Returning To The Scene Of The Crime

STL
As someone who is both a Texas Rangers fan and a San Antonio Spurs fan, watching what transpired in Game 6 of this year’s just-completed NBA Finals was an extremely painful case of deja vu.  The Spurs, mere seconds away from winning the championship, saw it slip away – to be lost for good two nights later in Game 7.  It was more than a little reminiscent of when a very similar scenario befell the Rangers two years ago in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
The timing of all this is quite bizarre, as just one day after the Spurs had their title snatched away by the Miami Heat, the Rangers are back in St. Louis for the first time since their title was snatched away by the Cardinals.  And there are several other reasons this is peculiar timing for the Rangers to be returning to the scene of the crime.

As Texas rolls into town, St. Louis owns the best record in baseball, and not by just a little bit.  The Cardinals are 47-26, 3.5 games better than any other team in either league, which just so happens to be one of their division rivals: the Cincinnati Reds.  Despite the Rangers having just taken 3-of-4 from their own division rivals – the Oakland A’s – to pull within one game of the AL West lead, their 41-32 record puts them a full six games behind the MLB-leading Cardinals.

But no matter what happens at Busch Stadium this weekend, even if the Rangers somehow manage to sweep the best team in baseball, it won’t erase those painful memories of what happened in 2011.  The only way that psychological damage can ever be fully undone is for the Rangers to finally win the World Series.  If it’s the Cardinals they beat when they finally do (notice how I didn’t use “if” there), that would make it so much sweeter and even more cathartic.

There’s no way to know right now whether these teams will meet again in this year’s World Series, or even any in the future.  As it stands currently, the Cardinals actually seem much more likely to be in the 2013 Fall Classic than the Rangers, but it’s still early and anything remains possible.

All of this lends an extra air of intrigue and excitement to this weekend’s series, as does the long-awaited return of Martin Perez to the starting rotation.  Hopefully, he can maintain the excellent form he showed during his recent string of rehab starts.  Another key piece returning to the Ranger lineup in St. Louis will be Mitch Moreland, whose bat, the team has sorely missed the past few weeks.

Slowly but surely, all of the Rangers’ missing parts are making their way back to the team.  Soon, Joakim Soria will be activated from the DL, to appear for the first time in a Ranger uniform.  Eventually, we should hopefully see the return of Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando, Neftali Feliz, and Jeff Baker, as well.

And last but not least, the one other exciting aspect of this weekend’s series is the Shutdown Inning Rangers Watching Party sponsored by Paranoid Fan, being held Saturday night at Mac’s Tavern and Grill in Arlington at 6:00 (the game starts at 7:00).  We sure hope you’re able to come join us!  Having fun with us should help ease whatever residual trauma you might otherwise experience watching the Rangers back in St. Louis.  Let’s make some new memories, shall we?

Bob Bland is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. He can be reached at Bob.Bland@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @SDIBob.
Bob Bland

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