As most of you in BAPL Nation know, yours truly is not an optimist by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, for moi, the glass is not only half-empty, but has probably been spat in, urinated in, and laced with cyanide. Thirty-plus years of being a Texas Rangers fan will do that to you.
Each season, I try to go into spring training with high hopes and blind-faith optimism, but alas, my analytically oriented mind teamed with the relentless assault of up-to-date information spewed via the very Intertubes by which you are perusing this bastion of Blogosphere wittery severely undermines my feeble attempts at cognitive dissonance.
This season is no different, despite the added incentive of new and, hopefully, competent ownership for my beloved Texas Rangers. Yes, just days into the start of spring training, my bright hopes for Rangerdom 2010 are already under assault:
First, newly acquired utility infielder Khalil Greene, he stricken with a social anxiety disorder, learns that despite the relentless stereotypes perpetuated by frappacino sipping Hollywood film directors*, his new team doesn’t play their games out in the people-free, remote pastures of Southfork Ranch. Instead, they play here, in front of 49,200 insolent baseball fans sick of the fandom shadow cast by these primadonnas, years of pathetic mediocrity, and most of all, years of one lame excuse after another. I can’t imagine why he bailed on Spring Training.
Then, one of our best young pitchers, Derek Holland, sprains his effing knee during an agility drill. If we aren’t trading ’em off to become future Hall of Famers with other teams, we’re destroying their knees just days into spring training.
Finally, God’s Favorite® Home Run Derby participant, Josh Hamilton, bruises his shoulder while praying to the Lord for an injury-free 2010.
Indeed, ignorance is bliss. I’m gonna just hide under my cubicle until Opening Day. Please send pizza.
* – As opposed to snarky blogsters perpetuating stereotypes about frappacino sipping Hollywood types.
Last night on Facebook I was whining about how I hate this time of the year. All the fake and compelled niceness, the Xmas Gift-Giving “Tax” inherent with marriage, blowhard Christians getting their panties in a wad about the perfectly valid abbreviation of Xmas (look it up you knowledge-averse idjits, you might learn something), and the frantic shopping mob street traffic that forces me to avoid Hulen Street in Foat Wuth from Black Friday to Xmas Day, virtually cutting off part of civilization from me in December. Most of all though, I loathe the fact that my regular TV watching schedule is in disarray until mid-to-late January because of this contrived, smarmy-a$s holiday. No new episodes of House, Big Bang Theory, Sons of Anarchy…just reruns and idiotic Xmas specials. Blech.
Mr. Lung over at RSBS suggested I relieve my TV doldrums by tuning into MLB Network to (presumably) enjoy this year’s “Hot Stove” festivities. I certainly appreciated the suggestion, but I had to remind him that my fandom resides here in the Land of Misfit Toys, a.k.a. Arlington, TX and the Texas Rangers. The “Hot Stove” here in Arlington is like watching Harry Potter and his spoiled cousin Dudley open presents at Christmas: Dudley always get the shiny red firetruck with the 1.93 ERA while Harry gets some worn out Sox and a frayed, one-eyed Teddy Bear with shoulder problems.
This year is no different. The same old preamble that always seems to accompany any Rangers acquisition is once again ringing through the halls of Rangerdom: “If [insert misfit toy here] can get/stay healthy, then…”. This year’s misfit toy acquisitions are Rich Harden and tentatively, Mike Lowell. If Harden can get/stay healthy, then he will most defiinitely be an upgrade over Kevin Millwood as our numero uno starter. If Mike Lowell’s thumb and hip are ok, then he’ll be that right-handed bat we so desperately need to bolster Josh Hamilton, assuming of course, Hamilton is able to get/stay healthy.
However, and, hopefully, the Ranger’s Gimp Express is on it’s final run and help is on the way in the form of prospective new owner Chuck Greenberg. He’s supposed to be a real “baseball guy” with (again, hopefully) deep pockets. The Greenberg ownership group also includes Nolan Ryan, who will stay on as President and keep the club moving in the right direction.
If this ownership change happens soon enough, perhaps we’ll be unwrapping shiny red firetrucks here in Arlington by opening day. If not, I’ll just kick the sh!t out of Harry Potter, steal his wand, and belt out a Redbirdus-Extractus spell, instantly swiping Pujols, Yadi, Carpenter, and Wainwright from Mr. Lung’s beloved Cardinals.
