I am looking forward to a season where, going into it, both Texas teams are expected to be competitive. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Certainly not since the Astros joined the American League.
Of course, last year they both ended up being competitive, which wasn’t the expectation going in.
The Rangers, you will recall, were coming off of DL-magedden, where only a miracle finish prevented them from losing one hundred games. And the Astros were coming off five seasons of, well, being the Astros, where one hundred loss seasons were as common as the smell of sulfur in the air there.
Both franchises were hatched about the same time. One in Washington in 1961, one in Houston in 1962.
Houston didn’t get a peek above .500 until 1972, when they finished third out of six teams.
Starting in 1980, though, the Astros became competitive. They made the playoffs three times in seven years.
Then they went dark until the late 90s, when they started making the playoffs with regularity: six times in nine years.
Three years later, the franchise hit rock bottom, losing 106 games, 107 games, and 111 games from 2011 to 2013.
The Rangers franchise started so disappointingly in Washington DC, it was kicked out of the house in 1972, moved to Arlington, then staying firmly planted in mostly underwhelming for many, many years.
There has been a lot of bad baseball played in Texas over the years.
Both Texas franchises are among the six to have never won a World Series.
In fact, in forty four seasons:
Both the Astros and the Rangers have finished above .500 in the same season just twelve times: 1979, 81, 86, 89, 93, 95, 96, 98, 99, 2004 and 15.
Both teams have made it to the playoffs in the same season just three times: 1998, 1999, and 2015.
Over all, the Astros have made the playoffs ten times; the Rangers six (seven if you count the Wild Card game). The Astros have finished above .500 twenty-five times, the Rangers twenty-two (once more if you count the Senators).
There has been only one “golden era” of Texas (the state) baseball: the late 90s.
Hopefully we are seeing a second one now.
Maybe this is the year the Rangers play the Astros in the Championship Series. If that happened, I wouldn’t care who won. As long as it was the Rangers. In a sweep.