Tagged: Dallas Stars

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

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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

A Fine Whine

whine.jpg I must apologize for my two week absence, BAPL Nation, but quite frankly, I’ve had absolutely nothing inspiring to write about. 

I’m pretty much sick of politics and the commie/collectivist takeover of our country;  I live in bible-belt Texas where even my closest, supposedly non-believer friends are religilous sympathizers, so ragging on silly bronze age fairy tales is becoming hazardous to my personal life; and finally, my favorite MLB team is once again off to a mediocre start with any hopes of new, competent and responsible ownership in limbo.  Oh, and my fantasy team’s starting rotation sucks.

So instead of any inspired topics today, I’m just going to whine about some things…I’ll try to keep it in the realm of baseball:

* The Rangers ownership situation sucks.  Our current dewsh-bag owner, Tom Hicks, has desperately been trying to weasel his way around the deal he struck with the Greenburg/Ryan group because his dewshy creditors feel like he could get more money for the team.  MLB has stepped in to take over the sale, but honestly, what freaking leverage do they have against Hicks’ creditors?  And it’s not enough that this idiot Hicks continues to keep the Rangers in mediocrity hell, he is also the owner of the NHL Dallas Stars, who have now had two consecutive non-playoff years of mediocrity  thanks to Hicks’ idiocy.  Thanks to him, the Stars’ former head coach is on the verge of leading his new team, the frickin Phoenix Coyotes, to a first round win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Great move firing Dave Tippett, Mr. Hicks.  Moron.  And if I paid any attention to Soccer, I’m betting I could point out that he’s screwing up the Liverpool FC…but really, who besides un-American furriners gives a crap about Soccer?

* The kind folk at Rangers Ballpark failed to put the “Jonestein” plate on my season ticket seat.  This is supposedly going to be resolved by the next home stand.  I’m still irritated though, they managed to get my buddy’s plate on his seat.  Grrr.

* I was going to bitch about Michael Young killing my fantasy team with his horrid first three weeks at the plate, but it seems he’s on a tear, especially yesterday when he had a 5 RBI day.  I lost anyway…I could blame Mike but I’ll blame the anemic San Francisco Giants offense for not coming up with two lousy runs to give my starter Matt Cain AT LEAST another no-decision…this cost me 5 points, the difference in my loss.  Even better, I’ll blame my center fielder Torii Hunter for his atrocious 3 point performance last week…s’what I get for drafting a Los Anaheim Angel.

* As much as I can’t stand Christian rock bands and that insidious brainwashing group at iamsecond.com, I gotta hand it to em, they help pack the stands at the ballpark when they have one of their smarmy Christian rock concerts on the north lawn.  Saturday’s game against the Tiggers was freakin packed with delusional church groups forking out their dough to the Rangers rather than filling the coffers at their delusion factories.  I suppose that’s the upside to them being there.

* I sprained my ankle about 3 weeks ago and it’s just now getting better.  It has been a pain hobbling up to the ballpark so far…but hey, I’m a trooper.

* I’ve managed to avoid two Sunday’s worth of “God Bless America” and the threat of “patriotic” rednecks pummeling me because I refuse to stand during that idiotic song and the guilt-compelled, God-laced “patriotism” thrust upon everyone by the PA announcer.  How?  I have legitimately had to pee after the top of the 7th at every home game this year.

2010RangersSeasonTicks2.JPG * On the bright side, my season tickets rock. We’re on the third deck, right behind home plate, about 4 rows up.  The pic to your left is pretty much the view, though it doesn’t really do ’em justice.  We are right by the escalators, so post game escapes are a snap.  Also got season parking so getting in and out of Arlington is pretty easy.

Aside from the bumbling April play from muh boys, I’m hella pleased with my 2010 season ticket purchase.  I’m actually going to try to make all 81 games this year, but will probably be foiled by my arch nemesis, the 100+ degree Sunday day games that, thanks to ESPN and their stupid exclusive Sunday night broadcasting deal, forces me into said heat when all summer games in Texas should clearly be held at night only.  I’m beginning to despise ESPN, and not just because frickin Sports Center is constantly screwing up my Tivo’d episodes of Baseball Tonight.  Grrrr.

Happy Monday,

–Jonestein

FALL on the BALL!

saintsvikes.jpgYesterday’s hella-exciting NFC Championship game should have been one-to-two Minnesota touchdowns less exciting.  Why?  Because the New Orleans Saints have apparently forgotten one huge football fundamental that even I had drilled into my head as early as JUNIOR high football: when the ball is loose, FALL ON THE $*&#$& THING!  Every time the Vikings flubbed the ball last night, not ONCE did a New Orleans defender adhere to this simple, proven, pee-wee football fundamental!  Instead, their egos tried to scoop up the ball and run with it…GAHHHHH! 

