Two of the best teams in Major League Baseball are the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs … another sign that the world is going to end soon
Since 1909, these two clubs have combined for zero World Series titles, or two fewer than the Miami Marlins and only one less than the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With the Red Sox having officially lost their “lovable” tag (they’re now a slightly less obnoxious version of the Yankees), America’s most beloved bag of losers is the Cubs.
The Rangers don’t receive that love because they are in the part of Middle Earth that lacks Lake Michigan, but our local baseball franchise has a five-decade history of sadness, too.
These two Titans of Tragic begin the second half of the season playing each other in Wrigley Field with the expectations that they will/should meet in October, not to mention the chance to catch Pokemons along 1060 W. Addison.
The two men in charge of ending their franchise’s futility were boy-wonders from Ivy League schools when they were hired. They’re no longer babies but respected baseball men.
Before he went to the North Side, Yale-educated Chicago GM Theo Epstein ended the Curse of the Bambino in Boston.
Cornell grad and Rangers GM Jon Daniels awaits his turn at enshrining himself as Theo Epstein’s equal; the only way to do that is to win the World Series.
This is JD’s chance to prove once and for all that Tom Hicks’ decision to hire him was right, and that Ray Davis/Bob Simpson’s decision to give him unilateral baseball authority at The Ballpark over Nolan Ryan was best for the club.
Since none of us is getting any younger, it would be best if the Rangers did it this season. This is not the time to be happy about anything other than a World Series parade. This team wins the World Series or, barring major injury, it’s a failure.
The Rangers winning the division and pushing Toronto to five games in the American League Division series last season was a major success.
This team’s standard can no longer be division titles or the silly wild-card game. The Rangers, much like the Cubs, are entirely about The Series.
While Epstein has the Cubs in their best position since Bartman dropped that ball in Wrigley Field, JD has the Rangers in their best position since Nelson Cruz bobbled that ball in St. Louis.
The first year of the post-Nolan era was a disaster and made it look like the GM needed his Express training wheels back; the Rangers were 67-95 that season. Since then, the club is 142-110 with a division title and JD can handle all of the personnel pressure, which is all that matters.
It does help that Davis and Simpson have allowed Daniels to spend the necessary money to add a Cole Hamels or Ian Desmond, and JD does have a good batting average in player acquisition.
He needs to go 2-for-2 or 3-for-3 before the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
JD has to spend some of those young players and get major pieces for a run to October. With the team he has assembled, this is not the time to be scared of dealing top prospects in return for proven major league talent.
About 15 days before the MLB trade deadline, the latest speculation from Fox baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal is that the Rangers will acquire Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
Lucroy would be a bona fide get, and an upgrade over what has been a decent platoon for the Rangers behind the plate, but catcher is not a priority.
JD needs another pitcher. Some of these numbers are misleading but the Rangers’ team ERA is 4.42, and the bullpen ERA is 5.10 — 29th in MLB.
JD needs one more starter and one more reliever more than a catcher to take some of the worry out of The Ballpark.
They have a pair of aces in Hamels and Yu Darvish, but after that the rotation is a collection of fear. Derek Holland is scheduled to return shortly from his sore shoulder, but before he was put on the disabled list he had mostly been a major disappointment this season.
Assuming power reliever Keone Kela returns to form when he comes off the DL, the bullpen has a collection of power arms but, in this era of bullpen ball, you need one more.
Much like the Cubs, the Rangers have enough to make October special and end their decades of pain, futility and sadness.
Theo Epstein did this before in Boston.
Jon Daniels needs to do it in Texas.
Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.