Who remembers the 1994 Rangers? Who remembers how many games they won that year? Or where they finished in the standings? Or who was on the team, or in the rotation?
Hint: It was the year of the strike, where no World Series was played.
It was the year the Rangers finished the season 52-62, ten games under, yet still finished in first place in the West, for their first time in history.
It was the year in which every team in the A.L. West had worse records than every team in the other two divisions in the league. So, had the Rangers been in the East or Central, they would have finished last.
It was a year that ended, baseballwise, on August Tenth.
Who remembers that horrible year?
The team was ten games under .500. Yet, average attendance that year rose 150 percent, from 26,711 per game to 43,916 per game.
It wasn’t this underperforming wreck of a team they were flocking to see. It was the brand spanking new Ballpark In Arlington. That’s the year it opened.
Everybody wanted to get a whiff of that new ballpark smell. It overcame the stench that was coming from the team on the field. The place was the drawing card. Not the action going on inside the place.
Which leads me to one question: Exactly what is the incentive for the Rangers to be good next year?
People will fill it up, night after night, no matter what.
Or will they?
As bad as that 1994 team played, look at the star power that team had.
Kevin Brown, Kenny Rogers, and Rick Helling in the rotation. Pudge Rodriguez, Will Clark, Juan Gonzalez, Jose Canseco, and Rusty Greer in the lineup.
Maybe it wasn’t just the new ballpark people came to see. Maybe they came to see marquee players.
Maybe just relying on a new ballpark with a roof will do the trick for the first few months. But when people get tired of looking at moving roof panels, they will eventually look down. There won’t be a Pudge or a Juan or a Will or a Rusty or a Kenny or Kevin or Rick.
People will go to see a bad movie with great actors in it. People will not go to see a bad movie chock full of no-names.
Is the new stadium smell going to be enticing enough? Don’t bet on it.
Lance Lynn (12-5, 3.87) vs. Rogelio Armenteros (0-0, 2.00)
Game time: 1:10