By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"People are worried that I might take money away from the Rangers to go to Liverpool," Hicks said last spring. "It's just the reverse. Liverpool is going to pull off lots of extra money that, if I choose, I can use for the Rangers or Stars."
Meanwhile, back here on Earth, ticket prices recently increased for the third consecutive season. Why? Because we'll barely respond, much less revolt. Even though the Rangers' attendance decreased 135,000 last year, their 2.3 million customers were still more than the American League Central Division champion Cleveland Indians.
"It's hard to swallow," says Dallas' Jon Thurmond with a shrug, while waiting in 35-degree cold to get a bat signed by Rusty Greer. "Every year we're told to be patient and to dig a little deeper in our pockets."
There are signs of life. A farm system ranked 28th last year by Baseball America is now No. 4. The Rangers are bidding to host the 2015 All-Star Game. Pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Arizona, for spring training on February 14.
Still, isn't it just a matter of time before the Rangers re-sign Ryan, name Greer manager and resurrect the giant Texas-shaped scoreboard to distract us from the '08 realities of missing out on Torii Hunter and counting on Ben Broussard?
While the price for Hicks' follies in England may be harsh criticism, here it's merely indifference. He gets a ruler to the knuckles for not attending the Stars' playoff elimination and for labeling Liverpool fans more passionate than Rangers fans, but basically we passively afford Hicks irrelevance.
Just like his baseball team.
Did you know that All-Star shortstop and face of the franchise Michael Young went to Cabo on a recent vacation? Exactly.
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