Just like Hicks and Cogen like it, hope Springs eternal. That’s central to their business plan. They do just enough to give fans like us hope so we spend money on Rangers tickets and time watching them on TV – all leading to profits for them.
But like a kid on Christmas Eve, I’m restless tonight. Despite my 27 years as a Rangers fan and the knowledge of the fan-fleecing con artists in our team’s front office, I still hope against hope. Because this year, the circus freaks in the front office have added a true jester to the Show – Ron Washington.
Calling our new skipper a jester is no insult. I use it in the meaning related by some accounts that a court jester was an important – perhaps the most important – job in a royal court. According to such accounts, the jester was responsible for morale and was also the only one in the King’s court who could tell the King anything – good news or bad – without consequence. He was empowered to speak truth to power without fear of reprisal or repercussion. He often dissented from the nobles and voiced concerns of the people. And with his style of leadership and fountain of optimism, I think Ron Washington just might fit the role of Jester to the Rangers’ King Hicks, Circus Chamberlain Cogen and Majordomo “Liitle Jon” Daniels.
This is also an appopriate characterization as the latter three view Rangers Fandom as comprised by peasants who have no rights and should just blindly pay tarriffs and fees to their royal court.
But now we have a skilled Jester in town, and an experienced one at that. Rangers royalty should be uncomfortable. Because I believe Washington cares for his players first and fans second and will speak accordingly to Rangers royalty – which could threaten their business plan and demand a winning season, but then if our hopes are fulfilled, the Jester, not their highnesses, will deservedly receive credit.
Under Washington’s management, we have a lot to hope for:
- Someone’s actually telling our pitchers to throw strikes!
- He lists manufacturing runs as a top priority.
- Unlike the last skipper, he seems to know when a pitcher is done and isn’t too lazy to stroll out to the mound and call in relief
- He is pulling this team together into a cohesive unit that wants to win – those are two important “x” factors that have been missing in Arlington in recent seasons but evident in recent Champions and serious contenders (see 2005 White Sox, 2005 & 2006 Astros and Cardinals, and 2006 Tigers).
- He’s achieved a lot while still a neophite – imagine what he’ll do if/when the team starts winning and his clout grows
From the field, reasons for hope have emerged this Spring (Kinsler, Sosa, Loe, Wright) while reasons for doubt remain (Padilla, McCarthy, Tejeda, Blalock, Wilkerson). (See T.R.’s Spring-training summary for more at: http://trsullivan.mlblogs.com/trsullivan/2007/03/in_the_desert_o.html .) But less than 21 hours from now, hopes and doubts start to prove out as another long season begins.
I can’t wait to open my present along with thousands of other fans on The Duece at 9pm!