As far as this space goes, I gave myself the weekend off (though, as many of you know, I couldn’t lay off of Twitter), but ESPN’s David Schoenfield didn’t, and he put a good amount of time into writing a lengthy piece with a hearty headline (“Rangers have the sweet look of greatness”) and a brawny 1,400 words, the final couple dozen of which were:
“Perfection rarely happens and I’m certainly not saying this team will win 110 games, but this is one beautiful team to watch play baseball.”
This afternoon is going to be about Ivan Rodriguez, and absolutely deservedly so. But this is a club that no longer needs to define itself, as it had to in Pudge’s playing days, by the transcendent abilities of individual players. I’m fired up about tonight’s pregame ceremony (and would love to see Pudge deliver the first pitch not from the mound to the plate, but from home to second base, as gauche as that might be), but not as much as I am to see what follows.
The days of “The Yankees are coming to town” have now given way to “Who’s next?” The Rangers have now won five series out of five, including a just-completed series of two and series of four, which are mathematically more difficult to win, even when they’re not on the road, and even when they’re not on the road in Boston and Detroit.
No question, yesterday’s decisive run shouldn’t have counted, but if you think that Detroit gets out of the 11th inning unscathed if Alberto Gonzalez’s suicide squeeze had properly been called a foul ball, when all that would have done was recalibrate the situation to bases loaded, nobody out, and an 0-1 count, well, be my guest.
My focus will be more on the Yankees and then the Rays, two very good clubs that have big series in Texas on their schedules this week, two clubs built for October that will need to bring it three times each in Arlington, where one beautiful team to watch play baseball is pitching and hitting and running and defending like at no time in the Pudge Rodriguez era, and maybe at no time in even the most recent history of the franchise.