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Cowboys Should Raze the Roof Instead of Rangers Raising It

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I get a lot of criticism for claiming the Rangers aren’t appreciated in North Texas despite their recent success. And yes, if you base it on the attendance figures of the last two to three years, that criticism of my words is valid.

Like I said earlier, my beef primarily lies in television ratings and the like, but I will not deny the bottom line of winning has made a positive impact on their gate receipts.

Amazing, however that drawing that many in the last few years has done nothing to quell one of the biggest complaints about the team.

How can we praise our attendance figures and then claim that our Ballpark is hurting our chance at great attendance figures – to say nothing of the performance on the field?

I’m talking, of course, about the claim of how no one wants to go to the Ballpark because they can’t take the heat.

Despite all the good times the last few years in Arlington – and yes, these times ARE good – the complaints remain about the Rangers playing in an open-air outdoor ballpark in an area where in the summer double digit temperatures mean a cool front. There continue to be calls – mostly from the media, I will admit – for this franchise to start putting that Ray Davis and Bob Simpson money into building a roof over the Ballpark so the fans – and maybe the players – no longer have to suffer under Mother Nature’s wrath.

Does everyone really not see how ludicrous this sounds when you really think about it? Are we actually complaining that the Rangers, who play a game designed to be played on grass and dirt, actually have it be played OUTOORS??

Well, that’s because the Rangers can’t win constantly playing in the heat. It always wears them down and they are guaranteed to falter in the late months every single year. Unless you give them the comfort of playing indoors, they have no chance of going deep in October and reaching the World Series.

Except they did. Twice.

And that little bit about them not being able to pitch in the heat? The team ERA in each of the last four years: 3.93 (4th), 3.79 (5th), 3.99 (7th) and 3.62 (4th). Four straight years with a pitching staff in the top half of the American League – three of them in the top third.

Meanwhile, those same people who complain about Rangers Ballpark continue to gush and wax poetic on the Boss Hogg Bowl next door (I think it got a new name, sounds like some phone company, ah who cares) and how its enclosed roof and climate control are perfect for how all sports should be played in the 21st century.

(Yeah, can we stop calling it a retractable roof stadium yet? I’m more likely to get a date before the next time Jerry opens that roof, and I’ve already confined myself to dying alone.)

In other words, just another example of how the Cows do everything right and the Rangers CAN’T do anything right.

One problem, though. While the Rangers, with that horrible outdoor ballpark, have become one of the best teams in baseball on the field and at the gate, the Cows… well, the Cows suck, there’s no way around that.

Oh, the Cows still sell out games despite being one of the most unsuccessful teams for the past 17 years, and that has stuck in my craw for a long time. But now that I’ve thought of it more, why should it? The place may be selling out, but it’s not selling out with Cow fans.

Ask anyone who was at last Sunday’s game and they will likely mope about how many Bronco fans infested the home of “America’s Team” – just like the Bears and Steelers did last year. This actually makes a lot of sense. With five-figure seat licenses and 70 dollar parking, Jerry has made it impossible for most Cow fans to regularly come to his disguised country club. So while his teams fans are stuck watching on the screens at Hooters, visiting team fans will gladly use their saved vacation money to mark one more stadium off their tour list and see the pompous Cowboys get beat by their team.

Instead of trying to go on about why the Rangers need a roof, how about answering the question of why the COWBOYS need one?

Why does a team that plays in a region where the temperature rarely drops below 70 degrees before December and rarely below 50 before the new year have to play in enclosed climate control?

If anything, playing indoors could very well be a factor to the Cows’ failures – all that pampered comfort only produces a soft team that can’t handle the harsh elements in New York or Philadelphia come December.

Oh, sure, that theory has to be preposterous. Except that sonce the Cows last saw aSuper Bowl, 14 of the last 17 Super Bowl champions played home games outdoors. And 13 of them were in cold weather cities.

Heck, try telling a Packers fan in Green Bay that Lambeau Field needs a roof on it. They might give you a five minute head start to get out of town before the pitchfork crowd comes chasing (People in Wisconsin are nice like that).

