I'm a writer for Burnt Orange Nation, and generally only lurk over here, but I had to get all this off my chest. And, as a Rangers fan, this is really the only proper forum for such a message. This has been an incredible year, which has been magnified by being able to read the reactions, responses, and analyses posted and linked from this site.
As I explained in a BON post, I'll have to someday explain to my children what it was like to grow up without the internet, e-mail, or cellular phones. I imagine they will find the conversation very amusing, especially as the world continues evolving, adapting, and relying on products and technology not even invented yet. I'm already amazed at the things that have become commonplace around these parts. One LSB game thread involves previously inconceivable uses of GIFs, especially with their relation to other forms of media. Haters are gonna hate, Gina is going to smile and lick her lips, and various forms of animals will help us turn double plays. And then--if something happens--everyone can Tweet about it.
But, as we've all watched as the internet has become the primary method of communication and social interaction for this generation, I think there is a nuance about the internet and e-mail that is easily forgotten--its ability to serve as a time capsule. And it is this aspect that I want to focus on. When I look back at this season, I want to be able to remember how I felt on the night that I became completely convinced that we were going to do something special in the month of October. However, to fully encapsulate the gravity and magnitude of this moment, it has to be understood in the context of the decade that preceded it.
2010 is going a long way to make the past decade—the horrible, awful, miserable past decade—become firmly entrenched as the past. But it's still our past, and the pain it caused is still our pain. The pain of Rangers signing Alex Rodriguez, perhaps the best player in baseball, only to trade him to the Yankees for reasons I will never understand. The pain of Hank Blalock flaming out. The pain of watching our front office take sides in a bitter turf war of egotistical pricks and watching Grady Fuson get pushed out. The pain of the seemingly endless string of pitching coaches, including the ill-fated reign of Oscar Acosta. The pain of our national relevance consisting of pitchers throwing chairs or pushing cameramen. The pain of living in Austin, Texas during the "Great Astros Lovefest of 2005." There are ample examples for everyone, so feel free to take your pick.
But, more than anything, the painful memories of the past decade are perfectly exemplified by the steady stream of losing. Or, more accurately, the steady stream of not winning. We've had great moments and some great walkoffs in previous years--Dellucci, Crush, Marlon, and Hamilton, to name a few--but they all feel somewhat hollow in their greater context. And, in hoping that the memories of a particular season will hopefully stand up to their greater context, many Rangers fans have been seemingly waiting on JD to build a perfect team. A perfect team that wont roll over and die in three games against the Yankees. That's not gonna happen, but it doesnt need to happen. No team has to be perfect.
And, as I look at this team, that's what I have to keep reminding myself--we dont have to be perfect. We dont have a 5th starter, our C/1B/CF production is laughable, and we might have already seen the best of Vladimir Guerrero. That's not good, but it looks like it will be good enough. Because, as we saw tonight--and unlike most previous seasons--this team is talented enough to win despite its own inherent flaws. It's good enough to line up O'Day-Oliver-Ogando-Francisco-Feliz and hold on long enough for the bats to produce 4 baserunners in 5 batters against Mariano Rivera. This team is good enough, and it's scary to think about its potential for greatness. On a night like tonight, it becomes very easy to remember that this team can win the World Series. And that's the first time I've been able to type those words in over a decade. It feels really, really, really good.
I'm thankful for this team, this site, and the ability to experience such a magical season. And, when I look back at this post in the future, I'm thankful that it will bring me back to my thoughts on a night that I want to remember. Or, perhaps more specifically, I'll be brought back to my thoughts on a night that I dont want to forget.