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Rangers fans are screwed over by poor bus line

If there’s anything more frustrating than the Rangers’ performance so far this year, it’s been how few games I have actually been able to make so far. The biggest reason: Being unable to afford parking in addition to tickets.

For years I was lucky to live within just a couple miles of the ballpark, meaning I could make the trip on my bicycle with ease. Now, having to stay on the other side of town, I have no choice but to drive – meaning that with parking fees and gas, it simply isn’t affordable anymore. I know I’m not alone in this – especially given how many people here don’t even live in Arlington at all.

The really sad thing is that a new option was given to Arlington that could have opened things up for many more potential fans – if they hadn’t screwed it up so royally.

It was little less than a year ago that Arlington finally crawled out of the dark ages and agreed to a temporary partnership with DART in creating the MAX bus line. I was ecstatic when this came to be in August 2013. Nearly a year into the experiment – it’s almost painful to see how poorly it was set up, how little it actually serves the people and how it ultimately will doom the city’s chances of actually linking to the Metroplex full-time.

The MAX line is technically meant to link UTA with Dallas County and as much of the rest of the Metroplex as possible via the Trinity Railway Express station at CentrePort. In November, a midway stop was added that, on the surface, appeared to serve people coming to Arlington’s entertainment district and Lincoln Square.

What we got was a redesigned route with the addition of the extra stop that is so poorly planned that it just screams of being set up to fail from the beginning.

First, the midway stop is not adjacent to Globe Life Park, AT&T Stadium or any other place in the entertainment district at all. It’s not even in Lincoln Square. It’s next to one small strip mall on Collins Street about a block south of Lincoln Square, providing no easy access to anything that attracts traffic in North Arlington.

What’s worse, the route is now a loop – from CentrePort down Trinity and Collins to the downtown area and then back up to CentrePort via Division and 360 (or vice versa depending on the time of day). The midway stop is only driven by during the bus’ trip from CentrePort to UTA or the other way.

Also, service is Monday-Friday only. Granted, the TRE still does not run on Sunday, but the eventual completion of the Orange light rail line to DFW Airport in December will help alleviate that inconvenience.

It also doesn’t help that there do not appear to be any plans to extend the service in anyway, in a story The Shorthorn did on the MAX line, one big lament among students interviewed is that they cannot use the bus to travel to The shopping district with The Parks Mall or the Highlands.

In other words, there are probably more people on the Rangers’ disabled list than there are people that benefit from the line in its current format. And among those getting gypped are Rangers fans (and yes, possibly even Cowboys fans) that could benefit greatly from the easy access without forking over at least 20 (or 50) dollars in cash.

A better route for the MAX would have been as follows: A single path from CentrePort down 360 to Randol Mill, with the midway stop being near one or more of the stadiums, then Randol Mill and Center to the UTA stop. Then take the trip back to CentrePort with the same path in reverse (substituting Mesquite for Center since it’s one-way). To improve service further, the first stop should be at the airport (directly connecting to where the Orange line’s final stop will be) and then sopping at CentrePort. The line could then eventually be extended to go on past UTA to the shopping district.

Oh, and add Saturday/Sunday service as well.

I really don’t want to think that DART and the cities involved settled on this mess of a route to appease Jerry Jones, Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, who saw the line as a threat to their ability to soak their patrons in parking revenue. (Jerry once led an initiative to try and get Irving to pull out of DART; no info on what Ray & Bob might think.) But my gut tells me that just might be part of the issue, hence why the line had to wait a few months after the original launch while DART figured out what they could run.

How many potential Rangers fans could have been served with a better planned bus line? Sadly, we may never know.

The MAX line is contractually obligated to still run for anther year after August, at which point the city will have to decide whether to join DART full time, which will have to include some form of tax levy.

Chances are good something like that will not pass. Anti-transit pundits will shoot everything down and point out how little people used the MAX – even though a better planned route would have certainly meant more riders. And Arlington will cut off from the rest of the Metroplex again from everyone except the shrinking number of people who can afford personal vehicles.

