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Maybe It’s Good to Not Take Losing as a Big Deal

I’m still taking the prospect of Prince Fielder as the Rangers’ first baseman with a grain of salt.

I am still very concerned how much such a presence in the lineup will hinder the club’s running game and defense, and only seeing results on the field will assuage me of these fears.

But for what it’s worth, there has already been one aspect about Cecil’s boy that can cause me to smile, and amazingly, it’s something that might rub others the wrong way.

One of the things that apparently caused Prince to wear out his welcome in the Motor City was what many perceived to be a lackadaisical attitude, particularly how he handled not just the Tigers’ inability to get the job done but his own postseason struggles. In 40 postseason at-bats this past year, Fielder failed to drive in one run. Then, once the Tigers were finished and Boston moved on to the World Series, his last words were, ““It’s not really tough for me, man. For me, it’s over, bro.”

This could be something that may ring familiar to some in North Texas.

One thing that supposedly started the questions about Tony Romo and his commitment was how he took the Cows getting booted in their one playoff game, at home, in his second year as their quarterback. He also more or less said he didn’t look at it as the end of the world.

This did not sit well with quite a few people who do take the success of the Cows as the be-all-end-all of their lives. How can Romo be so cavalier about a loss that was so devastating to those whose tickets pay his salary?

Maybe because people like Romo and Fielder have a bit more perspective than we do – BECAUSE they are the ones out on that field.

Too often we live vicariously through our sports teams, linking their on-field success with our own personal worth and success of our own lives. This can be especially true if our own lives are not at a point that we are that happy with.

I should know all too well. In 2011, I lost my biggest writing job. I still have not found anything close to what I was making with it since. Just about every day, I look at my own personal struggles and wonder what I did wrong.

So yes, the Rangers coming so close and having it taken away that year stung exceptionally hard. But dwelling on it isn’t going to change it, and Nellie making that catch ultimately wasn’t going to make tons of people come asking me to do work for them.

I had to move on from that season, but Nellie and the Rangers had to even more. So does every athlete that fails in the end.

Because they can’t let such a loss fester in their minds, as they have to get back up and go again next year.

Otherwise, you get people like Donnie Moore, who never got over blowing a save that cost the Angels the pennant in 1986 (largely because the fans never let him forget it) and finally took his own life three years later.

For me, it shows he has perspective.

Fielder had other issues going on in 2013, mostly wondering what would happen with his family as he struggled through a divorce. This can be a stressing issue for even a millionaire baseball player, and while being on the field can distract from that, it can’t completely eliminate its importance.

So yes, there can always be issues that are bigger for athletes than their immediate success on the field, just like there will be issues for all of us bigger than success at our jobs.

Fielder is reportedly ready to begin fresh with the Rangers. His words tell me that he might be thankful for other things in his life besides whether or not his career ends with a ring. And on the weekend when we all gave thanks, perhaps that is food for thought.

Lets all try to remember that just because an athlete doesn’t take every loss like the worst disaster in the world, it doesn’t mean he’s not committed. In fact, that could be something we could learn from.

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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.”

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.