So let’s recap: Since 2009 when JerryWorld opened, the Cows, with their luxurious, comfortable, climate controlled atmosphere, have a winning percentage 0f 50 percent, have won one playoff game and are only selling out because they don’t pull a San Antonio Spurs and deny ticket sales to anyone north of the Red River. The Rangers, meanwhile, playing outdoors in the unbearable “blast furnace” of the Texas summer heat, have four straight 90-win seasons with two trips to the World Series and have not only somehow become one of the top draws in baseball but have crowds that are actually supporting the home team.

Maybe instead Jerry should take a wrecking ball to his roof so his players – and fans in the stands – can get tougher.

But hey, maybe I’m comparing apples and oranges here in using Rangers vs. Cowboys in the indoors vs. outdoors debate. Maybe I should find an actual baseball team that plays in doors to compare the Rangers to… like the Houston Astros…

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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.

Rangers are In No-Win Situation at the Box Office

I don’t think it’s an unfair claim to say that attendance figures will plummet for next year for the Rangers if they fail to make the postseason, given their track record of having among the worst bandwagon fans in all of sports. But unfortunately, there may be other reasons there will likely be fewer at the Ballpark in 2014.

Last night, Derek Holland, Alex Rios and the Rangers kept hope alive for one more day, as Rios hit for the cycle in a 12-0 win over the Astros. But as the players on the field are trying to ward off the sad disaster the season has become, their ticket representatives may be looking at another disaster.

For it was just a few weeks ago that the front offices sent season ticket holders information on next season in addition to this year’s playoff tickets (To think the latter was once a given). This has apparently included a substantial price increase over the next year. According to at least one of my fellow die-hards, ticket prices for the Rangers will undergo a 115 percent increase in two years. As a result, I know of a couple of people already declaring they won’t renew their full plans, opting for mini-plans at best.

To be fair, you cant accuse the Rangers of not reaching out. One of said angry ticket holders got himself a meeting with a front office representative to air out his grievances, which include how the team has neglected to make seat repairs and other small improvements in the Ballpark’s upper levels. I have yet to hear how this meeting went.

As someone who has had to drop and renew season tickets frequently over the years due to various issues, I can understand the plight of those who are finding their wallets pinched by skyrocketing prices. Bit I’m also not naive to reality and don’t understand why this is happening.

It’s clear the Rangers’ ownership is dead set on one thing: This team is going to be profitable and will not see the financial disaster it endured just three years ago. Ray Davis and Bob Simpson will not let this become a franchise relegated to league control and put up for public auction again.

I remember a time when tickets were a bit more affordable. I remember when among the things i was handed at the gate regularly were vouchers for ticket discounts. Sounds like a great thing, right?

Well, that was during the Tom Hicks era. Remember what the play on the field was like back then?

Thus is the list of eternal demands a legitimate contending team must suffer from its fan base every year: Spend more than any franchise out there, don’t let any player get away in free agency and bring in every player that is a free agent from other teams as well. Do absolutely everything it takes to guarantee a championship. Oh, and keep ticket prices affordable while you’re at it.

In other words, the fans pretty much demand that their teams <em>intentionally</em> lose money each year to get them (the fans) a winning team for them to trumpet.

Other teams have had to search for other ways to bring in needed revenue. The St. Louis Cardinals just had to let a college football game take place in Busch Stadium the past weekend due to the fact that the resources in St. Louis are limited despite their recent success and most loyal fan base in the world. As a result, their field is going to be in no good condition for the playoffs thanks to the football players tearing it up.

If these fans are going to expect the Rangers to spend through the nose to not lose in the offseason again (and they’ll have to grossly overspend to get any player to want to come to Football Town), they actually have to find a way to make that money somewhere.

Yes, they’re only another year or so before that gigantic TV deal from Fox Sports Southwest kicks in. I still say it’s not a guarantee that deal’s set in stone, and I wouldn’t be surprised if FSSW uses an out clause in the deal if the Rangers are not WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS by the time it’s supposed to kick in.

