The Texas Rangers are the prohibitive favorites to win their first World Series, which will definitely mean an end to their “curse,” and or it could signify the end of the world, too.
According to nearly every odds maker on earth, the Rangers’ are so heavily favored it would only make sense to bet on the Arizona Diamondbacks to pull a fourth straight upset in these playoffs.
On Tuesday night, the Diamondbacks pulled off their third straight stunner by winning the National League in a Game 7 at Philadelphia in the NLCS.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Rangers returned to their home field to work out after enjoying a day off from their Game 7 win at Houston on Monday night in the ALCS.
Game 1 of the World Series is Friday night in Arlington, and manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday that Nathan Eovaldi will be the starting pitcher that night.
Got all that? Try to keep up.
The Diamondbacks were 3-1 against the Rangers this season, playing two-game series in the other’s respective parks in May and August. What happened then means absolutely zero now.
Neither team was the best in their respective leagues during the regular season but are in the postseason. Don’t bother trying to make sense of this. To reach a World Series in MLB’s expanded playoff format, “This is the way.”
A Rangers fan older than the age of 5 should be thrilled/terrified that their team is favored to win the World Series. This is not a franchise that has been blessed with these types of scenarios.
A Rangers fan older than the age of 15 might say this franchise is cursed. They might just say the Curse of Nolan Ryan is real.
“I remember the heart break,” Rangers third baseman Josh Jung said in a press conference at Globe Life on Wednesday.
“The heart break” is Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. For a Rangers fan, it’s simply known as, “Game 6.”
It is painfully equivalent to the Boston Red Sox infamous meltdown in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Both the Red Sox and Rangers were within one out of winning the World Series in those respective Game 6’s, and lost the series in seven.
“I’ve pretty much watched the World Series every year. In ‘10 and ‘11 those were pretty heart breaking for Texas,” said Jung, who is a native Texan, of the Rangers World Series appearances. “Hopefully we can be on the other side of that this time.”
When the current Rangers ownership demoted and then essentially ran off former team president Nolan Ryan in the offseason of 2013 the club returned to its long established tradition of bad, mediocre with a sprinkle of decent.
Like any fabled sports curse, this is a coincidence, but the numbers are striking.
In the 11 seasons Ryan was with the Rangers - 1989-93 as a pitcher, 2008-13 as an executive — the Rangers had a .533 winning percentage with nine winning records, three playoff appearances and two American League titles.
In the 31 seasons Ryan was not associated with the club, the Rangers winning percentage is well under .500 with 13, winning seasons, and six playoff appearances, and now one more ALCS championships.
When he left, the winning pretty much went him; two winning records between 2014 and 2022 fueled the idea that this team was indeed cursed, no different than the voodoo that haunted the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.
Those teams each won the World Series between 2004 and 2016, thus ending the Curse of the Billy Goat, Curse of the Black Sox, and the Curse of the Bambino.
Those respective teams went through World Series droughts a lot longer than the Rangers.
MLB now features six of 30 teams that have yet win a World Series; the Rangers, Padres, Mariners, Rockies, Brewers and Rays.
You will notice the Diamondbacks are not among The Sad Six, and yet they have existed since 1998. In their fourth year of existence, they won the World Series in a memorable seven-game series in 2001 against the New York Yankees.
That same year, the Rangers lost 89 games despite the presence of star free agent shortstop Alex Rodriguez.
If you don’t think the Curse of Nolan Ryan is real, maybe it’s the Curse of Bob Short. He is the man who moved the franchise from Washington D.C. to Arlington.
Sadly, despite our advances in technology and science, people like Mark Zuckerberg have failed us in creating an app that will verify a curse. There is no way to prove the Curse of Nolan Ryan, or Bob Short, are actually real.
Any Rangers fan over the age of 15 is pretty sure their favorite baseball team is cursed, because how else to explain a franchise that has existed since 1961 has never won a World Series?
We can never know for sure.
What we do is that if the Rangers win the World Series, their status as “cursed” is done.
The Rangers winning a World Series could also mean the end of the world, too.