Meanwhile, anyone in the mid-cities, especially Arlington, will be forced to keep paying skyrocketing gas prices they can’t afford to get anywhere in town. And adding parking fees that keep some of us from attending as many games as we otherwise could.

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Can we try to show a little more class, Rangers fans?

Opening Day, perhaps the entire opening week of baseball, is supposed to convey a sense of optimism and good feelings. The fact that it coincides with the beginning of spring, the sense that everyone is undefeated and has hope…

And the best thing is that even if that opening game results in a loss, this is the one sport where you have the chance to go right beck out there and get another chance the next day.

Which is why the disappointment of Monday’s 14-10 defeat for the Rangers could quickly be wiped away thanks to Adrian Beltre doing what he does best and delivering the first game winning it of this year to give the Rangers their first win of the year. And many a Rangers fan celebrated by…

Taunting Ian Kinsler?

Yes, sadly rather than talk about the players currently wearing the Texas uniform, much of the talk on social media following the Rangers’ 3-2 win was about how the former Ranger’s wish that his old club not win a game all season did not come true. Stay classy, DFW.

It sadly seems like with this run of recent success by the Rangers has come an extreme load of vitriol by the “fan base” to spew hatred toward every player who parts ways with the club and wish the most horrible things on them – Michael Young, Josh Hamilton and now Kinsler and likely Nelson Cruz with him – the general attitude seems to be that if all these players died in a bus crash, “Baseball Town” would throw a big party.

Kinsler is a horrible individual because he was hurt at the way the club got rid of him. Josh is the worst human being alive because he voiced his frustrations that baseball will always be fourth class in North Texas. Michael Young was the worst player in Rangers history… because he was shut up.

Forget about Young getting more hits than anyone in team history, Josh’s legendary performance in the Home Run Derby, Kinsler as an AllStar or Nelly clubbing the Rangers to the pennant twice.

We’re just supposed to, what, pretend like someone else made those moments happen?

Oh, but Kinsler is deserving of being booed and taunted because he always lollygagged on the field and acted like he didn’t care. Which is why they traded him for… a guy who lollygagged on the field and acted like he didn’t care.

And Josh was dead dead wrong that this is not a baseball town… even though the attendance and ratings for Rangers games still can’t reach a third of what the Cowboys draw.

Of course, the unfortunate truth is that this has always been the case. You could probably count on one hand the total number of players who were still cheered after they left the Rangers.

Even Pudge Rodriguez, the greatest to wear the uniform, was universally bashed when the Rangers let him go following the 2002 season, saying how much better the team would be now that they would get a REAL catcher that could work with pitchers. (How well did that work out again?)

Texans like to believe they’re classier than those monsters up north in New York. But in this case, it appears words speak louder than… words spoken earlier.

And if you think we’re so much better than that, well… go find that picture again of how much garbage was piled on the statue outside Globe Life Park’s front entrance.

You know, the one of Shannon and Cooper Stone that was supposedly erected to show how great the fans in this area are?

Stay classy, DFW.

What’s in a Name? Rangers Ballpark Isn’t Sacred

Here we go again.

For the second time in its history, the Texas Rangers have sold out their ballpark’s naming rights, announcing the park will now be known as Globe Life Park in Arlington.

“You can probably guess how my Facebook feed was yesterday once the announcement was made. The most popular comment was the simply put, “I’ll still always call it Rangers Ballpark, dammit!!!”

And I just rolled my eyes, just like I did 10 years ago. Why?

Because I still remember back in 1993 when the previous ownership group headed by George W. Bush and Tom Schieffer first named the place The Ballpark in Arlington. NO ONE liked it. I remember a column in the Star-Telegram – I think it was Gil LeBreton that wrote it – comparing the ballpark to the Roman Coliseum and suggesting that whoever came up with that name should be thrown to the lions.

Then, once Tom Hicks took over and sold the rights to Ameriquest in 2004, suddenly everyone like the old name. they all celebrated when the Rangers had to take down the name three years later due to Ameriquest going under. Now, let the crying begin once more.

