Folks in these here parts are not quite going ga-ga over the Texas Rangers baseball team, but anytime someone is discussing the local baseball team instead of the football Cowboys, it’s a good thing. It does the area sporting world good to be focused on something OTHER than those prima donnas in that Death Star of a stadium.
The Rangers rode the left arm of starter Cliff Lee (demonstrating why he WON’T be in a Texas uniform next season because the price tag will exceed the sensible Rangers’ budget) over an overrated Tampa Bay in the first round. Now onto the Darth Vadar (doncha love these Star Wars references?) of Baseball – the defending World Series champion New York Yankees.
And, folks, within that title lies the determining factor in this seven-game series – the Yankees ARE the champs and will be until … someone ends that reign. The biggest thing the Yankees have that Texas does not is those damn rings. The base core of the New Yorkers has more than one (five to be exact) – Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada (as well as A.J. Burnett when he was with Florida and Nick Swisher as part of the White Sox) know exactly what it takes to win the World Series multiple times while only Vlady Guerrero has tasted that champagne for the Rangers.
People, that is big at this time of the season. Each squad has already proven how it can win ballgames, what are its strengths and weaknesses. There will be no secrets and no October surprises for the next week.
Texas’ biggest problem is the inability to run Lee out to the mound more than twice in this series (IF it goes to a seventh game). New York has a rested starting quartet, a rested bullpen and ready-to-go lineup. The Yankees can match Texas in the power department, speed on the basepaths (with Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson) and defensively. On the bench, Joe Girardi is a better manager than Ron Washington.
And there is NO post-season closer to compare to Rivera. Ranger rookie Neftali Feliz can throw close to 100 mph but has looked shaky in his first two playoff outings.
Most of all, the Yankees KNOW what to do, how to react and how to prepare for all of this. For the Rangers, this is totally unchartered waters; it is where experience is needed most of all.
Hopefully, the Arlington fans on Friday and Saturday will sit and cheer for the home team instead of discussing the 1-3 miserable start of the Cowboys – the usual topic of conversation at any Rangers game attended by people waiting for football season to start. For once, the Rangers has the attention of the Metroplex in October; it’s their job now to hold it.
I’m picking New York in six games and then choosing the Phillies to win it all, again, in six games.