A guide to hating the Texas Rangers

Combining their late season charge with the fact the home ballpark actively discourages the wave makes the Texas Rangers a tough team to hate.

Combining their late season charge with the fact the home ballpark actively discourages the wave makes the Texas Rangers a tough team to hate.

Alrighty, the regular season is officially over and the Blue Jays are still playing.

That must mean they’ve made the playoffs!

While most of us are fairly new, or at the very least extremely rusty, at this whole postseason thing it’s probably best to spend the next few days preparing. It seems to me that we’re all quite comfortable with cheering the home team, and it’s pretty easy considering the roster the organization has constructed. So the next most important thing is to learn to hate the opposing team.

Jays fans have had no problem hating opposing teams in the past, but there’s always been a reason. Whether it’s the shitbirding ways of the Baltimore Shitbirds or the throwing-at-our-stars-and-not-getting-thrown-out-only-to-have-Sanchez-tossed-when-a-ball-gets-away-from-him Kansas City Royals, those teams are easy to hate.

However, the Rangers man. They’re the team that was almost written off early after a 7-14 April. Like the Jays they went on a tear in the second half, securing the AL West. Texas has some fun and likable players, like Adrian “just as good as Derek Jeter but without the ballwashing” Beltre and Cecil (Fielder, not Brett)’s kid.

And of course there’s the fact the team actively discourages the wave at home games.

If the Jays weren’t in the postseason this year I’d be choosing between Texas and the Mets to be my adopted team for the month of October.

However, this time of year is not for the weak at heart. Canadians may not be hateful people, but it’s playoffs time. So without further adieu, here are some tidbits to get your Texas hate flowing.

Michael Young

For years Jays fans had to withstand the constant reminders every year that Michael Young was drafted by the Jays and traded from the Toronto organization to Texas for Esteban Loaiza in an ill-fated playoff push. That team ended up with 83 wins, and Young went on to have a nice little career, while Toronto spent years trying to find a shortstop who wasn’t awful.

But the thing is, Young wasn’t nearly as good as many people seem to think. Sure, he had some nice years by the traditional numbers, having a stretch of five straight years with 200 or more hits. But he was basically a 2-3 fWAR player, with a high-water mark of 4.1 in 2005.

And yet, every time Texas came to town we got to hear about the one that got away.

Well, screw Michael Young. It may have took 15 years but we got our shortstop now. How ya like them apples, Texas?

Cole Hamels

The lanky lefty had long been tied to the Jays as a possible trade target. But according to multiple reports over the years, Hamels had the Jays on his no-trade list, meaning he didn’t want to come here.

Well, suck it Cole. We got a lefty who’s better than you. And he’s more likable than you too.

Oh, and Cole Hamels reminds me of those teams that should have won Doc Halladay a World Series, but choked twice. So Cole, here’s to you getting taken to the proverbial woodshed on Thursday. You’ll wish you waived your no-trade clause when you see the lineup Toronto trots out for Game 1.

Jade Helm

According to this handy and hilarious infographic the most Googled term in Texas is Jade Helm.

For those unaware, Jade Helm refers to a conspiracy revolving around a military exercise in the American South that could involve, according to the Hartford Courant:

That Jade Helm 15 is actually a psychological operation aimed at getting people used to seeing the military on the streets so they will not be tipped off when the invasion actually happens.

That Jade Helm 15 is an international operation (UN vehicles have been spotted) whose goal is to seize everyone’s guns.

That the military plans to round up political dissidents.

That the military intends to remove key political figures who might oppose the institution of martial law. (I’m pretty sure Democrats don’t have anything to worry about here.)

That the military is secretly using recently closed Wal-Marts to stockpile supplies for Chinese troops who will be arriving to disarm Americans. (I have to say this is my personal favorite.)

It’s so Texan to be worried about the government taking their guns, but it’s also quite hilarious that people think recently closed Wal-Marts are being used to stockpile Chinese troops.

We could go down so many unfortunate racial, homophobic or xenophobic paths to point out that there is a lot of batshit crazy in Texas, but it’s more fun to showcase the craziness by conspiracy theories that include Chinese people waiting to file out of Wal-Marts and taking over America. I mean, have you ever navigated a Wal-Mart parking lot? They’re impossible!

Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning?

Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning?

George Bush

Before he took the Oval office for a political ride only rivaled by Toronto’s crack smoking, alcoholic racist and homophobic ex-mayor, George Bush was the Governor of the great state of Texas.

He also was a part owner of the Rangers for much of the 1990s.

‘Nuff said.

So there you have it. Enough reasons to at least start hating those damned Texas Rangers. My blood’s boiling just thinking about those bastards.

Bring on Thursday!

Those pesky meaningful September games

It’s post Labour Day. The kids are back in school, it’s getting darker earlier, and in this parts along the Niagara peninsula at least, its been hot as hell this past week.

As have the Toronto Blue Jays.

Winners of five straight, the home squad find themselves in among a group of five teams fighting for the final wild card spot. And with the Athletics in free fall mode, both wild card spots could be up for grabs shortly. And yet, I’m sensing a real hesitance to embrace it.

Yes, the Jays still have a tall hill to climb. Yes, it’s not going to be easy. And yes, they blew a lot when they completely forgot how to win in August. But if I told you at the start of the season that the Jays would be going into the first weekend of September 4.5 games back of a wildcard spot, what would you think? You’d probably be pretty fucking ok with it. You might even say you’d be happy because it meant they were playing meaningful baseball in September.

And yet, there’s been a discussion among many circles, namely the Fan 590, about whether or not this is meaningful baseball. As is usually the case, it’s in the eye of the beholder.

The negative arseholes would tell you there are too many teams and too far to climb. And yet, do you think the Yankees fans are thinking like this? I would rather guess they’re not, despite the fact the two teams are pretty much in the same position.

Perhaps people are loathe to embrace the team because of years of letdowns. But then, really, why the hell be a fan? Sure, there might be another letdown, but is that really a cause for concern?

This is meaningful baseball. The way I look at it, if the front office/manager are still playing to win, it’s meaningful. Every indication I can see is that they’re managing to win every ball game they can.

And…it’s 4.5 games. They’ve gained two games in a week. And with some very winnable games mixed in with eight games against direct competitors for that final spot, things can change quickly.

They need to be hot down the stretch. There’s little room for error. And they need a touch of luck. 

But embrace it. This is meaningful September baseball. They’re in the hunt. 

Enjoy it.