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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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If the Rangers Can Take the Heat, We Can

It’s getting a bit mundane to see the Rangers play against the Astros now. Another series, another sweep.

When Adam Rosales slid home for the winning run on Wednesday, the Rangers upped their record against their new division mates to 14-2 on the year. With six wins against them in the last 12 days, the Rangers can really thank Houston for helping get them a multi-game lead in the American League West once again.

But there should be more to this whipping up on Mosquitoville than just bragging rights in the state. This should be the ultimate example of finally putting to rest that tired argument that this team should be playing indoors.

To this day, there are still those constantly griping about the Rangers playing in the open air of what was originally called The Ballpark in Arlington, forcing fans and players to endure the intense summer heat of the Lone Star State. How dare they build an outdoor stadium back in a time when indoor parks were considered the devil?

Yes, how soon we forget that in the early 90s, it was beyond frowned upon to build an indoor facility, even one with a retractable roof, spurred on by the outright ugliness and uniformity of the likes of Toronto’s SkyDome, Montreal’s Olympic Stadium and especially the stadium the Astros were currently playing in. You want a throwback to what indoor stadiums were once like? Go to Tampa’s Tropicana Field.

The Astros, meanwhile, were supposedly the ones who did it right in 2000. After 35 years of playing in the Astrodome, the Astros moved into Minute Maid Park, a facility that was supposedly done right in every way, with its retractable roof and unique design that would allow the best of both worlds. It was the park the Rangers SHOULD have built.

And what has playing in that modernized, enclosed-when-they-want-to ballpark done for the Astros?

One less trip to the World Series than the Rangers.

And at the moment, a record that’s a whopping 32 games worse than their North Texas counterparts.

Now, naturally there’s a big difference in the talent level between the two teams, made blatantly obvious by the fact that almost the entire Houston roster is barely making over the league minimum.

But the cry for years was that the climate conditions at the Ballpark would always negate the talent level. The heat would wear down the players and they could never have the stamina to perform late in the year. The jetstream into right field made it too much of a hitters park, and thus they would never have good enough pitching to consistently win.

Yet not only are the Rangers once again right there in first place for the fourth straight year, not only are they perhaps playing at their best in the middle of the “dog days,” but – gasp – they still have the 4th best ERA in the American League.

Looks like not worrying about the heat, hitting your spots and keeping the ball down CAN overcome the conditions. It just took people like Nolan Ryan and the Maddux brothers to drill that mindset into the players.

And how about the claims that no one wants to show up at the Ballpark in our insane temperatures? You know, it’s funny how many who get on my case for saying the Cowboys will always keep people away from the Ballpark are among the most vocal at saying the heat will do the same.

Well, looks like we’ve both been wrong. Yes, there was a dropoff in gate receipts over June and July (which corresponds with the team’s dropoff on the field that temporarily knocked them out of first). Yet the Rangers remain second in the American League in attendance behind only the Yankees.

The Astros with their climate-controlled comfort are second-to-last. Apparently air-conditioned garbage is still hard to put butts in the seats.

Our modern day society spoils us, there is no doubt about that. We’re able to go anywhere we want in our motorized vehicles to get our lunch in a matter of minutes with no effort on our part. We want comfort all the time.

But with a team looking to make the postseason once again, maybe we should be thankful for what we have and not worry about how it should be better.

Maybe learning to play in the tough conditions have managed to toughen up this team, giving them the strength to deal with the pressure of a pennant race. (And maybe that’s something a certain football team living next door could learn.)

In the meantime, maybe a few fans and pampered media members should learn to deal with less than perfect, non-artificial conditions. Hey, sweating off a few pounds won’t kill you.

It’s better than looking at the standings and seeing your team more than a month out of first.

NBA Needs to Do a Lot to Get Me Tuned In Again

So, anyone want to give met the scores of the first two NBA Finals games? I seem to have missed watching them…

Yeah, who am I kidding? There’s a reason I didn’t watch them. And I could care less about who won which game.

What I see is a team of show-offs and punks (that shot of Lebron and Dewayne mocking Dirk’s illness still stuck in my head) against a team that became the poster child for insomnia-curing play. And I will never deny my own Dallas Mavericks bleed-blue bias in generating that opinion.

For Mavericks fans, this Finals series is Alien vs. Predator. Whoever wins, we lose.

But it actually goes a bit deeper than just who’s playing this particular year. This is actually the 11th time in the last 13 years I won’t have tuned in to the NBA Finals. Since 2001, if the Mavs weren’t in it, I haven’t watched.

Is it just the disappointment that my team didn’t make it? No, it can’t be that. Because no matter what happens to the Rangers, I’m glued to the World Series every year.

And this is the kicker: All this hype and “you must watch” attitude has indeed driven me to watch: The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. Five years ago, I might have rolled my eyes at anyone saying I’d be watching hockey.

But that’s what it’s come to, and it ultimately relies on this major factor: The NBA has just become bad to me.

Bad play on the floor, bad attitudes off it and one of the most boring, pointless regular seasons out there have just made me apathetic at best. Only the knowledge that the Dallas Mavericks were one of the few good eggs in my biased eyes, led by all-around nice guy Dirk Nowitzki and run by passion magnet Mark Cuban, kept me interested. But the horror of dealing with Lamar Khardashian last year and seeing Dirk hobbled by injuries this past year made even that tough to watch.

Will I continue to follow the Mavs when Dirk finally hangs up the sneakers and retires to live like a god in Germany? I honestly don’t know.

The NBA has a lot of problems right now. And I’ll tackle them in the next few posts to give my own outlandish take on what needs to be done.