November 01, 2011
With the postseason now over, all 30 teams are facing an offseason filled with golf rounds and hot-stove strategery.
But we're not going to let them start before we deal with the two World Series squads. No sir. No way. In an attempt to bring some closure between franchise and follower, we're giving Benjamin Morris of Lone Star Ball the opportunity to detain his team for the equivalent of a Saturday morning detention stay. We'd usually insert a witty comment here, but we've got nothing but major props to Ben for coming through for us two straight years in a row after experiencing the ultimate disappointment.
I can't tell you how proud I am of you. World Series Champions!
Who would have thunk it!
What do you mean, where have I been the last 5 days? After Josh Hamilton's(notes) 10th inning home run, I holed up in my house writing a screenplay. A gritty reboot of The Natural, with Josh Hamilton seamlessly sliding into the role of Roy Hobbs. Instead of a gunshot wound, he's struggling with a nagging groin injury, but he hits the Series winning home run with a bat named Mjolnir that he carved from Hank Blalock's and Matt Harrison's superfluous ribs. It's going to be so great...
What do you mean, maybe there's something you should tell me?
Oh, Rangers... oh, no.
So that's why you're here in detention. But what am I going to do about this Texas Rangers World Champions tattoo? And it's not just me you've disappointed, Rangers. You broke poor Dirk Nowitzki's enormous, Cro-Magnon heart.
Oh, you can blame this on other people. You can blame it on Ron Kulpa, whose missed call on a Mike Napoli(notes) swipe tag led to an insane 16-7 Game 3. You can blame it on Allan "Pujolito" Craig. You can blame it on a maddening strike zone in Game 7. You can find all sorts of things to blame this on.
But maybe you need to look in the mirror, Rangers. People who live in glass houses shouldn't be picked off first base twice. And you should never count your chickens before making an amateurish warning track attempt on a playable ball THAT WOULD END THE FREAKING SERIES.
You've heard this before, I know you have, Rangers. Such potential. You worked on your flaws. A relief staff that gave up a comical 1.409 WHIP in the first half, with a little addition through subtraction (Arthur Rhodes(notes)) and some addition through regular old addition (Mike Adams(notes), Koji Uehara(notes), Good Late-Season Neftali Feliz(notes)), posted a 1.047 WHIP in the second half, improving your strikeouts per nine by 26 percent. Stellar defense ... from the infield, from the outfield, from catcher. The historically gaping hole at catcher was magically filled by a trade that worked so well it made a divisional opponent worse at the same time that it made you better. And then, with a World Series title just one win away, you step on to the national stage and look completely clownshoes. Like a team constructed entirely out of opponents' lead-off walks that are held together by the sinew of crucial errors. Your opponent used the tried-and-true "the dog ate my right-handed reliever" excuse, and you still managed to let them beat you.
But, look. Let's talk turkey. This is Ranger Nation. We grade on a curve around here. Our trophy room is so bare that we still brag about winning our division (cough, cough, while-posting-a-losing-record-in-a-strike-shortened-season, cough, cough) in 1994. Frankly, considering your classmates at Ranger High School are busy smearing excrement in their hair and throwing out Mark Clark or John Wasdin as starters, I have to deal with the reality of the situation.
So, look, Rangers. You're in detention for the rest of the day.
But... shh... Don't tell anyone that I don't mean it.
Lone Star Ball
Read more of Big League Stew's Detention Lecture series here
COMING WEDNESDAY: The St. Louis Cardinals