My uncle is a Rangers fan living in TX. We've had some good email discussions over the years about baseball, and I thought HHers might appreciate hearing from someone on the other side. So, here is what he has to say about 1) my comments on the their bankruptcy and how the Angels are essentially paying the Rangers to make big trades in order to beat themselves and 2) the big series that starts tonight. Let me know if you find it insightful.
"You make a good point about the finances in the Rangers' bankruptcy - it's totally weird. Here's one for the ages: Nolan Ryan is actually suing his own team in this process. Go figure!
Of course, the whole mess has been created by Rangers' owner, Tom Hicks, who is still largely protected by local media here. With only one exception, (Randy Galloway), local commentators have been eulogizing Hicks for a decade, while he has defrauded his investors of 500 million dollars.
But One Man - Ball Machine! [my uncle] - led the way by identifying Hicks as a gangster way back when he hired John Hart as GM, while lying to the A's and MLB about negotiations with Grady Fuson. Later, his treatment of Pudge, A-Rod, and especially Kenny Rogers made the Rangers the off-scouring of MLB - making it impossible for them to sign top players, be they veterans or prospects.
Throughout his tenure, Hicks' contempt for MLB - it's organization, players, and especially fans - has tainted the entire Rangers' organization. The man is a certified pathological liar, whose worthless life is devoid of accomplishment. Fortunately, Ryan's efforts have restored some credibility.
As for the league's support of financially distressed teams, we often forget that the individual teams are not actually distinct business entities - they are franchised members of a single venture. While they compete on the field, they still help each other because the failure of one franchise hurts all of them.
This is especially true of the Rangers, who inhabit the 5th largest sports market overall. I suspect the DFW area may actually be the largest in terms of available of discretionary money due to low taxes and housing costs. Furthermore, the cost of operating the team is more like Kansas City, while the population is more like San Diego, without the cost of living. Bottom line: I don't think the league would consider moving the team. They realize that there's no reason the Rangers can't be America's Baseball Team, like the Cowboys are America's Football Team, and should be the most profitable team in MLB.
Now to the upcoming series: This is huge for both teams - 7 games in 11 days. One local writer put it this way: "Win this seven-game block, and the Rangers might put themselves on the verge of being uncatchable over the last two months. Lose it, and the battle-tested Angels will be even closer than they appear in the rear-view mirror." Well said.
The pitching match-ups promise some great contests: Lee - Weaver, Wilson - Saunders, Feldman - Santana, Hunter - O'Sullivan. Tonight could go either way, slight advantage to Lee, if the Rangers score any runs for him for a change. Wilson should beat Saunders, but it's not a lock - advantage Rangers. Feldman has no chance against Santana - game conceded to Angels. Sunday, Hunter has a little longer record, but O'Sullivan has found something pretty special recently. But how many teams could acquire Cliff Lee and have him actually be the #2 starter? That's almost the case with Hunter. Slight advantage - Rangers.
One more little factoid, known only to Joe Morgan and Ball Machine [my uncle]: While the Rangers' Ballpark is known as a hitters' park, in truth, that only applies to left hand hitters. The idea of a hitters' park is largely the creation of our front office, with the help of local media, as usual, to cover up the Rangers' crappy pitching over the years. Actual statistical measurement shows the Ballpark about even. (The Ballpark stopped being a hitters' park when A-Rod was traded.)
But with the 14' fence 354' down the left field line, the Ball Park is not particularly friendly to RH hitters. The porch in RF reminds folks of the old Tigers Stadium, but in truth the dimensions are pretty standard there. Alleged wind anomalies are also completely fictitious creations of the Rangers front office. At least two independent aerodynamic studies have revealed no significant anomalies, but the stories were buried by local press. Bottom line: the Ballpark has always slightly favored LH pitchers, and the Rangers are bringing two against the Angels' one. Might not matter, but good lefties do well here.
Likely outcome in the next seven games between the two: 4-3 either way. In other words - the Rangers better take 3 here in Arlington it they want to widen the lead. Neither team is going away soon. One thing is for sure: we're going to see some exciting baseball."