Even one of their 5-ton defensive lineman tried to play Walter Payton last night…I was screaming at the top of my Cowboys-fan-get-revenge-on-the-run-up-the-score-Vikes lungs…ARGH!  Oh well, the Ain’ts have finally made it to the Supe…way to go guys!

In other news…

* Looks like my Texas Rangers are nearly out of the ownership woods – yesterday, Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenburg and Rangers legend Nolan Ryan cleared the first hurdle in buying the Rangers from Tom “Too-Many-Irons-in-the-Sports-Franchise-Fire” Hicks, i.e. they’ve reached an agreement with the Hicks Sports Group, the same group that is destroying the Dallas Stars and Liverpool FC.  The deal still needs approval from 75% of MLB owners, the NHL, and the army of banks that Hicks owes money to.  Hopefully, all of the above are just formalities and the handoff can happen before opening day.

* Due to my writing inspiration woes of late, I haven’t said much about the Hot Stove here in Arlington.  In a nutshell:

1. The Rangers acquired Rich Harden from the Cubs, but it cost us Kevin Millwood(who went to the Orioles in a salary dump move). If Harden works out, it will definitely be an upgrade to our numero-uno spot in the rotation.  Millwood was, at best, a very good number three starter.

2. We got Vlad from Los Anaheim of California.  Hopefully, that bat he’s used to bludgeon the Rangers with over the years still has some bludgeon left in it.  We’re gonna need it, seeing as how Seattle‘s hot stove has been cookin’ with gas this off season.  The M’s look mighty mighty on paper.  Hopefully, like Communism, they’ll just look good on paper.

3. Our other limited budget, risky business moves include reliever Chris Ray (from the Orioles in the Millwood deal),  presumed number-three starter Colby Lewis (from Japan’s Hiroshima Carp), former Ranger and fan favorite reliever Darren Oliver (from Los Anaheim), and utility fielder Khalil Greene (apparently from the loony bin).

On the hockey front –

* My new-found love for hockey continues, unfortunately, the Tom Hicks owned, 25th-in-the-NHL-in-salary Dallas Stars suck this year, and will likely continue to suck as long as Hicks owns the team. 

* The Texas Brahmas continue their up-and-down season and despite a barely .500 record, are clinging to third place in the CHL-Southern Division.

* I was rummaging around in my pile of barely played/never played PS2 games this weekend and discovered I had NHL 2001, still in the shrink-wrap.  Like the real-life game of hockey, I’m kicking myself for not discovering the game years ago!  Mrs. J and I were up all night on Saturday playing the game.  Fortunately, my PS2 hockey procrastination payed off – since this was NHL 2001 , the PS2 Dallas Stars roster was that of their 1998-2000 glory years with Brett Hull, Derian Hatcher, Ed Belfour, and in-their-prime Mike Modano & Jere Lehtinen.  Much fun was had.

— Jonestein
 

Jesus! We KNOW it’s the NY “Football” Giants!

jesusbaseball.JPGI’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.”

Mavsalt.jpg5. 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.

–Jonestein
 

Dear St. Chuck – I want a Pony, a PS3, and Baseball in October

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Well, dear readers, the Fort Worth/Dallas area is abuzz once again with the giddy hopes and dreams of baseball in October.

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.

–Jonestein

Watching Your Alcoholic Parents Self-Destruct

rangersbeer.jpgA few years ago, a buddy of mine and I were taking an improv class together when, during one of the classes, we noticed what appeared to be some strained moments between our instructor and one of his fellow troupe members.  This went on for several of the classes, with our instructor making subtle, snide comments regarding the situation with the improv troupe.

Needless to say, this made my buddy and I very uncomfortable, and my buddy made a very astute observation about the situation: “This is like watching your parents fight.”

I couldn’t help but recall that observation after my morning perusal of the online news when I stumbled upon this gem in today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Basically, the article talks about the Rangers delaying refunds to fans who put down money on 2009 Rangers playoff tickets.

Ok, stop laughing.  I mean, what kind of idiot would put down money on Rangers playoff tickets, much less, utter the words “Rangers” and “playoffs” in the same sentence?

Anyway, between this, the ownership woes, the inability to re-sign Omar Vizquel, Marlon Byrd, and Pudge, I couldn’t help recall the “parents fighting” metaphor, but I’ve remolded and applied it to the Rangers and their hapless fans, i.e., as a fan, all of this mess with the Rangers is like watching your alcoholic parents self-destruct

We “children” are pretty helpless in this situation, since our “parents” have all the power.  We can either sit and watch them self-destruct, or run-away. i.e. stop following the Rangers and start following the Dallas Stars.  Unfortunately, in a cruel twist of sports franchise ownership incest, “Papa” also owns the Dallas Stars.

I think I’ll make an anonymous call to Fan Protective Services so they’ll take me into custody then place me with a nice fan-family in Boston. 
:^)

–Jonestein

(Note: I didn’t request a refund, instead, I decided to keep enabling “Papa” and applied my playoff ticket money to 2010 season tickets…I’m a very bad boy!)