I need to take a couple days off to let this settle. I just do. I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m stunned.
Mostly, I’m sad.
No, mostly I’m stunned.
Wait. Maybe I’m more sad.
I’m not going to write another word for a bit. Gotta decompress some.
I keep thinking about the short report I wrote two months ago today, when Texas had the best record in the American League (along with New York) and a division lead of five games over the Angels (5.5 over the A’s), but had lost two straight games (one to Kansas City, the other to Boston, both in ugly fashion) on the heels of a four-game win streak.
Here it is again for now, and I’ll talk to you all later:
No other team has played nearly as much baseball these past two years as Texas.
The Rangers played six post-season series in 2010 and 2011, and not just that – they played 33 of a possible 38 games over those two months of uniquely intense baseball.
No other team has played more than three playoff series the last two years.
One of those teams, San Francisco, played its three in 2010, reaching and winning the World Series. And didn’t return to the playoffs 2011.
St. Louis played its three in 2011 and, as of today, has to make up 2.5 games or will fall short of the second NL Wild Card slot and be home this October.
Philadelphia split its three between 2010 (two series) and 2011 (one series), and are hopelessly out of contention this year.
It’s hard to keep it going.
Those three franchises, along with the Yankees, have earned the right to play in three playoff series the last two years, the rough equivalent of an extra month of baseball.
On the calendar, that is. An extra month of games, but at an intensity that surely takes an even greater physical toll than that.
And the Rangers have doubled it.
With relatively little turnover on the roster.
They look tired. They’ve looked tired for months.
“Lifeless,” as a surprised Boston radio broadcast described them tonight.
They’re really good. But, through this physical and mental grind that no other team has earned the right to have been put through since 2010, they look short on spark, short on swagger, short on energy, and on some nights, short on fight.
Not all of them.
But too many of them.
I’m not all that concerned about this year’s 162.
But I’m concerned about October.