Rangers Sweep Rays, Inch Closer In The Hunt


"Alligator blood (term used in poker) – Used to describe a player who plays fearlessly when short-stacked and wins, or optionally, a player who plays for a long time, short-stacked, winning just enough to keep them in the game. -Urban Dictionary"

There is a scene at the end of the excellent poker movie, “Rounders”, where John Malkovich’s brilliantly-played character, Teddy KGB, laments the fact that he cannot vanquish Matt Damon’s character, Mike McDermott, in an all-night hold ’em session.

In the scene, Teddy KGB is openly whining about how Mike keeps “Haanging arrround, haanging arrround. Keed’s got alligator blood. Can’t get reed of heem.

Ladies and gentlemen, Teddy’s astute observation captures your 2015 Texas Rangers in a nice, tight nutshell. Despite some bumps, bruises, and scars along the way, here we are in mid-August talking ourselves into going “all-in” with this bunch.

Their swoons have been buoyed by stretches of gritty, inspired play, and these characteristics were on full display during a weekend sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays wrought with playoff implications.

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By winning all three games, they vaulted the Rays in the wild card standings. And when coupled with the Kansas City Royals‘ ten-inning victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, the Rangers find themselves a scant game out of the second wild card spot in the AL.

One can go on and on about the relative mediocrity of the second-tier teams in the American League. True enough, after you get past the Royals, Yankees, and the surging Toronto Blue Jays, there’s a gaggle of squads battling for the scraps at the bottom of the playoff barrel.

But if someone would’ve told me back in April that we’d still be excited about Ranger baseball in August, I’d have called you a liar. This team got off to such a putrid start in April. I was quick to write them off. They blew big leads. They looked awful.

Yet here they are, in the mix with the aforementioned Blue Jays, as well as the Orioles, Angels, Twins, and Rays. Strange days, indeed.

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Once-wasted seasons from Elvis Andrus and Shin-Soo Choo have shown renewed promise. Adrian Beltre continues to remind all of us how much we’ll miss that tough SOB when he’s gone, as displayed by his 406th career four-bagger on Sunday.

Even young bucks like Delino DeShields and Ryan Strausborger got into the act with their first-ever big-league clouts on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

Does this mean Rangers’ Nation will stop living and dying with their team on a game-to-game basis? Hell no. A wise man once said, “That’s the way baseball go.” A lot of us wish he was still around to help this team grind away.

Stausborger even seemed to add his homage to Adrian Beltre by dipping his back knee to the ground while yanking his shot into the left field seats. Better yet, some young kid even caught the ball, thereby ensuring the memory of a lifetime.

So does this mean the Rangers are destined for October glory? Of course not. Nothing is ever predetermined in the course of a 162-game grind. Slumps happen. Stretches occur when your team can do nothing right. And they often happen after periods when the team could do no wrong.

Does this mean Rangers’ Nation will stop living and dying with their team on a game-to-game basis? Hell no. A wise man once said, “That’s the way baseball go.”  A lot of us wish he was still around to help this team grind away.

But @Bannyrooster28 has done a fine job of keeping his charges on an even keel, with eyes squarely on the prize, despite the roller coaster ride they’ve put us through this year.

Yes, this this team does have alligator blood. Baseball can’t get rid of them. They’re great on the road, and they’re improving on a home record that was (and can still be classified as) embarrassing.

They’re trending in the correct direction, though. And for that, they deserve all the credit in the world. #NeverEverQuit has proven to be an apt battle cry for a squad that keeps responding to adversity and exceeding our expectations.

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