One Weekend To Rule Them All
By Eric Reining
I don’t know whether I should thank myself, my parents, genetics, god, some combination of the quartet or none of the above, but whatever the case, I know I have a good memory. That is what I know to be true. This works to my favor in most instances, particularly in the day-to-day when people talk about themselves and the trivialities within their lives, though it can also be a detriment, because not everything I remember is actually something I want to remember, or even worth remembering. It’s a blessing and a curse.
When the Rangers were a bad baseball team, every season felt like the end of the world. This was, in part, thanks to my youthful age and relatively minimal experience level. Looking back on it in retrospect, I can admire the way I looked at baseball back then, because it was pure, and innocent. Since 2010 my outlook has been different; every season before could be considered “losing baseball”; every year kinda bleeds into the other as part of the Bigger Picture.
This might sound obvious to you, or it might be something you hadn’t considered, but there is going to be a time, maybe 3 years from now, or 5, or 10, when the Rangers are going to be bad again. The World Series years of 2010 and 2011 are going to be a distant thought, and the years proceeding will be just bleed into each other as the days of “winning baseball,” the best of days for the Rangers and their fans. We’re going to want them back.
Right now we’re in the middle of the franchises’s glory, which is why it’s so hard to appreciate. The value of something — anything — is always more significant before you have it and after it’s gone than while it’s in your possession. Everything in my life that I’ve worked for, whether it be a Nintendo 64, a girl, my dream school, et. all, always meant more to me before it was mine — and since I lost it — than it did when I owned it. The problem with reality is you can’t get a true perspective on it until after the fact; if only we had all the answers while it was unfolding.
The media often times asks the question: Is this a must-win series?
And I often roll my eyes, because I’m not sure what they’re really asking. Is it a must-win insofar that if said team doesn’t win then every player is going to be subject to a firing squad once it’s over? Will the franchise get liquidated if they don’t win the series? Is Bud Selig going to walk into the clubhouse to notify every player that — since they failed to win — they can no longer play in the major leagues anymore?
But if we’re talking about how there are only 17 games left on the Rangers schedule, and how the Rangers are playing the team they are chasing in the American League West standings, then yeah, in relative terms, you could say this series is necessary to win, and anything less than a series victory shifts our attention to the Wild Card rather than our division.
Oakland currently leads Texas by 3.5 games in the West, but all we should really be concerned about is the 3-game lead they possess in the loss column. After the weekend, Oakland will either lead the West by 6 in the loss column (with a sweep), 4 in the loss column (winning 2 out of 3), 2 in the loss column (winning 1 out of 3), or the division will be all square.
If ever there was a time for the Rangers to play their best ball of the season, it would be now. After losing 9 of their last 12, and after an off day, It’s Time.
Ideally this weekend propels Texas to a series win — a sweep would be sweet — and they go on the win the West and so on and so forth. We all know what we want, and we all know how difficult it’s going to be to accomplish. But let’s not lose focus on the grand scheme of things, that whether or not we win the series, win the West, or even make the playoffs, the Rangers are still in the middle of their greatest run of baseball since the organization has been in existence.
Will I be bummed if Oakland comes in and beats the living shit out of Texas this weekend? Of course; I don’t wanna make it sound like I’ve lost my burning desire to see this team win.
However, I’m old enough now to have some perspective on the world, and I know no matter what happens on the field this weekend, or the rest of this year or next, I recognize nothing in baseball compares to the struggles of everyday life. I recognize that this is the golden age of Rangers baseball — the only era of it I’ve known — and that’s a wonderful thing.