It’s been about a week since the Rangers fell to the Toronto Blue Jays in Game Five of the ALDS.
That game hurt. Personally, it brought back memories of Game Six of the 2011 World Series. It stunk having to watch the undeserving Blue Jays fans celebrate a series win.
But getting away from that game, and baseball for that matter, for a week has brought in a new perspective. I still hate the Blue Jays. I still hate their beer can throwing fans. I still hate bat flips.
In retrospect, however, this was an incredible season for the Rangers. No one expected that they would get to the postseason, let alone win the “stacked” American League West division. I would think even manager Jeff Bannister wouldn’t have believed that a division title would have been that realistic going into this season.
But that’s exactly what this team did. Despite everything that was thrown at them to start the season, they came out on top. Despite losing ace pitcher Yu Darvish for the season in spring training, the Rangers’ rotation stepped up at the end. Despite a horrendous April, the Rangers decided to fight — not cave in — and bounced back to have one of baseball’s best records from May onward.
Despite Shin-Soo Choo, one of the team’s major acquisitions two offseasons ago, struggling for the first half of the season, he bounced back to become the offensive spark that this team needed. Despite his first half and Game Five blunders, Elvis Andrus had a really solid second half of the season to help the Rangers to the postseason.
That’s what makes this season so remarkable. The Rangers didn’t have a chance to make the postseason going into the year, and to be honest, why should they have had a chance? And even as the season rolled along, there were times where it looked like the team had no shot to make the postseason.
But they did persevere. In a season where no one would have really faulted them for not making the postseason, or possibly not even being in the race for the postseason, they managed to pull success out of a hat and surprise even the most battle-hardened of fans.
Of course, the loss still stings. Everything had looked so promising coming off of the late run and taking a 2-0 series lead with the series coming back to Arlington with a chance to close it out at home. It really felt like the Rangers had a legitimate shot to get back to the World Series, especially with how the baseball season has been going this far. And there’s no guarantees that the team will ever get back to the postseason.
But it was a fun ride for sure. And there is real, tangible hope for this team going into next year. With Darvish coming back and general manager John Daniels hopefully looking to make a few deals to improve this team even more, there’s a lot more positivity going into this offseason than last year’s offseason.
Thanks for the ride Ranger. See you again next year.