"The Old Rangers Are Gone."

That quote, from Texas Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg, is the theme of this morning's World Series round-up.

It comes from an interview in USA Today concerning the prospects of keeping Cliff Lee, which doesn't sound like the impossibility others have made it out to be; says Lee, beating the San Francisco Giants would make it "hard to walk away" from a team he's come to "love." To which wife Kristen adds, the boorish behavior of New York Yankees fans during the ALCS wasn't much of a sales pitch: "When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it's hard not to take it personal." Greenberg chimes in by insisting the Rangers will be "aggressive financially" when it comes time to offer Lee a deal: "We're not going into this with a pea shooter. The old Rangers are gone."

And that's just fine with the great Jim Reeves, now at ESPNDallas.com, who once again revisits ghosts of Rangers teams past this morning in a piece headlined "Texas sheds 'Strangers' perception." After smoking a bowl of Mike Shropshire's Seasons in Hell ("[Shropshire] even 'fessed up to bringing a grocery sack full of weed to camp one spring, becoming the team's unofficial dope supplier"), Revo likewise ponders Lee's future as a Ranger:

Lee has been called a "hired gun," and many assume that if the Yankees want him, the Yankees will get him. That may not be as cut-and-dried as the Yankees, their media and fans seem to think.

"The Rangers have an owner in Dallas [Ray Davis] that's a billionaire and an owner in Fort Worth [Bob Simpson] that's a billionaire," said a Rangers' insider. "I didn't see them back down from Mark Cuban."

Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer likewise turns his attention from what was to what is to what may be in a piece headlined "How the Texas Rangers built an AL champion." He wraps his familiar how-to with Greenberg once more insisting that this team's willing to spend a few to make sure this isn't a one-time-only trip to the Fall Classic:

"We're in very solid shape financially," Greenberg said. "The old Rangers are gone, a thing of the past. We are very well capitalized."

But as a Friend of Unfair Park points out in the comments below, no one epitomizes the New Rangers better than Ron Washington, who told reporters yesterday: "I am here to whip some ass." And that, right there, writes San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins, is why Ron Washington's didn't end up managing the Oakland A's -- he's the opposite of the by-the-numbers Billy Beane. Still, writes Jenkins ...

I wonder, too, if Beane ever considered hiring such an engaging, soulful manager. Someone with a pulse, someone who speaks from the heart, someone who manages aggressively and is a little bit unpredictable. Someone who unabashedly lights up a cigarette, at the proper time, because that's just how he operates.

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