Now, I do have criticisms about naming rights on stadiums, but the criticism falls with the companies. I’ve never known why they think giving that much money just to slap their name on a building is a good advertising investment. If they’re willing to pay it, the clubs can go ahead and take it, but the fact that so many of these businesses have shut down afterwards seems to say it’s counterproductive. I’ve always felt that’s why Southwest Airlines didn’t buy the rights to the Dallas arena; they’re not known for making bad financial decisions.

I understood the dislike for the name “The Ballpark,” and to be honest, I was not crazy about the name “Rangers Ballpark” either. Maybe it’s just me, but slapping the team name on the stadium just says “We couldn’t think of anything else.”

Heck, I think “College Park Center” can come off as too generic a name, and I’m hoping UTA comes up with a better name down the line (I have an idea; check back with me in another year).

But so many people, for some reason these names are sacred. For so many sports fans, who hold up record books to a higher standard than The Bible, putting a company’s name on the building where they play is sacrilege. And with it comes the fear that one day, baseball uniforms will become the moving billboards that soccer jerseys and race cars are.

Therein lies the hypocrisy of many sports fans, a number of which appear to be within the Rangers’ brethren. They complain when ticket prices go up. They complain when parking rates go up. They complain when things like stadiums or uniforms have corporate tie-ins.

And yet they still expect the teams to spend spend spend and do whatever it takes to win, because it’s been assumed forever that money automatically equals championship. So what, the club’s owners are morally obligated to just throw away their own money and not expect a payout in return, just to let a bunch of other people live vicariously through their business to feel good about their own lives?

This Rangers ownership is not going to do that. Once again, this shows that Ray Davis and Bob Simpson are determined to not have the club fall into the bankruptcy it was in when they bought it back in 2010.

With a franchise that is always at risk of going back into the red in ticket sales with just one losing season, and a television deal that looks sweet but is almost certainly not guaranteed (with the Astros hating their Comcast deal and on the verge of bringing in Nolan Ryan, I’m more scared than ever FSSW may walk from the Rangers), the Rangers owners have to take every step possible.

So go ahead. Complain to the skies above about how putting a corporate name on the Texas Rangers ballpark is an affront to the baseball gods

Then tell me how those postseason games aren’t as fun anymore with the place sporting that name. They won’t be, right?

Rangers Trade Ian For Prince… WHAT??????

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What happened?

I come back from a long trip to Lexington to see the UTA Mavericks try their hardest but still get soundly beaten by Kentucky, and I expect things to be a bit calmer for at least a while. Ho boy, was I wrong on that.

Just hours after getting home, the news hit hard. Ian Kinsler gone – traded to the Detroit Tigers for… Prince Fielder???

Of course, everyone is dancing in the streets at this, especially shouting, “that worthless piece of sh*t Kinsler is gone!!!” Pretty much everyone in so-called “Ranger Nation” has spewed venomous abuse at Kinsler, acting like he was the absolute worst player ever and that they wouldn’t mind at all if he got hit by a semi several times. I’ve already seen posts about “addition by subtraction,” like he was this horrible person in the clubhouse too even though there is every indication he was the exact opposite.

Well, pardon me if I’m not among those declaring this to be the greatest move in the history of baseball and another shining reason why Jon Daniels is a greater genius than Stephen Hawking who has never made a bad move in his entire life.

When the Rangers failed to sign Fielder back in January of 2012, I breathed a sigh of relief, especially with the contract the Tigers ended up giving him. I didn’t want Texas throwing away that much money on his type of player then, so I do have precedent with this.

If I was more of a Grassy Knoll type of guy (ironic, given what anniversary is upon us), I might say this is yet another move Jon Daniels is making solely to try ad drive Ron Washington out of town. I will say this is a move that makes very little sense in that Prince Fielder is the exact opposite of everything Wash wants in a player and everything the Ranger shave stood for since 2009.

Once upon a time, the Rangers chose to build a team solely around big guys who hit for power and nothing else – no speed and no defense. It did not work, to say the least. Then Ron Washington came on board, and at long last things started changing. You had to be able to field your position well to get on the field. You had to be able to run and make things happen on the basepaths.

