World Series Showdown: Rangers

FOX is pretty upset about this World Series—ratings are likely to be down with no Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, or Phillies. But hey, this is Pomona College—who cares about FOX anyway?

This World Series should be watched. These are two towns that have never won a World Series, two teams who were prohibitive underdogs in their respective Championship Series. Forty-two of the 50 players have never played in a World Series.

In a World Series where most of the country doesn’t have a strong rooting interest, I am here to tell why you should rock the Claw and Antlers and cheer for THE Texas Rangers.

Granted, the Giants and the Rangers are both likeable. Many people have come up to me and said, “Congrats on your Rangers, but I am cheering for the Giants.” I can hardly blame them. Hardly. But I still can.

Look: I understand that the Giants are the “misfits,” the unheralded, the underrated. But these are just euphemisms for not very interesting and not very good. Giants General Manager Brian Sabean’s best move was a defensive one: claiming Cody Ross off waivers simply to prevent the Padres from getting him. His postseason success has been a fluke and aberration. Sabean’s biggest move as General Manager? Signing Barry Zito to a seven-year/$126 million contract, making the mediocre Zito the highest-paid pitcher in the game at the time. Where is Zito now? A 40-57 record later, Zito didn’t even make the World Series roster.

The Rangers, on the other hand, are the true underdogs. Never having won a postseason series until this season, there have been dozens of “this is the biggest moment in Texas Ranger history” statements made this October. In their first-ever postseason game, the Rangers won 6-2 victory at Yankee Stadium. Next? Nine straight losses at the hands of the Yankees in 1996, 1998, and 1999. This year has seen the first home postseason victory, the first postseason series win, the first playoff hit for the long-tenured franchise player Michael Young, the first ALCS win, the first time beating the Yankees in a playoff series, the first World Series birth, the first three run homer by a catcher in Yankee stadium in the playoffs…the first everything.

If special interest stories are your thing, the Rangers have you covered. Josh Hamilton was the first pick overall in the 1999 draft. In his second full season, he was in a car wreck, starting him on a downward spiral of six years of drug and alcohol abuse only to resurface in the Major League in 2007—one strike away from a lifetime ban from baseball. All he has done since then is put on the most impressive display in the Homerun Derby ever and will surely win this years MVP award in the American League. Manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last summer, but the team stuck with him and he has delivered—a baseball “lifer” and scrappy former player has this team firing on all cylinders, even if he makes questionable moves with the bullpen.

The team is a team. The Giants may be the scrappy, unsung bunch of misfits, but the Rangers aren’t exactly the $250 million Yankee lineup either. Vlad Guerrero was the man cast off by his own team and the rest of the league; Colby Lewis spent two years in the Japanese professional league—where no one ever comes back from—and then he did just that. And then he beat the Yankees twice in the postseason. Mitch Moreland wasn’t supposed to get called up from the minors this year but has solidified a tenuous first base position.

And you can’t forget the fact that this team put together this magical season while broke. With only a $57 million payroll, the team was fighting bankruptcy all year and managed to make multiple trades in July without adding significant salary to the books—a testament to GM Jon Daniels’ ruthless efficiency and effectiveness. Not exactly The Brian Sabean Story.

Oh, and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan—the guy who beat up Robin Ventura on a baseball field—owns the team now. A pretty likeable dude. He is without a doubt the most famous owner in baseball.

There is magic in Texas. Not in New York. Not in Boston. Not in Philadelphia. Texas. The city has always been the Cowboys’, but this team has captured the collective heart of Dallas-Ft. Worth. Do the Claw, you bandwagon fan you, it’s going to be a fun series.

Oh, one more reason? Rangers. In five games.

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