Heck of a Ride
It’s the morning after and I’m still feeling raw about what happened yesterday. We were certain that the Rangers couldn’t lose three straight. We were certain that with Cole on the mound and Adrian in the field there was no way they could lose game five. We were CERTAIN after the first ever recorded RBI doink that Texas was going to the ALCS. Sometimes our certainties are foolish and baseball is a cruel mistress. I tweeted this out right after the game and it still describes how I feel in this moment.
I refuse to accept this as the reality in which I live.
— Brice Paterik (@80GradeWhitt) October 14, 2015
There wasn’t a single part of me that didn’t believe that Texas wasn’t going to win game five. Even after the third out at the top of the ninth was over. I couldn’t process the events that took place in one of the most historic games in postseason history. Yet again my team was on the wrong side of one of the most historically exciting games in the history of the sport. In my baseball soul I know that one of these days the Rangers will be on the right side of a historically awesome game. Maybe next year in the World Series game seven Texas goes down by 10 runs early and slowly drops the deficit the whole game. Then down three with two outs in the bottom of the ninth gets the bases loaded. On an 0-2 count Adrian Beltre, with some Kirk Gibson-like injury, hits a pinch hit walk off grand slam in game seven and rides off into the sunset with the championship ring he deserves. Or maybe they just win a world series in some boring way, I’m not sure.
What I can accept at the moment is the majesty of the 2015 Rangers season. Texas won seven games in April. Soak that in and sit in it for a minute. A team that won seven games, and lost twice as many, in the first month of the season took the best team in baseball to game five and nearly won it. That’s amazing.
Tip of the cap to you Blue Jays, and specifically to you Alex Anthopolis. You went all in for a year and it is looking like it might pay off. Flags fly forever and the 2015 AL West Champions flag is one of the flags of which I am the most proud. That stretch run beginning with the Hamels acquisition everybody not named Jon Daniels thought was only for next year and beyond. The four game sweep of the Astros to take the division lead. The game 161 meltdown and the game 162 redemption were both as emotion filled as you can ask for from a sports game.
Baseball hurts because we invest so much of our lives caring about it. We spend, or I spend, hundreds of hours watching, writing about, and obsessing over a baseball team for it to usually end in heartbreak. We invest this emotion because it’s a game which brings us joy even if our team isn’t standing around with a trophy in the early days of November. There was joy when Rougned Odor made the world take notice of who he is in the ALDS. We felt joy at SDI night in Frisco when Lewis Brinson smacked the bejeebers out of a baseball. Seriously ask anyone who was there what my face and voice did when I saw that homer because I can’t accurately describe it. Then my most favorite moment was seeing Joey Gallo hit his first ever big league homer in person. I’ll never ever forget it.
This was yet another example of a dinger which caused me to lose control of my faculties. If you don’t want to think about last year but wish to focus on the future go check out my twitter timeline from last night after the game. The most amazing thing about last night’s game is that it, for the most part, has kept me off twitter. I was unfollowing too many people that I liked just because I couldn’t live through yet another bat flip gif or Toronto themed anything. From this day forward I will sports hate the Blue Jays, as will the entire DFW Metroplex. A pox on you Ryan Goins and your excellent defense. And you Josh Donaldson with your silly haircut. But mostly a pox on you Blue Jay fans. I’m fairly certain that most of you are kind, well-mannered folks but last night was an appalling display of childishness from your fan base and you should be embarrassed as an entire city.
My least favorite part of losing yesterday was that the season is over. I didn’t hate losing as much as I hated the fact that baseball that makes me forget about prospects and just get lost in the thrill of the playoffs was gone until at least next October. My buddy called me right after the final out to make sure I was ok. Shout out to you Matt. He knew I wasn’t ready to go from a playoff elimination game to caring about the Lewis Brinson in the Arizona Fall League just yet. Don’t you worry though I’ll get into it and let y’all know what’s going on; because I’m a baseball addict whose desperation to get a fix exponentially increases as I feel the asphyxiating grip of not-baseball season tightening around my soul.
I’m a firm believer that there are really only two seasons in a year: baseball season and not baseball season. Baseball season has at most 21 days left until we are left in the cruel barren season without the world’s greatest sport. Football is fun, sure. Basketball and hockey are pretty neat too, but nothing compares to baseball season.
Now here’s my favorite part of this collection of words. These are the words you should hold dear and dream on through the upcoming cold winter of my least favorite of the two seasons. Next year this team gets to pick up where it left off. Second half Rougie and second half Shin Soo Choo will be there from the beginning, and so will second half Elvis! Joey Gallo is going to go spend the off season in a science lab in which hitting monsters are created. He’ll go fix that ginormous hole in his swing and come back with a an unquenchable thirst to destroy baseballs because Jason Giambi is brilliant and knows how to teach Joey well. Cole Hamels will be in Texas for a full year, and also that Yu Darvish guy will be back in May so there’s that! Also I’ve got a feeling Lewis Brinson will force his way into Arlington before rosters expand in September and Nomar Mazara might be coming with him.
All these are nice sentiments and I know but none of them change the fact that the Ranger’s awesome 2015 season is over. I encourage you to get as much baseball watching in as you can while some is still here. Unless it’s too painful and you need a break and that’s just fine as well. Me, I’m going to watch playoff baseball because I love this game, no matter who’s playing. There’s less than 130 days until the only listed date for pitchers and catchers reporting, and 170 until the 2016 regular season starts.
From everyone here at Shutdown Inning thanks for hanging around with us this season. It’s been a blast! We will have lots of off season content coming your way for the next several months so don’t you worry! Thanks to all 10 of you still reading my ramblings this far, you’re awesome. I’m immensely proud of this team and their ability to never ever quit. I’m proud that they are my team, and I’m giddy about the future they have. Thanks again to all of you for your support and never forget to enjoy baseball!