Category Archives: Sports

Getting over a World Series collapse

I woke this morning at peace. I had accepted the fact that the Texas Rangers would lose this World Series as soon as that home run ball left David Freese’s bat. I spent most of Friday in a state of mourning, but had come to terms with it as I listened to Game 7 on my phone while covering a high school football game.

Following the Rangers has always been about disappointment. But, in the past, the let down was spread across an entire season, like a slow, usually comical death. By the time it was over, you had already done your suffering. Game 6 was the opposite. I felt that the Cardinals had stabbed me in the heart, yet somehow kept me alive long enough to appreciate the pain. So, yeah, that sucked,

But I can thank Titus Andronicus for my sense of peace today. On my drive home from the stadium, I popped in their CD “The Monitor,” an angsty pseudo-concept album about the Civil War battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack. Or, an album tailor-made for me.

The back-to-back gut-punch of “No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future” and “Richard II” summed up my feelings about the Rangers. No future would be the team’s theme song with the final refrain “You will always be a loser” repeated a dozen or so times. It just took a bearded dude from Jersey to write it. But for as much as that song tore me down, “Richard II” built me up. The lyrics have nothing to do with baseball, and are pretty depressing, too, but the music uplifted me somehow. Rousing is what I’d call it.

Somehow, like a beer in the morning following a hard night of drinking, those two songs cured my World Series hangover. I’m OK with it. I wouldn’t trade this season for any other, terrible collapse or not. I’m already ready to debate Rob and Austin and Jim and Jose Bowe about whether or not C.J. Wilson is worth resigning (I think he is) or if we should pursue Albert Pujols (fuck you, Cardinals!) or if Jurickson Profar will save us all (he will).

So do yourself a favor, suffering Ranger fan, and listen to these two songs back-t0-back. You can thank me later.


 

 

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The NFL’s Best Players (1996 Edition)

My handwriting has gotten much worse.

After years of build-up and weeks of Facebook-fueled anticipation, the time is here. Now, I finally publish my 1996 edition of “NFL’s Best Players.” The original edition was painstakingly hand-written over a series of weeks during free time in Ms. Foster’s third-grade class.

I have included the spelling and grammatical errors that my 8-year-old self made for effect. There are also some factual errors (such as calling “Dan Wilkerson” a “linebaker”), but, hey, I was 8. Get prepared for 1,000+ words of cutting-edge analysis, presented verbatim.

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Rangers: A.L. Champs

Hamilton with an epic jumping Claw.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a long time, about how I’d cleverly celebrate the Rangers winning the pennant, what obscure former player references I’d drop to add credibility to my fandom (Mike Pagliarulo anyone?) and how I’d predict they’d fare in their first ever World Series.

But all that’s out the window now. I can’t do it justice and I don’t even want to. I’m just completely content with this baseball team, a feeling I’ve never really had about the Rangers. These guys are a bunch of fun-loving bad asses and it’s a joy to watch them. And even though I didn’t watch the game (I was holed up in a pressbox in Converse, Texas) following it on Twitter and then watching on the highlights have been just as pleasing. I just wish I could have been at the Ballpark.

And besides, Jim Reeves wrote the column that I wanted to write. And the longtime Star-Telegram-er and my sports writing idol hit it out of the park:

Enjoy and go Rangers.

 

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Texas Rangers: 2010 AL West Champs

I'd let Darren Oliver pour champagne on me.

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.

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Today is Bengie Molina Day

Bengie "Freight Train" Molina.

True baseball history occurred last night. Bengie Molina, the self-described “slowest man on earth,” hit for the cycle AND had a grand slam to carry the Rangers to an 8-4 win over Boston. While I didn’t get to see the game after the rain delay, I take some sort of karmic responsibility for spurring on this amazing feat. Just look at the text message exchange I had with Austin Talbert as history was being made:

AT (6:23)- My name is Vlad Guerrero and I am the worst base runner ever. (After Vlad was thrown out trying to take third).

Me (6:40)- Hello my name is Bengie Molina and I’m the slowest human being alive. (After Bengie barely made it to third).

AT (8:59)- Bengie!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me (9:00)- What happened?

AT (9:00)- Grandslam

Me (9:00)- That’s impossible. We’re talking about Bengie Molina.

AT (9:03)- Don’t look now. But he’s a triple shy of the cycle.

Me (9:03)- OK now that’s impossible.

AT (9:54)- Triple. No joke.

Me (12:11)- I take sole responsibility for this miracle.

AT (12:12)- You had nothing to do with it.

Let’s agree to disagree. Regardless, the call by Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve may be my favorite call of all time. “Pigs have flown in Boston, Massachusetts!” Simply brilliant.

Again, sorry for doubting you Bengie. Now keep it up.

So go celebrate Bengie Molina Day appropriately: eat six cheese enchiladas and then run the bases four times.

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All-Time Obscure Rangers: Middle Infielders

From 1989 on he was known as Billy "Fuck Face" Ripken.

Bleh. That’s how I feel about the Rangers going into the All-Star break. I was at the first game of the four-game sweepage at the hands of the mighty Baltimore Orioles. It was frustrating.

What isn’t so frustrating is naming the guys who’ll man the middle of the All-Time Obscure Ranger team. These guys would work together like a poorly-oiled, dysfunctional, patchwork double-play tandem. Or maybe not, considering who’s at shortstop…

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Cliff Lee is a Texas Ranger

Wow, didn’t expect to be writing that kind of a headline this year. I honestly didn’t think the Rangers would put up the prospects and risk needed to do it. BUT, J.D. did just that and now the Rangers have a bona fide ace for the first time since…Nolan Ryan? I mean, they’ve had Kenny Rogers, John Burkett, Aaron Sele and Rick Helling, but they were all No. 2 starters at best.

Sure will be nice seeing him in a Ranger jersey, but at a risk.

So it’s no wonder Texas fans don’t know how to react to this. Just read the up-in-arms comments over at Lone Star Ball. You’d think we traded away Elvis for Brian Moehler and some pine tar.

True, it does hurt to see Justin Smoak and Blake Beaven go (the other guys are more middling prospects). Smoak was perceived to be the next Teixeira, except with a higher on-base percentage. But, the fact is, he’s not there yet. The Rangers, though, could be. They’ll be at least a few games up in the division at the All-Star Break with the most realistic shot at the playoffs and beyond since 1999. This move means one thing: The Rangers want to win. Now. Not five years down the road. Now. After all, the stupid team slogan is “It’s Time.” They’re putting their money where their mouths are.

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