If you haven’t already read what Churck Greenberg wrote on his facebook, then please see below. It really is the heart of the Texas Rangers. Die hard Rangers fans should really be able to relate to the message.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me today how I was feeling after last nights game, and what my thoughts were about the rest of the series. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting over the season and the emotional roller coaster that we have been on.
When I say “we” I mean the players, the coaches, everyone within the organization, and the fans. We have all been in this thing together. The players have played their heart out and without them we would not be where we are. Ron Washington and his staff have placed the players in positions where they have succeeded. When everyone was ready to give up on guys like Moreland, Molina, Feliz, and even Hamilton early on in the season, Ron Washington has stuck by his players and never game up on them. When the team was bankrupt and every writer in baseball would write that there was no way that the Rangers could make any significant moves due to their financial constraints, our front office went out and got Cliff Lee and Benji Molina.
My point is this: This team has overcome strong odds all season long. No one could have ever predicted any of this. This team of “we” has been resiliant in every aspect of the game. We are now embarking on the final home game of the season. We are down 3-1 in the series and only 6 teams in world series history has been able to overcome that deficit. The odds again are not in the Rangers favor. History will say that the chances of the Rangers winning are slim to none. Very few are left to believe that the Rangers will end up winning the world series.
This has been the theme of the 2010 season.
I’ve lived and breathed Rangers baseball for as long as I can remember. When I was 10 years old I would sneak my brother into my room and we would put a pillow by the door to block the lighting of the TV so that we could stay up and watch the rangers play on the west coast, since we were supposed to be in bed by 9pm. I now sit here at the age of 26 with the same passion that has continued to grow over the years. My son is named after the great “Nolan Ryan.” My wardrobe consists of 25+ Rangers shirts. My wife has learned to love me despite the fact that our schedule is decided upon what time the Rangers are playing. I’ve spent more money then I should on Rangers tickets. I’m invested in every way that I can think of into this team.
These are MY RANGERS.
Last night was a terrible game and it took a lot out of me. Let there be no question though that down 3-1 in this series I’ll believe in this team no matter what happens. If the team goes down 13 runs into the 9th then I’ll still be on my feet cheering on this team with everything I have until the final out is recorded. This team deserves to have it’s fans behind them. We are better then what we showed last night. Don’t give up on this team just because the odds are stacked against us.
A message from Chuck:
This season has transcended expectations and transformed the psyche and hearts of legions of Rangers fans across Texas and throughout our country and beyond. At the core of the remarkable journey we have shared together is a ballclub and a community who collectively have consigned the conventional wisdom of the past to the dust bins of history, busting myths and charting a new course previously thought to be unattainable.
Can’t pitch successfully in Rangers Ballpark. Wrong.
Can’t compete successfully late in the season because the heat will break you down. Wrong.
Fans will lose interest when training camp opens. Wrong.
Fans won’t come to Rangers Ballpark after the All Star break because its too hot. Wrong.
Rangers can’t win a playoff series. Wrong.
Rangers can’t win a playoff game at home. Wrong.
Rangers can’t beat the Yankees in the playoffs. Wrong.
Rangers can’t get to the World Series. Wrong.
Rangers can’t captivate the hearts and emotions of fans new and old deep into the fall. Wrong.
And on and on and on….
I can’t even begin to count the memorable moments we have shared this year thanks to a very special group of players with hearts and smiles as big as Texas, who always pull together, stand up for one another, and who have changed the sports landscape here in the Metroplex forever.
But here is a simple reality. Monday will be the last game played in Rangers Ballpark this year. We all owe it to ourselves, our players and each other, to celebrate with passion, enthusiasm and indefatigable belief from lineup cards to the final out, loud and proud.
The defining team of my young life was the 1979, “We are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates. I have often remarked how much this Rangers club reminds me of that team, with a confident but friendly swagger and an abundance of character and personality.
Now these two teams have something else in common. Both fell behind 3-1 in the World Series. Kent Tekulve, the great closer from the ’79 Pirates, texted me after tonight’s game to pass along this story. Before Game 5, Willie Stargell told his teammates:
“We are playing in front of the whole world. We may not win this thing, but before we go, let’s show the world how the Pirates really play baseball”.
The Pirates, playing against a team whose colors were black and orange, won Game 5. Then they returned to Baltimore and won Game 6. Then they won Game 7.
I know our players will show everyone how the Rangers play baseball tomorrow. As fans, let’s do the same. We have one final opportunity this season to show the world what we have accomplished together and the passion we all hold for our players and our shared dreams.
The World Series is going back to San Francisco. And then there will be one final piece of conventional wisdom to prove wrong….
The Texas Rangers are going to the World Series. Let that sink in for a minute and I’ll say it again. The Texas Rangers are going to the World Series.
