Texas Rangers: baseball season is now an improbable reality

Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

The agreement from the MLB players ushers the season in for the Texas Rangers

Last week, the Texas Rangers–and the rest of Major League Baseball–learned that a 2020 season was, in fact, a reality. MLB owners voted to implement a truncated 60-game campaign. Up to that point, the players had summarily been voting down various proposals from the owners. Of course, the sticking point was money.

But before you read on thinking this is going to be some tirade about millionaires fighting with billionaires over money, allow me to clarify. I side with players in matters like these. I didn’t blame the players association balking at the offers being thrown their way. But as each plan was voted down, I was further and further convinced that baseball was dead in the water for 2020.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see that the players union agreed to terms on Tuesday night, thereby clearing a path for some actual baseball to be played this summer. Again, it will be a 60-game season. But some of the notable kickers here, among others, are an expanded 10-team playoff field, a long overdue designated hitter in the National League, and full prorated salaries for the players, provided they finish the season.

I’m not going to get into any way the proceedings could get derailed here. The global pandemic will dictate that if it comes right down to it. What I’m concerned with here is the fact that we are seemingly in line for honest-to-goodness games in one of our four major American sports. There’s something about the consistency of a baseball season. It’s usually a 162-game grind where your team is playing virtually every night.

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Locally, the scene devolved into a tragicomic saga totally befitting the history of the Texas Rangers. They’d built a shiny, new, air-conditioned $1.1 billion stadium with a retractable roof only to have COVID-19 grind everything to a halt. If you’ve followed this team over the years, you could only wearily laugh at the most recent twist of fate. It seemed appropriate for a franchise that twice came within one pitch of the 2011 championship. Never mind the fact that in 1977, the team had four managers in a single week. Seriously! Google “The 1977 Rangers had 4 managers in a one week period”. That incident, as well as many, many others, is chronicled as a litany of “Oh no!” moments for this star-crossed franchise.

But above and beyond all else, it’ll be great to have that night in, night out feel of a baseball season back. Of all sports, it’s the one that has bonded my family the strongest. There are many nights in the course of a given season where we congregate to have dinner, either out or at my folks’ house, simply to watch the Rangers play a game. And it hardly ever has anything to do with where they’re at in the standings. They could be leading the division or sucking pond water, but the constant is the game itself.

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Of course, the overriding desire for the safety of everyone involved is paramount. To that end, there are reports out now that there have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Rangers employees, and that certainly casts a pall over last week’s good news. Major League Baseball has their hands full in navigating this uncharted course, but if everything goes according to plan, then it will be fantastic to have some sports consistency back in our lives.

  • Published on 06/29/2020 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 06/29/2020 at 08:20 AM