“Wait, they’re from Washington?!” -me while reading up on the history of the Rangers.
So if you’re less familiar with the background of this Texas team, as clearly I was, it may surprise you to know that they originally hail from Washington DC. That’s right, after the Washington Senators left for Minnesota at the end of the 1960 season, it took less than a year for the MLB to replace them with a new team. With the exact same name. It wasn’t until 1972 that these (new) Senators moved to Texas and became the Rangers, all while under the management of the legendary Ted Williams*.
Still with me? Bravo!
So after their big move, the Rangers spent over a decade struggling for attendance in the sweltering heat, and had several seasons of ups and downs, before eventually securing Bobby Valentine (one of my personal favorites) as manager. With the combination of Valentine, a few great coaches, and an influx of talented rookies, the Rangers did improve, but they still didn’t win their first division title until the late 90’s. They’ve won several more since then, even making it to the World Series twice, but still haven’t come away with a world championship yet.
Objectively speaking, it seems to me like the Rangers franchise has been battling against the odds for a while, which I’m sure detracts from their playoff chances. They’ve been plagued by financial issues, even filing for bankruptcy midseason in 2010, and an unfortunate series of pricey signings didn’t work out for them *cough*ALEX RODRIGUEZ*cough*. I feel like the addidtion of Nolan Ryan as CEO helped gradually stabilize the team, and gave them the comfort of having a former Ranger in charge for a bit (he left in 2013). Clearly they still made the playoffs last year, as I’m covering them early in the season, and am working backwards based on playoff rankings. Hopefully the tides are turning for the Rangers this year, and I’ll do what I can this week to bring some stylish support 😉
*For those still new to the game, Ted Williams is easily one of most famous players in the history of baseball. You could take the time to read about his hitting exploits on his Wikipedia page, but I feel like the weight of his influence on players, even as recently as the 90’s, is best shown in this video. Watching the most talented baseball players in the prime of their careers turn into a swarm of humble, and elated admirers in the presence of Ted Williams is one of my favorite memories of the sport. Even now, seeing that video induces some serious baseball feels for me.