The Texas Strangers

It's an annual rite of spring. On April 15--at precisely 11:59 p.m., if you're like me--we do our taxes and write off the Texas Rangers. This year seemed no different. Before the season even started, prized pitcher Adam Eaton injured his finger. New leadoff man Brad Wilkerson started striking out more than a McDonald's manager at Medici. Second baseman Ian Kinsler hurt his finger in the second series. And closer Coco Cordero blew more saves than Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco.

The Rangers started a dismal 2-7, getting an early jump on their typical disappearance into the metroplex sports landscape. But while we were watching the Mavericks sweep Memphis and the Cowboys draft more guys linked to Bill Parcells, something weird happened. The Rangers didn't drown. In fact, they amazingly treaded water, by the end of April floated into first place and Wednesday night won their fifth consecutive game with a dramatic homer from another unlikely hero, Mark Derosa. Let's don't print World Series tickets just yet, but give Texas some credit. The Rangers may keep us interested through Memorial Day. --Richie Whitt