This is the greatest time period in Texas Rangers history, and especially the greatest time to be a fan of this team. The Rangers are in a whole new paradigm. Paradigm is a two-dollar word which means “Example, pattern; especially: an outstandingly clear or typical example”. The old Rangers paradigm, or pattern, generated frustration and futility. Now, we see that the new Rangers paradigm has proven to be one that produces power and success.
I have been a sold-out fan of the Texas Rangers my entire life. I was born and raised in the Dallas area, so there has never been another team to whom I have devoted my fandom. I have fond childhood memories of the days of Pudge Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, and Rusty Greer. Despite romanticizing the memories of those players as I have grown older, I still have never been more confident in and more proud to be a fan of the Texas Rangers franchise than I am today.
Never before have the Rangers been such a masterfully crafted mosaic of talent, devotion, and commitment to excellence. For example:
- Farm Depth: The Rangers re-committed themselves to laying the foundation for the team through re-building the farm system. All of the hard work, scouting, player development, and devotion have paid off. The Rangers have held the position of one of the top farm systems for the past 3 years, which is an impressive feat. Today, the Rangers have perhaps 5-7 prospects that would have been the number one prospect in the system in past years. No longer as fans are we pinning all of our hopes and dreams on a DVD (Diamond, Volquez, Danks) combo, only to see those prospects fizzle out or be frittered away. Now, there is a steady pipeline of new talent at the base of the system, and a clear commitment to valuing those top prospects, which strengthens the entire organizational structure.
- Ownership: Fronted by Nolan Ryan, and backed by Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, this is the best ownership group the Rangers have ever had. This group has demonstrated that they are committed to building a successful organization, a powerhouse in the MLB, and that they will do whatever they need to do to put the Rangers in a position to win. In just the year and a half since this group took control, they have demonstrated time and time again that their ultimate goal is for this to be a championship franchise. As we saw recently with Yu Darvish, when they are devoted to a belief of how to make this team the best that it can be, they will not back off. They will make the necessary sacrifice.
- Front Office: Today, the Rangers front office is clearly among the top-5 in the league. Personally, I think it is the best in the business, but I know I’m a little biased. This starts with the incredible work that has been put in by the scouts and the coaches responsible for finding the right talent and developing it. It goes all the way to the top, with Jon Daniels calling the shots, and for the last three years he has not missed. In days gone by, a Rangers GM might have spent most of his days on the golf course. Today, there is never a doubt that JD is not doing everything in his power to keep himself, and the Rangers, on top of their game.
- Manager: Ron Washington takes a lot of heat for his in-game management style, and understandably so. But, he does not receive near enough credit for all that he has meant to this team since he took the reins of the players before the 2007 season. His philosophy, which puts pitching and defense first, has permeated throughout the organization to the point that even though the Rangers still have one of the most dangerous lineups in the American League, they are no longer thought of as just a slug-it-out kind of team. Today, this is a team that wins the 3-2 and 2-1 ball games, just as Wash said they would when he was hired. Washington trusts his players, and he pushes them to be successful. He takes advantage of those teaching moments, like when it’s an 8-run game and he pulls Elvis Andrus aside to bark at him for making a lackadaisical throw to first base. No one gets more out of his 25 guys than Ron Washington
When you put all of these pieces of the puzzle together, the Rangers are now one of the premier model franchises in Major League Baseball. After wallowing through the days of Tom Hicks, Buck Showalter, and John Hart, it is an incredible fait accompli to be able to say that.
You can see the actions and position of this franchise reflected in the attitudes of its fans. Today’s Rangers fan has total confidence that this ballclub is headed in the right direction. We are all riding together with one unified goal in mind, and we have the right vehicle to get there, with the best people behind the wheel.
Buckle up. And welcome to the new paradigm.