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Friday, March 15, 2013

How we got here (in a nutshell, more or less)...

I'm not sure I can follow the two previous awesome posts, but I'll give it a shot!

So, the 2010-2012 Rangers have spoiled us Ranger fans a bit. It's easily the most successful stretch in Rangers history. The attention the team has garnered over said time period is the catalyst for this very blog, I'd say. I sometimes think about my 4 nephews and how in their memories going forward as adults, as far as they know, the Rangers have always been dominant! Similar to how most of us in our 20s and 30s think of the Cowboys. That is downright amazing to me, but I digress.

We all know the story by now as it has become legendary in North Texas baseball circles. The magical 2010 Rangers ran into a brickwall of pitching also known as the Giants in the World Series, but not before manhandling the Yankees in the ALCS (A-rod striking out looking and Nefty and Bengie celebrating to clinch the pennant might be the greatest memory of my 30s haha).

The 2011 Rangers surprised many (myself included) by heading right back to the World Series pretty handily thanks in large part to the previously untainted Nelly Cruz.  They were one strike away from a Championship not once, but twice and famously lost in one of the better World Series in recent memory.

Now for some reason I felt like the 2012 Rangers would be a power house. It was their first real season of high expectations. For the most part they were...until the last three weeks of the season. That collapse has no words or warrants any further analysis.

You could call us unlucky if you wanted to; not benefiting from homefield advantage in the World Series due to the All-Star Game losses by the AL (this time it counts blah) when ironically there were many Ranger heroes in the Mid Summer Classic prior. Not to mention the expanded one game playoff Wild Card system implemented in 2012 (you just knew it had to be us and we would lose.) I won't play the unlucky, why us, card though...

Which brings us to the 2013 Rangers. What are the realistic expectations, Rangers fans? The Angels keep winning the off-season which hasn't worked out for them. I'm not much looking forward to facing that lineup. We welcome the lowly Astros to the West which should be good for a nice 13-15 wins easily, no? The A's will seemingly only keep improving.

Where are we? We've lost a clubhouse guy, team leader, and all around class act in Micheal Young (my boy and fav Ranger since forever). We've lost Josh Hamilton (yawn). We missed out on every 'sexy' move which we were purportedly involved in during the off-season. Our starting rotation, especially on the back end, is a mystery. Who's the Ace of this staff (Matty, Yu, Holland even) ? Well, if it's one thing the Rangers do NOT lack it's available arms. This staff and bullpen will come into place. I'm actually not worried about it all. The big question mark for me is the offense (how crazy is that to say about a Rangers team?) The new additions are underwhelming at best. You don't get rich betting on Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski at their ages. The keen-eyed-Ranger fans will pay close attention to Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, and Leonys Martin. That's what will make or break our season if you ask me today, right now.

So I suppose I've raised more questions than I've actually answered (haha). It is entirely too soon for prediction time, but I think we learned an important lesson last year. Never put yourself in a position where you have to play in a win or go home game ever again. Anything can happen. The Rangers have shot out of a cannon the last 3 years early in the season and we're gonna need more of the same. I'm circling the weekend of April 6th on my calendar. It's not quite a litmus test, but we're gonna need to send a message to the Halos in Arlington. (You'll notice that I'll use 'we' freely as if I'm part of the team. Jenn will also. Haha) I suppose, then, that the 2013 Rangers will take the field with much uncertainty (even in their front office!)  The only thing we're ALL certain of is that we're ready for that first pitch at the Juice Box aka Minute Maid Park...

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