Monday Morning on the Barbary Coast
The weather is cool in San Francisco with low clouds hanging over Ocean Beach and the tourists took pictures of each other with the waves crashing behind them at the western edge of the North American continent.
At Lands Ends, where the majestic Cypress trees are bent over from the winds roaring off the Pacific, the high tides covered the famous shipwrecks along the Golden Gate, the foghorn was blowing – there is no more melancholy sound – and the Golden Gate Bridge was shining against the fading sunset.
It is September on the Barbary Coast and elsewhere across the country, the best month of the year, when football – pro, college and high school – is just starting up and the Major League pennant races are going down to the wire.
The Rangers will not be a part of it, they are ten out with 24 to play. The X has not been put next to their name in the standings, but the Oakland Athletics have won the division and all that’s left is for the Rangers to play out the schedule and possibly finish with only the second winning season in the last seven years.
Michael Young still has a chance at 200 hits and the club record for doubles in a season, and it would be good for rookie second baseman Ian Kinsler to finish strong and for both Gary Matthews Jr. and Mark DeRosa to finish with .300 batting averages.
Remember, the batting average is still the most famous statisic in sports, only 1,000 yards can stand up to it and even that has been watered down by playing 16 NFL games. But there is still no truer measure of ability than 162 games and to finish with a .300 batting average after it’s all over is still an accomplishment. Matthews and DeRosa both deserve that after all they’ve put into this season.
What the Rangers need most is for one of their young pitchers to finish strong and Robinson Tejeda still has a chance of doing that. The Rangers would feel much better about their season if they felt their young pitchers were on the cusp of something special but none of their starters have generated that feeling yet.
The bullpen is a different story and there is still an underlying feeling that C.J. Wilson and Josh Rupe may find their way to the rotation before it’s over.
For the most part though it’s all about finishing strong and with a winning record so that some momentum is carried on into next year although ten pending free agents will leave the Rangers some difficult decisions.
That is yet to come.
Still remember when the Rangers came to Oakland for the final three games of the 2000 season, just one year removed from having won their third division title in four years.
The Rangers were completely out of the running back then but the Athletics were in a dogfight with the Mariners for the division title and with the Indians for the wild card spot.
Manager Johnny Oates was still determined to uphold the honor of the pennant race by doing everything he could to beat Oakland but he had Chad Curtis batting cleanup and Randy Knorr starting at catcher.
Before the series started I told him about the final words of Captain Ahab in Moby ****: "To the last, I grapple with thee. From ****’s heart, I stab at thee. For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee."
Oates didn’t hate anybody but he loved those words, shared them with his wife Gloria and was crushed on the next to the last day when the Rangers lost, 23-2.
Oakland went on to win the division, the Mariners took the wild card and the Indians stayed home, which I found out much later really annoyed their general manager John Hart.
Rangers manager Buck Showalter is determined to play it out as well, but the foghorn sounds for the Rangers and it’s over in the American League West.
The Monday Morning Managers have had their say and now it time to finish it off.