A couple days ago, after their thirteenth consecutive road loss, Rangers manager Chris Woodward called a team meeting. Managers try not to overdo those sorts of things. You can lose your team very quickly with too many meetings.
But he felt it was time. He could sense the frustration in everyone and he wanted them all to look one another in the eyes and let each other know he and his staff and the front office still had their backs, that everyone still believed in them.
Often, those meetings, or what is said in them, is kept quiet. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
But Woodward told the media about it. He said he did it so the media would get the word out to fans that everyone in that clubhouse is trying. They are really trying. He wanted to make sure in case fans thought the team had given up.
But were fans questioning their effort, or their desire? No. Night after night, we can see them trying. We can see them hitting the ball hard, running hard to first, making diving catches. Not scoring runs. Not winning games. Fans have seen no signs of giving up, of a lack of effort of desire.
And therein lies the problem. If fans could return a message through the media it’s this: “We know you are trying. That’s what makes this all the more depressing. Because, truth is, you’re simply not very good.”
If you try and you succeed, you are good what you do. If you don’t try and you succeed, you are more lucky than good. If you don’t try and don’t succeed, shame on you. If you try and don’t succeed, face it, you’re lousy.
It reminds me of a comment once made about Shaquille O’Neal and his notoriously bad free throw shooting. The commentator noted that Shaq could practice a hundred thousand shots a day and he won’t get better because his form is flawed.
He was bad at it. Just as the Rangers are bad baseballing.
Nobody ever questioned Rougned Odor’s effort. All we fans heard from Rangers managers and front office execs for five years was, “Rougie is really trying.” “Rougie’s really putting in the effort.” “Rougie is working hard.”
He got an A for effort. An F+ for baseball skills.
Effort is fine. Effort is to be applauded. Results are what matter, though. Yesterday the Rangers were shut out for the seventh time this season.
But they are trying. Yes, indeed, they are trying alright.