Category Archives: Jeff Cogen

What a Win! But Please Save it for Later in the Season!

Great walk-off win tonight!  But can we save that stuff for August and September? 

Hicks and Daniels may get confused by improved performance and decide to keep trying this season when the Rangers have no chance to make the post-season, every reason to trade Teixeira (who was openly talking today about talking to Baltimore after next year where he’d love to play since he grew up an Orioles fan) and no chance to be a championship caliber team unless they do a major overhaul.

Don’t I want my team to win?  YES! 

But after 27 years as a Rangers fan, I want to finally see them be a championship contender. 

Hicks and DanielsHart get confused too easily, especially when Hicks sees a chance to sell more tickets and add to his $,$$$,$$$,$$$ (10 figures there for a reason). 

More highly exciting wins like tonight and next thing we know, Hicks will have Little Jon trading Botts and Hurley for a 30+ year-old outfielder who’ll be a free agent in the winter just to help Jeff Cogen convince casual fans that they “could use some baseball” and sell more tickets to their charade, saying, “we’re excited by how we’ve been playing, by how this Young team has responded, and think we’re primed to make a late season run, especially when Tex, Kinsler, Blalock and Padilla return.” 

Scary, because I can actually hear that coming out of Hicks’ mouth as they introduce Shawn Green as the next “final piece” to take the Rangers to the playoffs while Botts and Hurley go start great careers as Mets.

And the casual Rangers fans would buy more tickets because… hey the Rangers are “in it.”  And this town – especially the phony, see-and-be-seen crowd predominantly from the Dallas side of the Metroplex – can jump on or off a bandwagon faster than the North Texas Tollway Authority sucks money out of your bank account on the Tollway, 121 or George Bush.

Meanwhile, us true, long-time Rangers fans watch another season tank away while the club is drained of talent.  And those bandwagonners that Hicks milks to fatten his wallet could care less because they’ll be paying full price to go see a pre-season Cowboys game.

Don’t I want to see my team win?  NO!  Not yet.

Advertisements

Robbers Evidence: Revo Sums it All Up in Today’s FWST, Is He Reading This Blog?

Long-time great Texas sports write, Jim Reeves, of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, cranked out a great column today that sums up what and how Tom Hicks has stolen from Rangers fans.  Interestingly, his column parallels many of the items discussed here at Rangers or Robbers.  Not saying that Revo’s taking ideas from my blog – although it would be awesome if he was – but am saying that what I’ve been feeling for years and writing about for months is finally becomming obvious – that Hicks is to blame for the depressing state of the Rangers organization and MLB team.

Read Revo’s column:  http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/story/125733.html – it’s the equivalent of a slam-dunk closing argument to the “trial” I’ve been authoring on this blog – if you factor in that almost every mistake Hicks made was motivated by a money’s more important than winning mindset.

Thoughts on some of Reeves’ points:

“Hope, that most precious of commodities, is what Hicks has stolen from these fans, and without it, the Rangers are fast becoming a joke and a national embarrassment.”

Is it poetic justice that Hicks loses the very thing he’s so often used to string us along into August or September with?  Even last season, he used the horrible July trades to get us fans hopeful for another month and thus keep tickets selling and ratings higher than they would have been.  Then when he was done stringing us along for the tail end of last year, he showed his true Robber spirit by not resigning Carlos Lee – making that trade an absolute waste – and instead pursuing (and failing to find) cheaper ways to anchor the lineup and the rotation.

As frequently as Hicks has fleeced fans with false hopes, wouldn’t it be something if the loss of hope throughout Rangers fandom sinks his business plans for the Rangers?  May what comes around really does go around!

I must take issue with one aspect of Revo’s article – his defense of Jeff Cogen.  Cogen has made significant contributions to the degredation of the Rangers.  The Gold Club was his baby during his first stint here as the Rangers and Stars VP of Marketing, and he’s as much to blame for the over-kill advertising and over-commercialization of the Ballpark (and, I suspect, the departure of John Blake).

But the bottom line is that the bottom line drove Hicks to ruin our Rangers.  And with Jerry Jones moving in next door, the positive outlook for the Ranger’s bottom line through development opportunities and increasing franchise value is what will have Hicks continuing to ruin the Rangers for years to come…

… unless we all stand up and demand better!

