“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are."

–Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

“When you stop expecting ‘your’ team to win the World Series, you can like watching baseball because it is a great sport; elegance wrapped in mischief, a thesis in learning to overcome the thousand little failures that life throws at you in any given day. It is poetry and ballet, it is violence and collisions, it is heart and redemption, it is green grass and white lines and an infinite spectrum of outcomes in every pitch”

–Me just now, trying to make myself feel better about the 2017 Texas Rangers season


–Baseball, July 31st, 2017


No sooner had we all finished our ten thousand word effusions on Adrian Beltre’s embodiment of joyous history and unadultrated enjoyment of an unforgettable player at the center of an equally unforgettable moment than the wrecking ball began to swing, and the stilts were kicked out from under the creaky old house of a season and the bedroom floors began to crack and plummet beneath our feet.

Last night’s announcement of Jonathan Lucroy to the Rockies for a player to be named was only the beginning. Jeremy Jeffress was shipped off back to Milwaukee this morning. Then, just after the trade deadline, the big news came crashing in: Darvish to the Dodgers for three minor leaguers. By the time the game started, it almost felt like an afterthought to the events of the previous thirty hours.

Which… is kind of accurate.

The Rangers committed four errors (and two balks?) en route to losing 6-4 to the Mariners on Monday night to start the post-Darvish era.

A quick recap: the game started off with good feelings to spare. Rougned Odor homered in the first inning to give Texas an early 2-0 lead, and Felix Hernandez continued the Adrian Beltre Feel Good Show by coming to home plate to give his longtime friend a hug before his first at-bat. Beltre then singled to centerfield to break a tie with Roberto Clemente and take sole possession of #30 on the all-time hits list. In the second, Carlos Gomez also homered, and Shin-Soo Choo scored on an Elvis Andrus single to make it 4-0.

Then our joy turned to ashes in our mouth.

After three innings of sailing through the Mariners lineup (pun not intentional, but noted and left alone), Cole Hamels gave up doubles to Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager, then Danny Valencia singled to left field. Drew Robinson rolled inward and the ball rolled outward, seemingly on course to collide, as fielders and baseballs do.

Only they didn’t.

Robinson’s glove came up just a moment too early, and the ball rolled to the wall while Valencia rolled to third base. He also scored later in the inning, and the lead was down to 4-3.

It would become 4-4 in the sixth, when what would have been the third out of the inning instead became a baserunner when Beltre short-hopped a throw that skipped by Joey Gallo. Leonys Martin took advantage of the error and tripled to tie the game.

The top of the 7th brought some joy: Rougned Odor make as pretty a play as you’re likely to see from a second baseman. Here, check it out.

But in the ninth inning played the part of Sunday morning coming down. Ruiz singled, and his pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson was eliminated on a fielder’s choice that looked like a potential double play. But Odor’s relay throw whizzed past Gallo, allowing Ben Gamel to sprint over to second base. Jeff Banister called for the intentional walk of Jean Segura, then Doug Eddings called his second balk of the night on Alex Claudio (quotes on that in the video below). Doug Brocail came out and got himself thrown out of the game on behalf of everyone who had just endured this day.

With runners at second and third, Robinson Cano did precisely what the Mariners pay him a lot of money to do: ruin the Rangers’ night. He doubled to the wall. Both runners scored, and the score was 6-4.

Ballgame. We’ll do it all again tomorrow night. Why? Because even on a bad night, I couldn’t write that second paragraph quote way up there if I didn’t mean it.