We’re not losing, we’re just not winningI am here to tell you I am about sick of the media filter beating up on the Texas Rangers for losing games.
All these so-called sports reporters will give you is a run count, how many the Rangers scored and how many their opposition scored as if that told you the whole story. I had an old saying when I was General Manager of the Rangers: baseball is not about winning, it’s about playing fair.
This may come as a surprise, but when I was managing the Rangers, I never read newspapers or watched news television. I would watch baseball games, but I never looked at the score. Instead I got my baseball news from my players, because they are the people who know in the end of the day.
Every morning after game day, I lined them up on the baseball field. They held their blue caps to their hearts with the red “T” facing to heaven. And I asked them two hardball questions. Or rather, my assistant manager asked the questions while I watched.
Number One: “Did we play fair last night?”
And Number Two: “Did the crowd experience an increased sense of freedom?”
After each question, my players would look into their hearts, then my assistant manager would look into the players’ hearts and finally I would look into his heart. Then they would give their honest answer, which, as it happened was always “yes” to both questions.
I can tell you seriously that if the answer had ever been “no” to Number One, I would have launched an investigation to find the man who had not played fair and once that man was found, I can assure you he would have faced a disciplinary action.
If the answer had been “no” to Number Two, there would have been changes of a different nature.
But the point is the Texas Rangers have always been about spreading fair play and freedom among crowds, not about winning games. This has been especially true since the events of Sept. 11 when the whole world changed, not least the Ballpark at Arlington.
In the parts of the game that matter—fair play and cheering crowds—the Rangers had one of their greatest seasons of all time last year—yet to read the press accounts you would think it was a disaster. This is a distortion of the facts.
The frequent drubbings were actually a good sign. Clearly our rivals are desperate to beat us—which means we must have run our campaign right.
The New York Yankees are the most desperate. The Yankees hate fair play. The Yankees are a danger and a threat to all America’s beloved baseball teams. We went to Yankee Stadium last year knowing that the threat was there; knowing that they would try to win at all costs.
The point is that we went to Yankee Stadium not to conquer, but to play fair. There are hundreds of thousands of people who went to Yankee Stadium over that week who were grateful for the fairness that the Rangers displayed in their baseball. That’s a fact.
See, among all the stuff about “the Texas Rangers lost again blah-blah,” this so-called filter of journalists seem to forget all the good Rangers news. They seem to forget the smile on the face of John Furtenheimer, a handicapped child whose last wish was to see A-Rod swing a bat, they seem to forget about the revenues that businesses around the Ballpark at Arlington enjoy on game day.
Let’s have a story about Brad Sweck, one of a group of middle-aged forklift repair men who took the afternoon off to go and see their beloved Rangers on opening day. Wouldn’t that make a great story? A better story, at least, than “oh, the Texas Rangers have two runs and the New York Yankees have 10.” That sort of thing is just not helpful. And it’s not the story that the people of America want to read.
The Yankees will keep scoring runs against the Texas Rangers for the foreseeable future. But here’s the thing—when the Rangers are up in the Bronx, playing fair and spreading freedom, they are making that dangerous part of the world safer for all of us.
The Yankees may beat the Rangers score-wise, but the Rangers are winning the war against unfairness and that’s what match reports ought to be talking about.