Nine years.

Nine fingers, no rings.

Nine years. It’s almost hard to believe.

Today marks the ninth year I took over Rangers Rounding 3rd: July 4, 2014. 

The Rangers played a lot of really bad baseball that year. It was the official start of the Long Decline that actually began the previous year but was disguised by the Rangers going 17-2 against the Astros and 15-4 against the Angels. Which meant they went 59-66 against the rest of the league. They lost the tie-breaker to get into the Wild Card game to Tampa Bay, then slid into 2014, when nothing worked for the Rangers and, in the end, that included manager Ron Washington.

They rebounded in 2015 and 2016, making the playoffs both years. They were glorious years, led by the sorely missed Adrian Beltre, with Texas actually having the best record in baseball in 2016. Both seasons, unfortunately, ended with first-round playoff losses to Toronto.

But the sunshine was brief. The dark clouds took over and the next six seasons happened. 

The clouds were lifted when, in the span of two days, manager Chris Woodward then general manager Jon Daniels were both fired. For cause. Plenty of cause. 

Now, it’s 2023. The Rangers have a Hall of Fame-calibre manager, they’re in first place, they have six All Stars. But some of the dark clouds are starting to creep back in. The bullpen is killing this team on a nightly basis.

They’ve lost 15 of their last 25 games, with yesterday’s loss to Houston being perhaps the most devastating of the year. 

To be down 6-0, then 10-2, claw their way back, take the lead in the eighth, only to blow it in the ninth was heart breaking.

Yes, it’s only one game. And, yes, there is still a lot more baseball to be played. But yesterday was blunt force trauma to the psyche of Rangers fans.

So, here’s to the next nine years of Rangers Rounding 3rd. The good. The bad. The gut punching.