Friday, August 21, 2009
The Texas Rangers Are Overdue
As a baseball fan, it's good to see the Texas Rangers in the heat of a pennant race. The Rangers (68-52) haven't had a team this good and this exciting since the late '90s. Currently the Rangers are one game back of the Boston Red Sox in the Wild Card race and they are not quite out of the division race either, trailing the Los Angeles Angels by 5.5 games.
The Rangers, who've been around since 1961, have the unpleasant distinction of being 1 of 3 teams in the majors who have never played in a World Series. The other two hard-luck members of this inauspicious club are the Seattle Mariners and the Washington Nationals. In the Rangers case, we're talking about a 48 year old franchise, so I think they are long overdue.
Earlier this week, the Rangers reacquired catcher, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, from the Houston Astros after a 6-year hiatus. Maybe this is good karma since Pudge is arguably the best player in Rangers history. He was the anchor of those great Texas teams of the late 1990's. Those teams won 3 AL West Championships (1996, 1998, 1999), but couldn't quite get past the ALDS.
Since his departure in 2002, Pudge played in two World Series (2003 with the Florida Marlins and 2006 with the Detroit Tigers)-- so he definitely brings a winning attitude into the clubhouse.
Currently the Rangers are the oldest team in the majors without a championship. Their drought, however, gets overshadowed by the 100 year drought of the Chicago Cubs-- but that's a story for another day.
Usually, it's the Rangers hitters who get most of the attention, but this year, it's their pitching that is keeping them in the pennant race. They have the AL's fourth lowest team ERA (4.16) and, as of today, have given up the fewest runs (522) in the American League. Very impressive, considering over the past few years they have been known as a team with great hitting but poor pitching.
If the Rangers make the post-season, they definitely have the balance to go deep in the playoffs.
And who knows, maybe this is the year they take their name off of that unfavorable list.