The Curse of Sucking

Is this the year the Texas Rangers finally...? Nah.

"I get a new drum every year," says Zonk, who these days bangs up rallies from section 32, row 13 behind Texas' dugout. "The original one is at Bobby V's restaurant, but I got boxes of them."

Age, traffic and decades of disappointment have caught up with Zonk. Despite enticements (short of a personal helicopter) from owner Tom Hicks to keep him attending games, he said last year he made only 40 of 81 home dates and this year will probably only see 20.

"One game last year I left my office in Plano at 4 p.m.," Zonk recalls, "and got to the park at 6:10 p.m.."

Still, it is spring. Flowers are blooming, insects are buzzing and Rangers fans are as gullible as ever.

Texas released Rogers, traded away Alfonso Soriano, signed an ace pitcher in Kevin Millwood and kept intact its young, talented infield nucleus of Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira and Young. There's rising star Kevin Mench, newly acquired table-setter Brad Wilkerson, rookie second baseman Ian Kinsler, refreshing 28-year-old GM Jon Daniels and last year's not-so-awful 79-83 record and...

"If everything comes together," Zonk says in familiar refrain, "we could be all right."

The stars seem absurdly unaligned. Terrell Owens is a Cowboy. Ryan Seacrest is a star. It's no longer safe to get drunk in bars.

Hades is now a skating rink.

Yet sadly, there are our Rangers, not stockpiling champagne, just shades and sunscreen.

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