Author: J. Brackston

Jimmie Johnson Wins Daytona 500 For The Second Time

 

Okay, I am going to admit it. I have become a Nascar fan. I did not know I was until today. I caught myself rushing home from work to catch the end of the Daytona 500. Driving along, I was wondering if Danica Patrick could hold the lead.

This past season she made history as the first woman to win the pole position at Daytona. Today she became the first woman to lead a lap at Daytona. Patrick is starting to change the perception of racing fans that she is not just a hot chick who drives fast. Do not get me wrong, Patrick is a hot chick, but she obviously has some skills.

There will be a day when Patrick wins a Nascar race, possibly Daytona. Today Daytona belonged to Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe’s car. Johnson won for the second time around at Daytona, the 1st victory coming in 2006. Johnson becomes only the 8th driver in Nascar history to win 60 Cup races.

The race has been called boring on various social media sites. Fans wanted more action, but wrecks took out many of the big name drivers early in the race, leaving Johnson and Patrick to keep the viewers at home interested.

Tony Stewart went out on lap 118. Kevin Harvick exited even earlier on lap 47. Juan Pablo Montoya took a seat on lap 144. Matt Kenseth joined him on lap 149, and Kyle Busch left on lap 151. So as, you can see at least five of the spectators at the end of this year’s Daytona 500 had the skills to win the race.

Reaching home after work today, I went rushing in the house and looked for the television remote. I realized not only am I a Nascar fan, but I am a Jimmie Johnson fan. I mentioned last week that his preparation impressed me, and it still does along with his skills. What made me decide I was a Johnson fan, was not so much that he won today, although I was cheering for him at the end.

More than the victory, I like people who apply the skills they have to what they are doing. Johnson by his hard work preparing for his craft put himself in a position to win. Taking nothing away from Danica Patrick, I am happy she is finding success. Make no mistake, I also like so many other Nascar fans like looking at her.

With that being said, today at Daytona Jimmie Johnson did what he had to do. He simply won.

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Nascar is about to start their engines for another season

Nascar is about to kick off a new season. The sport of Nascar is perhaps the most misunderstood sport of all the major sports. Fans that love and enjoy auto-racing, just love it and live it. Those who do not understand the sport and all it contains simply do not see the attraction.

Watching cars go around in circles sometimes can be misunderstood as waiting for the wreck. Nascar is so much more than that. Teams and skill are involved, and strategy is complex. Very simply stated, it is not just a guy in a car driving as fast as he can.

The preparation and training are an essential part of the over-all success of a driver, team and car. The season is long, and one or two disappointing races, one or two crashes may hurt a driver in the standings, like in other sports teams can recover and make a comeback. Getting to the playoffs, just as in other sports is the most crucial part of the regular season.

Yes, drivers, teams and the fans want a victory every time out, but the reality is that is not going to happen. Consistent performance combined with a few good finishes along the way makes the difference in a Nascar season.

While I have not been a Nascar fan for long. I have become one. Allegiance to one car, or one team, or one diver has not come my way as I become more educated about the sport I am sure it will. Although I must say, I do like Jimmy Johnson and the way he approaches the sport. I also like the grit and determination of Tony Stewart.

I attended my first Nascar race last season, here is a link to an article I wrote about the experience.

One thing that does puzzle me about the sport is the Daytona 500. Known as the Super Bowl of Nascar, why do they race it first? Why is it not the last race of the season if it is the Super Bowl? Every other sport has the big game at the end of the season,but not Nascar.

Nascar instead chooses to have what they call, “The Chase”, toward the end of the season. Well not quite the end of the season, it is a 12 car/driver/team playoff kind of thing. The top 12 drivers in point standings are eligible to win the coveted Sprint Car Championship. These playoffs as they would be called in any other sport take place in the last ten races of the season.

Possibly Nascar has better marketing people than other sports. Many teams in baseball are virtually eliminated by July, and sell off their best players. By late October, many NFL fans think the season is over for the home team. Basketball teams start looking for lottery picks by the 50th game. Nascar fans do have the Chase to look forward too at the end, so maybe Nascar is on to something after-all.

