Thus far on this blog, I have refrained from any significant commentary regarding professional sports. This state of affairs is mainly because I am not a big sports fan. I don’t read Sports Illustrated or the sports page of the local paper. I don’t obsess over the box scores or team stats. I DO NOT have a FANTASY football team. That’s not to say I don’t like sports. It’s just that I would much prefer to participate in a sport than watch a sport. I will watch a game or two when the mood strikes, I happen to have free time on my hands and there is nothing better to do. I’ve even been known to go watch games in person from time to time (usually when someone else is paying for the tickets and parking pass).
While I respect the dedication, practice and skill necessary to play any sport on a professional level, I do find the amount of money, adoration and even obsession some people heap on professional athletes to be ridiculous at times. To me, it’s a sad commentary on our society that our entertainers are more highly valued and compensated than some other, much more important, occupations.
Having said all that, I feel that I must comment on the recently concluded Major League Baseball World Series.
For those of you who were not aware, the Texas Rangers lost their first ever World Series last night to the San Francisco Giants who won their first ever World Series much to the apparent disappointment of every mainstream sportscaster and writer in America who were practically in mourning over missing out on a Phillies and Yankees World Series (okay…so, I read an issue of SI while at a mediation a couple of weeks ago…there was nothing else to do).
Seeing as how I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and was raised to at least root for the home team, you might expect me to be disappointed that the Rangers lost the Series in five games. No. Not really.
You see, for those of you who DO follow sports more diligently than I, you already know that the fact that the Rangers even made it to the playoffs is an accomplishment in and of itself. The fact that there were no riots when the Rangers won the ALDS and then destroyed the Yankees in the ALCS is a miracle all by its lonesome.
For the uninitiated, please allow me, the un-sports fan, to educate you as to the perennial fiasco that was the Texas Rangers. For as long as I can remember, the Rangers have been an average team with no chance of making it to the playoffs much less the World Series. Historically, the Rangers start off the season looking really good only to magically turn in to the Bad News Bears sometime around the All Star break. You could almost set your watch by it.
I blame the team ownership. Almost everyone on the planet understands that the secret to a winning team is good pitching. The Rangers’ ownership never really understood that lesson until recently. Yes, they’ve had some good pitchers over the years…most notably Saint Nolan and his vicious right upper cut (is your head still ringing Robin Ventura?). I meant to say fastball. Unfortunately, the Rangers have never been able to put together a strong pitching rotation.
Saint Nolan is now, as president and managing partner, part of the ownership group that bought the Rangers from Tom Hicks who let the club go into bankruptcy. The same Tom Hicks who thought it was a good idea to sign one player, Alex Rodriguez, to a 10 year $250 million deal. The new Rangers have built a pitching staff that have proven through the ALDS and ALCS that they can get the job done. The new Rangers have also hired Mike Maddux (brother to Atlanta Braves pitching great Greg Maddux) as their pitching coach.
So, for the first time in the history of the franchise, Rangers’ fans have reason to actually look forward to next year instead of just hoping that next year sucks less than last year.
To the folks in San Francisco, enjoy your riots.