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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Do the Rangers have a rival or rival(s)?

I'm not sure about every other Rangers fan, or every other baseball fan for that matter, but I tend to scoreboard watch my division from opening day until it's pretty much all said and done. So, this night being no different from any other, I'm predictably keeping on eye on the AL West. On this particular night: the Rangers notched a victory behind our reliable losing streak stopper (lately) Derek Holland, the 2nd place A's dropped a game against the Tribe, the M's pulled one out in interleague play against the Pirates, and the lowly Astros defeated the Halos for the second night in a row (by the way, should the hapless Astros sweep the Angels tomorrow night they will both have the same sad 11 wins).

We watch these teams closely, like in any sport, for its effects on the standings. The baseball season, being as long as it is, allows for long prolonged stretches of games wherein you can make or break your season. Unless you're on a record pace for losses (Astros) you're almost always one hot month away from being back in the race. I don't need to remind you that the Oakland A's were never in first place in the 2012 season until the only day that mattered...the final day of the season.

Not without a little help...

Anyway, my ultimate point here is really to beg the question, do division foes automatically equal rivals? Allow me to use the Dallas Cowboys as an analogy, as I expect most Texas Rangers fans to be Cowboys fans. The Cowboys' current (and traditional) division foes are the Giants, Eagles, and Redskins; division foes AND blood rivals, I might add. Now the NFC East might be a special case, but I'm not so sure the M's, A's, Halos, and definitely not the Astros (as I've described in a prior post) can be considered blood rivals. Have the Rangers EVER had such a rival? Lets examine:

Well, first of all, we're forced to admit that baseball is game of just a few HUGE (and historical) rivalries for the most part. Just a couple of which being...

Yankees/Red Sox of course:

I HAD to. Haha...


So what about our Texas Rangers? They joined the A's, White Sox, Twins, Royals, and the then California Angels in the AL West in 1972 (and finished dead last). The Mariners joined in 1977. Since the Rangers were never really major players in the era before realignment, it's tough to say whether or not we ever had a bonafide rival in the West or even the American League for that matter. Then, came the aforementioned realignment in 1994 (first year of existence for the Ballpark in Arlington by the way).

Beautiful, isn't it?

The Ballpark and the new AL West ushered in an era where, I, myself officially and genuinely began to HATE certain opposing teams. Now, just to clarify, this isn't blanket hate for these organizations and players to the present day. There has definitely been an ebb and flow. Just for fun, then, lets arbitrarily begin with:

The Seattle Mariners:

and Guilty Parties:

I swear this SOB was the biggest Ranger killer ever! Without looking at the numbers...

Joey Cora:

The king of the bloop/cheap hit and he looks like some kind of alien...
Double Worthless

Edgar Martinez:

Damn hitting machine

Even freakin' Jay Buhner:

Man, this entire freakin' team got under my skin!

Sure there are, of course, others through the years: Randy Johnson, Ichiro, King Felix etc...but when the Mariners decided to continually visit the AL West basement on and off again over the last 15 years or so; my hate also subsided.

Then came the magic year: 1996.

The Texas Rangers finally got over the hump and won the AL West setting the stage for what would be the next team that would become a thorn in our sides. The most obvious team in the world to hate: the muthafreakin' New York Yankees. You remember the story by now. 1-9 Postseason record against them in '96, '98, and '99. The Yankees having won the World Series in each of those years! Do you remember the names and faces though? Man, oh man, do I wish I didn't. Rivera, Pettitte, B. Williams, Cone, Gooden, Boggs, Jeter, Clemens, Posada, blah blah blah blah blah blah

this guy too:

Our All-time saves leader no less...

Alright, alright. I've tortured you enough even just with names.

The Yankees are too easy to hate though. I said in 2010 and I'll say it again...we exorcised those demons already...

Told you I'd keep finding excuse to post variations of this moment! Haha...

I'm over it.

So as I write on this day, in the year 2013, I'm gonna have to say the Angels are the only actual team I've ALWAYS hated. From their goofy logos:

to dumbass movies:

to silly mascots:

To their plain refusal/inability to designate the simple damn location of the team. Are you the California Angels? Are you the Anaheim Angels? Oh no wait. NOW, you're the Los Angeles Angels OF Anaheim? Get the fuck outta here...

Let's not forget players over the years I've hated like...

Chili freakin' Davis
Who remembers Vlad's 44 game hit streak against the Rangers? 44!!

I could keep naming these clowns, but it's making me angry. So, you get the idea (haha), and I haven't even mentioned our old friends yet...

So, whilst in their current slump we still have 13 games to play against the Halos. Lest we forget we haven't even played the also slumping Oakland A's this season. We underestimated them all of 2012 and it came back to haunt us. So, while we revel in the Angels' misery, lets make sure we determine what the 2013 A's are made of next week and dispatch of them. The last thing we need, at this point, is a new rival that poses an actual threat...

34 down...

128 to go...

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