So for now I will leave you with this Nascar type finish. For The Post Game Report featuring the ramblings of J. Brackston banged out on my HP laptop I am going to go have a piece of cake from Creative Memories Inc. , YOURCAKEPLACE.COM.

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The Off-Season is finally over

The Ground Hog has predicted an early spring. President Obama was re-elected. The war in Afghanistan is finally coming to an end. The economy will someday eventually recover. The Baltimore Ravens have won the Super Bowl. The Alabama Crimson Tide has won the National Championship. The Dallas Cowboys folded like a cheap suit, again. The dreary days of winter have finally passed us by, and the real off-season is finally over.

Yes, for the sports purist a new season will soon be starting. Baseball is the purist of all American past-times. Fathers and Grand Fathers will be taking young boys to their first baseball games. Those boys will be wide-eyed and amazed at what they are watching. The ball parks around Florida and Arizona will be filled with players hoping to make an impression on someone, enabling them to join the major league roster. These young players will also be wide-eyed and amazed at what they see and what they experience.

Every team will have hopes of catching lightning in a bottle and making an incredible run like the Oakland A’s did this past season. The Baltimore Orioles will try to repeat the year they had last season. The Washington Nationals will hope that their ace pitcher will not be shut down just as the playoffs arise.

Being a long-time Texas Ranger fan I have high hopes. High hopes that Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli leaving will give young players a chance to begin to achieve their own potential. High hopes that a pitching staff riddled by injury will come-back stronger, able to carry the team to another pennant race as we have enjoyed the last three seasons.

Even higher hopes that Yu Darvish will not become a victim of the sophomore jinx that so many major league players experience. Hopes that Colby Lewis comes back strong from elbow surgery, and that Neftali Feliz regains his pre-injury form.

All of these are just hopes, the same hopes that have made baseball so great over the years. The sound of the first fastball hitting the mitt, the first crack of a bat sending a baseball into the stands and the first time the national anthem is sung before a game all feed these hopes. No matter your age, no matter which team you root for or against, these things mean something.

These things will bring the memories of games and teams gone-by flooding back. They will remind of us the heroes of our youth, our history and our team’s glory days. We as fans hurt when our favorite players are traded or have left through free-agency. We suffer through the bad years along with the players. More than anything we celebrate the successes. We cherish those memories, looking forward to each new season, telling those stories over and over.

Yes, baseball fans the off-season has ended. Spring training will start soon, and baseball games will soon be played. All will soon be right in the world, if only for nine innings at a time.

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Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins Renewing The Rivalry

The Dallas Cowboys start the playoffs this Sunday, December 30, 2012, against the Washington Redskins. While the game is the final regular season game of the 2012 season, it is a playoff game. The loser will be eliminated, and the winner goes on to the playoffs as the Eastern Division champion of the NFC.

When the season started few would have thought the Redskins and Cowboys would be in this position. The New York Giants entered the season as the favorite to win the east, and Philadelphia had to be considered New York’s biggest threat. Sure there were die-hard Cowboy and Redskin fans that would point out their teams had a chance to be special, but even Las Vegas thought there was little chance. Going into the regular season, Vegas had the odds of either team winning the Super Bowl set at the Cowboys at 25 to 1 and the Redskins at 100 to 1.

Well as the season finishes up this Sunday things have changed. The Eagles quit a month ago. They have been a mess all year. The team with arguably the most talent fell flat on their face, and Head Coach Andy Reid will probably be fired after the season is officially over. The Giants fought injuries all season and the defense just never played well for more than a game at one time.

The Redskins have found new life in the last six weeks of the season. The Redskins were left for dead six weeks ago.  Mike Shanahan made the comment that players were playing for their jobs for next year during a press conference six weeks ago. The players must have been listening that day because the team has rallied and won the last six games going into Sunday. One of those games was a Thanksgiving Day win over the Cowboys, 38-31 in Arlington.

The Cowboys have also had a resurgence the second half of the season. Tony Romo and the offense have come alive. The offensive line seems to have gotten better at giving Romo time to throw, and Romo has responded by throwing 10 touchdowns in the last four games. During that span, Romo threw only one interception while compiling 1328 yards through the air.

