And Then There Were Five

IBWAA


By Dan Schlossberg

Entering the all-wild card World Series of 2023, the Texas Rangers were one of six teams that had never won a world championship.

Not any more.

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Nate Eovaldi went 5--0 for Texas in postseason play.Photo byDan Schlossberg, IBWAA

They made quick work of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team that barely squeezed into the playoffs, then knocked out the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers in convincing fashion, winning four of five games including all three on the road at Chase Field.

Once known as the second-edition Washington Senators (circa 1961), the team became the Texas Rangers in 1972. They then won consecutive pennants in 2010-11 but fell in the Fall Classic that followed.

Their win leaves five franchises without a world title: the Brewers, Padres, Mariners, Rockies, and Rays.

Milwaukee now has the longest championship drought — none in their 55-year history — while the Guardians (nee Indians) have been without one since 1948 (75 years).

Two years after losing 102 games, the Rangers tried to buy their way back into contention, adding free agents Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Nathan Eovaldi, plus trade deadline acquisitions Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery.

Nate Eovaldi won five games for Texas in post-season play. Credit: Dan Schlossberg

Seager was World Series MVP for the second time — see 2020 Dodgers — with three homers and six runs batted in over five games. He scored in all four Texas wins.

During the regular season, the Rangers finished 90-72, tying the Astros for best in the West but losing the divisional crown because they lost the season series to Houston. he shortstop hit .318 in the 2023 postseason, while Adolis Garcia topped the team with eight home runs and 22 runs batted in even though he missed the last two games of the World Series with an oblique strain. He was MVP of the ALCS.

Eovaldi, who worked six scoreless innings of the finale, went 5-0 and 2.95 in the four series, while Montgomery crafted a 2.90 ERA over five starts and one bullpen outing.

Television ratings tanked, though, because FOX once again insisted it was a good idea to start game after 8:00 EDT. With longer commerical time between innings, many of the games lasted more than three hours, ending after most East Coast viewers (including me) had gone to bed. That’s bad news for a game that badly needs young fans to catch all the action.

Memo to FOX: nobody cares about your boring pre-game show — especially when contrasted with the exciting endings of the games. That’s especially true on weekends, when there is no good reason not to play day games, as baseball did for most of its history.

In closing, congratulations to Bruce Bochy, a world champion for the fourth time, and to the Texas Rangers, winning for the first time. The oldest manager in the game at 68, he’ll be around at least two more years.

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ covers the game for forbes.com, Memories & Dreams, Sports Collectors Digest, USA TODAY Sports Weekly, and many other outlets. He’s at ballauthor@gmail.com.


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