On this glorious morning of May 18, 2009, I hereby pronounce that your Texas Rangers are
champions legit magical contenders.
Look, I've been a Rangers fan since I witnessed Frank Howard whistle a homer out to center in old Arlington Stadium back in April of 1972. Like you, I'm happy and hopeful that Texas:
*Is playing its best baseball since 2005.
*Has a 4 1/2-game lead on perennial AL West bully Anaheim.
*Just completed a 6-0 homestand and has won seven consecutive games.
*Owns a 23-14 record, second-best in franchise history after 37 games and third-best in the Majors behind only Toronto and the Dodgers.
But it's mid-May. In baseball, nothing magical happens in May. Sorry.
Don't call Laura Miller and her parade-planning committee just yet.
What the Rangers are producing is impressive. They're 13-3 this month, with a starters' ERA under 3.00. They're winning games - for the first time in a long time - with pitching and defense.
Ian Kinsler saved the game Friday with a backhanded, short-hop scoop. Josh Hamilton nurtured yesterday's win with a wall-jarring grab. They're winning games not only 10-8, but also 3-0. They began this stretch of boffo baseball with Hamilton on the DL and swept the Angels without a single pitch from impeccable closer Frankie Francisco.
Seriously, Jason Jennings is getting wins, Darren O'Day is getting saves and Ron Washington is getting credit. It's all warm-n-fuzzy fun.
But before commencing your circle jerk, just remember where we are. You haven't even been to the lake this summer because, well, it's not yet summer. The fashion police won't even allow you to wear white shorts yet. If you have a son in the 6th grade, the Rangers won't play their most important games until he's a 7th-grader.
In this town we suffer from an affliction known as Desperation Intoxication. Without any sort of championship since the Dallas Stars in 1999, it doesn't take much of a lifted-skirt winning streak to get us all hot and sports horny. The Cowboys are Super Bowl favorites! The Mavs beat the Spurs! The Trinity River Project is great! Ring any bells?
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Caution: The Rangers have played only 23 percent (37 of 162) of their schedule.
At similar points with similar success, the Dallas Cowboys would be 2-1 with a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead in Week 4. The Dallas Mavericks woud be 12-7.
I didn't see the Angels waving any white flags. I don't want to see Rangers fans raising any championship banners. Not yet.
These Rangers are different, refreshing and successful. But we've got a loooong way to go before they're magical.