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Monday morning Rangers things

There's not really anything out there Rangers-related this morning, so I want to talk instead about my thoughts after watching last night's game, and a certain former Ranger.

I believe I've mentioned that one of the reasons I wanted the Yankees to beat the Angels -- aside from the primary fact that I don't like the Angels and don't want to see them (or any divisional rival) in the World Series -- is that I still like Alex Rodriguez, and I would like to see him at some point win a ring.

I am aware that this makes me a distinct minority among Rangers fans...for whatever reason, him requesting a trade to one of two teams (both of whom were set at shortstop) has been cast as him "forcing" his way out of Texas, and he's been painted as the bad guy, while Buck Showalter, John Hart, and Tom Hicks -- all of whom wanted Rodriguez out of Texas just as much, if not more, than he wanted out -- are portrayed as the innocent victims of his malfeasance. 

And of course, his "24 kids" comment -- an inartful way of pointing out that Tom Hicks had decided to quit trying to play with the big boys and was opting to slash payroll and give up on trying to compete for a while -- was twisted into Rodriguez supposedly trashing his teammates by those looking for any excuse to rip him.

The bottom line is that the Rangers had one of the 5-10 greatest players ever to play major league baseball in their organization for three years, and in those three years, he was the best player in the American League, and he earned every penny of the exorbinant contract he received.  He was scapegoated, both nationally and locally, for bad decisions by the front office, by their opting to waste tens of millions on the likes of Chan Ho Park and Juan Gonzalez and Rusty Greer, and by Saint Melvin's complete ineptitude when it came to building a farm system (one of those things that, for whatever reason, fans and the MSM alike choose to gloss over in the beatification of Doug Melvin).

And Rangers fans seemed to revel in what was perceived as his failures in the playoffs, hopping all over the label of "The Cooler" (because, of course, the Rangers went on to have such a litany of success once they got rid of him), even though, if you look at his numbers, he performed well in the playoffs.

And this, of course, isn't limited just to Rangers fans...mainstream baseball journalists can't stand him, even professional baffoons like Peter King who dabble in baseball view him as all that's wrong with baseball, and this whole attitude reached a pinnacle with Selena Roberts' hatchet job this spring, that got headlines despite being a flop in terms of sales.

This October, with everyone watching and waiting for him to fail, Alex Rodriguez has carried the Yankees.  And yes, the series isn't over, and Rodriguez could go hitless the final three games, make a couple of errors, and get the goat horns once again.  But at this point, he's been the hero of the postseason, and he may have once and for all shaken the rap that he's shared with Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, other greatest of the great players who were pilloried for not stepping up their game in the playoffs.

And I, for one, am glad.  Here's hoping that, from here on out, the story about Alex Rodriguez isn't about him as a polarizing figure among the fans and media, about his supposed inability to come through in the clutch, but instead, is about people recognizing him as a transcendent talent who we are all lucky to be able to watch.