Editor’s note: Greggo doesn’t want us to edit this. So we won’t.
As Bill Shakespeare’s Hamlet would say…”it should not have come to this”
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We should all still be in a state of baseball horniness. Our weekend should have been dominated with thoughts of how great Yu pitched on Friday night. How the team rallied and sent the O’s home satisfied on just making the playoffs on their magical season. Water cooler talk topics today should be how our lefty Matt out dueled the Yankee’s southpaw C.C. That’s right, we should still be talking Rangers in the present tense, not exploring what went wrong and trying to answer the question on “how the West was blown”? But then it happened. The fly ball heard all round the metroplex.
Josh Hamilton showed up in Arlington five years ago as a talented but flawed human being. No need to dig into his troubled past. He became an MVP by putting on full displays of his enormous five tools. He was a huge part of the resurrection of a lifeless, breathless franchise. Earlier in the year he wowed everyone with his scorching start, mashing homeruns at a record pace. He drove in runs by the dozens. He made eye-opening defensive plays. He also manned centerfield the fateful day in Oakland and watched as his team blew a 4-1 lead. Then with two outs, a Cuban defector named Yoenis Cespedes hit that lazy fly ball.
The Rangers had totally dominated the AL West, and the American League for that matter, all year. They led their division for 176 days (there are only 182 days in the entire regular season). They hit with prodigious power, pitched at a record clip, and displayed declarative defense. A team on a mission without any mercy. A noble goal to erase the nightmare that was game six from last years World Series. All was holding to a fine form. Experts crowned the Rangers as the best team in baseball. Now all Josh needed to do was catch that innocent, simple, paltry fly ball. But he didn’t. A snag that he has had made thousands of times. A catch that is made by major league players at about a 95 percent rate. It glanced of his glove. The two base error scored two runs. The score now read A’s 7 Rangers 5. It might has well been 700 to 5. That one pop up in a season of countless would now define the reigning two-time American League champs. Catch it, they live to fight it out with the relentless A’s. Drop it and you’re a gutted deer hanging in a tree.
The Rangers could not re-write the letter and have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern killed.
I’m well aware of the fact that the incident happened in the fourth inning. Plenty of time to come back. But they chose to fold the cards. They weren’t eliminated. They would still be in the tournament. Win a playoff game two days later and that can-of-corn fly ball would be a distant memory. But a tragic and almost comical thing happened. They lost. Swatted away by the upstart Orioles. And by that result, they were out. Gone. Kaput. Season over. There would be no chance to get that elusive third strike that had slipped away in St.Louis. Welcome to the off-season. One fly ball!!
Some will say that one play did not end the season. And for the most part, that’s true. But not this time. After Josh’s bone-head, lack of concentration gaffe, the team was toast. The fight was over. “no mas, no mas”. A winter of discontent to ponder what might have been. What should have been. Done in by a 26 year old rookie who played for Fidel Castro’s team last year. An obvious out induced by Derek Holland. But it bounced away and so did the Ranger’s season.
Would’ve should’ve could’ve…DIDN’T. One fly ball. One expensive, costly, season defining fly ball..E-8.
“Good night sweet prince”
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