In beating the Yankees for the second time in a row, the Rangers went to a remarkable 24-6 over their last thirty games. I wrote an article about how they were on pace for greatness. On cue, they would immediately go on a 6-18 run, going from 9.5 games ahead to 2.5.
ON PACE FOR GREATNESS.
Originally published June 29, 2016.
Growing up I was a Cincinnati Reds fan. My earliest recollection was their phenomenal 1970 season that gave birth to the nickname, The Big Red Machine.
After one hundred games, they were an amazing 70-30, forty games over .500, and twelve-and-one-half games in first place. It was total domination.
I thought that’s how baseball was always going to be. My team would crush all other teams, every year, year after year.
I haven’t really seen dominance like that Reds team until this year’s Texas Rangers team. Yes, there have been teams more dominating, I just didn’t follow them day to day. The Seattle Mariners, for instance, were historically the most dominating of all time, winning 116 games in 2001.
But after yesterday’s 7-1 cakewalk over the over-inflated-opinion-of-themselves New York Yankees, the Rangers are 51-27, ten games up on Houston, playing .654 baseball, and on pace to win 105 games.
The Rangers would have to go 19-3 in their next twenty-two to match that historic Reds 1970 start. But I would not put it past them.
That Reds team, by the way, cooled off at the end, going just 32-30 the rest of the way, winning 102 games. And that Mariners team of 2001 that won the most games ever, where were they after 78 games?
The Rangers don’t have a cool nickname like the Big Red Machine—yet—but they have that same confidence and feeling of invincibility.
That Reds team had a boatload of talent, too: Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Hal McRae, Dave Concepcion, and, a few years later, Joe Morgan and George Foster. That’s also a boatload of future Hall-of-Famers (in baseball and gambling).
By contrast, the 2016 Rangers seem to be a team under-the-radar talent wise. The Rangers have the best record in the American League, yet don’t have a single player in the top three in All-Star Game voting at their position. Chirinos is fifth at catcher, Beltre is fourth at third, Andrus is fourth at short, and Desmond is eighth in outfielders.
At first blush you can be filled with indignation about this. How dare they ignore our Rangers?
To which I say, “Who cares?”
Being the best team in major league baseball is a much better reward. Stomping on the Yankees’ hearts two days in a row, that’s the icing on the cake.