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Thoughts on a 5-1 Rangers loss

Rays 5, Rangers 1

Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Rays 5, Rangers 1

  • September is not a month I’m fond of.
  • I didn’t enjoy school growing up. I found it tedious, boring, something that provided no value to my life, something that occupied time that I could spend doing things I enjoyed.
  • September always meant the resumption of the school year. It meant having to interact with people, something I generally had little desire to do as a child. It meant having to sit, trapped, trying to find some way to occupy myself and keep myself entertained while tuning out whatever droning sounds were being made by the adult at the front of the class.
  • I can remember the first day of second grade, looking around the classroom, a sick feeling in my stomach, feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of having to sit at this desk, day in and day out, for what seemed to stretch forward as an eternity before classes would be out for the summer and I would be free again. I remember sitting there thinking, there’s no way I can make it through the coming months, make it through the tedium and repetition I’d already concluded school consisted of.
  • September was one of Woody Allen’s most underwhelming films. Though it was, to be fair, a good Earth, Wind and Fire song,
  • September feels like the beginning of an ending, an acknowledgment that the crest has been passed, that the curve has peaked, that we are winding our way towards darkness, bleakness, coldness. Shorter days, strong winds, the need to wear jackets that inevitably get misplaced or forgotten while out and about.
  • Not yet, of course. Not yet. September, it’s still hot in Texas, you still can have some 100 degree days, remnants of the summer just past. But the bleakness, the darkness, is coming. It’s looming. We know that’s what September means.
  • September is the sound of the 60 Minutes clock ticking, late on a Sunday — another S laden with foreboding — a trigger to make you think of opportunities missed, chances not taken. It’s that last moment before you hear the door close, the window shut, an ending that arrived too soon, with too much left undone, as you try to block out the despair of what lies ahead.
  • September is the month when you first realize that you, too, are going to die one day.
  • September doesn’t even have the right goddam name. Septem is Latin for seven. September was the seventh month in the Roman calendar, so it makes sense to call it September. But September is the ninth month in our calendar, which means it should really be called November. So it is a non-genuine month, a month that is mis-labeled, existing under false pretenses.
  • September also means that the baseball season is coming to a close. Well, not for every team — not the playoff teams. But growing up a Rangers fan, that was never us. September as a kid didn’t mean the excitement of a pennant race, the prospect of playoff baseball. It was the playing out of the string, the countdown to nothing, a general wistfulness over the disappointment of falling short once again, heading into a bleak winter with the false hope of “maybe next year.”
  • What better to exemplify September for Rangers fans than today’s September baseball game. A shortened outing from Jon Gray, still working his way back to full strength from the injured list. A sense of hope, with the game staying close, opportunities early, a bases loaded situation which could turn the tide…only to see those chances fade, dry out, crumble like so many leaves at the end of fall.
  • And what is there to show from all this? A tease. Misbegotten hopes. A valiant attempt be the pitchers to keep the Rays at bay, until a two run double off Dennis Santana late no longer allows us to lie to ourselves, to mendaciously whisper in our minds that victory could still be grasped, to slam the window closed, to shut the door, to signal that this is September, the beginning of the end.
  • One run, just one run, a home run by Jonah Heim, a shot that echoes off into the abyss, representing a single line, a downward stroke on the final box score that prevents the ignominy of the blank, the zed, the oval that signifies nothingness. A wave that crashes into the rocks, only to withdraw, pull back, leaving nothing but the memory of its presence.
  • Today was a game that showed September in its purest form. What is September if not Kole Calhoun playing out the string, failing to put a ball in play, walking once and striking out once before being lifted for Mark Matthias.
  • Kole Calhoun turns 35 in October. This is his eleventh, and quite possibly last, season in the majors. Do you think he looks at the calendar, looks at the remaining schedule and the possible matchups, and calculates, each day, how many at bats he likely has left? How many caught fly balls he has remaining, how many throws to the cut off man? When he is at the plate, does he think, I only have 32 times at the plate left, I have to make this count? Does he know longer allow himself the luxury of not thinking about the past, or the future, and just focusing on today?
  • That feeling, the knowing that the end is out there, on the horizon, and nothing you do can stop it…that is September.
  • Jon Gray hit 97.1 mph with his fastball. Dennis Santana reached 98.2 mph. Taylor Hearn maxed out at 95.0 mph.
  • Corey Seager grounded out at 108.3 mph. Marcus Semien had a 104.9 mph double. Leody Taveras had a 103.1 mph groundout.
  • The series finale tomorrow. One more step towards the end.