Toronto media, specifically the Toronto Sun, lost its mind Friday following the sweep of the Blue Jays by the Texas Rangers. Accomplishing a feat, the franchise hasn't seen since 1993 when the Rangers last swept the Jays in a four-game set, in "the 6."
Apparently, the drubbing given by Texas was so bad that the Sun created a poster based on the 1974 horror film, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Sure, a little hyperbole can go a long way in telling a story, and far be it from this writer to criticize anyone for using a bit of it. But, if I'm Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, I'm taking this poster and putting it in my office inside a nice frame for a few reasons.
Reason 1 -- To show this team what they're capable of
Now I'll admit, I usually shy away from a manager/coach giving their own team a little too much to get cocky about. Sure, a sense of pride and accomplishment can go a long way for a team, and a bit of swagger is a good thing. But the moment that makes a team feel completely invincible, it can lend itself to numerous problems with egos and entitlement. However, this one feels a bit different.
These guys needed this BADLY. As we all recall, the Rangers were mired in a tailspin of epic proportions just one week ago. This locker room has needed something to loosen them up a bit and make them get out on the field and have some fun again. What better way to remind these guys of how much damage they can do when they perform at their peak?
Reason 2 -- To show this team how proud of them he is
Having formerly played sports myself, I can honestly say that most of my freshman football team generally thought Coach Hastings (our Freshman Head Football Coach) hated us at certain points in the season. Granted, yours truly might have also slacked a bit in his U.S. History class that year, as well as the Algebra class taught by our defensive line coach that same year. And there might have been a time when some of our offensive linemen decided it would be fun to take his small Nissan, lift it and rotate it into a perpendicular position in the parking lot after a big district win. But to be honest, I don't know that I've ever met a kid that played middle school or high school football in the Lone Star State and thought their coach actually liked them. I also feel like Bochy is that same type of skipper in baseball.
But, we also didn't care if our coaches liked us. We just wanted to make them proud. We wanted to see that they believed in us. That's why we geeked out when Coach Hastings decided to start handing out helmet stickers for big plays at the beginning of that season. The only thing that felt as good as making a big play, was getting that sticker the next day in practice and getting a pat on the back from the coach.
Taking this front-page picture and making it a mural for at least a short time in the Rangers clubhouse would be like one gargantuan helmet sticker for this Texas squad. Much like needing to see what they're capable of at their peak, they also need to be reminded by the man in charge how much he enjoys leading them. This would send the message loudly and clearly.
Reason 3 -- To show just how awesome it is
Think about it. The Rangers made a sports writing staff and a fanbase feel absolutely demoralized for at least a full day. I can say as a 35+ year-follower of Texas Rangers baseball, that I'm all-too-familiar with that feeling, myself.
I remember Sports Illustrated running an issue in May of 1989 with Nolan Ryan on the cover. The team had started the month of April on fire, jumping out to a 17-5 start to lead the AL West! Ironically, they lost two of three in Toronto toward the end of that month.
Sadly, nobody that season could match Oakland and The Bash Brothers. Within the first week of May, the one game lead had turned into a two-game deficit. Considering only division winners made the MLB Playoffs at that time, all hopes of the team's first postseason appearance were placed on life support by the middle of the month. What would do such a thing?
These are the aftermath of sweeps. The Rangers found themselves on the losing end of three sweeps that month. They would only get swept two more times in '89. But that abysmal month of May where they ended up 10-17 derailed all their hopes. A 12-16 August didn't help either, but I do believe those three sweeps in one month took their toll.
But now the 2023 team, some 34 years later has dealt that same kind of blow to another rival. Now like that powerhouse, World Series winning 1989 Oakland team, the Rangers must go on and finish the job. And what better way to do it than to make a giant mural of that front page in all of its glory? Ok maybe not, but I'd sure love to see it.