The Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers? Yeah, I know. It can’t get much more boring that that. No one cares about the Rays, other than Yankees fans. And no one in Texas cares about anything other than football. But this might actually be an interesting match-up.
Good Men Picks Record: Thanks to Nick Saban we got our first win, moving to 1-3.
So the Texas Rangers are up 2-0 in the series, which they’ll look to close out down in Arlington, but do they deserve it?
Tampa Bay Rays:
The Rays sucked for years, but when you stink for that long, you get rewarded in American sports. Stockpiling a ton of talent, the Rays are now one of the best teams in baseball. They’re just a bunch of really good young guys. Their manager, Joe Maddon, is also one of the best guys around.
The Rays deserve better support. They’re one of the best teams in baseball, and yet they can barely fill the musty, indoor Tropicana Field. Why would you build an indoor stadium in Tampa? I don’t know, but you have to feel bad for these guys. Although they’re not the Rangers, the Rays have only been to the playoffs once, losing in a screwy weather-delayed World Series to the Phillies. And anyone who loses to the Phillies gets our sympathy. With a miniscule payroll, a Rays championship would be great for the sport.
Oh, and the St. Petersburg Times is the best-written paper out there. That has to count for something, right?
Remember that thing I said about feeling bad that no one comes to their games? Yeah, well they botched that one. It’s a bummer that no one goes to the games, but that’s the fans’ choice. Evan Longoria, the star third basemen for the AL East champs, complained that no one was coming. “In 2008, when we clinched, this place was packed,” Longoria said. “It’s kind of like what else do you have to do to draw fans in this place. It’s actually embarrassing for us.”
Evan, you do realize how this looks? You’re a multi-millionaire, and you’re complaining that people who make a fraction of your salary aren’t coming to watch you do your job. “Embarrassing” isn’t the right word.
Well, they just filed for bankruptcy in May. Good old Tom Hicks (who’s also destroying my beloved Liverpool F.C.) drove the Rangers to bankruptcy with absurdly near-sighted spending. Remember that 10-year, $252 million contract for A-Rod? The MLB controlled the team for much of the season, until a deal was settled in August, when a group headed by Nolan Ryan bought the team. And c’mon, who doesn’t love Nolan Ryan?
Then there’s Josh Hamilton. He was the number one pick in the 1999 draft—chosen by the Rays, no less. A can’t-miss prospect, his career and his life deteriorated as drug and alcohol addictions drove him out of the major leagues. Hamilton eventually picked up the pieces and got his life back together. He resurfaced in the majors in 2007, and since being traded to the Rangers in 2008, he’s been one of baseball’s best players. If you have a beating heart, you root for Josh Hamilton.
In March, Texas manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine and admitted using the drug. Seven months later, he’s only the second manager to bring the Rangers to the playoffs. The Rangers are the only team left in the majors that has yet to win a postseason series. They’re also the oldest franchise in any of the four major American sports to never have played in their league’s championship. You have to root for them, right?
They were bankrupt. They failed to play by the rules, but somehow were still allowed in the playoffs. This has nothing to do with the players, but isn’t there something to be said for a team that conducts all of its business the right way?
But seriously, we’re grasping at straws here.
Were they playing any other team, we’d probably pick the Rays, but we can’t. They’re both loveable losers, the Rangers have just been bigger losers for a longer time. It was fun watching the Rangers stink for so long, but now they’ve got a likeable group of guys and a manager who has fought back from some personal problems.
And how can you not root for a team whose president did this? (It’s number one).