That’s right boys and girls, it’s now officially the offseason, that time of year when all of Rangerdom cringes(no, not the September cringes), waiting to see what the Next Disasterous Move to come out of the Rangers front office will be. Add to the mix our club’s ownership woes, and this offseason has the potential to send us spiraling into a tailspin…away from mediocrity and back down to the embarrassing.
Now, as usual, I’m being my unfair, Cynical Ba$tard© self, seeing as how over the last year Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan have actually made some of the best moves a club can make, which is the less-exciting, subtle No Move At All, move. I applauded the shiite out of them in late-July for NOT trading away the farm to get Roy Halladay, and I applaud them for that still.
Last offseason, they did make some great move-moves, namely acquiring Omar Vizquel to mentor Elvis Andrus, and moving Michael Young over to third base. At the time, those of us in Rangerdom were slightly worried about this move, because our unofficial captain, Young, wasn’t thrilled with the move at all. Fortunately, Mike’s a trooper. He took one for the team, made the move, and conquered third base.
This off-season, unfortunately, isn’t looking so good, IMHO, and the No Move-Move, ain’t gonna cut it. Numero Uno on the To-Do list, is to re-sign this guy, regardless of ownership:
Marlon Byrd was invaluable in 2009 when Josh Hamilton went down. He played gold-glove caliber center field, swung a mighty bat(two-baggers out the wahzoo), and provided some great leadership in the clubhouse. Plus, we the fans love the f’n guy. Sadly, he’s filed for free agency and all indications from Jon Daniels is that resigning him ain’t gonna happen. So, Strike ONE, for the Rangers front office!
Priority Numero Two-o: Sell the frickin team to someone who:
1) Isn’t going to use it as a giant, good-ole-boy accessory – “Yessir-y, I own me some oil rigs, a sh!t-load of cattle, and I bought the Missus a really BIG diamond up thar in Dallas somewhere, not quite sure exactly where, but it’s a damn big sumbitch!”
2) Isn’t going to buy the team just to turn a profit so he can fund a US Presidential campaign that will ultimately lead to the destruction of the US economy, the shredding of the US Constitution, yet another US War Machine Profiteering Scam© , and eight years later, is single-handedly responsible for putting the f*cking Manchurian Candidate Incarnate into the White House while a nation of Useful Idiots swoon because their Hopenchange Messiah is photogenic and can wax eloquently from a teleprompter.
3) Isn’t going to mortgage away the future of the team by signing ONE superstar to an insane, high-dollar contract, only to leave barely enough cash in the till to surround said superstar with the Bad News Bears, thus dooming the club to a decade of embarrassing celler-dwelling, mediocrity, and dashed-hope September meltdowns.
…in other words, get a Mark Cuban caliber owner in the house who wants to put a fking winner on the field! Say what you want about Cuban, but he puts a winner on the court every frickin year, and he’s NOT Jerry Jones.
I’ll cover Numero-Three-o through Numero Whatever-o in a later post…I just worked myself into a p!ssed off frenzy and need to step away from the keyboard before blood vessels start exploding in my brain.
As Stephen Colbert might say: “I called it!”
*cue patriotic music*
*flurry of red, white, and blue balloons*
Yes sirree, indeedy! As I, an upper echelon member of Belly Nation predicted, Belly-Power prevailed in last night’s MLB Home Run Derby 2009 when the Brew Crew’s reigning Belly-Boy, Prince Fielder, took the crown in Saint Louee.
Throw in the fact that my guy Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers took second place in the bash-a-thon, and it turned out to be a pretty awesome night for those of us in the Jesusland Region of Belly Nation.
So cheers to Prince and Nellie for putting on a great show, jeers to Josh Hamilton for spewing his silly Jesus-agenda while getting interviewed by Her Hotness, Erin Andrews, cheers to Albert Pujols for a spectacular come-from-behind second round, jeers to Chris Berman for being his annoying self, and finally, cheers to the St. Louis crowd for rooting for all derby contestants.
The Derby wasn’t terribly exciting, but it was fun to watch while finishing off the last of my “Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream” ice cream.