I could never root for the Rangers

Game six of the World Series is tonight and, if all goes as I hope it will, there will be a Game seven, winner-take-all, ultimate baseball showdown in St. Louis tomorrow night. The series to this point–and this year’s postseason in general–demands nothing less.

I’ve already gone on the record as being a Cardinals supporter, for the same reasons that I put my distaste for Ohio State aside when bowl season comes around in college football. It’s a tribal loyalty thing more than anything else. And taking the DH off of the table for the final two games of the Series should benefit the Cardinals. We’ll see if that’s how it actually turns out.

Fox’s coverage of the World Series has turned Nolan Ryan into the face of the Rangers franchise, if he wasn’t already, and that’s just fine with me. He sure does seem to have the J.R. Ewing look down, doesn’t he? But for a player with his stature to take such a prominent role in the building of a championship-caliber team is really something special. We may not see anything like it ever again.

All of the attention given to Nolan Ryan deflects attention from the one who once was the face of the franchise. His career arc depended on the Rangers to give him some public standing, which in turn led to Texas politics and then to the White House. There’s a lot that I could say about this, but I’ll just bite my tongue and offer up a more baseball-specific reason not to root for this guy or his team.

In the early 1990s, with a disastrous player’s strike looming on the horizon, the realignment of baseball into three divisions in each league went forward. This created an opening for a wild-card team to get into the playoffs, by virtue of their overall record during the regular season, instead of as the winner of a divisional title.

The owners still had to vote to approve this change, and one team’s part-owner stood apart from the others. He claimed that “history would prove” his correctness opposing the change, even though it had already been very successful in the NFL. Adding a wild card team into the playoff mix–which allowed, by the way, for a riveting evening of baseball on the final day of this year’s regular season–was “an exercise in folly,” for this one individual.

Without the addition of the wild card to baseball’s playoffs, the Cardinals–who finished six games behind the Brewers at the end of the regular season–would have been watching the games of the past four weeks, instead of playing in them. That would have been the true “exercise in folly,” in this writer’s humble opinion.

A number of years ago, when the part-owner (whose name I’m not using here, if you hadn’t already noticed) held his last full-time job, I oversaw development of educational materials to be used with a History textbook’s revision. I made it my goal to remove any and all references to this individual in the development, on the theory that the less that was said about him, the better. And how did it turn out? Let’s just say “Mission Accomplished” and leave it at that.

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