So there is only one proven option for generating revenue, and it looks like no matter what they do, they rangers are going to see ticket sales drop, be it from the team not absolutely dominating on the field or gripes about costlier tickets.

You’ve got a choice, season ticket holders: Endure rising prices, or go back to a team with no chance of contention. Whichever you think is more endurable.

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.”

For Many Rangers Fans, The Seaon Might as Well Be Over

The more things change, the more new Rangers players take part in the All-Star Game, the more they stay the same.
The Rangers prepare for the second half sitting just two back of the Oakland A’s at 54-41. But to hear the cries of the “fandom,” that record might as well be reversed with them being 22 games back.
Hit the panic button! Rangers aren’t in first! Season’s over! When does Cowboys training camp start?
Forget the fact that the Rangers have the second-best ERA in the American League despite having to run multiple rookies into starts due to injuries. With Rangers fans, it’s always about how bad Justin Grimm has been instead of how great Yu Darvish is.
Heck, I’m surprised the cries of “Yu Darvish isn’t a true ace after all,” haven’t started all ready. After Darvish inexplicably went more than a month without a win, talk hosts, writers and pundits scrambled for a reason and latched onto the fact that Yu had been throwing more breaking balls recently instead of trusting in his fastball. Yu’s response was to basically say he doesn’t listen to what the media tells him to do.
I knew there was a reason to like that guy.
Thus, despite having broken through and made the World Series in consecutive years, nothing has changed among the observers in Arlington. This, to just about everyone, is a team doomed to failure and thus nothing more than a novelty meant to keep us briefly entertained and distracted until the REAL athletes show up in Oxnard. (I’m still trying to figure out exactly who on the radio said that.)
And of course, if the inevitable collapse of their pitching staff doesn’t get them, the inevitable implosion of their lineup from Nelson Cruz’s certain drug suspension will.
Never mind that, as I pointed out earlier, these suspensions are not definite – especially since no player will immediately miss games upon filing a grievance. In fact, the players union is now suggesting that, given the time the MLB office has taken and the time a grievance hearing would then take. it likely won’t be until next year that any penalties would actually come, even IF MLB wins its case.
If there’s one thing I’ll admit I’ve liked since giving 1310 The Ticket one more chance, it has been Norm Hitzges, the calming presence of the media. Constantly bringing up the ungodly amount of injuries and how this team has still managed to weather the storm for the most part, Norm has steadfastly begged Ranger Nation to do one thing: Enjoy the ride of a team that has been constantly in the picture since 2009, which seemed impossible at one point.
Sadly, that won’t cut it with the sports market that’s only happy when it’s dominating.
I doubt even the wisdom of Norm will be enough to calm the whining masses. While they point to the fact that the Cows were just a few inches away from making the playoffs multiple times last year and thus are certain to break through this year, the near misses the Ranger shave are proof positive to them that they have no chance of coming out on top.
That’s the most frustrating thing about this whole situation. There is truly nothing this team can do to make people satisfied. Heck, even if they were 12 games up at this time, the social media would be loaded with the likes of “Does the collapse begin now?”
It’s the same old story. If they aren’t dominating, their support shrivels up.
The Rangers’ drop in the standings from where they were in May has already caused those top-ranked attendance figures North Texas was trumpeting to plummet. If they’re even a single game out by the time training camp rolls along, the turnstile count could get even worse.
Until, hopefully, they get everyone healthy, steamroll their way through September and lo and behld, find their way in the postseason for a fourth straight year.
And then everyone will say they knew it all along.

Rangers Apparently Still Aren’t Good Enough for This Town

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A record start. The most wins in the American League. The signs that this team finally has a true ace pitcher.

All should seem well in Ranger Nation, right?

Not to hear the so-called fans say so.

We’re a third of the way into the season, and already the doom and gloom sayers are making the the preparations for the supposed collapse of the team that to them is preordained. Because these are the Texas Rangers. They HAVE to fail in the end. They MUST fail in the end. Success is not an option, because if they were to actually come out on top, what would we do?

We don’t know how to think positive about this team! It’s IMPOSSIBLE!! We’re supposed to do nothing but complain, complain, complain!!

