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10/12 Postseason Review: Death Rays

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Well, gee howdy fell'ers 'n fell'gals! How 'bout our boys grabbin' the bull by the headlights 'n stayin' in the saddle no matter how hard that ornery ol' beast buck 'n kick 'n try to knock 'em cattywampus? What a rememable game o' ballbases that was. Ain't no quit in those dusty ranch hands, nosiree Bob. I swear Tom Landry a'int doin' nothin' but smilin' down on 'em from up on high, God rest his soul. Now they shore is ridin' high on the hog to-night, I tell you what! This here's a sight a'int been seen 'round these parts since ol' Pecos Bill hisself lassoo'd the mighty Rio Grande with naught other'n pokeweed 'n rattlesnake guts.

But none o' y'all thinks we done celebratin', does ye'en'? Pre-zackly. Why, this fight a'int barely begun. We's gots some real northern dandies comin' our way, boys 'n gals, meanin' it's high time we cinched up our tow packages 'n drained out the irrigation ditches. I'm fixin' to show these carpet-baggin' city-slickin', pomade-packin' Dapper Dans what we all call a "cowboy hello" 'round here. We'll whup them northern pretty boys right outta' town faster'n that Kansas City oilman totin' a lien on Critter Williams' cattle pasture.

Ways I figger' it, the world needs t'reckon Texas can win a game o' major league ballbases 'gainst anythang come our way. We gots the claws, we gots the antlers, we gots Colt McCoy, and we gots some gen-u-ine Texas-sized heart 'n determination. So load up yer' six-shooters, hitch up yer' saddle, an' clear a patch in yer' car garden for the rootin'est, tootin'est, cowboy-bootin'est contest o' sport since General Sam Houston gunned down Pancho Villa after a crooked game o' five-card stud. Now can I get a big ol' Texas cheer? Yeeeeeee-haw! -- Gus McGrew, Reeves County Rancher-Herald

Rangers 5, Rays 1 (Texas wins series 3-2)

Well, this ALCS match-up is going to split the Angels fanbase. Some of us rank "hating the Yankees" second on our list of sports allegiances, just below "cheering the Angels." Some of us wouldn't pull for the division rival in a playoff series against the armies of Sauron. Ultimately, I blame the Rays for creating this awkward situation. I thought maybe the Angels had sneaked onto the field in St. Petersburg last night. The premium catching, stupid baserunning, and fielding mishaps had to remind you of a certain team in red. There's also the fact that the Rays couldn't score, but credit Cliff Lee for that. He's good. I used to like him before he became a hired gun, and his hit fee is about to "migrate to a new service tier" (Comcast-speak for "we jacked up your bill just because we can"). I wouldn't say the Rays should have won yesterday's game, but they shouldn't have lost 5-1. None of the Rangers' early runs should have ever crossed the plate.

But did you hear Ron and Buck applauding aggressive baserunning without taking half a second to think about context.? Broadcasters seem to think "good baserunning" is good because it worked, and "bad baserunning" is bad because it didn't. Stealing third with two outs? Stupid. Kelly Shoppach just pulled a Jeff Mathis on the throw. Stealing second with Bengie Molina in any situation whatsoever? Stupid. Kelly Shoppach just had his hands covered in engine grease. This year, Vladimir Guerrero stole four bases, was caught five times, and made 13 other outs advancing on balls in play. However, Kelly Shoppach was out of position (does he do anything right?), so Vlad looks as swift and cunning as a fox. No, a major league defense should make all those plays; they usually made them on the Angels' attempts at similar recklessness. I love Vlad, but I've watched him run the bases enough to call BS on this one, three-man broadcast booth. Poor guy doesn't even have knees anymore.

Seriously, though, congratulations to the Texas Rangers for earning the AL West a little street cred. Just keep it real on the bases next week. The umpiring at Yankee Stadium can be...unpredictable.