23 Oct 2010
When I was 18, my parents announced that we would be moving to Dallas, Texas. I went away to college and jobs from there, but for 15 years or so, “going home” meant going to Dallas. During that time in Texas, I developed an appreciation of the Texas Rangers. This was a time before widespread internet use and DirecTV packages that gave you baseball games from all over the country. Basically, I had one option if I wanted baseball on a summer night when I was home and that was the Rangers. I was incredibly lucky on this front for two reasons. First, the Rangers had Nolan Ryan and he was a lot of fun to watch. I tried to make as many of his starts as I could each summer and I still remember that unique “pop” I heard when the ball hit the catcher’s glove. Second, being in Texas placed me at the Ballpark in Arlington on the night of July 28th, 1994, when Kenny Rogers pitched a perfect game. Seeing one in person is sort of the equivalent of winning the baseball lottery.
I have been trying to draw on that “appreciation” of the Rangers for the last two hours to give me comfort. While I am happy for the various Texans I know who are happy right now, I am really disgusted by the Yankees’ performance in this series. Phil Hughes was atrocious in his two starts. A-Rod was invisible in the entire playoffs. When you think about it, what Yankees other than Cano and Granderson played well? Most of the team came up small and I don’t know if that should be attributed to the Rangers excellence or the Yankees mediocrity.
What seems clear in retrospect is that this team peaked too early. On September 4th they were 36 games over .500. They finished the year 9-17. They rebounded from that to sweep the Twins, but they didn’t execute the same way in the ALCS. Now they are headed home and they have a lot of questions facing them. Once again, they must get younger and once again that will be a challenge. Have we seen the last of some iconic Yankees in pinstripes? Stay tuned to what should be the most interesting offseason we have had in these parts in years.