Rangers fever is spreading across Texas. Fans are searching for a way to get out of work/school in order to see the first Rangers playoff game in over a decade. It’ should be no surprise that the Yankees were the team to get the national prime time game, while the Rangers are stuck playing the Rays over lunch. Yet fans can’t help but be angry with TBS and MLB for the game times that were given. In fact, it’s very likely that the Rangers will be playing all day games for the first round, and neither the fans nor the players can really be thrilled about this. Stat wise the Rangers are much better at night games than in day games. The Rangers have a record of 19-25 in the day, while the Rays have a 27-19 record for games played in the daytime hours.
You’re standing up on top of a cliff looking over a large body of water. You are with a group of friends, wading in the water below, yelling up at you “JUMP, JUMP, JUMP!” Without thinking twice you take a giant leap from the bridge and splash into the water. Everyone jumps into the water one by one.
As of today, the Texas Rangers sit atop the AL West standings by 7.5 games on the Oakland Athletics and 9 games up on the Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels. My brother is already making plans for the playoffs. While my wife is just praying that the Rangers hold on just to keep a happy husband in the household.
The trade deadline has now come and gone, and now the only way to make deal is if a player passes through waivers. The Rangers could still add a piece or two prior to september call–ups, but don’t expect that it’s going to be any significant player. However, that’s not to say that they won’t add someone that can significantly help them from within.
We can all agree that the Rangers have already aquired their biggest gem when they traded for the crafty lefty, Cliff Lee. The baseball world was shocked when Jon Daniels swooped in at the last minute and swept him away from the New York Yankees. The most amazing thing about it was that he did it while only trading one elite prospect, and not even touching his blue chip pitching prospects.
A few weeks have now passed and the Rangers are still talking to teams trying to improve their club. There is no question that the Rangers and their front office is going all-in and that optimism is growing by the minute that this team could really be playing deep into October. The latest report from, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, is that the Rangers are in deep talks for Florida Marlins first baseman Jorge Cantu, but that they are also eyeing Chicago Cubs first baseman Derek Lee and interested in adding another starting pitcher and a left handed reliever.
It’s been no secret that the Rangers covet a right handed bat that can platoon with Chris Davis. Nolan Ryan has even come out openly to confirm it. The part that surprises me the most is the talk that the Rangers are interested in adding another starting pitcher. You would have to think that if they are going to add someone then it would have to be for an upgrade of Scott Feldman, Derek Holland, and Rich Harden. Otherwise what’s the point in adding someone when you have decent (although I admit not great) options for a 5th spot in the rotation. Let’s go through a couple of names that I can see the Rangers going for at each position.
First Base Options:
Florida Marlins: Jorge Cantu
-This is an interesting name for a guy with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs. He can platoon at first and also fill in at 3rd base and DH. He has struggled here recently with a slumping July, but he could provide an extra RBI producer from the 7th/8th spot in the lineup
Baltimore Orioles: Ty Wigginton
-Can play both first and third base. Has home run power with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs. Big knock on him is his average at .249. Still would be a pretty big force down in the lineup. A lot of competition for his services and I’m not sure how much Baltimore will be asking for.
Chicago Cubs: Derek Lee
-Strictly would be an option at first base and DH. He is having a down year with only 11 HRs and 44 RBIs. He’s also only hitting .251 on the season. He has a large contract with remaining money that the Cubs would have to take on part of to make this deal work. One thing that he does provide is a veteran in the clubhouse that could be critical down the stretch.
Boston Red Sox: Mike Lowell
-It’s not even worth the numbers on the season but if you have to know he has 2 HRs and 12 RBIs and is batting .213. His numbers really don’t mean much because he has had a very limited amount of playing time and has spent a lot of the year on the DL. He does have experience in the post-season and when healthy he’s a decent option down in the order. The Red Sox would have to take on the entire contract for this deal to make any sense at all.
Other hitters names to keep an eye on: Jason Werth, Prince Fielder, and Corey Hart. All are extreme long shots since they have David Murphy coming off the bench and Fielder would demand a huge return, but at least with Hart there could be discussion about him being able to fill in at first base. Still the cost would be heavy for either of these guys to be strongly considered.
Kansas City Royals: Bruce Chen
-He’s been filling in pretty well in the rotation, but could be another left handed arm that the Rangers consider
Toronto Blue Jays: Scott Downs
-He’s really the only good option out there and the competition to get him is driving up his price tag. The Red Sox and Yankees are interested and my guess here is that one of them ends up with him.
