When a team you write for, pull for or keep your eye on has four consecutive 90-win seasons, two straight American League Championships and was extremely close to a World Series victory, the 2014 Texas Rangers season has been beyond gut wrenching. The fact is, the team was thought to be a contender until an ill-fated move by Derek Holland's dog turned the season on it's ear. That wasn't the only thing or the key thing that happened, but it was the domino that started this strange and horrible trip. Whether the Rangers would have contended this year is something we'll never know now. What we do know is that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong...or nearly.
Now the franchise is staring at a possible 100-loss season and it is the grim reality of what 2014 has become. It's a team that just lost its sixth straight game to the Astros. The Astros. On the field issues, off the field issues, injuries, columnists throwing stones and even real life tragedy has struck this team and it has been the toughest year I've ever seen for a baseball team, its fans and the whole community. This simply wasn't supposed to happen. The Rangers were to be contenders for the AL West crown in a three-team race, Prince Fielder was going to hit 30-plus home runs and Jurickson Profar was going to have a breakout year. Sadly, none of the above happened and this year has been unbearable for us.
Nobody could have foreseen 10 players on the 60-day disabled list, including three starting pitchers, the designated hitter and the starting second baseman. Nate Adcock, Phil Klein, Miles Mikolas or Mike Carp on this roster was also not something we would have predicted. The players deserve credit for grinding through this, especially the people moving between Round Rock and Arlington like a trail of ants bringing food back to the nest. The starting rotation had a hole after Holland went down and that was a concern and maybe even a mistake to not bring someone in, but the injuries after that were the dagger.
Baseball is still fun to cover, watch and read about. It is however, tough to do when a team and its community have suffered so many losses. In fact, Alex Rios cleared waivers and is now hurt, making a trade even more difficult if GM Jon Daniels had the right return. It's just a year that won't stop or just go away. We've been looking at and dissecting 2015 for quite some time because that is what keeps us going. Looking to a future date that the team will be competitive on the field. We've looked at free agents, possible trades and the farm system looking for better players and healthy players.
While the year has been, for the lack of a better term, horrendous, we have had some amazing things happen. Rougned Odor, Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish have shined at times. Joey Gallo is doing Joey Gallo things and Luis Ortiz, the Rangers first round pick is pitching excellently and that is exciting. Also, the outpouring of love and support in the tragedy that fell upon the DFW media when Richard Durrett suddenly passed away in June was tremendous.
This has been a year of epic loss both on and off the field. It's a year that I cannot forget quickly enough but at the same time look back and smile at the togetherness of the community. However, I want this year to end and end quickly in baseball terms.
2015 will be better, and that is a promise. We may never see another team in our lifetime go through what this team has endured but give them credit for fighting. Every game has been a struggle and there may have been games where the fight has been questioned, but they haven't quit as a whole. Ron Washington, the coaching staff and the players do deserve credit despite fielding a team, that on certain nights had very little chance of competing. The rest of the year will be tough and there is no secret about that. September call-ups will help easy that pain as well as the Do It For Durrett benefit on the 8th of September. It will get better, but...
Dear 2014...go away.
Patrick Despain is in his first year at WFAA after three years at