On Opening Day, the Texas Rangers need to find a solution to their “identity crisis”
The lines for Texas Rangers merch’ on Thursday afternoon at Globe Life Mall were enviable, and still but a nothing dot compared to maze of humanity that stood in line waiting to spend all of its money across the street.
On Thursday, the lines for Taylor Swift merchandise on the eve of her first of three shows at AT&T Stadium looked like something out of a bread line in the old Soviet Union.
Thursday was “Early Merch Day” ahead of T-Swift’s “The Eras Tour” concert.
Thursday was also MLB Opening Day, and not even America’s most celebrated start to a sports’ season can compete with Swifties. At the moment, the only entities that can defeat Swift are Ticketmaster, maybe Mother Nature, and Jacob deGrom on the mound.
Not sure how Swift handles the bat, but good money deGrom strikes her out on three pitches ... assuming he doesn’t violate MLB’s new pitch clock rules.
DeGrom made his debut as a Texas Rangers since he signed a five-year, $185 million contract with the team; in the first inning the man was absolutely filthy, nasty, gross, and an assortment of other words the kids use to describe as “good.”
He struckout two of the first three Philadelphia Phillies batters he faced. In the second inning, he gave up a 2-run home run. In the third inning, he gave up a leadoff triple. Then he gave up another triple.
Not the greatest first impression.
The Texas Rangers bought bats, they bought arms, and amid all of this spending they desperately need someone that you will buy.
Even though the Rangers have not had a winning season since 2016, their current lineup is hard not to notice. It would be wonderful if that lineup gives you a reason to care.
No franchise in our town needs a someone to sell, and connect to fans, more than the Rangers. Even when the Rangers have been bad over the years they usually have had a player or two that fans love.
Every other team in town has those guys.
The Dallas Mavericks have Luka Doncic. The Dallas Stars have Jamie Benn, Jason Robertson and Tyler Seguin. The Dallas Cowboys have Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Tank Lawrence and few others.
The trade of Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre’s retirement left the Rangers with no one that fans knew, and loved.
Over these many decades the Rangers aren’t exactly synonymous with winning, but they have had a host of players who became beloved figures despite the team’s winning percentage.
A handful of those players were introduced before first pitch on Thursday as part of the Opening Day festivities; players like Tom Grieve, Jim Sundberg, Toby Harrah, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Pudge Rodriguez and Nolan Ryan were all there.
As a side note, however ugly the departure between Nolan Ryan and this franchise was, one of the great developments for this team over the last few years has been the return of The Express to reunions, and special events.
There are others, to be sure, who were not a part of the Opening Day party. People like Juan Gonzalez, Julio Franco, Rusty Greer, Josh Hamilton, Kenny Rogers, Buddy Bell, Charlie Hough and a collection of names that are missing, too.
Right now the Rangers have a handful of really rich players that haven’t done enough here for you to love yet.
Shortstop Corey Seager, second baseman Marcus Semien and starting pitcher Jacob deGrom are sexy free agent adds who haven’t been here long enough, or won enough, to really make a fan fall for any of them.
The same thing happened to Alex Rodriguez in his brief time in Texas, before he was traded to the New York Yankees. Plus, it didn’t help that A-Rod basically made it known he never wanted to be here in the first place.
Teams that lose like the Rangers have over the last few years tend to be a revolving door of players from free agency, to the minor leagues. Hard to like a guy who isn’t here long.
God know the Rangers fans wanted to love Joey Gallo. The former Chosen One and first round draft pick had all of the qualities necessary to be the face of this franchise.
He was perfect for Texas, and the Rangers. If only he didn’t strike out every other at bat ...
Former first round pick Josh Jung has the components to become a fan favorite. The former Texas Tech star has a star potential, now he just has to do it.
The Rangers spent close to what feels like $3 trillion on players in an effort to give their indifferent fan base a reason to watch.
They really need someone to emerge on this team for you to love.