Dez Bryant has been an absolute beast, playing with an index finger awaiting surgery after the season. Bryant has finally played up to expectations. During the last four games, Bryant has caught 23 passes for 441 yards; more importantly six of those catches have gone for touchdowns.

So here we are going into the final game of the regular season, and Cowboys and Redskins fans are going back to the future. During the ‘90s, no two teams hated each other as much as these two. Fans who had never met hated each other based on the jersey color.  Then came along Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, they so dominated the Redskins during the decade of the ‘90s the rivalry lost some of the intrigue. That domination was so one-sided with no end in sight some say it drove Joe Gibbs into retirement.

This Sunday, the rivalry becomes officially renewed. The winner will have bragging rights, the Eastern Division Championship and a trip to the playoffs. The loser will have another off-season to regroup, make tee times, and become a spectator. Hopefully the winner will go on to make a miracle run to the Vince Lombardi trophy. The Redskins-Cowboys rivalry of the ‘80s and ’90 meant something unique to the fans. Today’s Cowboys fans need to experience the rivalry the way it was meant to be.

Yes, I know Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris along the rest of the Redskins are people and just doing their jobs. I know the Cowboys will have to play a perfect game to go into Washington and leave with a win. I know if they play as they have been, that can happen. I know the Redskins are going to do everything they can in order to prevent that from happening. I know that at kickoff time, I am going back to the ‘80s and ‘90s, I am going to hate the Redskins, their fans, the city, everything about them until the game is over and Dallas leaves with a win.

I think Dallas will win. I think Romo will finally make people forget the fumble on that extra point in Seattle. I think Dez Bryant will make people say wow. I think the defense will be just good enough, and I think the rivalry will be reborn. I only have one hope for the game, that I do not have to hear Bob Costas make a speech about anything but football.

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Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels to Smart to Re-Sign Josh Hamilton

 

Josh Hamilton signed a five year contract with the Los Angeles Angels last week. The only thing to say is good for him, good for his family, good for the Angels, and more importantly good for the Texas Rangers. I intentionally waited a week to write about Hamilton and his signing with the western division rivals. Make no mistake, I did not delay writing because of bitterness, I personally wanted Hamilton gone prior to last season. I simply waited for all the knee-jerk reactions to settle down, and give Hamilton time to do interviews exposing his true self.

Last year, when local NBC Sports Anchor, Newy Scruggs asked Hamilton if he owed the Texas Rangers anything, Hamilton answered with, “I don’t feel like I owe the Rangers anything.” Hamilton went on to prove that during the season. Yes, there were moments of greatness, those moments were far overshadowed by moments of complacency.

162 times this past season, Hamilton struck out. Many of those times he swung meekly at the third strike and casually strolled back to the dugout with a smirk on his face. Many major league batters strike out, that is not the issue I have with Hamilton. My issue is giving up at bats, essentially just quitting on your team, your teammates, the fans, and most importantly himself.

How many times have you seen other major league hitters get behind in the count, then foul off several pitches before striking out? While still an out, those batters at the least make the opposing pitcher keep making pitches. They keep fighting for their team, for themselves, they keep trying.
Hamilton left the Rangers long before he signed that contract with the Angels. He left them several times this year. He took a week off using blurred vision from not having caffeine as an excuse, he took off June and July, hitting .223 in June and following that up with a .177 average for July. Had Hamilton showed up in either of those months, the Rangers would have won the west and went to the real playoffs for the third year in a row.

The last game of the season with Oakland, the game where Hamilton dropped a fly to finish handing the Oakland A’s the western division title, would have been meaningless had Hamilton played June and July like a professional. The three games that meant the most to the Rangers this year, the last two with Oakland and the wildcard game with Baltimore, Hamilton batted .156 and struck out six times in 13 at bats.

The Angels and their fans will embrace the talent, and the potential Hamilton brings to the ball park. He will wow them with feats of hitting as few players are capable of exhibiting. He will also frustrate them considerably by quitting on himself, his teammates and the fans. Hamilton got what he wanted from the Angels, $125 million dollars, attention, and another 15 minutes of fame.

