Mac Engel

Randol Mill Road offers a tale of two teams

The Rangers, with Rougned Odor, left, and Elvis Andrus, are flying high at 26-game over .500 and with an 8 1/2 -game lead over Houston in the AL West.
The Rangers, with Rougned Odor, left, and Elvis Andrus, are flying high at 26-game over .500 and with an 8 1/2 -game lead over Houston in the AL West. rrodriguez@star-telegram.com

Sitting to Jerry Jones’ right at the dais were the three available quarterbacks of the Dallas Cowboys, and the starter looked like he needs a 50-gallon drum of Tums.

Wednesday marked the annual Cowboys’ kickoff luncheon with Happy Hill Farms (RIP, Happy Hills founder Ed Shipman), and it was the time to introduce the 2016 Cowboys to the world. The only player absent was Tony Romo, who was receiving treatment for his back.

Throughout the luncheon at AT&T Stadium, which was attended by more than 1,000 people, Cowboys starting rookie quarterback Dak Prescott sat rigid, but did appear to breathe when Jerry finished his annual “How ‘bout them Cowboys!” speech.

During this nearly 10-minute speech, Jerry’s enthusiasm peaked not when he spoke of his team but rather when discussing his sponsorship with Ford.

He said, “If I were selling cars, [he’d say] ‘You want to be associated with a product you can count on.”

Oh, don’t worry, we are — it’s just across the street from AT&T Stadium on Randol Mill Road in that dilapidated, out-dated piece of trash known as The House That Ray and Bob Hate.

As the Cowboys’ concluded their luncheon on the eve of their final fake football game of the season, the Rangers finished their latest beat down of American League West opponent at The Ballpark. The Rangers defeated the Seattle Mariners 14-1 before 21,309 (don’t worry, the attendance will be triple when the new place is built).

The difference in the mood between the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers could not have been any more striking, revealing or sad.

This should be the most optimistic time of the year for all football teams and yet, because of Romo’s bum back, the Cowboys sound like car salesmen convincing themselves, and their fans, “Hey, maybe this thing will surprise you.”

It’s the best time of year — football season — and our hope is the baseball team.

Between his speech Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Stadium and his weekly appearance on KRLD/105.3 FM The Fan on Tuesday morning, Jerry sounds as down as ever.

Jerry might make some dumb decisions, but that does not mean he is a dumb man. He wants a Super Bowl, and rookie quarterbacks just don’t win Super Bowls. Rookie quarterbacks usually don’t win much of anything.

As a rookie, maybe Dak could be Russell Wilson, who in his rookie season was 11-5 and reached the playoffs. Of course, Wilson had a defense.

Dak has a better chance of being Peyton Manning or Troy Aikman as rookies. Aikman infamously was 0-11 his first year, and Manning was 3-13.

Jerry would spend “one buhllion” dollars to have the type of team, and confidence, of the Rangers. Meanwhile, the Rangers would spend just as much, provided Arlington approves the tax hike to cover some of the costs, to be as popular as the Cowboys.

The Rangers have the best team in the American League and they are playing like they know it.

“Confidence builds,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said after his team swept the Mariners and kept their lead in the AL West at 8  1/2 games over Houston. “They’re sure playing like they’re confident. A lotta life. A lotta energy.”

You should be confident when you are 26 games over .500; coming to work is a lot of fun when you have the best record in the American League by four games.

A few months ago I asked Rangers veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus if this was the best team has played on. He told me to come back to him in a few months.

We are now in the final month of the season, so I posed the same question.

“I believe so, yes,” he said. “All around, yes. Defensively and pitching depth.”

Andrus was a member of the two previous “best teams” in franchise history — the World Series teams of ’10 and ’11. He thinks the ’16 version is better than those teams.

“Those were the best teams I’ve ever played on but adding [catcher Jonathan] Lucroy and [outfielder] Carlos Beltran makes us better,” Andrus said.

Despite the deserved uneasiness toward some of this teams pitching — looking at you, Yu — and a few of the relievers, what Andrus is selling is an easy buy. He doesn’t need to try hard to convince us this team is one of the best in baseball, and should reach the World Series.

The body of work says they are just that good and we should believe.

Meanwhile, across the street there is virtually nothing the Cowboys can do to sell us on the idea they should reach a Super Bowl, or even the playoffs. This would be Jason Garrett’s most impressive 8-8 record yet, and he’s had plenty of those.

When the crux of your sales pitch is, “This thing may surprise you,” you don’t expect much.

It’s not Dak Prescott’s fault, of course, that he’s at the front of the dais but he is.

Give him some Tums, hope for the best, and put your faith in the product you can count on — the baseball team across the street.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

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