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Shropshire Still Reliving Seasons in Hell With Your Texas Rangers. Now, With Extra 'Roids!

Shropshire Still Reliving Seasons in Hell With Your Texas Rangers. Now, With Extra 'Roids!

My favorite sports book of all time is Mike Shropshire's Seasons in Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and The Worst Baseball Team in History -- The 1973-1975 Texas Rangers. We excerpted the book in 1996, and Michael Hogue's original artwork accompanying the piece still hangs in my office -- that's it at right. (Michael gave me a sweet deal.) Anyway, long story short, a Friend of Unfair Park sends word that the former Fort Worth Star-Telegram-er is still writing about the Strangers -- this time for Slate, which is blessed this afternoon with a story that asks and (kinda, sorta?) answers the question, "How did A-Rod's Rangers become ground zero for baseball's steroids scandal?" A sampling of the man's greatness, required reading for all who love and loathe our team in equal amounts.

While I wouldn't wish a stint with the Rangers on any man, my patience with A-Rod vanishes when he drags the weatherman into the equation. "You know, it was hot in Texas every day," Rodriguez said to [Peter] Gammons by way of explanation for his doping. "It was over 100 degrees. You know, you felt like -- without trying to over-investigate what you're taking -- can I have an edge, just to get out there and play every day?"

If A-Rod had bothered to ask around, he would have learned a local folk remedy to defeat the heat. It's called a Fort Worth Air Conditioner, and it consists of a large plastic cup filled with tequila on the rocks, colored by a couple of tablespoons of orange juice. Rangers players had relied on that concoction for three decades, and nobody ever heard a single one of them carp about life within the world's largest sauna. That was the old Arlington Stadium, with its shadeless metal stands configured like a gravel pit, where the scoreboard thermometer once hit 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the first inning of a night game.


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