The Angels let emotion get in the way of good business sense. There was a reason Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels had not resigned Hamilton last year, possibly already seeing what Hamilton so clearly displayed this past season. Hamilton went from being a cornerstone of the Rangers championship runs to being a millstone around their necks in a remarkably short period of time. To Ryan and Daniel’s credit, neither ever gave up on Hamilton, even when he gave up on himself. They were simply too smart to throw good money after bad.

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The Texas Rangers Letter to Santa or What It Should Be

Yu Darvish

 

The holidays are rapidly approaching. Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels have without doubt been busy penning a letter to Santa Claus. The Texas Rangers having tasted success the past three years and will need Santa to be good to them this year. As a long time Rangers fan, I also have been giving quite a bit of thought to what should be listed in the letter Ryan and Daniels will be forwarding to the Northpole.

After the late season meltdown by a team that essentially had the American League Western Division wrapped up midway through the summer. Ranger fans the world over were left wondering, what exactly happened to their team in late September. To sum it up in a few words would be difficult at best. Pointing a finger at one area of the team would be doing the others an injustice. The Rangers need so many things for Christmas this year.

Here, is a list of the top 10 items I would be putting in that letter if Ryan or Daniels were to either ask for my opinion.

1. Starting Pitching: Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison need some help if the Rangers want to reclaim the west. Colby Lewis coming back healthy would top my list. Lewis eats innings like a child eats candy. Lewis pitched over 200 inning his first two years after returning to the Rangers. They also need Neftali Feliz to come back strong. The loss of Lewis and Feliz, more than anything in my opinion caused the Rangers to allow the Oakland A’s overtake them.

2. More Starting Pitching: The Rangers need to add depth to the Darvish/Harrison/Lewis trio. They need to go out and trade for a quality starting pitcher. Yes, they could consider the free agent market, but they have tried that before with little success.

3. Let Josh Hamilton Leave: Let Hamilton take his bows and leave for more money elsewhere. Hamilton has been good for the Rangers in his time here, but all good things must come to an end. The Rangers have had a history of hanging on to long in the past, hopefully Ryan remembers this and lets Hamilton leave. Without a doubt, this will save money for pitching, and let Hamilton find the answers he is searching for elsewhere while the Rangers go back to the playoffs.

4. Trade Elvis Andrus: The Rangers need to deal Andrus before the season starts. Now, they could get a quality starting pitcher, maybe David Price from the Tampa Rays. Price is a big strong left handed pitcher, who last year pitched over 200 innings with over 200 strike outs.

5. Trade Derek Holland: Get whatever they can in return. Holland is like a rollercoaster. When he takes the mound, Ranger fans have no idea what they are going to get. One game he will be extremely good, the next he will be extraordinarily bad. The time has come for the Rangers to move on without him.

6. Beat up on the Houston Astros: The Astros are moving to the American League this year. The Rangers need to take advantage of an opportunity and beat up on the Astros before they settle in and figure out how to play with a designated hitter.

7. Add More Valet Parking: The Ballpark in Arlington is a fantastic place to watch a baseball game. The parking is terrible at best. Anyone not a season ticket holder better be prepared to hike to your seat. The Valet parking is an excellent value and the walk is cut down to about a 100 yards.

8. Add More Concession Employees: The Rangers are a fantastic organization for the community. Many local groups man the concession stands to support their cause. The down side, they make the lines move slower forcing fans to miss an inning or more going after a beer and a hotdog.

9. Play Fewer Day Games: Texas summers are hot. Day baseball in Texas makes no sense to me at all. I have been to day games in the past, but without a doubt that is the past. I have no interest in going out and sitting in the hot summer sun, trying to watch a Ranger game.

10. Keep On Winning: Last on the list, but not least. After years and years of watching losing teams take the field, Ryan and Daniels have given fans a reason to come to the games. The Rangers have been good for the last three years and the fans have rewarded them by coming to the games in droves. Last year Ranger attendance reached an all-time high, if they keep winning and we will keep coming.

