I've been to a few Angels games - mostly when they play Texas - late this season, and I couldn't help but think "I want that!" I want what the Angels have. A successful team, a packed stadium, a fan base that cares and has a reason to care.
Last night I decided to head down to Angels Stadium to see if I could get a ticket to Game 1 against Boston (much thanks to the scalper who got me a ticket for a good price). I'd never been to an MLB playoff game before (didn't make it out to any of those Rangers-Yankees series in the late 90s, and the Rangers didn't last long enough to really give me much of a chance). The experience of cramming into seats surrounded by a sellout crowd of baseball fans (not fans waiting for football season) who knew all about the team, who cared all about the team, was not only refreshing, but it was near-foreign.
The scoreboard sign would light up with the monosyllabic command, "NOISE!" and fans would start screaming. It didn't matter the situation or lack there of. When "NOISE!" displayed, the stadium came alive. You don't see that at Rangers games. The response in Arlington would most likely resemble Oh look honey, it says "NOISE" on the scoreboard. That's nice.
By the way, the videos of the Rally Monkey showing up in random movies: amazing! If you haven't seen these spoofs (Jaws, Poltergeist) , they are on par with some of the videos on the screen at Mavs games (Avery Bunch, Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be Spurs fans, cavemen dispute). Last night, the Rally Monkey appeared in the movie Shrek when the sundown caused the princess to transform from a beautiful woman into the Rally Monkey (instead of an ogre). He also showed up in Ferris Buller's Day Off.
I don't even know what to think of the Rangers. It's nice to hear that Hicks realized the Danks trade was terrible, but I don't doubt something similar will happen again. Cowlishaw summed things up with a great column about how the Rangers fans had suffered. The future looks promising with the Rangers with guys like Hamilton, Young and Blalock to support a younger cast of characters like Chris Davis and company. But hasn't that been the case with this franchise for years? The future was bright when Young, Blalock and Teixeira were all here back in 2004, and I couldn't help but think how this would soon be a playoff team.
Whether Ron Washington is the man for the job or not, I don't know. But I do know the Rangers have meandered through the past nine seasons with each offseason leading us to believe that it'll only be a couple of years before things get turned around. And each year, it doesn't happen.
As a result, the team continues to struggle. Once again as the Rangers enter this offseason, I find myself rationalizing in my mind how this second place finish is a sign of things to come - and I hope there's merit to that. Yet until this team turns around on the field, Rangers Ballpark will struggle to reach capacity, and fans will struggle to care.