It Was Always Going To Be This Way
Oh, come on.
Deep down inside, despite the analytics that made you want Baltimore, despite all of the drama you wanted to put behind you, you knew that this was an inevitable outcome.
You knew it from the moment Marcus Stroman threw the first pitch and Adam Jones popped it up to center. You knew from the moment Jose Bautista cranked a no-doubter with a crowd reaction that was all too familiar. Even when Mark Trumbo launched a bomb of his own, you knew that the cards had already been dealt. As Zach Britton sat beyond the outfield fence, you watched with him as Ubaldo Jimenez jogged to the mound for the Orioles’ impossibly obvious end.
And even as the herky-jerky motion of Jimenez finished, and the straightest fastball ever was thrown middle-middle, you knew that this was the die that had been cast. This was how it was meant to be all along.
Your mind raced back to all of those awful things about this year’s prequel – the home run, the bat flip, the botched plays, the benches clearing, the trash, the trash, the trash, the trash – and you already had it figured out. This had to happen.
Here we are, Rangers fans. The demons that haunted us, haunted them, since the credits rolled on 2015, are returning. Yes, you thought they had dissipated as the Texas Rangers introduced 2016. You thought they were gone as Jon Daniels ushered in the good vibrations of Ian Desmond, Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Beltran, Jeremy Jeffress, and Carlos Gomez. You thought they had drifted farther and farther away with one-run victory after one-run victory.
No. No. Not just yet.
But fear not, Rangers fans. You have faced these demons before (quite literally, with the exception of two or three faces, this is the team from last year). The Rangers have faced these demons before, although in different incarnations. Maybe it was having faced crushing defeat in their own playoff series, or maybe it was the feeling of helplessness as they played for nothing, or maybe it was the feeling of rejection when they had so much more to give.
This team is different. This Rangers team is not fresh off of clawing their way to the top. This team finished with the best record in the American League. They did it against all logic, statistical figuring and analysis. They did it with time-tested veterans and a few rookies from, quite honestly, out of nowhere. And they did it with parts that had out-played their usefulness in other clubhouses.
The 2016 Texas Rangers are one of the most remarkable clubs in baseball. Their story has been an incredible one to this point, but in order to finish this volume, they’ve got to set out on this adventurous chapter.
We fans may not have the unbridled and unrestrained frenzy and zealousness of those up north. But we’ve got the backs of our Texas Rangers, wherever we may find ourselves during these games, and as long as there are outs left to play with, we know that this team will Never Ever Quit.
It’s time to leave the past behind, head towards the future and vanquish the demons. Let’s go.