Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We Are Just Happy To Be Here

While surfing around the Rangers web nation, I noticed a trend among the bloggy fans who seem to think that nothing less that a sweep of the Rays is acceptable. My response: Baloney! This isn’t the NHL where they play all season just to eliminate six teams, fortunately baseball is just the opposite: 4 teams, each league that’s it. Getting there is an accomplishment, a big one. Go ahead and ask a Pirates fan (no playoffs since 1992) or a Blue Jays fan (no playoffs since 1993) or a Royals fan (no playoffs since 1985) what they would consider “acceptable” if they were in our shoes. This kind of season for your team, this kind of opportunity doesn’t come along very often. I am one fan who is who will say “Heck yes, I’m just happy to be there”.

While I like reading in depth analysis, I'm don't like writing it. There is so much being written and broadcast about pitching match-up’s, injuries, history and psychology it is almost too much information. I have a few observations, based on, well, based on my “gut feelings” and 30 years of watching Rangers baseball. By the way most of Ron Washington’s “gut feelings” have worked this season – reason enough for me to give it a try:

--- Most, in fact, almost all of the national media outlets are picking the Rays (although it seems our local writers disagree). That’s fine, I think being the underdog is a good thing – less pressure.

--- Speaking of less pressure, while the Rays may actually have a better team than the Yankees (in my never humble opinion) the one they don’t have is that infuriating “mystique” – frankly I think that was a big part of the problem with the 90’s Rangers, it got in their heads and affected their performance (yes, I know they faced three absolutely superb New York teams, but they could have at least given them a little fight) . Although I also wonder what team playing the Yankees in the post season doesn’t run up against that same problem – I can’t think of one.

--- What worries me about the Rangers? Josh Hamilton’s ribs, Vlad Guerrero’s base running, Michael Young’s .258 BA for Sept/Oct of this season, the Rays running game with Bengie Molina behind the plate (remember that game in Boston where the Rangers ran like crazy on Victor Martinez, that is exactly what Tampa is going to do when Bengie is behind the plate) Matt Garza’s sneer, a healthy Evan Longoria.

--- What doesn’t worry about the Rangers: the pitching staff, all of them – I never thought I’d write that about Ranger team – ever. The OF defense and offense: Nelson, Jeff, David, Julio and Josh (as long as his ribs are okay) the ghosts of playoff teams past – these guys weren’t around – and it’s not the Yankees!

I wrote this elsewhere, but I have no problem repeating myself: thanks a lot MLB and TBS for scheduling the first two games at a ridiculous time duruing the day.  I’m sure baseball purists love it, however many of us who have to work for a living don’t. Some of us don’t have the luxury of taking the afternoon off, or calling in sick. TBS and MLB think this match-up only appeals to a limited audience – I buy that. However, you can say that about nearly every other team in the playoffs except for the Yankees, and maybe the Braves. If there is only “regional” interest (hence all the day games) I don’t understand why TBS doesn’t do the same thing Fox does with their Saturday Game of the Week and allow MLB to scheduled 2 games at the same time later in the afternoon and just show them to the viewing audiences that are interested in seeing them. (And for all the whiners who don’t want to see the game shown in their area – there are plenty options: sports bars and online to see the games you want.)

The other problem with this scheduling is short term thinking: MLB is more worried about advertising revenue this year than growing their audience for the future. If MLB wants to draw in a younger crowd, then don’t schedule playoff games at noon while your audience is in school. This isn’t 1960 – the teachers aren’t going allow you to listen “on the transistor” radio or skip school/call in sick – as Rays manager Joe Maddon suggested the other day. A 3:00 game will allow MLB/TBS to gain that younger demographic they crave as well as ensure plenty of time to show their beloved Yankees at night.

Finally: some words of inspiration from our owner (how great is it to type that?):

“One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.” – Nolan Ryan

Rangers win in 5 – Marla Hooch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like curt shillings response to the yankees "mystique" and "aura". Those are dancers in a nightclub, not things we concern ourselves on the ball field. great stuff, go rangers!!