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Dallas Cowboys Take Care of Business in Philadelphia

Dallas Cowboys

 

The Dallas Cowboys went into Philadelphia and beat the Eagles by a score of 38-23. Cowboy fans should celebrate the victory with caution. Yes, it was a victory. Yes, the defense played well and scored twice. Yes, Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes without throwing an interception. All of these things are substantial steps in the right direction, but they are just steps, not leaps and bounds.

Cowboy fans have been teased with encouraging results before. They started the season with a win in New York, and we all thought things would be different this year from last. Then came the Baltimore meltdown, and again fans were reminded that Jason Garrett and the Cowboys could fall as fast as they could rise.

There was a resemblance of a running game this week with Felix Jones gaining 71 yards on 16 carries. That helped keep Romo from having to try to carry the team and make one of those throws we all wish he would not attempt. The Cowboys out rushed the Eagles 101 to 91 in the game. Cowboys fans need to remember, Mike Vick was out of this game for almost three quarters, had Vick played the entire game, those numbers would have undoubtedly changed in the Eagles favor.

The fourth quarter was the difference this time going the Cowboys way. Dwayne Harris got things going the right direction with a 78 yard punt return. Then the defense stepped up and won the game. Less than a minute after Harris’ punt return, Brandon Carr returned an interception 47 yards for another touchdown.

The Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles looked like a young version of Romo. Foles completed 22 of 32 passes for 219 yards, one touchdown, with one fumble and one interception. The Dallas defense turned the interception and fumble into 14 points while putting the game out of reach.

Cowboys fans should celebrate the victory, but keep it in perspective. The Cowboys have not won two games in a row this season. They should have, but they have found ways to prevent it. Next week they get their first look at Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns, a team they should also beat. Now it is up to Jason Garrett, Tony Romo and the defense to try to make that happen two games in a row.

Jason Garrett will have to continue to get the Cowboys to run effectively, keeping the offense balanced thus taking the pressure off Romo. The defense will be facing another rookie, the major difference is this rookie has shown he can play in the NFL. Weeden has over 2000 yards passing this season and 9 touchdowns, with victories over Cincinnati and San Diego.

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The Dallas Cowboys Played Well Enough To Win, But Choose To Lose 29-24

The Dallas Cowboys hosted the New York Giants and played well enough to give away a game to the defending Super Bowl champions, 29-24. Tony Romo passed for over 400 yards and completed 40 passes. Normally that would be enough to win. The problem with Romo’s performance on this Sunday, four of those completions were to New York Giant defenders, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

The Cowboys defense played well in the loss. Eli Manning and the Giants offense could only manage 293 total yards of offense. The Cowboys offense turned the ball over six times, and in the NFL, that spells doom. The Cowboys managed only 19 yards on the ground with DeMarco Murray sidelined with a foot injury.

Cowboy fans will no doubt be pointing the finger at Romo in this loss, but as an eyewitness to this game, I saw it differently. Jason Garrett may be a great guy, but as a head coach, he is lacking in leadership. Late in the first half, Garrett chose to take a knee with 14 seconds left in the half. A leader would have taken a shot, throwing a hail-mary and praying for a miracle. Most hail-marys do not work, but at least Garrett would have sent a message to the Giants and more importantly to his own players, that they would at least put up a fight.

Later in the game with a fourth and one, deep in Giants territory, Garrett again showed a lack of leadership, trying a pass play when a quarterback draw may have kept the drive alive. The Cowboys had momentum and the Giants were playing pass, again Garrett showed a lack of confidence in his team.
The Cowboys now stand at 3-4 on the season and at least three of the losses were winnable. Changes need to be made for the Cowboys to become winners again. Below I have listed five things I think would vastly improve those chances.

1. Jerry Jones needs to hire a football man for a General Manager. Jones is obviously an accomplished business man, and a marketing genius. He should stick to that and let a football man give this team a leader, someone to follow. Even the fans have turned against him, every time his picture was put on the giant screen in Cowboys Stadium, the crowd booed louder than when the Giants made a play. This past week, the Cowboys sent an email to season ticket holders to show up and be loud in order to disrupt the Giants offense. Then they opened the doors and roof to let the noise out, lousy football decision and the game had not even started.

