When the World Series starts tomorrow, Jeff Banister will be returning not only to his home state of Texas but to the city where he managed the Texas Rangers for four seasons. Banister is now the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks and will be in the third base dugout on this trip to Arlington. There is little doubt that there will be strong emotions bubbling within him as he helps lead his team in the World Series against his former club.
Banny, as he was affectionately referred to, was a fan favorite for many Rangers faithful. He had the tough task of taking over for Ron Washington and was brought in to set a tone of accountability and a strong work ethic. He did just that, but unfortunately, he might have done too good of a job. His strict leadership style didn't mesh well with some and ultimately led to his demise.
When Banister took over at the helm in Arlington in 2015, the Rangers were fresh off a 2014 season that saw them go 67-95. However, in the four previous years, Texas had tallied 90 or more wins and made two trips to the World Series. John Daniels and the front office were convinced that the team wasn't far off regaining their World Series glory. Under Banister's leadership, the Rangers won back-to-back AL West titles only to get eliminated both years by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALDS. He was the 2015 AL Manager of the Year and was runner-up for the award to Terry Francona in 2016.
The 2016 season was one that saw the Rangers win 95 games, mainly because of their success in one-run ball contests. That year the Rangers were an astonishing 36-11 in one-run games. The manager can get a lot of unwarranted credit or criticism, based on how their club performs in one-run games. In 2017 and 2018 the Rangers came back to reality and amassed win totals of 78 and 67 games respectively. Banister was relieved of his managerial duties with ten games remaining in the 2018 season.
No one ever questioned Banister's drive and passion for his players and the game of baseball. They also probably never questioned if he could take out most players on the other team in a brawl. The man is jacked and has the look of someone not to tread on.
Respect for Banister runs deep, and he will no doubt have several family and friends from the area that will be in attendance tomorrow night. We wish Banister all the best, but just not the best in this World Series.
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