Wednesday, October 26, 2011

World Series: The Texas Rangers Are Inches from the Mountain Top

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
Game 5: Rangers 4 - Cardinals 2
Rangers lead series, 3-2

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The Texas Rangers are one win away from erasing 51 years of frustration, bad luck and heartaches. It's been a journey that began in Washington D.C. in 1961 and moved over to Arlington, Texas in 1972.

For most of it's history the franchise was non-existent and pretty much never taken seriously. It wasn't until 1974 when they FINALLY drew a million fans for the first time ever but the team was still considered irrelevant in the minds of many baseball fans.

Then in the 1990's with stars like Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Kenny Rogers, the team became respectable and FINALLY made the post-season for the first time in 1996. The team would go on to make the playoffs again in 1998 and 1999. Unfortunately for Rangers fans, their first run in the postseason was a nightmare (to say the least) as they went 1-9, losing all three times to the eventual world champions New York Yankees in the ALDS. After that disastrous playoff run, the team (once again) disappeared off the map to the point that they had to file for bankruptcy in 2010.

But last season things started to turn around. The new Rangers, under the guidance of new president Nolan Ryan and manager Ron Washington, had a dream season despite all the financial difficulties the team was in. They won their first-ever playoff series against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS and won their first-ever pennant against their playoff nemesis, the New York Yankees, in the ALCS. They wound up losing the World Series to the San Francisco Giants but considering where the franchise had been for most of it's history, it wasn't all that bad.

Last year's success carried over into this season and here are the Rangers just one win (I'LL REPEAT THAT)-- JUST ONE WIN-- away from reaching the elusive mountain top. JUST ONE WIN AWAY from reaching the PROMISED LAND.

This is HUGE, Rangers fans. You have two opportunities to do it. I mean, just think about it-- if you play .500 baseball in your next two games, your team will be called World Champions for the first time ever. Think about that.

I hope the likes of Charlie Hough, Jim Sundberg, Buddy Bell, Ferguson Jenkins, Bump Wills, Jeff Burroughs, Rusty Greer, Toby Harrah, the aforementioned Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Kenny Rogers, are all watching closely because Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and the rest of the 2011 Rangers are doing this for them also. This is the culmination of 51 years. I'll repeat that-- 51 years.

And last but not least, I'm sure the immortal Ted Williams and the great Johnny Oates and Billy Martin are looking down right now and saying, "Mission (almost) accomplished".

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