Ranger’s fans just recently found out from the local media, fan favorite and resident Angel killer Mike Napoli is going to sign a contract with the Boston Red Sox. While you can’t blame the guy for taking the offer of three years and 39 Million to move the “bean town”, it will have an adverse affect in stadium atmosphere going into next season.
Every time Napoli came up to the plate, and especially in big time situations there were chants of “Nap-O- Li” throughout the ballpark. He was an exciting player and found way to get it done when it needed to get done. Besides losing a fan favorite in the lineup, there is also going to be a big hole to fill because he was a top producer for the Rangers in his years here.
While his numbers weren’t stellar last season, he proved in 2011 he is capable of a great year. Not to say his numbers were bad last year, but after batting .320 with 30 homeruns, anything short of that would seem like a bad year. Even though his .227 average and 24 homeruns were nothing to shake a stick at, I think the Rangers were hoping the slide in production would offer some help on the contract offer.
But like with any other negotiation, there is always someone out there who is willing to pay for the chance of increased production. While most fans will wish the best for Napoli in Boston, it is with the hope he won’t become another former player who likes to be a “Ranger killer”. Anyone who has followed Texas for any length of time can give you a list of players 10 deep.
The Texas Rangers will be sending eight players to the All Star game in Kansas City. Which if you stop and think about it, is a big deal for this team. The Rangers used to be one of those teams that would benefit from the every team has to be represented rule. Now the Rangers are one of the teams with the most players in the All Star game.
The Rangers play an exciting brand of baseball, and it looks like the nation is really taking notice. Not only by the fact that Josh Hamilton lead all players in voting, but even when the team is on the road, there are a lot more Rangers fans in attendance than there used to be. Not to mention some of the personalities that are included in this line up every night.
Even though the last two season have ended differently than most fans would like. The Rangers are finally starting to earn some respect from the other teams in the league and now aren’t looked at as just a team to play. I think the seven Rangers players can attest that the team is finally looked at as a competitor.
With more Rangers on the All Star team this year, fans can have a feeling that maybe this will be the year that the American League will win this game and win home field in the World Series.
For those of you who have read my past blogs have read my opinions about Michael Young. I called him the consummate teammate, and then we found out the Rangers were shopping him for a trade. Now, after what has seemed like 10 years of pushing him around and making him do what is “best for the team”, he has finally gotten fed up and had enough. It was announced over the weekend that Young was now seeking a trade. And the soap opera continues, because now he is saying that he was lied too and treated unfairly. This is different than the picture portrayed after the Adrian Beltre Acquisition.
This got me to thinking, who is really to blame for this situation? You could easily say that Michael Young is just being a spoiled millionaire baseball player, or you could easily say the franchise is to blame for pushing him to the edge. John Daniels claims that Young “had a change of heart” and was disappointed in the change because it went against what he said. But Young decided to respond by saying he was “lied to and mislead by the organization”. The deal set forward after acquiring Beltre was that Young would play DH and be a utility infielder on an as needed basis. But then there was the sudden trade to acquire Mike Napoli from the Blue Jays and will be a DH and fill in 1st baseman. This has left Young in a quandary, because he was going to get a solid amount of at bats and time in the field. Now that has made the question arise about where does Young fit in?
To understand the depth of this situation, you would have to have inside information. But Michael Young has been the face of the Rangers for the last 8-10 years and everything he has done until this point, has been to stay a Ranger and help win. This is where I will say that the Rangers, mostly John Daniels has handled this situation completely wrong. The team needs to understand that any one of the thousands of fans who fill in to the Ballpark every night are there to see one of a handful of guys. Usually the main one on that line is Michael Young, and now you are pushing him out with your other actions. This will backfire, because they think they are getting better by these additions, but losing Michael Young will immediately make you worse, simply for the fact he is such a solid bat.
The new regime has done a lot right in their short time running this team, but this is one move where someone needs to get reprimanded for allowing this to happen. Whether or not this is John Daniels, Nolan Ryan, or even Chuck Greenberg’s fault, someone needs to take ownership of this mistake and make amends by any means necessary. While the hit will be minimal in a fan loss stand point, this will make most fans wary of other moves that involve fan favorites. Someone from the organization needs to come out and say that they handled this wrong and take responsibility to start mending the fence with fans who now feel scorned by the team they love.