A young TCU college student who graduated from Diamond Hill-Jarvis proposed the following innocent, well-meaning question about his favorite baseball team, the Texas Rangers:
"So whose fault is this?" he said.
Kids these days.
In keeping with the solidarity of our local pro teams, the Texas Rangers are as bad as we feared. That's a lie, and merely a weak attempt at a positive spin during these sad, desperate sports times for our quadrangle of losers. The Rangers are worse than we could have conceived.
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They're pitching staff is among the worst in baseball. Their best pitcher will turn 45 next month, but could play right guard for the Cowboys, which would allow La'el Collins to move to tackle.
The strength of the Rangers — their mighty bats — ranks in the bottom third in all of baseball. Now their middle infield is on the disabled list, too.
The good news is the Rangers only rank sixth in baseball in strikeouts — not first; in Houston pitcher Gerrit Cole's 14 innings against the Rangers this season, he has struck out only 25 batters.
At this point, we need any progress we can find. Because progress is not coming in the win column today, nor any time soon.
As to "whose fault is this?" it must, ultimately, belong to the men who sign the checks. "Bob Ray" approved it, and while GM/President and assistant manager Jon Daniels should be knocked 'round the ballpark for this $144 million embarrassment, he had to have all of these moves endorsed by someone above his head.
Bob Ray "asked for it" and here you go.
Co-owners Bob Simpson and Ray Davis are in their eighth season of owning the club, and are now officially in the Owner's Guillotine of Guilt. This is the portion of the ride where they experience the thrill of living the dream of realizing when their toy loses, it's their fault.
Mark Cuban is learning this one. Jerry, too.
And all signs point to this ownership group beginning the process of a slow pull out. Signs are coming together this ownership group is not going to last too much longer; once the new stadium opens in 2020, don't be surprised when the For Sale sign goes up outside it.
Rangers sources say Simpson's involvement with the club is all but non-existent, and that his relationship with Davis is equally minimal.
Simpson has been going through a challenging divorce, which MLB hopes never goes to trial. The league wants no part of any primary owner having their financial records made public.
For the moment, it does not appear that Simpson's divorce will go the route of the famous McCourt split. The divorce of former L.A. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his spouse, Jamie, in 2010 was brutal, and eventually led to the sale of that franchise.
Davis remains a "behind the scenes" guy — which normally translates to showing your face when the team wins, and vanishing when they lose.
On April 6, the club promoted Neil Leibman to be the team's first chief operating office since Rick George left in 2013.
George, who left to become the athletic director at the University of Colorado, had been hired to become the club's president of baseball operations in '10. When George departed in '13, it left Nolan Ryan to remain as CEO of the Rangers, which was a contributing factor in George's departure.
Adding Leibman to this role only decreases whatever involvement either Davis or Simpson has in a day-to-day manner.
The Rangers are busy trying to win games, and build a new ballpark, and open a luxury hotel/entertainment center.
Every day the Rangers become more and more like the Dallas Cowboys — full of revenue-generating toys and no championships.
Predictably, morale among front office employees to game-day workers remains a few ticks above depressing.
The Rangers are no different from so many places of employment these days where the second- and third-tier employees try to hang on, and retain their income, against owners who continually create ways to shrink expenses.
Bob Ray have made it a priority to pay players, the GM, and then slash everywhere else. The team's payroll of $144 million ranks 13th in MLB.
The average ticket price of just over $50 remains one of the lowest in MLB. Attending a Rangers game remains, money wise, a slightly above average deal in terms of Major League Baseball.
In the lifespan of an ownership group, there is always going to be a downturn.
We are there, and it looks much worse than we feared.
While JD deserves all of the blame/praise for this over-priced, embarrassingly inadequate roster he personally constructed, he had to have these moves approved.
Someone had to give him all of this power.
So when the kids ask, "Whose fault is this?" the answer is Bob Ray.
Sorry — it's your turn. You asked for it.