Every day begins with the same routine.
I wake up. Prepare myself for the morning shakeup. Reality is back in order, but only until the next time I have to wake up and do it all over again. After making my way out the door of my bedroom and into the restroom, and then into the kitchen after that to pour my coffee, I inevitably find myself outside with a Newport in my left hand and my laptop on, well, my lap. Taking in the Rangers’ news of the day. And the elements.
I try to ingest all the information I can, whether it be from BBTiA, LSB, The Newberg Report, Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus — it doesn’t matter. It’s just always a good feeling to stay current.
The other day, I was scrolling down ESPN’s Rangers’ page when I came across an interview Derek Holland had with Fitzsimmons & Durrett (because, you know, the formerly great duo of Ben & Skin are currently in a contract dispute with ESPN), and Derek said something that I, at least, found interesting.
When asked by Durrett: “What’s the attitude of this club like this spring after what happened to end the season last year?”
To me, right now, it felt like the clubhouse of 2011. The chemistry is there. . . .
He mentioned the same sentiment a couple more times over the course of his response, that the 2013 Rangers feel a lot more like the Rangers of 2011, the best Rangers’ season in team history. (Which is really just to say it was better than 2010.) He wasn’t exaggerating by saying the current team has as much talent as the 2011 squad, just that it feels like it.
I mean, sure, we could point most obviously at Josh Hamilton’s agitating prima-donna persona. We could talk about the annoyance of Roy Oswalt or Scott Feldman and the way they complained through the media about their roles as starter/long reliever.
We could look at the purported feud between Yu Darvish and Koji Uehara because Darvish apparently doesn’t follow Japanese customs enough to get the approval of Uehara (which could be a reason Uehara bolted for Boston at a meager 1-year, $4.25 million contract with seemingly no opposition from the Rangers).
We could even think back to the prospects — whether it be Mike Olt or Jurickson Profar — and how Ron Washington failed to utilize them properly. The bench was used sparingly, and the players who did play played a ton of innings, ultimately wearing them down during the September collapse.
The point is, that’s a lot of discontent for one locker room. And you could probably dig deeper than that if you really wanted to. But for Holland to not even acknowledge the 2012 season — which basically consisted of the same players from 2011 — seems to speak to a bigger point.
The 2012 team was filled with drama, and the 2011 squad was mostly unheard from. It was as if they adopted the blue-collar actions speak louder than words culture of their home state. They just went out and won games.
That’s what this year’s team needs to do.