Yes, this is the image I begin coming to when I hear all the griping and grousing on my Facebook and Twitter posts about how what was a seven-game lead in the American League West isn’t quite so large any more.

But is it correct for me to believe that? Maybe not. At least, upon further review, perhaps it’s not exclusive to their opinions of the RANGERS.

Come to think of it, Dallas sports fans do a LOT of griping about every single team. Rangers, Mavericks, Cowboys – every single loss by every single team is met with cries that the sky is falling. Why?

And this is the conclusion I have come to.

DFW doesn’t want winning. They don’t want championships.

They want DOMINATION.

They want their teams to win every single game by absolute blowout every single time. Nothing close, nothing tense, nothing where they don’t definitely know by halftime or the fourth inning that the game is in the bag.

I still remember a listener poll taken from one of the radio stations here a few years back (don’t ask me what station it was; I truly don’t remember), and the majority hands down voted that they preferred blowout wins to close ones.

Got to have a good reason to head for the car by the seventh inning/fourth quarter, right?

The way the Mavs won the championship in 2011, coming back from down 2 games to 1 and pulling it off despite trailing in the fourth quarter of each of the first five games? Still not good enough. They want results like the Cowboys steamrolling over the Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl 27. All the better to brag to everyone when they can put up that big honking score, right?

So yeah, the Rangers leading the AL West with an AL-best 35-21? Still not good enough, because Oakland’s recent surge has brought them to within less than two games. It was supposed to be 12 games by now, so we could just lay back, talk trash and throw our “Don’t Mess With Texas” arrogance.

But now, the Rangers might have to actually… EARN their trip to the postseason? That’s it, it’s over. They’ll be in second place once the Red Sox deliver the sweep here in Fenway that’s guaranteed. If it doesn’t come easy, it doesn’t come.

I guess such is the attitude that comes when you win five Super Bowls and only one was by less than two touchdowns.

Sad that the people of this area can’t enjoy the ride instead of worrying and assuming it’s gonna end in a crash.

DFW sports fans in shock over upset in the Broadcasters Bracket

Is this the biggest upset since Virginia Commonwealth went to the Final Four?
Okay, that might be a stretch.
Still, many in the DFW sports world are in shock and elation or anger upon discovering the first major upset in the Dallas Morning News SportsDayDFW Broadcasters Bracket, as 105.3 The Fan host Gavin Dawson beat KDFW Fox 4 sports anchor Mike Doocy.
Doocy has anchored the sports portion of Channel 4’s evening news for several years, and his TV presence was sure to have given him an advantage. But Dawson’s “G Bag Nation” has become the highest rated evening radio show in the market, spawning a passionate, dedicated group of listeners called the G Bag Soldiers.
Those viewers turned out in full force during Wednesday’s voting. That morning, Doocy started with an 80-20 lead. By the end of the night, Dawson had pulled away with 58 percent of the vote.
The result has invoked passion, particularly from the listeners of The Fan’s rival station, SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket.
“I’m shocked that anyone from the wipe or D Bag Nation would win squat in here,” Shawn Schultz commented on the Broadcasters Bracket page. “and one of them beatin Doocy? That’s a crime in itself.”
“I’m also shocked that some DBag I’ve never heard of who is so spare he hosts a nighttime shift on the worst sports station in America beat the great Doocy,” wrote another commenter identified as KayurPatel.
The Soldiers, however, were just as passionate.
“Fan Fans and the GBag Nation Army united to put the popular local broadcaster and #1 night show host intheMetroplex into the 2nd round,” stated Ryan Magby.
“Gavin going the distance. None of this survive and advance crap.” said Jordan Sellers.
Not that Dawson’s battle will be any easier. His second round matchup is against longtime Dallas Cowboys play by play announcer Brad Sham.
In the meantime, the soldiers appear to be planning to support fellow 105.3 host Shan Sharrif against WFAA Channel 8 sports anchor Dale Hanson. Hanson and Dawson had their own battle last year over Hanson’s repeated criticism over Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and suggesting The Fan refused to criticize him because they were the Cowboys flagship station.