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.
“Oh fatsos, where art thou?”
This was the question resonating in my head as I huffed and puffed about the streets of Boston last Thursday afternoon during my traditional post-hotel-check-in “recon walk” (translation: identify surrounding pubs within stumbling distance of hotel). I was stunned. Not an obese person to be found, anywhere. After a while, I thought I spotted two of them, but it turned out they were just reflections of my buddy and I peering into the window of a corner deli.
Our recon mission quickly turned into a quest…a quest to find a flabby Bostonian. Eventually, about a half a block away, an enormous H0mo-Flabbious was heading straight for us. We rejoiced…until we got close enough to see the 5XL Kansas City Royals t-shirt he was wearing. He, like us, was just another flabby tourist hailing from fry-over country.
This went on for blocks until finally, terrified, I leaned over to my buddy and whispered: “I see skinny people! They’re everywhere! They don’t know they’re skinny!” Equally terrified, he nodded, then slowly pointed to the patch of hair near my temple that had turned white. Fortunately, said whiteness was just excess powdered sugar from a donut I’d purchased at one of the ten thousand Dunkin’ Donuts stores located in downtown Boston. The abundance of these stores just added to the flabless Beantown mystery.
We eventually figured it out though. See, in Texas, we drive everywhere, curb-to-curb, no intrinsic exercise is involved. In Boston, however, and despite the incredibly convenient subway/trolley system, one must walk one’s a$s off in the city to get where one is going, completely offsetting the Dunkin’ factor. I figure it would take about 6 months to eliminate my excess flab if I moved to Boston.
ANYWAY, enough of the flab-shtick, I shall now bore you with pictures:
After the recon walk mentioned above, me, Mrs. Jonestein, and my buddy Jeff, headed to Quincy Market to get our dooshy tourist thang on. “Starving”, we settled on the well known tourist trap, Cheers, where I consumed a twelve-dollar bowl of macaroni and cheese w/ sauteed shrimp. Afterwards, Jeff and I left Mrs. J at Quincy, hopped on the subway(my first subway ride, btw), and headed down to Fenway for a tour of the ballpark:
1. This is my buddy Jeff as we headed up the ramp:
2. Pesky’s Pole viewed from seats atop right field:
4. Jonestein behind Pesky’s Pole from seats atop right field:
5. Williamsburg and the Green Monstah:
6. Jonestein atop the Green Monster:
7. Pressbox from the Monster:
8. Bayland (formerly Mannyville) from atop the Monster:
That’s it for now. I’ll continue boring you with pictures in the next BAPL in Beantown post.
Yes, 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”].
On October 1, 2009, I, Jonesteinious of this fabulous, yet poorly written blog shall be basking in the glory of this view:
Yes indeed, nine years after my first epiphanous visit to the Red Sox Nation Mothership, I return! This time I’ll have Mrs. J and my best bud Jeff in tow as we don our Red Sox gear and do our best Mayor Quimby impersonations at Fenway!
I BARELY got the tickets though…bought ’em online at 1am CDT this morning. I looked again this morning when I woke up and the game was f’n sold out…3 months in advance! WHEW! If only we had these kind of sellout problems here in Arlington!
Hopefully, the AL East race will still be tight and this will be a meaningful game. Red Sox vs. Indians at Fenway…I can’t freakin wait!