Oct 062012

That’s the way baseball go.

Baseball is a game of failure...Baseball is a game of failure.  Baseball is a game that the majority of us played all the time growing up, whether it was on an organized team or whiffle ball in the backyard with our siblings.  We love baseball, but it’s a game that can break your heart, and as Rangers fans, we’ve become all too familiar with that feeling over the past three years.

Twenty twelve was a no-win situation for this team as far as the part the fans would play.  The expectation of a World Series title and nothing less was rooted in the brains of fans since the devastating loss in Game Six last year.  Our team has been set up to fail since the beginning.

Fans were never happy.  If we are winning, someone is slumping and not contributing.  If we are losing, so-and-so sucks and we need to trade for new players or put in the rookies.  The Twitter-verse is plagued by negativity and full of what I’ve deemed “couch coaches” that feel they have all the answers.  That it’s all so simple.

Baseball is a game of failure...Nothing is ever that simple.  Otherwise, every team would be capable of winning a World Series title EVERY SINGLE YEAR.  I realize my upbringing and my profession enable me to carry a different viewpoint of the sports world, and for that I am thankful.  I constantly deal with unhappy parents that feel they would be so much better at my job than I am.  These parents have coached their kids in little league or their select team and they know the formula for success.  I say the same to them that I’d say to a lot of the critical, negative, angry Rangers fans:  Critics are plentiful in this world, but professionals are scarce.  Take it for what it’s worth.

The loss last night was painful for me.  It’s disheartening, frustrating, disappointing, sad…the list could go on and on.  But for me, the worst part wasn’t the loss.  The worst part was that I made the mistake of opening up my Twitter account and reading the posts from “fans” of this team that I love so much.

It’s fine to be upset, even angry I suppose, but the end of this season did not come because of something one person did, not because of something two people did, but because as a TEAM, the Rangers simply did not get it done this year.  The heart, the drive, the camaraderie, the hunger for success was non-existent.  We aren’t used to that.  And clearly, we as fans don’t know how to handle it.

Sure, it’s easy to play the blame game.  I’d be lying if I said these thoughts didn’t creep through my mind toward the end of the season.  “Josh Hamilton gave up…Hamilton isn’t trying anymore…Josh just doesn’t care…”  So let’s boo him.  Let’s all give him the finger on what was most likely his last at-bat ever in the Ballpark in a Rangers uniform.  And let’s do it in front of a young team filled with ex-Rangers that looked up to him while they were here.  How disgraceful, tasteless and embarrassing for those of us who truly care about this team.

Baseball is a game of failure...

Was this farewell?

I will readily admit to being biased toward Josh Hamilton over the past five years.  I think his story is amazing, and having close ties to people with drug and alcohol problems I’m astounded by the mere fact that he was able to turn his life around and accomplish something extraordinary.  That being said, I’m not naive enough to believe something hasn’t changed with him this year.

Josh is different.  Something is not right.  Knowing that, and hating that, he’s still a member of the Texas Rangers Organization and he has busted his ass for this team for the past 5 years.  He’s contributed in ways that some guys will only ever dream about.  Remember the 4 home run game?  Nobody was booing him then.  Everybody LOVED him.

Josh Hamilton has been a primary factor in helping this team reach milestones of success over the past 3 years.

To boo him because we didn’t get our way?  To boo him because we believe we’ve “earned that right” based on the amount of money we spend to watch this team play and fail?  To boo him because you think he’s not trying?

Once again, it’s a game of failure.  We would not have been in the position we were in without his 128 RBI and 43 home runs   How easily we forget the good things when the game turns and is no longer going our way.

Booing is fair-weather fans at their best.  A fair-weather fan loves the team when they’re doing well and throws them to the wolves when they’re not.

Baseball is a game of failure...That sense of entitlement some people have as “fans” to ridicule and criticize these athletes because they’re unable to always perform at their highest potential is astounding.  I said the same thing when “fans” booed CJ while he wore a Rangers uniform.  Did I like him?  Um, no.  Did I support him because he was a member of this TEAM?  Absolutely.  Was it always easy?  NO.  But that’s the beauty of being a fan.  Win or lose, my friends, good times and the bad.

The expense we take on as fans shouldn’t be because we expect something in return.  Those of you calling yourselves “true fans” because of all the money you spend on tickets and beer and parking need to stop spending all that money on those things if you’re going to “retaliate” when the team doesn’t succeed at the highest level.

True fans do it for the love of the game, and for the love of their team, win or lose.  This is baseball.  It’s unpredictable.  That’s why it’s called a game, and that’s why it has to be played.  As my dad always says, “anything can happen on any given day.”  Remember when the Mariners beat us 21-8?  What are the odds something like that would happen to the (at the time) number one team in the division by the last place team?  Unpredictable.  Wash says it best: That’s the way baseball go.

Baseball is a game of failure...Yes, losing sucks.  Getting beat by a team chock-full of ex-Rangers that were shipped off in an effort to get something “better” in return REALLY sucks.  Things don’t always go as planned.  It’s life.  But as supporters of this team, we need to be the “true fans” we claim to be.  That means SUPPORTING our players, managers, coaches, front office staff, and everyone else involved in the organization.

You don’t always have to agree with every decision that is made, but just as we all have jobs, their job is baseball.  They are qualified to do what they’re doing.  We are fans, bystanders, excited on-lookers that this team needs in order to find success.

And next year, I hope our fans are better at just being fans.

by Jennifer Cobb

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  4 Responses to “Baseball is a game of failure…”

  1. Very nice and well spoken. Forwarding this to the two owners I know.

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  2. I’ve never been a fan of moral superiority, and this post reeks of it.

    Yes, real, year-in-year-out fans do boo players, because they care about the TEAM. Is it too much to ask that the players in the TEAM’S uniform at least pretend they care too? Michael Young was absolutely terrible this year. He was the second worst DH in baseball. I don’t recall him ever getting booed. Because for all his crappy play, he actually still gave a damn.

    Josh didn’t, by word and by deed. It wasn’t just his lackadaisical play on the field, it was his comments to the media about his play. He needs a giant dose of humility, and he also needs to quit using scripture to belittle the people who have supported him through his lack of personal discipline.

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  3. I’m not gonna get into the Josh Hamilton, it’s obviously way too personal for objectivity, but I generally agree with your premise.

    It’s baseball. Things happen. One of the things I love about the game is that anytime you watch a game, you pretty much know what to expect but just might see something you have never seen before.

    The Rangers did not turn into a band of marauders, pillaging and killing firstborn children and molesting women immediately after the conclusion of the game. They played like crap and lost a baseball game.

    Ask the fans in Kansas City or Pittsburgh or Seattle what they would give to have but one of the past three years the Rangers had.

    Sure, the ending sucked, but it’s been a helluva lot better than the previous 38 years. Perspective.

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  4. Great stuff Jennifer!

    Most fans are guilty of overreacting and dog-cussing their team from time to time, so this isn’t an easy subject approach, but it needed to be said.

    The fans will be back in 2013. This team has been built to succeed for several years. Hopefully, the end of 2012 “is minor speed bump in an otherwise very long
    and healthy marriage.”

    Just thankful that what Michael talked about didn’t actually happen – “The Rangers did not turn into a band of marauders, pillaging and killing firstborn children and molesting women immediately after the conclusion of the game.”

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