Well, that’s all out the window now, as the epitome of “can’t field and can’t run” will be wearing their uniform.

If Fielder is a full-time designated hitter and Mitch Moreland or almost anyone else plays first, this might look better. But within a short time after the trade, Daniels began saying that Fielder is definitely their first baseman. (Um, why is the GM and not the manager saying where someone is going to play months before spring training even opens?)

Remember how everyone complained about bad Michael Young was at first in 2011, how his lack of range killed a team that still was one play (elsewhere) from winning it all? Yeah, sure bet Fielder’s even worse. In fact, he should be legally required to change that name, because “fielder” isn’t anywhere in his game.

Basically, here’s the strategy for anyone playing against the Rangers: Hit a grounder. Especially to the right side.

People are quick to point out how the Tigers still made the World Series in 2012 and ALCS last year with not only Fielder at first but another limited defender in Miguel Cabrera at third. The Tigers could get away with that because their pitchers led the majors in strikeouts. Outside of Yu Darvish, the Rangers’ pitching staff is built around putting the ball in play and trusting their defense. Can’t do that anymore.

I get the logic. The Rangers desperately needed power, and the free agent crop in the department is thin. They had to pull off some type of move like this to improve there. But outside of hitting home runs, there pretty much is nothing else Fielder can do.

Heck, this will likely result in Adrian Beltre having the worst year of his life if he’s going to bat after Fielder. No more doubles for Belt; if he’s batting with Prince on first, he can’t get anything other than a single if he keeps it in the park, – even with a shot into the 407 gap, he’ll still have to stop at first because Prince can’t go past second.

Doesn’t it say something that the Tigers were willing to pull this trade just two years after giving Fielder a nine-year contract? At least A-Rod lasted three with the Rangers.

So basically, by making this trade, the Rangers took on someone with a contract with A-Rod-like implications and the inability to catch anything, and they have now quadrupled the demands for Jurickson Profar, so so far has failed to live up to all those lofty expectations. He now has to become one of the absolute best players in the game, or else.

If Fielder plays the field and Profar is anything less than an All-Star, don’t expect the Rangers to even come close to a tie-breaking game in 2014.

What has happened to me? At one time in my life, I was the pinnacle of seeing the Rangers through rose-colred glasses, to the chagrin of almost everyone I knew. Now, it looks to me like, little by little, this front office is destroying everything they built because the GM wants to treat them like a fantasy team and not an actual team. They’re slowly turning back into the Rangers of the 90s, and that’s not exactly a good thing.

I need to find something to take my mind off of this. Oh look, the Rangers have sent out their ads for next year’s season tickets.

There’s a picture of Kinsler on it. Smooth, Rangers.

Rangers Have Other Options to Sign Besides Just McCann

Two years later, many Mavericks fans are still pining over the loss of Tyson Chandler.

Samuel Dalembert’s 8.5 points and 7.3 rebounds through four games, while at least solid for the Mavs’ system, still probably isn’t quelling those gripes. Not until a Dalembert-led Mavs team is hoisting the same trophy that Chandler’s team did.

So what does this have to do with the Rangers and their off-season plans?

If there is one position in baseball that might be as important as a center in basketball, it just might be catcher. Some would argue about an ace pitcher, but given that you can only throw those out there every five days, few can impact a game more than a backstop that can handle a pitching staff, shut down or at least limit an opponent’s running game and possibly contribute with the bat.

The Rangers are still suffering from a revolving door at catcher ever since they let go of Pudge Rodriguez back in 2002. (That revolving door even involved bringing Pudge back for two months in 2009.) It’s actually impressive that they won consecutive pennants with two different catchers.

Which is why letting go of Mike Napoli was definitely one of Jon Daniels’ bigger mistakes. Seeing Nap celebrate in a Red Sox uniform this year (albeit playing at first base much of the time) didn’t help matters at all.