2. Jason Garrett needs to be fired as the head-coach. If I can see the lack of leadership from the stands, the players on the field cannot help but see it, and feel it. Enough is enough, and Garrett is just not a head coach.

3. Dez Bryant needs to shut up and play. Every time he drops a ball, and there are many times, he jumps up and complains to the officials. If he caught even half of the passes he drops, the Cowboys would be 5-3 instead of 3-4. Bryant may have unlimited potential, but he limits himself with his mouth and lack of concentration.

4. The Cowboys need to find a running game. With or without DeMarco Murray, 19 yards on the ground are just unacceptable. Felix Jones needs to be sent packing, 13 carries for 19 yards with a fumble is not a running game, it is simply a joke. Jones is slow, gives up without a fight, and is just taking up space on the field. Garrett should cut him Monday morning if he ever wants to be the leader the Cowboys need. By cutting Jones, he could at least send a message that lack of effort will not be tolerated.

5. Doing any of the above takes some of the pressure off Romo. Trying to carry this team on his back is just too much for him. Romo is an outstanding quarterback, but with no leadership from Jones or Garrett and Bryant dropping passes consistently, added to the total lack of a running game, there is no way Romo or the Cowboys can win.
It is not too late for the Cowboys to turn the season around, but it is late in the game, and the clock is running. Time to see if either Garrett or Jones leads or they both take a knee.

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It Was a Nice Run Texas Rangers Fans

Josh Hamilton

 

The Texas Rangers had a nice run over three years. Making the playoffs three years in a row, playing in the World Series two of those years. They came within a strike of winning that second World Series, and a misplayed fly ball by Nelson Cruz, could have won it. Yes, Rangers fans have had a talented team to watch and cheer for over the last three years.

This year, injuries, poor play and poor management decisions were just simply too much for the Rangers to overcome. Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz went down to season ending injuries and along with them went the Rangers season. Had either of these pitchers not been injured, things would have been different. We would have seen much less of Scott Feldman and Roy Oswalt would still be a free-agent, and Martin Perez would not have been thrown into a situation he clearly was not ready for.

Even with the injuries to Lewis and Feliz the Rangers were in a position, to win the American League Western Division Championship for a third consecutive year. The standings in June had the Rangers leading the Oakland A’s by 13 games. Taking nothing away from the A’s, but the Rangers did more to lose the west, than Oakland did to win it. That being said Oakland did what they had to do in order to win the west. They beat the Rangers three straight to end the season and overtake the Rangers, but those games should have had no meaning, if not for the collapse of the Rangers.

Josh Hamilton should be given much of the credit for the Rangers reaching the World Series in 2010 and 2011, he also should get the lion’s share of the blame for the Rangers not having a chance to make it three in a row. This season has been a rollercoaster ride as far as Hamilton is concerned. Hamilton wowed us all by hitting four home runs in one game, along with leading the league most of the season in homeruns and RBI while being feared by opposing pitchers for just standing in the on-deck circle. Those were the good points.

Swinging at the first pitch on almost every at-bat, dropping a routine flyball in Oakland, taking a week off with a caffeine/sinus/eye sight issue, to totally disappearing for almost two months at the plate were some of the low points. This season became more about Josh Hamilton than the Rangers.

The wild card game was a mirror image of the Ranger season. Potential unmet, opportunities missed, and the opponent taking advantage of every mistake, and sending Rangers fans home shaking their heads.

The Rangers had the opportunity to give this game a different outcome. In the first inning, Ian Kinsler walked, Elvis Andrus worked the count to 3-2 before reaching first base. Hamilton strolled to the plate and immediately let Joe Saunders and the Orioles off the hook by hitting a weak groundball to start a double play on the first pitch. That was the end of that game and possibly Hamilton’s career with Texas. The blame here should not fall solely at the feet of Hamilton. Ron Washington has had a good seat the entire season watching Hamilton and his pathetic efforts time after time.

