ARLINGTON -- The past week has had a 2010 feel to it for the Texas Rangers.
A bunch of All-Stars, a cozy lead in the American League West, and a long losing streak just before the break.
But the subpar stretch should only minimally diminish the attention the Rangers will receive over the next two days at the 83rd All-Star Game.
So far this season, the past week notwithstanding, everyone in the major leagues has been looking up at the Rangers.
Eight All-Stars, three more than the next closest team.
Sky-high attendance, which helped fuel the All-Star selections.
The deepest farm system in the game, which is fueling trade-deadline speculation.
One of the best records in baseball, which didn't hurt with the All-Star process and is what matters most after the first half of the season.
All of that was achieved, as the Rangers say, without playing their best baseball for a couple months.
Perception, it seems, continues to change both within the organization and from the outside. Good is no longer good enough for the players, fans or media.
Two World Series appearances have helped push the needle in the other direction. So have all of their 2012 accomplishments after 86 games.
But the Rangers aren't at the top of the heap yet. That climb can only be completed in October, and no team understands that as well as this one does after coming so close last year.
"We always want to be better, and the goal is to be playing our best baseball going into October," said second baseman Ian Kinsler, who has spent his entire career with the Rangers and seen the club go from also-ran to contender.
"It's turned upside down, basically. It's more of a family atmosphere here in the clubhouse and the organization. Obviously, the fans have been huge. Winning. Pitching. You could go on and on. It's turned into a class organization, and I think it's going to be pretty easy to maintain it."
The Rangers have never had trouble landing players on the All-Star team. Only once in the past 10 years have they had the minimum one player selected -- Michael Young during a lousy 2007 season.
They had five in 2004 and 2011, four in 2005 and 2008, and six in 2010 after acquiring Cliff Lee just before the All-Star Game.
But star power wasn't enough of a selling point to convince players on other clubs that Arlington was the place to be. The losses kept free agents away or had players hoping they wouldn't be dealt to the Rangers.
"This used to be a team that I didn't want to be traded to," said closer Joe Nathan, who signed on for two years in November. "Because of the weather and just where they were, it was a place that wasn't that attractive to me. And to go from that to putting everyone else on hold to make sure I got something done here, it's just done a complete 180.
"This is a place a lot of people want to be now. Credit to everybody that's had a hand in this. It's never one person that turns an organization around like this."
Daniels deserves much of the credit, along with a staff of assistants that has remained largely intact since he took over for John Hart after the 2005 season.
The build-from-within philosophy started in 2007, and Nolan Ryan picked up the baton in 2008 as he became the franchise president. In 2010, he became a minority partner in an ownership group that has backed up its commitment to winning with millions of dollars to lure Nathan, Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre into the mix and to lock up Kinsler for six more years.
Those four players, along with Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Matt Harrison and Elvis Andrus, will be at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City this week as part of the Rangers' All-Star haul, along with manager Ron Washington and his coaching staff.
"These guys have done a tremendous job of getting off to a great start," Daniels said. "They've found ways to win, even when we're not clicking on all cylinders. Hopefully, when we get healthy and everyone starts clicking, better things are ahead.
"We've got a lot more national exposure and recognition. These guys have earned the respect around the league and in the industry. Our popularity is through the roof. It's exciting to think about from where we've come and where we are and, more importantly, where we're headed."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760