Monday, May 18, 2009

Machine Gun Monday

machinegunThat is what a baseball town must be like. There are times when you visit other cities and you notice that some of them actually treat the entire summer like the playoffs would be treated here. Take Boston or Chicago or New York, and in those cities, it often appears that the other sports are just existing to keep people amused until the baseball team plays again. Every inning is dissected. Every managerial decision is debated. Having grown up in Packerland, and then having lived in this Cowboys city for 11 baseball seasons, I often look with great curiosity at those types.

I don't mind their kind, I just don't totally understand it.

Here, baseball gets us to Labor Day when another football season engages us.

I would imagine many of you understand that there are generally two types of Rangers fans I have witnessed. Type-1) Those who are hardcore diehards who never leave the tv during the summer (or the Newberg Report, Inside Corner, or Lonestarball) and often grow more quiet by the week as the summer continues, because once again the object of their affection has let them down. or Type-2) Those who enjoy baseball with the same feelings that they enjoy grilling out; It happens every summer, and then the rest of the year, we do something else. If the Rangers do well, they roll with them, but if they are 10 back on June 1, they only watch when there is nothing else to do.

This past weekend, all types united to see the sweep. That was what it feels like in those baseball cities. The lead sports story in Dallas this weekend? The Rangers. 2nd? The Rangers attendance. 3rd? The Rangers fans.

Certainly, we must be careful not to jump to conclusions, but a sweep of Seattle in midweek, followed by a weekend dusting of the Angels was reflected in small-talk all across the metroplex. As Mike Hindman pointed out this morning this story may be a secret nationwide, but here in North Texas, the sleeping giant that is made up of all baseball fans is stirring in its bed.

Let the record show that of the 4 local fan bases, baseball has been the most abused and dormant. Cowboys fans have been given so much for so long that they actually think that this recent stretch constitutes a trial of epic proportions. Stars fans still enjoy that they own the cities last major championship. Mavericks fans have been spoiled by a decade of excellence even if it never experienced the parade that was planned.

But, Rangers fans...They may be on the brink of owning the city if this continues.

Do you remember the spring of 2001 for the Mavericks? It was special because the Mavericks of the 1990's were actually looking like this might be the year they finally return to the playoffs. We cheered their wins, we forgave their loses, and as a sports city, we were neither spoiled nor entitled. We were just proud.

Time changes that, and soon making the playoffs is no longer impressive to fans. Then, winning is required in the playoffs. And then, a title is needed. It happens everywhere in every sport. But, the enjoyment of that first year where they emerge from out of nowhere to stop promising "next year" and to start playing for "right now" can be magical.

And now, as I look at my Sports Doppler Radar, I am suggesting that there has been a "Magical Summer" watch placed on Dallas Fort Worth. Just a watch, so don't buy playoff tickets yet. But, the conditions are right to indicate that there is something very cool brewing in Arlington.

So, to the Type-2 Rangers fans, I think it is now safe to buy in with your time. The Mavs and Stars are done, the Cowboys are 4 months from playing a real game. At just the right time, it looks like the Rangers have a team worth knowing. But, after this weekend, I am guessing you don't need me to tell you this.

MGM Notes and random observations:

* Evan Grant uncovered some pretty interesting information on Saturday: They have an official team song - “Day N Nite,” by Kid Cudi, which has started to shake the clubhouse walls before every game after every win. Really? I like to know these goofy little fun facts, but as a 36 year old, should I be ashamed I have never heard of neither "Day N Nite" nor "Kid Cudi"?

Well, there are resources everywhere in this information age, and thanks to youtube, you can see the video and thanks to Wikipedia you can learn that this is the only song he has every released that has received acclaim (so far!) and that he has already threatened a retirement despite only having one song that has received acclaim. Very Farvian. But, now I know Kid Cudi. Yep. I am hipper by the minute.

* Two Game 7's in the NBA on Sunday, and I gave them both a chance to take me away to that special place of playoff awesomeness. Didn't quite work out for me. The Lakers beat the Rockets like a drum, and the Orlando Magic sent the defending champion Celtics packing. According to the Boston Globe : The Celtics dropped to 20-6 in Game 7s and 32-1 in series in which they held a 3-2 games lead.

For the Lakers, they must now take their tongue lashing from the national media for allowing the injured Rockets to hang around for 7 games before they host Denver in Game 1 on Tuesday. I will be front-and-center for this series, because although I am taking the Lakers to win, Denver's performance and their overall make-up gives me great pause. It seems that the Lakers actually have some similar issues with the Mavericks in that their big guys are docile types, who may not perform well against those ruffians (is that better than thug or goon?) on the Denver front line. How will Odom, Bynum, and most importantly Gasol fare when K-Mart, Birdman, and Nene scowl? We are about to find out. Of course, the difference between the Mavs and Lakers is that at guard the Lakers have the most competitive guy since Jordan and the Mavs have more docile types.

* Detroit vs Chicago yesterday on the ice was not too compelling in Game 1, but I expect that it will get better as the series goes on. If there is one thing most of us agree on, it is our disdain of the Red Wings, but this is their time of year. For the upstart Blackhawks to have a chance, they need Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to rise up and outperform Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Tough to do, but they have immense talent.

One scary moment from yesterday was this moment where Adam Burish nearly loses his head:

* Buster Olney with this interesting list :
• The most swinging strikes for hitters this season:
Chris Davis 116
Ryan Howard 101
Jordan Schafer 97
Mark Reynolds 96
Carlos Pena 95
Matt Kemp 89
Corey Hart 86
Evan Longoria 84
Nelson Cruz 82
Alfonso Soriano 81
Adrian Gonzalez 81

* And then this email from Jeremy: Now, after a celebration and the beer spraying commences in the locker room, could he get an M.I.P.?!! And could the Rangers get in trouble for contributing to the minors?! Just something to think about.. Jeremy

* Larry Fitzgerald vs. Blogger. Funny, if nothing else:

That's all for today. Let's be careful out there.

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