I’d be remiss not to comment on this achievement. It’s been 11 long years since the Rangers were in the playoffs.
I was 11 then.
Things have changed a lot since then. We started a new war. We elected a black president. We learned that a pitching staff headed by Ryan Drese is a terrible idea.
None of that seems to matter right now. We’ve made it back. I’m sure a lot of people in traditional baseball towns like New York or Boston made fun of the Rangers for going crazy in the clubhouse after clinching the division, citing the act-like-you’ve-been-there-before corollary in the Book of Baseball.
But that’s the thing: The Rangers haven’t really been there before. Just three postseason trips and a whopping one playoff win in their 38-year history–or 49 years if you include their time spent as the Washington Senators.
That is an insane number. If the Rangers were located in Chicago or Boston, we’d have had the “Curse of David Clyde” story shoved down our throats for years now. But in an area where any sports success outside of the Cowboys is considered a bonus at best, the Rangers have been allowed to mediocrely exist without much national attention. If you were to give the Rangers a grade for their performance over the last 30 years, you would simply mark “present.” Hey, it’s not Pirates or Royals level failing, is it? Way to go?
Now the Rangers have a chance to change that. Even though the boys in blue will be in the playoffs next month, no one is seriously giving them a chance to topple the Rays or Yankees. What better time to start a legacy. To this point, the Rangers only legacy is not having one. Let’s get that first playoff series win out of the way and more.
Regardless of what happens in October, it will be hard to get too upset simply because I’ll be watching the Rangers playing playoff baseball for the first time since Aaron Sele and Rick Helling were our “aces.” You can’t help but love this team. They’ve been frustrating and confusing at times, but always entertaining. And what leaves me feeling the best is that they have the pieces there to get it done. Just get Josh healthy. Just let Cliff Lee do his thing. Just let @str8edgeracer prove that he is a legit Cy Young candidate. Just let Michael Young finally see some of his 10-year commitment pay off.
True, I am a bit angry that the Division Champs shirt on MLB.com was already backordered last night. As I’ve talked with some of my fellow Ranger lifers, it’s frustrating that you can’t get playoff tickets when you feel entitled to them after so many years of suffering. But bandwagon fans are a sign of something important: a damn good baseball team.
I think Michael Young can relate to that feeling. He’s been through some crappy years with the Rangers but has stuck with it. Now he’s getting rewarded, although the cast around him has changed incredibly over time. Who would have imagined him hugging Jeff Francoeur after clinching even earlier this year? But things change. And with the Rangers, they’re changing for the better.
Let’s do this.