The Chicago Cubs are in town, and with all due respect .... forget it. I can’t write anything that begins with “all due respect” to the Cubs.
For years I hated them because everyone loved them even though they were always awful. Now I can’t stand them because the Texas Rangers are not them, nor are they close.
While watching the Rangers on Thursday, there is crying in baseball.
On behalf of everyone who watches the Rangers, and supports this franchise with their money, their emotions, and their time, we should all ask: If the Cubs got theirs, when is it going to be the Rangers’ turn?
After watching the Chicago Cubs kick around the Rangers 12-4 on the final Opening Day (disaster) of the Ballpark in Arlington, it’s becoming sadly apparent it won’t be “our turn” this year.
Thursday was as bad of an Opening Day that could have been scripted, and displayed a product much worse than any naysaying “experts” feared. The team even ran out of the giant fried chicken dish before the game started.
Along with the Cleveland Indians, the Rangers are the version of Cubs before the Cubs finally rid themselves of the tag as the biggest pack of front-running losers in American sports when they tragically won the World Series in 2016.
We as sports fans don’t realize how much we all lost by the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs actually winning the World Series; this development meant some other poor group inherited the title of biggest losers in baseball.
That would be us.
The Cleveland Indians are now firmly in “first place” as the longest drought without a World Series, 70 seasons. Our Rangers’ franchise is second at 58 years.
So the Indians are the Red Sox, and the Rangers are the Cubs.
The Red Sox had the Curse of The Bambino, the Cubs the Curse of The Billygoat, and the Rangers the Curse of Nolan Ryan. Cleveland’s curse? Go there and see for yourself.
At least the Indians fans can watch “Major League” to get them through the hard times. The Rangers look forward to a new stadium every 25 years.
Law of averages mandates that, at some point, this will all change and we will see the Rangers win a World Series.
The Red Sox and Cubs both were wedded the same inescapable logic, for decades. Right after the Red Sox won the 1918 World Series, they bagged it again, in 2004.
And immediately after the 1908 Chicago Cubs won the World Series, they repeated the feat in 2016.
The good news for the Rangers is the club has a pair of World Series series defeats already out of the way, achieved in 2010 and 2011. The team at least has archived “Horrendously Painful and Eternally Unforgetful World Series Defeat” in its memory bank; thanks, Game 6.
Thursday was a perfectly perfect afternoon for baseball in the final day of the Ballpark in Arlington (sorry, Globe Life, for this one season we’re going old school and it’s the Ballpark in Arlington; sue me).
Much like a bad afternoon of fishing or a terrible round of golf, there simply is no such thing as a bad Opening Day. Thursday, however, challenged that Hallmark greeting card sentiment that we as sports consumers justifiably adore and love.
Starting ace pitcher Mike Minor was ... not good. Neither were the 15 relievers who followed.
And the offense didn’t hit much, at least not until Nomar Mazara sent a ball halfway up into the second deck in right field for a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“The chemistry of this club is incredible,” Rangers outfielder Hunter Pence said. “The Mazara home run is big. We had a lot of good at-bats. There’s just a lot of good things and a lot of that will turn into a lot of wins.”
Credit the man for optimism, something he was known for in his playing days with the San Francisco Giants, where he was a revered figure.
No one should be terribly surprised at the result on Thursday; the Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, and the Rangers are not.
They have become the Cubs, long before a franchise known for losing somehow finally started to win.
Law of averages says at some point this will all turn, so, in the words of Bill Murray, we have that going for us ... which is nice.