I've been reading stories and comments at lonestarball since the beginning of last season. It was a great resource for me to share my misery at the way the team began the '07 season with serious fans who understood that this team had a great core and if we could find a way to get straightened out, we had a bright future. (It was also nice because I was in Iraq, and it provided a great diversion.)
I, like every one else here, can now taste that future. WIth the Teixiera trade, we pulled in a slew of prospects that filled our minors with even more depth and excitement. In spite of that excitement, I write this fanpost with the cautious advice to my fellow Rangers fans: slow down. Now is not the time. Don't force tomorrow to come today.
Explanations (and less cliches) after the fold.
I grew up in Dallas around LBJ & Midway on the north side of Dallas. I got into baseball at an early, early age, going to Arlington Stadium to watch games with my dad and rooting for people like Pete Incaviglia. We went to the first game ever played at The Ballpark: an exhibition against the Mets. We went to spring training to see my mom's favorite player who had just left the Rangers and joined the Pirates: Lee Stevens. I got autographs from Ken Hill and Rick Helling. This isn't irrelevant nostalgia; I'm saying this to legitimize my status as a Rangers fan. I've been loyal for two decades.
That loyalty extends beyond a hot streak, beyond optimism, beyond any foolish reactionary suggestions. It's that loyalty that I hinted at in the words at the beginning of this post.
I have been surprised that the talent and potential of the team we now have has come together so quickly. Ian has turned into a superstar. Josh, well, Josh is indescribably great. And we've got so much youth on the team that can do so much in this new era of Rangers history. My point is that I fear our successes will compromise our willingness to continue rebuilding.
In one of my phone calls to my mom about a week ago, we talked about the Rangers. She's a huge Dallas sports fan; loves listening to Randy Galloway, loves her Cowboys, hates Tom Hicks. She said the one thing that I'm afraid most Ranger fans are saying: rebuilding worked, let's start winning. I tried to explain to her that yes, so far the rebuilding moves (Teixiera trade, Volquez trade) have worked wonderfully. But those moves aren't enough to warrant pushing too hard for something this season.
When we traded Tex last year, I told her that this year we needed to commit to the minors and letting the AAA/MLB prospects get some time (Chris Davis, Max Ramirez, Salty, etc.). 2009 was the year to threaten the Angels & A's; I'm still expecting a move this season and one in the offseason, hopefully including Vicente Padilla and one of our catchers. 2010 is the year to demand results.
I just fear that we're going overboard with optimism because we've played so since May. In all reality, does anyone think our rotation is playoff worthy? Is it even one move away?
We've got to hold the line. Continue to bring in youth and potential by shopping off those players who have proven themselves to desperate teams. The Teixeira trade is the prime example. It was a perfect move for the team. Don't let that success fade.
Slow down. Now is not the time. Don't force tomorrow to come today. Because tomorrow's coming soon and it's going to be great for the Rangers.