Pissing Off the Baseball Gods vol. XII: Texas Sized Ego

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February 17, 2014 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

Baseball is an incredibly superstitious sport; from players such as Wade Boggs and Justin Verlander, and instances like a black cat walking across Ron Santo in the one deck circle, it’s a sport that is steeped in superstition as much as it is rooted in tradition.  The reason for such is that much the same way that the course of the NBA is dictated by David Stern, the MLB is governed by the baseball gods.  They are the committee that controls the flow of the game and the outcome of events.  Like the gods of ancient mythology however, they are not infallible and from time to time have been stymied by the actions of a certain player or team.  As such, there comes a price for crossing the gods and their plans for baseball.

Pissing Off the Baseball Gods: is a 30 part anthology wherein I will go through each of the 30 franchises in the MLB and give an example of how they crossed the baseball gods, and give the ensuing penalty that arose from their transgression.  Essentially, a gigantic dose of karma, each team has had to pay for a victory they shouldn’t have had, or having unfavorable players on their team.  Most of the examples provided may seem disassociated and incongruent, but given the superstitious nature of baseball, chances are it’s just the price to pay for pissing off the baseball gods.

For some reason that is beyond both myself and every resident of the other 49 states, the state of Texas and her citizens have a rather self-centered and hubristic outlook on life.  We don’t really know what makes Texas so great as to warrant such egotism and arrogance, because to the other 300 million Americans, Texas is home to the stupidest politicians in American history, and is also the state that once democratically elected to institute slavery.

As punishment for his own hubris, Odysseus was forced to wander the Aegean Sea for ten years by his gods; much in the same vain was Texas cursed for her own hubris with shitty baseball teams.  It’s the only state with multiple teams, neither of which have ever won a World Series.  More so than the Houston Astros, it is the Texas Rangers who have come to embody that sense of Texan egotism, as such the baseball gods use them as their prey to punish.[1]  From 2010-2012, the Rangers were a great team with very real designs upon their state’s first championship, but their hubris got the better of them which then earned them the ire of the baseball gods, as had been the case in the 90s.

Under the ownership of one George W. Bush during the early-mid 90s, the Texas Rangers, along with the Oakland A’s, became pioneers in the innovative use of PEDs to augment their playing skills.  Players like Jose Canseco, Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmeiro have all been found to have used steroids during their careers, or in Gonzalez’s case are heavily implicated in having taken them.  For this act of fraudulent pride the gods saw to it that the Rangers would be punished and embarrassed in the postseason during this time going 1-9 in the playoffs across three seasons.

It wasn’t until the 2010 postseason that the Rangers, specifically owner Chuck Greenberg, decided to flex his Texas sized ego.  In the world of sports, unless a team has won it all, they really have no reason to run their mouths as it is the epitome of bad karma.  That’s exactly what Greenberg did however when he decided to bash the Yankees and call their fans “violent or apathetic…Yankee fans are by far the worst I’ve seen”.[2]  During the 2010 offseason, after Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies, forgoing more lucrative offers from the Rangers and the Yankees, Greenberg took credit for the Yankees losing out on Lee saying he was “Glad Lee is going to the other league”.  So after insulting the largest, most passionate (sic best) fan base in sports, and then congratulating himself for tampering with another teams offseason progress, all on the heels of LOSING the World Series, you can imagine how displeased the gods were with Greenberg and the Rangers.  Sure enough after only five months of owning the team, Greenberg was forced out by Nolan Ryan, and literally everyone else in the Rangers organization.  Because he’s an asshole.

After losing the World Series in 2010, it was decided by pundits (ESPN) that in 2011 the World Series was theirs to lose.  But almost true to prophecy, the Rangers did in fact make the World Series for a second consecutive year where they would face off against the St. Louis Cardinals.  Up three games to two, the Rangers looked like they would win their first ever championship in the bottom of the ninth of game six.  However, a fly ball that would have ended the game dropped down for a game tying triple because known steroid user Nelson Cruz doesn’t know how to play right field.  The Rangers were one strike away from their first championship, but instead from the jaws of victory came a most crushing defeat.

From having players like Canseco and Palmiero, guys who only care about themselves, to arrogant owners, to blind supporters smitten by two consecutive World Series defeats, people were just feeding into a Texas Rangers team that began to puff out their chests for no reason.  In 2012 and 2013, the team failed to qualify for a playoff spot and has gone through approximately three meltdowns and one public relations disaster since their last playoff defeat.[3]  The Rangers became an arrogant team because they thought that they had proved something by defeating the defending champs in 2010, and playing (losing) in consecutive World Series.  The gods have no problem with arrogance (see the Lakers, Yankees, and Michael Jordan for further examples), it just has to be justified.  Like the state that they play in, the Rangers haven’t really done anything to justify their arrogance.  For this gross display of hubris the gods had to see to it that they were punished for their self-centered folly.  Hubris is a transgression that many teams have committed against the baseball gods, but the transgression of the Rangers, as they say about everything in Texas, was just a bit bigger.

Next Week: Anaheim Angels


[1] Most of this comes from the fact that Houston subconsciously wants to be its own autonomous region from Texas.

[2] Fuck you cockhead.  That’s why they ran your ass out of Texas.

[3] The day will never come where I will acknowledge the one game wild-card knockout round as a part of the playoffs.  It is game 163, that’s it.

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