parts over the last ten years has been courtesy of my PS2, MLB The Show, and the fact that my PS2 Texas Rangers roster sports an all-star lineup of all-stars.
No, for the fifth time in 38 years, a new owner is riding in on a white horse, telling all of Rangerdom what we want to hear, and the message boards are brimming with giddy, optimistic posts. Except here at BAPL, where grizzled, p!ssy cynicism rules the day. And the following quote from our prospective owner, Chuck Greenberg, didn’t exactly stem the tide of said cynicism:
“In this organization, there will be no walls between us and the fans. One of our most important skills is to be good listeners, and we’re going to do a lot of listening during the season.” said he.
…which sounds dear and fluffy to the untrained ear. However, my 30+ years as a Rangers fan and 20+ years toiling in corporate America has taught me that this brand of “My door is always open…” talk is definitely worthy of a few red flags. I’ve never, ever met an executive who genuinely means it…issuing that brand of statement is always, ALWAYS, nothing more than patronizing perception management, period. I’m remaining cautiously cynical until proven otherwise.
Anyway, my cynicism isn’t going to stop me from joining my naively optimistic brethren from publishing a Christmas wish list to Saint Chuck of Pittsburgh…I’m seeing these popping up all over the online Rangersphere…so here goes:
Dear Saint Chuck,
I was a very good boy last season, spending a large percentage of my disposable income on your soon-to-be MLB franchise, and I even purchased full season tickets for 2010, so please stuff my 2010 and near future Rangers stockings with the following:
1. A consistent, contending Major League Baseball team.
Somehow, year-in, year-out, the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, and Phillies, to name a few, manage to achieve this surely self-evident goal. Money and market-size are no excuses here(see the Twins), seeing as how the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex manages to support the other three major sports franchises quite well(even a professional Soccer team for cryin out loud). Why? Because they put a consistent contender on the field/ice/court year after year and have proven they are committed and capable of contending. Notice I said nothing of championships…the Mavs got to The Show, fell short, but still sell out most every game, every season. Why? Consistent contender, year after year…I see no reason why the Rangers can’t and won’t do the same.
2. Don’t raze the farm system trying to reach goal number one.
Until recently, this problem has plagued the Rangers since I can remember…trading off an army of future all-stars to bring in one or two has-beens, then surrounding them with AA talent. Don’t mess up what Nolan and JD have built…think moderation for once.
3. Don’t empty the bank signing one marquee player (see A-Rod circa 2001).
An A-Rod deal is fine, it shows you are committed to bringing in talent…but you better have enough dough to make TEN A-Rod deals so you aren’t surrounding your 250 million dollar man with the Bad News Bears.
4. Hire a Major League Baseball manager.
Ron Washington might be a good manager…someday. That day is not today. Open your wallet and bring in a pro for god’s sake.
5. Schedule night games at 7:30PM, not 7:00PM.
Since it’s not feasible to add a retractable roof to the ballpark or even build a new stadium, push the games to 7:30 like they used to be. Believe it or not, heat-wise, that mere 30 minutes makes a HUGE freakin difference in July, August, and September for fans and players alike.
6. Find a way to get DART/TRE (mass transit) service to the ballpark.
It’s worked freakin wonders for the Stars and Mavs.
7. Go to Fenway Park, observe the awesome concession offerings.
...then duplicate! With a few exceptions, the food at Rangers Ballpark is effing crap. If Fenway can compel me into making multiple food runs to their concession stands, so can you. I’d eat at Fenway whether a baseball game was taking place or not.
8. Cease and desist with the exorbitant and cost prohibitive parking rates.
Then pass that tidbit on to the Mavs and Stars. One’s parking shouldn’t cost as much as one’s ticket to the event.
9. Enough with the “Family Friendly/Family Event” marketing.
This says you aren’t fielding much of a baseball team because you are marketing everything BUT baseball. And for God’s sake, don’t encourage kids to “use their outside voices” at the ballpark! (I’m not kidding, folks, “Use your outside voice!” was an actual 2009 Rangers advertising slogan).
10. Yes, definitely, step into the 21st Century and get us a quality video screen in center field.
We’ll even call it the Chucktron in your honor. I’m glad you mentioned the need in one of your press conferences, however, the Chucktron should not be tops on the priority list…1-5 should be tops on the priority list.
I hope you are sincere and capable, St. Chuck, because we here in Rangerdom are sick and tired of our baseball team being nothing more than a good ol’ boy accessory, a political launching pad, and a hopeless laughing stock. You build us a winner and I guaranty you we’ll stuff YOUR stockings with our hard earned cash…count on it.
So I walk into Rangers Ballpark yesterday evening where the “prestigious” Silver Boot was on display following the Rangers previous night’s clinching of the annual “Lone Star Series”, only to hear most of the fans streaming in say “What the hell is that?”
That comment pretty much sums up the “rivalry” between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers, i.e. there is no rivalry. The only thing the two teams share is a long, boring, five hour drive along I45 in Texas (that and each team’s fandom laying claim to Nolan Ryan).
Don’t get me wrong, I love this annual shindig as I get to see two of my favorite teams go at it (last night’s 5-4 Ranger win was a gem). But again, there is no rivalry here. If the Rangers were the Dallas Rangers instead of the Texas Rangers, then there might be some potential for a rivalry given the socioeconomic rivalry between Big D and Big H. Unfortunately, socioeconomic
rivalries just aren’t enough to sustain a good sports rivalry, e.g. the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans non-rivalry is very similar to that of the Rangers/Astros (though more like a Yankees/Everyone Else rivalry with regard to the Cowboys…everyone outside of North Texas loves to hate them).
More realistically, the only way to turn this thing into a punch-throwing, fan-slobbering hate-fest would be to move Houston to the AL West (this would also cure my OCD fixation on the unbalanced AL West/NL Central roster of teams). I figure the rivalry would develop quickly and flourish, much like the Mavericks/Rockets/Spurs rivalries do in the NBA.
Only a yearly pennant race would ignite a true Rangers/Astros rivalry…well, that or several World Series meetups, but that’s as likely to happen as [insert snide atheist remark here].
Until then, we are stuck with a meaningless, artificial rivalry manifested in the form of a silly, cliched Silver Boot.