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Enjoy the Pennant Race? Not Allowed in Ranger Nation

It’s September. Which means the sports populace in North Texas is doing one of two things. They’re strutting around town wearing their Cowboys jerseys and waving their middle fingers at everyone wearing a Rangers/Mavericks shirt and saying “Five time Super Bowl champs! You guys haven’t won jack!” (Yeah, the 2011 Mavericks would like a word with you.) Or, they’re taking to the social media sites posting about how they have the absolute worst team in Major League history that somehow is on pace for another 90-win season.

Jeff Cavanaugh of the G-Bag Nation is once again calling for the “Rangers Panic Room,” which translates to “we’re not gonna win! Give up! Shut yourself up in a hole and don’t let people know you’re a Rangers fan because you should be ashamed to be one!”

Yu Darvish has suddenly been compared to Tony Romo as a guy who will never get the job done in the clutch with less than two years in the bigs.

All because it’s September and the Rangers are not 10 games up in first place, allowing the elitist sports fans of DFW to just sit back and say how boring it is waiting for the playoffs to come.

Richie Whitt recently called out Rangers fans for declaring the season was dead, because their team was currently tied with the Oakland A’s for first place in the American League West with 25 games to play. Naturally, his legion of haters struck back, calling him everything from a racist to a jackass to someone who never deserved to be on the radio. What they couldn’t call him, however, was wrong.

Even I, a longtime supporter of Mr. Whitt, will admit he can come off as not the most supportive of the game of baseball.

And yet he just hit the nail right on the head about the so-called baseball fans in this area. What does that say?

Before getting drilled 11-4 Thursday afternoon in Oakland, the Rangers went 31 straight games holding their opponents to five runs or fewer, tying the 2009 Dodgers for the longest such streak since the Rangers’ inaugural year of 1972. Remember when we only dreamed of consistent pitching and defense like that, saying it would never happen in the blistering heat and jet streams of Rangers Ballpark?

And yet while some do point out that the struggles do in fact lie with the fact that Texas has averaged less than three runs per game since pounding Felix Hernandez and the Mariners for 12, the blame somehow shifts to the pitching, with the target squarely on Yu Darvish’s back.

All because the man on pace to strike out 300 this year can’t win 2-0 games all the time. Darvish is 11-2 when the Rangers score at least 4 runs for him in his starts. But because he game up the tying and go-ahead home runs to Minnesota after throwing a no-hitter for six innings, he’s worse than Edwin Correa.

Twenty-nine other teams would love to have Darvish in their rotation. To Rangers fans, they’re still wishing Cliff Lee was still in a Texas uniform. Even though Lee had a losing record with the Rangers, including two losses in the World Series, and has been only average to good at best since leaving.

But in Lee’s case, it was all no run support. In Darvish’s case, lack of run support doesn’t exist. If they don’t score once for him, he’s still supposed to win. And the fact that he doesn’t proves he’s a worthless bum to these people.

Oh, and let’s not forget that Lee gets a free pass because “they wouldn’t have made the World Series without him.” Well they wouldn’t have made the Series in 2011 without Nelson Cruz. Yet 99 percent of the people here go to bed hoping Cruz gets hit by a car because of that missed fly ball – whether he got suspended for PED use or not.

No mention at all of the positives. No mention of the unbelievable job that rookie Martin Perez has done. In his last four starts, Perez has been matched up against King Feilx twice, Chris Sale and Bartolo Colon – and out pitched and beat them all.

Not good enough. All you hear about is what they do wrong, and how that is guaranteed to ensure this club has absolutely no chance in hell of even getting close to the postseason, just like they fail to make it every single other year of their entire existence (Hello? Anyone remember 2010? 2011?) and we should just look forward to another fall saved by the greatness that is the Dallas Cowboys because they are a stone cold lock to win the Super Bowl every single year without fail (except for, you know, every single year since 1996).

To hear the Twitter posts every time the Rangers lose – which, for the six million people in this town who know absolutely nothing about baseball, happens at least a third of the time to every single baseball team out there – you would think the Rangers are a million times worse than the Houston Astros. As in, the Astros team that reached 90 losses before August even came to an end.

Here’s what the Rangers really are: a really good team that is in a dogfight with another really good team in the same division. It’s anyone’s fight. And that’s not good enough for Dallas-Fort Worth, an area who’s fan base does’t believe in anything being fought for or earned, just coasted to easily.

Once again, a metropolitan area that saw its football team win five Super Bowls by no fewer than 10 points will settle for nothing less than domination; win every single game by multiple points/runs/whatever the hell you call it so we don’t actually have to stay for the entire game. The merry-go-round goes round for the people that drove Michael Young, Pudge Rodriguez and countless others out of town form being something less than absolutely perfect.

I know I’ve said this like a broken record. It’s because I keep hearing that record being played by other people.

Enjoying the fact that North Texas has a baseball team that consistently contends now after years of being a laughingstock? Forbidden in this area.

No matter what the Rangers do the rest of the year, there will be whining. They could go 23-0 the rest of the way and see Nellie Cruz come back for the postseason and this year make that catch to win the World Series. But there will still be nothing but complaining from this fan base.

And then they will spend the winter complaining why no one wants to sign here and how another player dared say this is not a “baseball town.”


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