2011 was a game-changing year for Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks fans. The impact of that single year has carried over to each fan base eight years later.
It’s always dangerous to look back on what something could have been. Sure, it can be a nice thought, but reality is reality and we cannot change the past. I don’t mean to get all philosophical, but the current state of the Texas Rangers got me thinking…
How would things be different if the Rangers won the world series in 2010 or 2011?
I said it’s dangerous to look back on the past, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do throughout this article. If you don’t want to recall the oh-so-close championships in any way, click away.
For 7+ years now, Dallas citizens have taken great pride in the area’s most recent major sports championship – the 2011 Dallas Mavericks title over the Miami Heat. It was an awesome moment! The perfect collection of teammates led by all-timer, Dirk Nowitzki, defeated the “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The Mavs were the underdogs, but they proved every non-Dallas fan wrong.
Hypothetically speaking, what if the Mavericks lost? What if they came up short and let the Heat take home the trophy?
Maybe they would have handled the following offseason differently, but, for argument’s sake, let’s say the next seven seasons would remain the same.
The Mavs made the playoffs four times over that span, but lost in the first round each time. They’ve missed the playoffs the last two campaigns, and the 2017-2018 campaign resulted in a 24-58 record, the 4th worst in the NBA.
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Alright, let’s revert back to the Texas Rangers. Since their World Series appearance in 2011, the Rangers have made the postseason three times. They lost in the wildcard round once and the ALDS twice. They won the division in 2015 and 2016. Last season’s 67-95 record was rock bottom. Finishing 36 games out of first place in the division speaks for itself.
So, comparing the Dallas Mavericks and the Texas Rangers since 2011, both teams have multiple playoff appearances and both teams have suffered a severe drop-off. The difference? The Mavs won in 2011 and the Rangers didn’t.
Similar paths for each franchise since that exciting year, yet the attitude of each team’s fan base is wildly different.
The Mavs are currently going through a rebuild, but no one is complaining. Everyone comes to Mark Cuban‘s defense despite a stretch of disappointment. Dallas can’t sign the big free agent, they’ve given up draft picks and they can’t compete with the Western Conference’s best squads.
The Rangers’ stretch of disappointment has been attacked by thousands of upset fans, most of them calling for Jon Daniels’ job. The organization has whiffed on multiple trades and has watched their farm system rapidly deplete.
Frustration over the Rangers’ recent years is justified; however, frustration over the Mavericks’ recent years is non-existent.
Had the Texas Rangers won the World Series in 2010 or 2011, fans would simply shrug their shoulders at past failures and continue to boast their championship. They would have reached their pinnacle as a fan and accepted an eventual downturn. The World Series title would always be there to fallback on and to reference when the fan of another team makes a threat (like when Dallas Cowboys fans respond with “Five”).
When you think about it, one series, one game, and, in the Rangers’ case, one pitch, can make a world of a difference in a die-hard fan’s life. If Nelson Cruz makes that play in right (yes I brought it up) or Neftali Feliz throws a breaking ball instead of a fastball to David Freese (double down), your life as a Texas Rangers’ fan would be completely different, and only in a good way.
But neither happened, and another seven years have been added to the franchise’s championship-less resume. Rangers nation is hungrier and more desperate, yet the team is currently far from the ultimate goal. Fans are restless.
I’m not apologizing for the Texas Rangers. I’m not saying you should take it easy on Jon Daniels or try to have more patience. Frankly, I’m just highlighting the perspective of a sports fan.
Do the Rangers really deserve an angry mob and the Mavericks a tranquil fan base? Should the upsetting result of a 1-2 pitch in Game 6 of a World Series warrant the extreme difference of a gratified following and a disgruntled following?
I guess the answer to both questions is “yes”. Fans of each franchise are acting the way they are because that’s how fans act all over the world regarding their favorite teams. Though, when you give it as much thought as I just did, it seems silly to revere the Mavs in 2019 while doubting the Rangers. The two teams have done nearly the same thing over the past eight years.