I’m always thinking about how negative I am on the Rangers these days, and what I can do to get out of it. The obvious answer is for the Rangers to win, but that’s not something I can control (they can’t either). The less obvious answer is to try to be more positive. But if you’re a believer in nurture over nature, then you’ll realize how hard it is. Whether they want to or not, everything coming from the media is entirely negative about the Rangers. Most everyone picks them either last or third (depending on how bad the A’s will be), and even when the spin is a positive story, it somehow winds up being negative.
Take TR Sullivan on mlb.com today, for example. The story is not “hey, great second half last year, maybe they can keep it going in 2008”. Instead it’s “hey, they sucked beginning last year, will they do it again?”. Now, that’s fair enough, because the biggest question I continue to have about the Rangers is preparation. They were woefully underprepared to begin last year, not only as part of the season but in every single game, as their starters choked over and over. It was Ron Washington’s first year in charge, so you might give him a mulligan, but then you remember that he’d been a coach in a winning team for a decade, and should have learned something there. And that Mark Connor has a long track record (albeit a bad one). And that the coaching staff has hardly changed, and the roster has hardly changed (and most of those changes are not for the better).
But you could watch Newy Scruggs diss the Rangers every night on NBC5, or the writers in the papers putting their polite spin on a losing team, and you could realize it could be worse. We could be Kansas City fans, or Devil Ray fans. Every year their media tries to spin things positively and really, they know the fans don’t believe them but they have to say it just so they can sell papers. I don’t have to sell papers, I don’t have to sell anything, so I can be as positive or negative as I want. You all can skip over the parts you don’t want to read, and some of you will take the good bits out and some will take the bad bits out. It’s like reading Jamey Newberg for the last few weeks, all the stuff about his kid getting to do things with major leaguers, and knowing my kid won’t get that chance. My kid who, by the way, asked me tonight if he would be allowed to hug Michael Young (his favorite player) and Josh Hamilton (he has no clue who Hamilton is, but he’s happy because they share a first name). I had to tell him yes, of course, and put off until another day the tears when he doesn’t get to meet them.
Still, it’s Opening Day, and you’ve got to be happy about that, right? After all, it’s the first meaningful game the Rangers have played since… last Opening Day. Today, we’ll ignore the fears of coming home with an 0-6 record against division opponents, and think back to 2005, when we started on the road against the same two teams (in opposite order) and went 3-3. I think most people around here would be happy if we split this road trip. Disbelieving, but happy.
I can’t find the link, but Jim Reeves in the Star Telegram last week reported on a Boston Globe ranking of managers, having interviewed hundreds of players, coaches, scouts etc. Ron Washington ranked 28th out of 30 managers. The two below him weren’t rated because they’ve never managed in the majors before. Do you think he can improve?
Since everyone thinks it’s all about health this year (they lost because they weren’t healthy last year, they’ll win if they stay healthy this year) and not about talent, let’s hope we don’t get more injuries. Although with McCarthy going to the 60 day DL today (a surprising move, since he should have been healthy in a few weeks), we’ve already lost our best pitcher from last year. Don’t forget to keep an eye on those guys we gave away (Danks, Vazquez), but an even closer eye on the guys coming up, the ones who might get us winning in 2010.
Okay, enjoy. First pitch at 5.40 Dallas time, which is a really sucky time to start a game. I’m going to have to skip out of work early to see it. I guess it could be worse, it could be a 1.05 game, which I’d miss completely.