But hey, it’s all going to work out right? I mean, this is the year when the Rangers are finally going to open the purse strings and shell out all the money in the world to lure Brian McCann away from Atlanta, and then everything will be fine, right.

Hold the phone there.

McCann may be the most coveted free agent by Rangerville since, well, since they thought giving half a billion dollars to Alex Rodriguez was a good idea.

How well did that work out again?

It’s the same old lesson that virtually no one learns every year – signing big free agents to gluttonous contracts is NOT the path to success. After all, just how much of a threat have the Angels been the last two years in the games that count after winning the supposed January war each year? Arte Moreno is running his club into the ground with his reckless ways, and don’t think he’s learned anything. Odds are the Halos will overpay again for either McCann or Robinson Cano (another guy some think the Rangers actually have a shot at).

The Rangers’ best solution, instead, may instead be to inflict turnabout on the Red Sox by poaching their catcher. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, since being dumped by the Rangers in 2010, proved himself to be a serviceable backstop by playing more than 100 games with Boston each of the last three years. There is also the Phillies’ Carlos Ruiz out there, with an All-Star appearance as recently as 2012.

That isn’t to say there might not be some concerns about both. It could be a red flag that Salty had career highs in at-bats, batting average, hits and RBI in his free agent year. And Ruiz, who the Rockies are reportedly pursuing heavily, has rumors of a negative attitude.

But here’s one thing to keep in mind about both those players – nether was tendered a qualifying offer by their teams, meaning the Rangers won’t forfeit draft picks if they sight either one.

Don’t think that’s not important to JD and this organization. The ability to keep stocking that farm system remains every bit as important as the short term, and they don’t want to give up those draft picks easily. Think letting those picks go is no big deal? The number one reason the Angels’ system is so bare is because of all the draft picks they forfeited to give those ginormous albatross contracts to the likes of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

Nothing they get this off-season will solve their problem beyond the short run. Above all else, if the Rangers want to stop this revolving door long-term, they need a catcher to come from within, like they had with Pudge.

So, as Norm Hitzges suggested yesterday, they really need just a 2-3 year window before Jorge Alfaro will hopefully be ready for a big league debut. After seeing catcher be one position the Ranger shave failed to develop for years, it would be a welcome sight.

Last off-season, people were definitely miffed that the Rangers settled for C-list talent in the free agent-trade market, and now more than ever they will be demanding A-list. But the truth is, being smart and grabbing B-list.

People keep telling me to trust in JD’s plan, even now that the “baseball guy” Nolan Ryan is no longer present. Well, then, you have to know that plan hasn’t involved always grabbing the best free agents and overspending. So nobody get their hopes up and decide it’s McCann or bust this off-season.

Daniels Got Rid of Nolan; Now He Has No Excuses

I do find myself wondering just why I have such issues against Jon Daniels lately.

I mean, under Daniels, the Rangers have been operating exactly as I’ve wanted them to for years. They don’t overspend on free agents that end up mailing in their performances, and they actually trust in their prospects, especially pitchers.

So why do I have this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach now that Nolan Ryan has officially left the Rangers as co-owner/CEO (effective Oct. 31) that the good times are now dead and gone and things are going to get worse before they get better?

Is it because of how JD seems to act more and more like he’s operating a real MLB club like a fantasy league team – just plug stats and sabers here and there and bam, success? Is it how he constantly treats players worse than Nolan does the cattle on his ranch, sullying the reputations of the likes of Michael Young while shipping them off for a song so he can look for his next shiny new toy?

Is it that his Billy Beane tactics seem to be turning the Rangers into the Oakland A’s, devolving from a World Series team into one that could just make the playoffs and little else?

Maybe. But it goes deeper than that.

Daniels’ entire reputation as this absolute perfect genius has been built on that one time he committed grand larceny on the Atlanta Braves in 2007, getting Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and more for Mark Teixeria. Lost in that has been getting Josh Hamilton for Edison Volquez later that same year. But since then, what has Daniels himself really done?