The blame for the loss in the Wildcard game should be laid at the feet of Ron Washington. Managers have to manage, and Washington should have put on the “TAKE SIGN” on that first pitch Hamilton hit so meekly. Everybody knew Saunders was having trouble throwing strikes, and everybody knew Hamilton was going to swing at the first pitch. By taking a pitch or two, Hamilton would have been in a position to see a pitch down the middle, and some fan might have gotten a souvenir to take home. After a season of over managing, Washington failed to manage when his team needed it most.

To sum it up, the Rangers have been fun to watch for three years. Washington let the season get away, and I for one hope Hamilton gets away too. I would rather watch a player with less talent try hard, than watch Hamilton go through the motions and then listen to his excuses. Re-signing Hamilton, I just can not see it, of course I have had alot of caffeine today so my vision is blurry.

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Texas Rangers Need To Finish Strong

Texas Rangers

 

Being a baseball fan is the most rewarding thing and at the same time the most heart breaking thing about when summer changes to fall. Teams get rewarded with a trip to the playoffs and a chance to be in the World Series, or your season comes to a close, and you turn your attention to football.

The Texas Ranger fans are again living the dream of capturing the team’s first World Series title as this season comes to a close. Unlike the last two years, the Rangers will have to continue to play well through the end of the season. Mainly due to the fact the Oakland A’s have forgotten to fold like a cheap suit these past weeks, these next 10 games mean something this season.

The Los Angeles Angels cannot be entirely overlooked for a few more days. Ranger fans have taken a little extra pleasure in seeing the Angels spend $250 million to finish third in the American League West. Overall they remind me of an old bar-fly at a pool hall. You know the kind they look fantastic in the beginning, wearing a push-up bra to trick you, then when you fall in love with them, and get ready for something good, everything just hits the floor. Want to read more about the Angels, here is a link to something I wrote before the season started, Five Los Angeles Angels Jokes to Start the 2012 Season Off Right.

The Rangers have more to play for this week than a quick glance at the standings reveals. Starting Monday, September 24th, seven out of the final 10 games are against the A’s. In the middle, the Angels come to town for three games, then the Rangers go to Oakland for the final three games of the season, hopefully by then everything will be decided as far as the Rangers are concerned.

There are several things still to be determined in the next ten games, I listed some below with the impact it would have.

1. The Rangers win the West for the third consecutive year, with a four game lead on the A’s, a sweep of the four games beginning Monday, and the Rangers would do that at home in front of their own fans, possibly playing the second best team in the American League.

2. The A’s delay the Rangers from winning the West by winning a game or two, creating an opportunity for the Rangers to win the division against the Angels. How sweet would it be if C.J. Wilson was the losing pitcher when that happened, as far as being a Ranger fan?

3. The Rangers could end up with the best record in the American League, earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. This scenario would also have some tough repercussions for the Rangers. They would open the playoffs in the city of the Wildcard Game winner, and it would be a five game series, so Game 3, 4 and 5 would be in Texas. Under this scenario, the Rangers could move on to the ALCS, while only winning one playoff game at home. If the New York Yankees ended up with the best record, the Rangers would go to Chicago to play the White Sox, who were one of two teams to sweep a series with the Rangers this season. The Rangers could end up playing 7 of the final 10 games against the A’s, then turn around and play the A’s in the first round of the playoffs for five more games.

4. Exactly how many fans the Rangers can draw this season. For the first time in the Rangers history, they have drawn over three million fans to home games. The next seven should all be sell-outs adding to that total and bringing it to somewhere around 3.4 million fans this season, not including playoffs. The playoffs could push the total extremely close to 4 million for the year, if things worked out just right.

To sum everything up, Rangers fans have had it remarkably good for the last two plus years. The next ten games and the playoffs have promise to take them to new heights. Playing well, the Rangers could hold off the A’s, dismiss the Angels, and go on to win the first World Series title in team history. Every fan should tip their hat to Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels, and Ron Washington for what they accomplished with this team. Those three men should return the hat tipping to those fans for sticking with the Rangers through the lean years. Then collectively everyone should tip their hats to the players on this team, repeating as champion of anything is much harder than it looks.

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