Kansas City Royals: Zack Greinke
-He’s a longshot to be traded but there is talk that no one on their roster is untouchable and that they are willing to listen to offers. If they are willing to discuss him then the Rangers will be involved in conversation. This is a guy that the Rangers have had their eyes on for a couple of years now. His record of 6-9 isn’t a good indicator of what to expect from the former CY Young winner. This guy has amazing stuff and is a true top of the rotation guy. A trade for him would start with a name like Martin Perez and/or Tanner Scheppers. He’s signed for years to come at a reasonable price.
Houston Astros: Roy Oswalt
-He’s going to be linked to the Rangers until the deadline has passed. He’s lives in Texas and Nolan Ryan loves the guy. He’s a top of the rotation guy and is signed through 2011 with an option for 2012. His contract is to high for the bankrupt Rangers, and even Jon Daniels has joked that it would take the passing around of the silver boot for donations to make a deal happen. However, the most recent coming out of the Roy Oswalt camp is that he would re-structure his deal for the right situation. You would have to think that the Rangers would be that type of situation. Still the Astros are demanding a hefty price tag and don’t seem willing to really eat much of his large contract.
Chicago Cubs: Ted Lilly
-He’s the most likely candidate of the Rangers end up making a trade for a starting pitcher, but I’m not sure that it would be worth the price. The Cubs will be looking for guys that can step in and the near future and aren’t going to want to go into full rebuild mode. He’s 3-8 and has an ERA of 3.88 and a total of 81 strikeouts. He’s left handed and can go deep into games. He’s already pitched in 111 innings. He’s also a free agent after the year, which actually benefits the Rangers with their ownership situation being in flux.
Other names to keep an eye on: Carmona, Westbrook, Myers, and Nolasco. I don’t see the Rangers being active on any of these, but it could be an interesting scenario if the Rangers can grab both Cantu and Nolasco from the Marlins. Latest word from Florida was that they weren’t wanting to trade Nolasco at this point as they aren’t convinced that they are out of contention.
My best guess here is that the Rangers end up with Jorge Cantu and stick with the starters that they currently have. I think that the Rangers will be active in their talks and there could be a few interesting rumors out there, but I don’t expect a deal to actually get done that is in the larger sense. I will say this though… “DON’T UNDERESTIMATE JON DANIELS!” This guy knows how to pull magic out of a hat. If he can find a deal that improves this ballclub then he’ll pull the trigger. Rich Harden’s rehab start tonight could prove crucial in if the Rangers go with what they have or try and pull off another trade.
The clock is ticking
Only a couple more hours until my softball team, Top Gun, hits the field for another softball game in the city of Lewisville. We have already had multiple rain outs and cancellations on the short season. Our only win came off a forfeit of a team that quit the league. If you have seen the bad news bears then you have seen a team that could still probably beat team Top Gun. It’s kind of sad because we actually do have some really good players, but so far the team just hasn’t clicked. In fact, the last game we were run ruled and the game ended after about 20 minutes of play. We have made some changes around the field that maybe will shake things up a bit, and try and just have a few positive things to take into the next season that starts on May 25th. Our team will add a couple of better players the next season that should help us out a little bit.
Two save opportunities and two blown saves. The season is officially under way and drama is already filling the air in Arlington. Saturday afternoon embraced fans with perfect weather, a lead, and a game where the team finally started hitting a little bit. However, after a couple of blown calls and a blown lead by the Rangers closer the mood among fans quickly changed. Frankie left the game with one word being screamed by thirty thousand fans, “Boooooo.” Milton Bradley just thought that he had it bad when he crossed the plate and fans began to yell at him. Frankie left in much worst terms.
The team and fans left the ballpark knowing that there is still a long season, but there was no question that the loss on Saturday felt like a punch in the throat.
One person that can’t afford a rough start to the season is Ron Washington. If the team gets out of the gate on a slow start then one must think that Washington is the first one to go. He’s on a short leash and the answer to saving is job is simple, “Win.”
Washington responded on Sunday by making a rather large move. Move Frankie out of the closer role and Feliz into it. The general census among fans will be that most approve.
However, I’m not one of them…
Moving Frankie out of the stopper role is a knee jerk reaction move. Frankie has proven himself that he is more than capable of closing out ballgames, and there is no question that he is a key guy in the Rangers bullpen. Moving him out of the closer role is a move that diminishes his confidence, and the effect is not just the 9th inning. Feliz has dominating stuff and would make a remarkable closer some day, if that is the role the Rangers chose for him to be in. He’s also a guy that can go multiple innings if he needs to and has the potential to be a great top of the rotation pitcher. The move now will put Oliver into the set-up role and moves Frankie into an undefined one. The Rangers had a very nice looking bullpen but it’s not near as good if Frankie doesn’t perform the way that he is expected to.
I understand the move, but I don’t agree with it. I know I’m in the minority but after 2 games I don’t think it’s justifiable to take a proven guy out of the closer role and inserting an unproven one.