For example, many of the moves since that did work were luck more than anything else. You want to say Cliff Lee was a good move even though he had a losing record here? Well, unless JD knew Jesus Montero was injured, that was luck. If Montero had been healthy, Great God Cliff would have been in Yankee pinstripes.

And Adrian Beltre? He was looking forward to returning to SoCal playing with the Angels. It was only because Jerry DiPoto balked at the chance to sign him that Beltre had to settle for the Rangers’ offer. Granted that worked out in so many ways from Beltre playing with a chip on his shoulder to the Angels wrecking themselves in making sure they miss out on no more free agents. But again, more luck than skill.

So the only big move remaining has been Yu Darvish. And so far, while the ace potential has clearly been there, all Darvish has done is split the fan base among those who say he’s an ace and those frustrated with his supposed inability to get the “shutdown inning” and tendency to blow leads. The fact that such a rift exists is enough to say it hasn’t completely worked – yet.

But for me, the move that may define Daniels the most was getting Matt Garza. I still don’t get that move in hindsight. Daniels parted with another first base prospect to get a supposed top level pitcher, but he didn’t actually expect that pitcher to play for the Rangers; he only wanted another bargaining chip to use with Joe Nathan to get Justin Upton. Again, the Rangers had their shot at Upton in January and balked because Daniels still refused to part ways with Jurickson Profar or some other top prospect. But then he expected the team that did get him to give him up six months later while in a playoff race in exchange for two more players set to be free agents?

That’s over-thinking, and it backfired, and the Rangers were left with a pitcher that faded down the stretch.

But despite all that, Daniels has been absolute Teflon to criticisms. If it was under John Hart, Doug Melvin or Tom Grieve that the likes of Adrian Gonzales, Chris Davis and Prince Fielder continued to put up the numbers they have while the Rangers continued to stick with Mitch Moreland, they would be roasted. Yet North Texas continues to stand by their golden boy and agree with him that the solution lies in forcing Ron Washington to move Ian Kinsler to first base or the outfield, which hasn’t happened yet and Wash still seems unwilling to budge on.

Nolan, meanwhile gets all the blame for the signings that didn’t work, like Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman – even though reporter Mike Young says it was only after Nolan stepped away from the negotiating table that Berkman agreed to sign. Therein lies the double standard: Nolan can’t get credit for any of the good moves since about 2011 because Daniels has been the one really making all the decisions and having the final say. Yet Nolan DID have the final say on moves – just the ones that didn’t work?

He gets all the blame and Daniels gets all the credit. What’s more, absolutely no credit goes to the likes of player development Tim Purpura or pitching coach Mike Maddux, both of which were Nolan hires, Or no blame to the revolving door of hitting coaches since the departure of Clint Hurdle – another Nolan hire.

JD can find all the talent he wants. But it ultimately comes down to whether that talent produces. That’s why the intangibles of Nolan doing things like installing a mindset that pitchers don’t need to worry about pitch counts or the Ballpark’s “blast furnace” and jetstream were so important. Where is it on JD’s iPad to replace that?

One comment I frequently heard since the news of Nolan’s departure came out was, “Now the Rangers will finally start spending some money.” Within hours after the announcement, word has been that the Rangers have lost Cuban defector Jose Abreu to the White Sox, because they weren’t comfortable with his six-year, $68 million asking price. And this was after Daniels himself said weeks ago that the team expected to have a smaller payroll.

Not even I will pin that on Daniels completely. Ray Davis and Bob Simpson deserve most of the responsibility for being so tight-fisted, which won’t sit well for a fan base frustrated at a 115 percent increase in ticket prices over the past two years.

If they aren’t going to give 68 million to fill a position they need, what do you think the chances are they’ll be okay with 300 million to add another middle infielder in Robbie Cano?

It’s anyone’s guess which owner is more behind these money-grubbing tactics, but the one responsible for driving out Nolan is pretty clear. According to Randy Galloway, Davis is the one joined at Daniels’ hip and responsible for all this. Simpson had tried and tried to keep Nolan around and still called him “irreplaceable” to the point where the team won’t appoint a new CEO.

