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Texas Rangers Fans Deserve Better

Paul Tepley Collection. Getty Images.

The Texas Rangers are cleaning house. They fired their President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels today and this comes four days after they fired their manager Chris Woodward on Monday. Chris Young, the former pitcher and was second in command in the front office is now taking over all aspects of Baseball Operations. Daniels has been either the GM or President of the team since 2005. 

I don't know if it's because they live in the shadow of the Cowboys or if it's because they've only been in Texas since 1972 but the Rangers are one of the worst franchises in baseball since going to the Lone Star state. They've had a World Series choke job for the ages, free agent signing disasters and long stretches of dismal play. I have to imagine being a fan of the Rangers is much harder than people acknowledge. 

Before they won it all, the Cubs and Red Sox got most of the MLB fan pity nationwide. Since then, if you asked which MLB fan base has had it the worst, you'd have teams like the Guardians, Pirates, Tigers and Mariners mentioned long before the Rangers. Each of those teams have had it rough for a long time and deserve to be in the conversation. I'm just saying the Rangers should be mentioned as well.

The birth of the Rangers is sort of confusing. The original Washington Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961 with a good core of players that would eventually go the World Series in 1965. In its place an expansion team was created and also called the Washington Senators. This Senators 2.0 stayed in Washington for 11 seasons and had a losing record every year but one. Team owner Bob Short grew tired of all the losing and said he would move the team unless someone offered to buy it for 50% more than any team had ever been sold for at that time. No one bit and Short moved the team to Arlington, Texas.

It would take 25 seasons in Texas for the Rangers to even make a postseason. Mistakes were made. Many mistakes. In 1973, they drafted a high school pitcher named David Clyde with the 1st pick overall and while negotiating his contract, agreed to let him start his career in the major leagues. Both him and the team lost confidence in his stuff by the next year and he eventually was sent down to the minor leagues and suffered a shoulder injury there. Clyde only won seven games as a Ranger. The Rangers skipped over players like Robin Yount and Dave Winfield to draft Clyde. 

In 1977, the Rangers announced Eddie Stanky would be the manager of the team replacing the newly fired Frank Lucchesi who had gotten into a fistfight with a player in spring training. After one game at the helm, Stanky decided he didn't want to manage the Rangers after all and went home to Alabama.

In 1993, this happened:

Ron Kuntz Collection. Getty Images.

Three days after Canseco had the ball hit his head and go over the wall for a home run, he pitched in a game that the Rangers were getting crushed in. He ended up injuring his shoulder in the game and missed over 100 games.

The Rangers escaped mediocrity and had some good teams in the late 1990's led by Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez and made the playoffs three times. But of course, they had awful luck and faced the juggernaut Yankees each time. At one point, they lost nine straight playoff games to Derek Jeter and the Dynasty.

I'm not going to knock them for signing Alex Rodriguez. He was great for them. Now, they shouldn't have made a panic signing in Chan Ho Park the next season to a 5 year/$65 million contract just to get any pitching at all to complement the A-Rod signing. They should have also gotten a better return for A-Rod than just Alfonso Soriano. But signing one of the most productive players of his generation wasn't a bad move in a vacuum. It was the mistakes around it that was the problem.

The 2010-11 Texas Rangers are easily the greatest teams in franchise history. They are also the source of the greatest heartbreak in franchise history. The 2010 team went to the World Series against the Giants and lost in five games but for a team that hadn't made the playoffs in years, it felt like more of a positive step than a missed opportunity. The 2011 situation is very different.

What happened in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series doesn't get as much attention as the 1986 Red Sox collapse. Maybe that's an example of East Coast bias or that the Buckner error itself was such a perfect embodiment of an mistake but this is an equally disastrous collapse.

Losing back to back World Series is pretty rare but the talent from those Rangers teams did get them to three more playoff appearances over the next five years. But they didn't win a playoff series since David Freeze and Lance Berkman ripped the heart out of that franchise in St. Louis.

It's only gotten worse for the Rangers over the past six seasons. They haven't had a winning season since 2016 and they even lost 102 games last year. To their credit, they did spend a lot of money last off-season bringing in Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray with mostly good results. Seager and Gray have looked good but Semien, who is already 31 and signed through 2028, has dropped off from last season. But the free agent signings have certainly helped and they are on pace to win about 12 more games than they did the year before. The problem is the team had so many holes in 2021, there was no saving 2022.

One day the Rangers will win the World Series and for those longtime fans, it will be amazing. I think the best comparison is how White Sox fans must have felt after they won it all in 2005. Both the White Sox and the Rangers aren't even the most loved teams in their own state and neither gets much national attention. I get it. I'm a Jets fan and they've never even made a Super Bowl in my lifetime. I know when they do win it all, I'll enjoy it so much more than a Patriots fan would if they won yet another title. 

But until then, the Rangers are starting someone named Cole Ragans tonight and there is a good chance the Jets will have Joe Flacco at QB to start the season.  One day, tomorrow will be better.