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Rivalry Week: The Texas Rangers

Let’s Poke Some Fun at the Rangers

MLB: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If you went to school in Texas, you most likely did a Pledge of Allegiance to the Texas flag. One state, under God, one and indivisible. Texans are known for many things, some are fair and some, not so much. When it comes to baseball, the state is split in half, depending on where you grew up and your preference in teams.

In 1972, the Washington DC Senators moved to Arlington to become the Texas Rangers. Because ‘Texas’ is in the name, people think that if you live in Texas, you must be a Rangers fan. But sorry, the Astros started playing major league ball seven years earlier in 1962 as the Colt 45’s. They became the Astros in 1965 and played in the 8th wonder of the world, the Astrodome. Why a dome? Because it gets hot in Texas.

The Rangers (Mall Cops down Houston way) played in the Arlington Stadium between 1972 and 1993, so they knew it was hot in North Texas or southern Oklahoma. When it came up building a new stadium, they didn’t think of adding a roof when they built Globe Life Park. I have been there twice. Yes, it was hot, but I liked how the concourse was open to the real world. According to Mike Acosta, on last night’s Locked On Astros podcast, they could have added a roof on Globe Life Park, but it would have cost as much as just building a brand new stadium.

That’s how we got Home Depot Field; I mean Globe Life Field. Per Acosta, they dug 60 feet below ground level to build the ballpark. If they kept most of the building underground, it could save some money with their AC bill. The initial drawings bore a lot of resemblance to Houston’s Minute Maid Park, and while the final product has similarities, there are some differences. We don’t want to cook our players in a grill, as some of the recent memes of Globe Life Field depicted.

(Plus, Minute Maid Park is so much better, homer talk here)

A Texas rivalry?

Looking back at the rivalry between the Astros and Rangers, it used to mean very little to most fans. Yes, there was a natural ‘state’ rivalry, but it was more of an inter-league matchup that you could watch in person with a few hours drive. The Rangers were good (for once) when the Astros came over to the American League, averaging about 90 wins a season from 2010-2016. In the Astros first season in the American League in 2013, the West beat up the Astros 51-111.

The Astros were in the middle of a rebuilding project that Jeff Luhnow dubbed ‘the process.’ It appeared the Astros were going to be the whipping boy of the West again, but for the first time, things started to trend up in 2015. The Astros became the team on the rise. But in 2016, current trash can jokes aside, the Rangers still continued to treat the Astros like trash, going 15-4 against them, causing them to miss the 2016 playoffs.

But despite the Rangers reaching the playoff eight times, they have yet to win a World Series. But, at least they tried. They made it to back to back appearances in the World Series between 2010-2011, to the Giants and Cardinals respectively. Then the Astros came to the neighborhood, and the rivalry took a different tone. Don’t expect Rougned Odor to come to any Astros holiday parties ever.

Looking at some of the Rangers history.

We have seen some crotch-grabbing over the years, self and otherwise, the Rangers have had some awkward reputations and history.

Granted, the Astros have “bang...bang.” But, Odor’s younger brother was part of a group of Rangers prospects who gave another player an inappropriate hand. David Stewart, a Rangers pitcher in 1985, was arrested for soliciting prostitutes. Oh, they once traded Sammy Sosa as well. (Not that the White Sox made great use of him. The Cubs thank them both!)

You can’t forget about that time that a ball bounced off Jose Canseco’s head for a homer.

Speaking of which, did you hear he wants to run for President. We can blame that on getting hit in the head as a Ranger, and we’ll go with that. That same year, he came in to pitch in a blowout and threw out his arm pitching.

One prop I can give the Rangers is them bringing Nolan Ryan into the organization, and it really solidified the rotation that went to the playoffs zero times in his stint. The Rangers didn’t make the playoffs until the 1996 season. Wait, what? Let’s do the math here, 1996 minus 1961 is 35 years of futility. Of course, that was when they were the Washington Senators as well. Oh, one more point about Nolan Ryan, he did get to punch that Robin Ventura fellow too. No one charged the mound on him anymore.

The Rangers may hold the honor for the biggest choke in the history of baseball. 2011, up 3-2 in the World Series facing the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cards were down 7-5 with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth. But a two run double tied the game.

The Rangers went up a run in the tenth, and once again the Cardinals were down to their final strike. But an RBI single tied the score again, and in the 11th inning the Cards got a walk-off homer by David freeze to tie the Series. Of course they went on to win.

Remember in 2015 versus the Blue Jays in the ALDS Game 5, how the Rangers forgot how to catch the ball? Dropping three of them in the 7th inning before a bloop hit over Odor’s head allowed one run to tie the game? The rest is history after Jose Bautista hit the grand slam with the epic bat flip.

Remember the next year when Odor threw a punch at Jose Bautista? We all remember where we were when we first saw that video. Stay classy Arlington.

Oh forget it.

One Texas?

Let’s talk about 2017. Remember when that hurricane called Harvey flooded Houston? The Astros and Rangers were supposed to play a series in Houston, but it needed to be moved to an alternate location. The Astros asked if they could switch home series so that they could play the games in Arlington. But the Rangers said no, so they ended up playing the Rangers in Tampa Bay. Is Bud Selig running the Rangers?

What about the rivalry between former Astros manager AJ Hinch and former Rangers manager Jeff Bannister. In 2015 Bannister and Hinch almost had fisticuffs after Roughned Odor (of course) started s#*! with Hank Conger. See the scrum here.

The Rangers’ slogan was ‘One Texas’ during the 2018 season, which unfortunately was the end of Bannister’s time managing the Rangers. Wouldn’t it have been ironic if Bannister had gotten Dusty Baker’s job this off-season?

While my Dad may be right, that is, root for the Rangers (when not playing the Astros), because they are in the same state, I don’t think I can root for the Rangers. The Rangers have eight playoff appearances in franchise history, but only two pennants and zero World Series rings since 1961. The Astros have 13 playoff appearances, with three pennants and one World Series victory.

Who knows how the Rangers 2020 season will pan out. The team Twitter handle sent out a tweet that had a picture of Corey Kluber, Mike Minor, and Lance Lynn. The text said, “A warning to the West.” If the Rangers pitchers can stay healthy, they could be a good team, but what is the state of their offense? Can Kluber rediscover his ace form?

Who knows, be glad there will be baseball, and you don’t have to root for the Rangers.

Here is the definitive history of the Rangers.