With that, the members of “Team JD” won and got rid of the supposed old man which the game had passed by. But they also just lost their scapegoat.

Ultimately, it comes down to winning on the field. And if the Rangers find a way to gat back to the World Series in 2014, all will supposedly be right.

But if they do throw nine figures at a Brian McCann only to see him play worse than Geovany Soto, or if they stand pat for another off season and the likes of Profar and Leonys Martin don’t take the next step toward being the next big pieces of the puzzle, and this gradual slide in the American League continues, Daniels’ fanboys may find themselves less and less able to not blame him.

And Nolan Ryan can chuckle at that from either his Alvin ranch or the Astros front office, whichever he’ll be in at this time next year.

We Have a Lot of Work to Do to Be a Baseball Town

How do you exactly describe what it takes to be a “baseball town?”

After years of finishing in the cellar almost every year in the previous decade, we now can’t even enjoy the fact that there was excitement and a reason to watch come the end of September. That is, to those who were actually watching.

Even if the Rangers season came to a slow, silent end Monday night, the previous Sunday afternoon was everything I could have wanted, being there with friends as the Rangers pulled off what many thought impossible in sweeping a whole seven-game homestand just to make it to that tiebreaker.

But yes, I join in Ian Kinsler’s disappointment that there had to be at least 10 thousand empty seats at the Ballpark for this do-or die game.

Fueled by Josh Hamilton’s claim in April that this is “not a baseball town,” the people in this town seemed to take that as a rallying cry in proving him wrong. The result? Three hundred thousand less in attendance. And TV ratings no better than some of the reality TV garbage on the air now. Way to go.

The Angels, meanwhile, drew nearly the same attendance as the Rangers for a team that finished 18 games out of first place – and had another baseball team in their area that did make the playoffs, to boot.

Let me get this out of the way. One thing I have tried to avoid in my criticism of the support the Rangers get is the behavior of those who actually turn out at the Ballpark. The atmosphere within the Ballpark has indeed improved leaps and bounds from years ago, even though I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “the loudest in baseball.”

And no, I don’t mean to completely wave off the significance of them drawing 3 million in attendance for a second straight year.

But keep in mind, three million in attendance does not mean three million FANS in this area, it means three million tickets sold. And people buy tickets to multiple games. If 10 thousand have full season tickets and another 10 thousand have 27-game mini-plans, that’s a million tickets alone purchased by just 20 thousand people. Really, that three million mark could be accomplished by only six figures of persons.

And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. It’s surely the same in all other cities that drew near the same amount as the Rangers. With ticket prices, travel times and other factors, there are several people in any major area that can’t attend games in person. I get that.

That’s why I consider TV ratings to be such a vital aspect in team support, and that is where we have still failed miserably and where it shows there is still a lot of work to do before this “baseball town” clam can be validated.

The numbers for the final game of the regular season spoke volumes in the lack of volume. The entire season on the line – if they don’t win, you don’t get to see another game until April – and last Sunday’s game could not even draw a 6 in the ratings. The Cowboys game, with their season not even a month into it? Drew four times that amount.

Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket, the station I have been berated to listen to under claims that “they do talk about the Rangers?” Monday was almost exclusively about the Cowboys, and BREAKING BAD. Virtually no talk about the previous day’s game or the tiebreaker that was to be played that night.

Which isn’t surprising, since shows like The Hardline supposedly declared the Rangers dead a month earlier.

That in of itself just reinforces how a football mindset continues to negatively influence the attitude toward baseball here. So many people just can’t grasp the unique concepts of the marathon that is a baseball season. They can’t understand that a six-game losing streak or a three-game deficit do not mean the end of a season, because they are too programmed from a sport where winning almost every game is expected and losing three in a row can in fact kill a season.

That is why people like Kinsler, Hamilton and Cliff Lee continue to take jabs at the Rangers fans for a lack of enthusiasm.

And as this year’s finish may have sadly secured that there won’t be another 3 million attendance mark next year, we may have to endure another off-season of free agents spurning the team to show how much they think a “baseball town” this truly is.