Before I dive into Wednesday's game and how we got there, I must level with you, so you know where I’m coming from.
I follow the Rangers less than the fanatical group glued to the TV and yelling at every Ian Kinsler pop-up or Michael Young ground-out, but more than the guy who doesn’t know the AL West is on the line because ESPN may have failed to mention it in the first 59 minutes of the show (I’m still holding out for a final reference right before the two anchors make an attempt at an awkward conversation).
So if I don’t share your views on WAR (wins against replacement), I apologize sincerely and please don’t hate me.
But if you’re a baseball fan in this area, odds are you're working on a third consecutive very positive year. Now, nothing’s going to top last season’s finale, but it’s hard to ask to repeat that, even harder than asking for one more strike in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series (yes, I went there. Sorry if that spot in your life is still sore).
With that being said, it’s time for the most wonderful time of the year in the Metroplex. The Rangers essentially begin postseason play Wednesday afternoon against the Oakland A’s in the final game of the regular season, with the winner awarded the division crown, the loser relegated to the wild card’s one-game playoff.
Both teams are in the postseason, something which engenders aggresive jealousy in Boston Red Sox fans right about now.
Rangers and A’s fans are really hoping their team doesn’t end up in that one game free-for-all, where all it takes is a single terrible performance to undo a stellar resume carefully crafted over the course of 162 games. It might be a good idea to keep the aspirin handy just in case, especially if Yoenis Cespedes is at the plate or Martin Perez is within 100 feet of the mound.
Wednesday, we’ll all crowd around our television sets, procrastinate at work or just call in sick. Our emotional state will hinge on every pitch of the game. Rangers fans will be hoping that maybe, just maybe, Texas finds a way to not get swept by Oakland in the final series of the season, consequently losing the AL West crown.
Oakland, a team nobody thought of as a serious threat at the All-Star break, has been baseball’s guilty pleasure, the team you want to root for when the home team has shown signs of incompetence all season, and I’m talking about Astros and Cubs fans in particular.
Now, the way things have been going, with Oakland winning eight of its last 10 games and Texas losing six of its last 10, it's not a stretch to predict Oakland will sweep Texas -- along with the title, from out under the Rangers’ cleats.
That would unquestionably be very difficult for this team's fanbase.
But sit back, procrastinate at work or call in sick, and enjoy one of the most beautiful things in all of sports – a baseball game with so much riding on the outcome. A scenario where patience could be rewarded with ecstasy.
And then, once that’s over with, we’ll have the playoffs.