The Fan in the Stands Basks in DFW Sports Greatness

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, October 21st, 2011

First the Mavs…Can the Rangers Win a Title Too?

by Mike Kravik

mikek@davstan.com

It’s four months later and I’m still basking in the afterglow of the Dallas Mavericks winning the NBA championship last June.

I still can’t believe they did it. Sure, grizzled been there, done that San Antonio Spurs fans may laugh at how Maverick fans reacted but that title was special. It was our first. It seemingly came out of nowhere. It not only came against the Miami Heat, it came against THAT Miami Heat team. Laugh all you want, Spurs fans… but I don’t remember the sports world being galvanized by your title wins over the Nets-Pistons-Cavs.

Winning it all at home would have been great but winning it in front of the Heat’s home crowd added to the revenge narrative – our team celebrated a title on their court just like they did at our place in 2006. Dirk won the MVP, universal respect from the world of basketball and then went to South Beach to drink $ 90,000 bottles of champagne. .

The cold dish of revenge served to the Heat was nice but the best part of that championship was that both Dirk and JKidd cemented their legacies – Hall of Famers and yes, champions. The common thread shared by every champion is what makes them so great – at some point in their athletic lives, they seized an opportunity and won it all.

Baseball’s regular season is now over, the legends of October have started to surface and the Texas Rangers have made it back to the World Series. Coming out of spring training I really liked the team but I also know teams that lose a World Series usually end up in Baseball Limbo and go away for a very long time – just ask the 2005 Houston Astros. The Astros will break out party hats the next time they can finish above .500.

Getting to a World Series is an incredibly difficult accomplishment. So many things have to go right. The team has to be very good, they have to be playing their best ball when the lights are the brightest plus they have to be healthy, hungry and most of all, very lucky.

The 2011 Texas Rangers were all of the above.

The Rangers can hit the ball, they can catch it and they can pitch. They play with a macho swagger. When you watch them cheering on the bench, it’s obvious how much fun they’re having and that they play for each other. Everybody seems to know their role and they’re ready when called upon – see Scott Feldman.

Other than the blow-out win to clinch the ALCS, most of the post-season games have been white-knucklers that feature a different hero every night. Adrian Beltre hit 3 bombs to knock out Tampa. Nelson Cruz clubbed 6 HRs in the ALCS (including a grand slam walk-off in Game 2). Michael Young knocked home 5 RBIs to lead the way in Game 6 of the ALCS. Throughout the entire post-season, the bullpen has saved games and butts.

The last two seasons have been a thrilling ride but the one glitch was the 2010 World Series performance against the San Francisco Giants. From the outside looking in, it seemed like the Rangers treated their ALCS win over the New York Yankees as the championship and the World Series as a meaningless exhibition. The Rangers were the betting favorite but couldn’t match the buzz-saw of the Giants pitching. The Giants were also filled with veteran players on their last legs who seemed to have a firmer grasp of what was at stake – the opportunity to achieve eternal greatness – and it took them only five games to get it done.

 

 

 

The 2011 Texas Rangers were good enough and lucky enough to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row. We have a wonderful core of players in the primes of their careers who have proven that 2010 was not a fluke.

Actually, the 2011 Texas Rangers are better – they scored more runs, gave up fewer runs and won more games. Stack that improvement on their 2010 experience and it makes me think the Rangers are going to punt the Cardinals in 5 games, maybe less.

The year to year fates of major league baseball teams are fluid. Players get older, they decline and they get hurt. Sometimes they want to get paid so they leave. The other American League teams aren’t going to be idle this off-season. They know they have to improve and some will. None of that matters until next year. This is a special opportunity that cannot be wasted. The Texas Rangers have the best team in baseball and it’s time to take the next step.

My hope is that the Texas Rangers have their sense of urgency because they have everything else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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