Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Under the Radar

How does one make enormous military aircraft undetectable? Producing it in accordance with a design through which radar can't catch it. Apparently, Jerry Jones has succeeded in his quest to perform such an operation on the Texas Rangers Baseball Club.

The best team in baseball over the past two weeks? Not the Yankees, not the Mets, not the D-Backs or Angels or Indians. Your lovable, hapless, red-shoed Rangers.
The same Rangers who were projected for the #1 draft selection earlier this year. The same Rangers who didn't have a starting pitcher with an ERA under five and a half. The same Rangers who didn't have a 20-HR hitter until a few days ago, when the greatly underrated Brad Wilkerson smashed one (Yeah,that's a tease. More on Whiffy to come later).

Many things have gone into the resurgence that momentarily lifted them out of 4th place. The returns of Hammering Hank and Ace Edinson. Salty, Ian my religious brother, Frankie the Cat, and Wilk hitting like they're supposed to. Wes Litleton, Joaquin Benoit, and CJ Wilson proving their collective mettle.

All of these have contributed to the one thing that matters: Wins.
Some will say that they saw it coming early in the year; the inevitable Rangers rally late in the year, the same one that elicited so much promise and optimism for next year despite the overall record and divisional standing. But I can honestly say that not since the glorious 89-win spectacular in 2004 have I been this pleased with the Rangers as an organization.

The farm system is loaded. I truly mean this. There are few throughout all of baseball who can match it in depth, and while the top-end talent isn't quite Clayton Kershaw or Jay Bruce; it does include enough to keep me happy. the team is young at most positions; If one would project a lineup for two, three, or even four years down the road every replacement could theoretically be transplanted from somewhere in the organization. That's both a testament to the aforementioned minor league talent depth and to the appearance of franchise cornerstones on the major league level.

I don't know if the Rangers are a playoff team next year. I could be buying into late-season BS again. But I don't think so. And I'm freaking elated to see my team playing their hearts out in the only position they can hope to fill at this point of the year, with a goal in mind that I would have deemed inconcievable for the majority of the year.
Finishing with a record better than last year's.

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