Prince Fielder's emotional goodbye to baseball
The Texas Rangers 2016 season had all the hallmarks you’d expect in a magical division-winning year. But it also had its share of downers. Obviously, being swept in the first round of the playoffs gave a sour taste to what otherwise had been a sweet ride. The Rangers’ winning was made even more impressive by some of the hurdles they were forced to navigate. Here’s a look at five rough moments from the year.
Top 5 disappointing moments of 2016:
1. So long Prince
No one knew at the time but Prince Fielder played his last game on July 18 in Anaheim. He went 0 for 4 that night, reaching on a fielding error at first base in his lat at-bat in the 8th inning. The next day Fielder told the club he wasn’t feeling right and was examined by a doctor in Los Angeles. On July 29, Fielder had spinal fusion surgery for the second time in two years.
During an emotional press conference on Aug. 10, Fielder, flanked on one side by agent Scott Boras and the other by his two sons Jadyn and Haven, announced that he could no longer play. His Rangers teammates, coaches and front office staff were crammed inside the room for support.
2. Blue Jay blues
The rematch with the Blue Jays in the ALDS was rightly billed as must-see television. The Jays had sent the Rangers home the previous year after a famously wacky Game 5 comeback that included Jose Bautista’s seventh-inning bat flip. Tensions rose even more when Rougned Odor punched Bautista after a hard slide at Globe Life Park on May 15.
Bautista had reached base after getting plunked in the torso by a Matt Bush fastball. After six games and six innings were the Rangers finally sending a message to Bautista? Of course. But if that was too subtle for you Odor then added the over the top visuals.
3. July swoon
The Rangers never lost more than four consecutive games in 2016 but they did it twice during a 4-15 stretch from June 29 to July 22. The string included going 2-5 against the Twins, the worst team in the majors and losses of 17-5, 12-5, 10-1 and 15-5, which didn’t do a whole lot to help the Rangers’ run differential, if that was important to you. (I kid.)
By the time they stopped the skid, their lead in the West had gone from 10 to 2.5 games. They turned it around in August, going 18-10 and building their lead back up to 9.5 games at the start of September.
4. Desmond’s dive
Make no mistake, Ian Desmond carried the Rangers for much of the first three months of the season and earned a spot on the All-Star team. In the second half, however, Desmond slowed down.
The comparison is stunning, even factoring in that he played in 22 fewer games in the second half.
5. Derek In Dutch
Derek Holland’s inability to harness any kind of consistency led to the lefty becoming a free agent and ultimately signing with the White Sox. Since returning from a knee injury in September 2014 after missing most of the season and pitching exceptionally in his five starts to close out the season he never regained that form. Another injury early in the 2015 season limited him to 10 starts, only four of which were quality starts. He started strong in ‘16 but his velocity was down and he was back on the disabled list in June with left shoulder inflammation.
He missed the next two months and was pushed out of the regular rotation. After posting a 3.42 ERA in a career-high 213 innings in 2013, Holland’s compiled a 4.30 ERA in 203 innings combined over his last three seasons with the Rangers.