Saturday, October 23, 2010 9:27 am
In 1971 the Washington Senators jumped to the left and landed in Texas, a 40 year anniversary of heartbreak to solemnly acknowledge next year. With a step to the right, the Expos landed in DC in 2005. Pardon the odd analogy, I'm on a Rocky Horror kick lately. That group that stepped to the left is going to the World Series this year and the latest incarnation hasn't sniffed the opportunity yet. Maybe in just seven days (years), they can be made a man (another 'Rocky Horror' reference for those that didn't make sense to). Yet despite having a hometown team again, fans are split on allegiances to the former Senators and rooting for the underdog Rangers.
To me I think "How exciting are these playoffs?" The Rangers (former Senators) clinched a World Series spot last night in game six against the NY Yankees. The opportunity to clinch presented itself in New York Thursday night in what could have been an epic game, but the epic game had to wait until they returned to Arlington, Texas, where they clinched at home to antler waving fans last night. Antler waving? Yes, antler waving. I don't really get it either. The whole thing is re-sparking controversy here at home, however.
Some fans cheered the Rangers win, viewing them as a newer incarnation of their much beloved team from the 1960s. The departure of the Senators broke hearts that didn't start to mend until the Nationals arrived in 2005. Maybe with a new local team to cheer for, some healing has occurred and rooting for the Rangers is okay again. Plus, many like me prefer rooting for the underdog when they don't have a stake in the results and have to choose sides.
Yet on the flip side, some fans cannot forgive and forget Bob Short's incompetence and sale of the team or bring themselves to root for the Rangers, who clearly played better baseball with a comparably minuscule payroll. The bitterness of losing a team remains.
40 years is a long time and I've seen bitterness from fans who weren't even born yet when the "Short Stinks" banner unfurled in that last home Senators game. Ownership of the Rangers has changed hands again and players from the Senators are obviously not playing anymore. So what gives?
The Nationals share history and records with the Expos and the Rangers share the Senators history. That does get a bit confusing and frustrating when looking up historic facts for either franchise. It is surely enough to cause bitterness when fans want to look to Frank Howard's records but have to look to Andre Dawson's instead. The team moving took those records and link to local heroes away.
Tonight the San Francisco Giants could clinch against the (much reviled in these parts) Phillies. Note the start time has also been bumped from 3 PM to 8 7:30 PM since no AL game will need playing. During the division series, I was sure we'd end up with a Phillies vs. Yankees match-up for the World Series. Now, I'm not so sure (and 'Glee'fully happy at the prospect). A full seven game series could be even more exciting, but at this point I think I'm ready to call a wrap and prepare for the next big event.
No time warp will bring the Rangers back (or even the previous Senators who became the Twins). But if you can overlook that rather large inconvenience of franchise records and stats, this has been a heck of a playoff series to watch. Initially, I was convinced I was a jinx as it seemed every game I watched start to finish resulted in a loss by the team I was rooting for. Ultimately the Rangers won out despite my viewing (of course, I did fall asleep toward the end of most games - curse that 8 PM start time and painfully long AL games)! Next year is the seventh season of the Nationals, and maybe, just maybe, they'll finally get a chance? I'd like to think so, but realistically, 2012 seems more likely.
I want to make a video like this some season soon (with, uh, maybe a different song choice): http:www.youtube.comwatch?v=AyVdbfyvwso