I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the Rangers this season. It’s been a helluva ride. And in three days, it will all be over. In three months, it will seem like the 2013 baseball year never existed. By that time we’ll all be focused on our jobs, or the NFL playoffs, what our wives and kids are doing with their lives. But right now, right now we wait sit and wait. We sit and admire the beauty of tonight’s walk-off win, and wait to see if it will mean anything tomorrow, or the next night, or three months from now. We appreciate the awesomeness baseball provides our lives.
I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the Rangers this season. I’ve experienced the same pain and heartache I imagine most of you have felt. If you are invested in something — anything — you are going to feel the ups and downs associated with it. You aren’t always going to love it, but you accept it as a truth. That is how you know it’s love.
But what you also realize, through all that pain and heartache, is that the Rangers are a real team, a real entity that is part of your life for 6 months out of the year. Whether or not the club reaches the postseason should be an afterthought; what’s truly important is the happiness the Rangers offer, a happiness that is incomprehensible to anyone who doesn’t follow this sport. Sometimes it’s irrational. Sometimes it’s hard to explain. But love is a feeling that’s not supposed to be rational; it’s not supposed to be easy to explain. Because if it was, it was feel a whole lot less meaningful.
The Rangers are 88-71. For the time being, making the playoffs appears to be a long-shot. The Indians — the team they’re chasing — own a one-game advantage and are playing the Twins, a team far inferior to whom Texas is squaring off against. Even if Cleveland does lose a game between now and Sunday, it would mean the Rangers would need to wipe off the Angels with a clean 4-game sweep. And, obviously, that’s not easy to do. Not against Anaheim, not against anyone.
But in one night — this night — we know the Rangers are real. We know despite the shortcomings of September that they care about winning, that they aren’t in this to roll over and die and get their manager fired. I have been as harsh of a critic as anyone this year, but even I can’t discount the will this team has to succeed. Maybe next week I will lament how close Texas came without actually finishing the job, or how the offense let Yu Darvish down so many times, or how Ron Washington cost them several games, or how Jon Daniels didn’t do enough to put the roster in a position to win, or how David Murphy and Mitch Moreland flopped this year, or how Matt Garza is just as overrated as I thought he would be, or how oh hell just gimme a gun to put to my head already.
All I ever asked for from this Rangers team was to give me something else to think about. Maybe if they had a good year I wouldn’t have to focus so strongly on matters of the past, or the present, or the future, things I put my heart and soul into from every day and night of my existence — save three hours a night for six months out of the year.
To that end, the Rangers have succeeded. They’ve given me everything I could have asked from them.
And for that, I just wanna say…