Last season held so much drama, sadness and disappointment, much like the seasons before it. When it was finally over, a necessary step back was taken in an attempt to analyze what was coming next. Those haunting words, “Winter is coming,” left the audience questioning exactly what that was supposed to mean! Here’s one theory.
The 2013 Texas Rangers won 91 games last season and lost in a one game playoff, failing to advance to postseason play for the first time in three years. For reference sake, they lost the first ever one-game playoff in baseball history the previous year after they had made the World Series the previous two years. Before that, the franchise had one playoff victory to their credit. Talk about your highs and lows.
Four years ago a die hard Rangers’ fan would have been ecstatic to even make the playoffs. Now, their expectations for their team has reached new heights and there is sufficient evidence that this ball club can not only meet but exceed those expectations. Since the first World Series season back in 2010, the organization has been considered to be stronger than the last and rightfully so. I’m not trying to advocate managerial deficiencies or anything of that sort of nature, but the statement I made at the beginning about a supposed winter coming, was just that. Be ready.
And as for their response… “Been ready.”
Baseball is a funny game and to quote the late Bob Lemmon, “Baseball was made for kids, and grown-ups only screw it up.”
Sabermetric stats are created with the end goal being the ability to predict the outcomes of games before they are played. In an attempt to rebel against the old school notion, the sabermetrician’s aim is to pick apart an incredibly complex game that lives and dies on every pitch in a carnivorous attempt to chew through the game of baseball. No kid should ever play the game of baseball at any point in their little league careers with their top preseason set goal as to achieving the most selective hitter award – aka The Brian Kenny Award. Erroneous logic in using a wOBA (weighted on-base average) statistic, for example, never crosses the mind of an 11-year-old.
Skeptics may argue that if there were a team wide dedication to this approach, among others, that even kids could actually win a couple more games and make the playoffs. They don’t tell their coach that they struck three times because they were trying to be selective. And if only the umpire knew the strike zone better, they certainly wouldn’t have called that 3-1 pitch strike two.
Now, obviously, this article exaggerates a little bit in an attempt to paint a picture. In fact some sabermetric stats are fun to look at, but it is not what baseball is. Baseball is played with real people whom have real human limitations, and as much as sabermetricians want to theorize that all baseball players’ mental states are created equal, they aren’t seeing the whole picture.
Plenty of numbers guys would agree. No, not that type of numbers guy. These numbers guys make sense of the world when a thing can be quantified, but they don’t all believe that everything human beings perceive has a solution based on numbers or that everything can be fundamentally connected mathematically. It simply means that numbers make sense. But in the same manner science has its limitations and won’t ever be complete, neither science nor math can paint the complete picture. There is no answer for everything that can be solved in a laboratory. An excellent resource that further expands as to why that is the case can be found by going to YouTube to view a multitude of Williams Lane Craig or Ravi Zacharias videos – two brilliant minds that this particular article and author can’t hold a candle to in regards to thought, reasoning power and sincerity.
For the Texas Rangers, winter did come. Like all seasons in a year, it did go. At very young ages, youths learn the simple chronology of season. The seasons are usually taught to follow the pattern of spring, summer, fall and winter. The order is unimportant.
Rangers’ fans suffered through this past winter leaving behind another lost season along with having the St. Louis Cardinals make their way to another World Series berth. A daunting task lay ahead for the front office and ownership group. Hope had to be renewed beyond the walls of 1000 Ballpark Way. It is a good thing the organization has leadership determined to succeed, leadership that knows how to take it one pitch at a time and leadership that is keen in its ability to learn from the past and move on.
The Texas Rangers fan base can have reason to believe in their club for which that a strict sabermetrician board might attempt to hide – with so many potential high WAR (wins above replacement) Rangers on the disabled list and all. A board of leaders, on the other hand, never settles. They are always ready to adjust and move forward. The Rangers’ brass is always prepared.
Until part two, Tommy Lasorda would say:
“There are three types of baseball players – those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happened.”