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Saturday, October 29, 2011

For The Texas Rangers and Their Fans It's The Morning After That Hurts The Most

The “day after” is when it all sinks in.  Think about it…You’ve been dismissed from your job - the day after is when you really begin to reflect on what happened.  Sure, as soon as you are let go, anger, rage, and a few choice words are all that are running through your head, but it’s the day after that you begin to understand what just happened, and start to think about what you are going to do next for work.

You’ve been dumped after a long relationship, and after a night of sobbing, and crying on your best friend’s shoulder, you spend the next day reliving the time you spent together, and where it all went wrong.  You ask yourself, “Was it really me?  If I had only done (Fill In The Blank), we would still be together…” 

You’ve just lost the 7th game of the World Series and at first you’re stunned – you can’t believe what just happened.  You take that long walk into the locker room, and slowly begin to take off your uniform.  Your head is hung low, more from emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue than from what just happened.  It’s the next day when it all finally sinks in.  You are bombarded with analysis on ESPN,, and any other so called sports expert giving their opinion on what went wrong.

If you’re a Texas Ranger or a fan of the team, you are experiencing that “Day After” feeling.  Last night, the St. Louis Cardinals finished their incredible run that started on September 1st when they found themselves 10 and a half games behind the Atlanta Braves for the National League Wild Card spot, and finished with beating the Texas Rangers 6 to 2, winning the World Series for the 11th time in Cardinals franchise history.  

Sure, it’s the second year in a row that Texas has been to the World Series, losing to the San Francisco Giants in five games in 2010, but after you lose a best of seven series like this one, where your team was up 3 games to 2, where you were one strike away from winning the championship not once but twice in an epic Game 6, you will spend time going over and over each play wondering what could have been done differently.  I am sure you’ll be thinking about the World Series record 41 walks (including nine intentional walks) issued by the Texas Rangers pitchers.  (The record was 40 held by the 1997 Florida Marlins pitching staff.)  Perhaps you will dwell on the fact that the Texas Rangers bullpen had a 7.43 ERA and the Cardinals had a .311 batting average in the Series against the relief staff.  (During the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Rangers’ relievers held their opponents to a .193 batting average and had a 2.34 ERA.) 

Maybe you will question some of the moves from Texas manager Ron Washington. Should he have waited to use Derek Holland in Game Seven instead of bringing him in to help close out Game Six?  Should Rangers Closer, Neftali Perez been left in to face the bottom of the Cardinals order in the 10th inning of Game 6 instead of bringing in lefthander Darren Oliver?  Should Albert Puljos been intentionally walked in favor of pitching to Lance Berkman in the 10th inning of Game 6?  And what if Nelson Cruz got a better read on the ball hit by Cardinals' David Freese in the 9th inning – (we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation!)  

In the end, nothing will change what has occurred…when you wake up, you’ll still be out of a job…your Plus One will no longer be at your side…and the your team will still be in search of its first World Series Championship – but time heals all pain, and there is always next time.  For the Rangers and their fans, next time can’t come soon enough.

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