The Texas Knights?

In one of the best baseball movies of all time The Natural, the New York Knights team doctor used psychology to try and break the losing streak plaguing the team. Over 4 scenes while we watch the Knights make mistake after mistake, bumble after bumble, we hear the Doc start the speech we can all quote by heart:

“The mind is a strange thing, men. We must begin by asking it…  What is losing?

Losing is a disease… as contagious as polio. Losing is a disease… as contagious as syphilis.

Losing is a disease… as contagious as bubonic plague, attacking one, but infecting all.

But curable.

Now, I want you to imagine you are on a ship at sea, in a vast sea gently rocking, gently rocking, gently rocking”

It has been painful watching the Rangers play during this losing streak winning only 5 out of the last 30 games.  Is it curable? Yes.

Look at the outstanding pitching effort by Miles Mikolas, understanding that the reason why the bullpen’s arms look like Mr. Fantastic is that the Rangers haven’t had a player pitch into the seventh in a long time.  I’m sure that we can all count the number of games where the Rangers starter went 7+ innings on both hands and still have fingers left.

So what is the cure?

I asked several people what the solution to the Rangers should be and got the following responses:

1.       Trade Rios, Cotts, Frasor, Soria and anybody else that is willing to be bought. It’s firehouse sale time.

While this is an idea, what are the Rangers getting in return? Can they get a decent starting pitcher, a #3 or #4 for what you put out there? You are not going to get Price or any #1’s. It’s a buyers’ market right now and the Rangers don’t have the pieces in the farm that are ready yet.  (First person who says Gallo to me gets a boomstick shoved in an uncomfortable place.)

2.       Get rid of the any high salary players that aren’t performing.

Well, so you would like to get rid of the whole team and start over? There are great bright spots for the Rangers in the future, but healthy players who want to have fun and win is stop #1. This team looks like the New York Knights. They don’t look like they are having fun. No Antlers, no Claw. Hell, I’d take anything that doesn’t resemble a white flag when I approach the ballpark, because the team has a vibe of being snake bitten, and it causes them to think “Oh no, here it goes again.” A recent article in Psychology Today by Mitchell Milch, LCSW talks about sports performance anxiety and how “performance anxieties are like fire alarms. They appear to exist outside of us but, in truth, are projections of what could’ve, should’ve or would’ve happened to us during childhood” (2009).

3.       Demote JPA permanently.

No. no. no.  We shouldn’t look at player decisions or player development as something that needs to be rushed. “But we are only 12 games out of the Wild Card RMN?” If #TrustInJD is what we have to do, then Rangers fans need to trust him in rebuilding. This season is over. How about we enjoy doing something we love—playing a game. We all used to play it when we were younger, it’s throw the ball, catch the ball, hit the ball.  The team will succeed with minor tweaks.

4.       Look for new arms in the off season.

Didn’t we try to do that last year, and the year before that? We need to be patient. Our brains are stuck in Game 6, and we need to move on. This team is young with heart and mad skills. We have players in the farm that have potential, just read the work that Sarah, Jasen , Grant, Austin and the rest of the Minor League Monday crew are writing. I can’t wait to see Phil Klein, Edwar Carbera, or Spencer Patton in a Rangers uniform.

There is no need for dynamite for the team, but dynamite of expectations. As fans we need to realize that the Texas Rangers of the past are there in the past. Wonderboy is broken. The team of the future—they look GOOD!  So “Pick me out a winner Bobby!”

Rangers Magic Number
Who is Rangers Magic Number? Who cares? I could tell you about the ex-girlfriends, ex-wives, managing bands and getting favors from Globe Life Employees parking where I am not ever supposed to be able to but all that would do is make you angry.

RMN is the fan in all of our hearts, the one who brings out the Rangers jersey in March with hope & dreams of a World Series win, carefully packing it away in October with a tear in his eye. RMN believes and loves his team, still having somewhere a Rangers Bat Day bat that he got the year after we broke bleachers banging away as we faced the Royals.

I am a lucky man, married to a Rangers fan who loves me for who I am, a crazy fan. I do have many Ranger memorabilia, but my most treasured is a Nolan Ryan baseball. My son took it out of its case one day to play catch with me before he learned how close to a heart attack a Rangers fan can get when that happens. (We still played catch with a Oddibe McDowell baseball, don't ask.) I've been to Rangers games in Dallas, Houston and will eventually make it to Surprise. I've been working as an managerial consultant for many years and spend too many afternoons in meetings & phone calls but still cheer when I get to say HELLO WIN COLUMN!

I guess I am very lucky because of the people that I have met on this journey. We have drank a lot of whiskey and celebrated more victories than losses. So I look forward to meeting you down the road.

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