More on the Upside of Failing Fast

A week ago, in a post that included some venting about my frustrations with WordPress, I wrote about the Upside of Failing Fast:

“At least they’re collapsing in May so Hicks, Cogen and DanielsHart can’t string us out until the usual Rangers August-September fade out.  One lesson about risk taking, is that if you’re going to fail, fail fast.  The Rangers have almost always dragged us through a gradual failing.  Failing fast could be the best thing this team has done in years.  It would make Little Jon DanielsHart a seller around the deadline (not that he’s kept a lot to sell – except Tex, but more on that later), and prevent him and Hicks from making some stupid deal that costs us dearly in the long-term just to keep the Rangers close enough that they can keep selling more tickets.  And then the young guys can play. ”

(Hey – if “journalists” can quote themselves sometimes, why can’t I?”)

As the Rangers went 3-3 since that post, I thought more about the concept.  And I found myself worried that they were winning.

Let me explain.

What would the Rangers possibly gain from playing .500 or slightly better ball the rest of the season?  They’re just not good enough, not to mention healthy enough, to make up a 9.5 game deficit against the Angels who apparently OWN them this season (remember Hicks views the Angels as “our partners”).  And if they win just enough to keep us – and Hicks and DanielsHart – hoping against hope, we risk seeing management make some hare-brained trade to try to win now at the expense of the long-term picture/pitching and the further erosion of talent from the system (see previous posts about the could/should-be team comprised of recent ex-Rangers).

Even Dale Hanson got it right on the radio yesterday when he compared the Rangers recent history to that of the Cowboys – where management continues to make moves thinking they can contend now at the expense of longer-term success.

As a 27-year fan of the Texas Rangers, I can wait another year or two for someone to finally put together an organization that is built to win a championship.  And maybe, just maybe, failing fast will be enough for Hicks and DanielsHart to do some things differently now that will help the team in the long term.

AND, in the meantime (if Hicks and DanielsHart are serious about stability), it gives new manager Ron Washington the time to develop the young talent we do have while gearing up our core guys (e.g. Young and Kinsler, and… well, that may be it) for a serious run at championship-caliper baseball from ’08-2010.  It can be done – just look at Detroit (more on that another time…).

So let the young guys get their at bats and throw their innings.  Let’s see if McCarthy, Tejeda, Loe or Rupe can be winning starters in the major leagues.  Let’s see if Cruz, Botts and so on really do have the stuff to have long prolific careers ahead of them.

And, like the Cowboys in 1989, let’s have our 1-15 season so we can build for the future and turn things around in big way!  The Cowboys starting seeing real improvement by the end of 1990, made the playoffs in ’91 and won the first of three-out-four Super Bowls in 1992. 

There are significant differences in how to build a winning football versus baseball organization, but the long-term focus is needed in Arlington.  And with that in mind, let’s root for the real winning to start taking root late this summer giving the Rangers momentum into next year and beyond.

The Upside of Failing Fast and Contemplating a Move from WordPress to Blogger

WordPress is making me nuts (almost as much as the Rangers are right now). 

Even with the $15 CSS editor, there’s a lot I want to do with this blog that I can’t seem to figure out.  For example, I want to add a quick poll to the sidebar.  And maybe some Google Adsense Ads or Amazon Rangers Products.  Can’t figure it out.  Know I can on Blogger.  But I like how the categories work on WordPress.  Am I missing some easy way to do stuff on WordPress or is Blogger just easier?  Would love to hear any thoughts or tips.

In the meantime, I’ve started (just barely as it needs a lot of work) a new home for Rangers or Robbers on Blogger.  Decision to move or not to move will follow in a few days.  Maybe a move will change the Rangers luck?  Nah – they just suck this year. 

At least they’re collapsing in May so Hicks, Cogen and DanielsHart can’t string us out until the usual Rangers August-September fade out.  One lesson about risk taking, is that if you’re going to fail, fail fast.  The Rangers have almost always dragged us through a gradual failing.  Failing fast could be the best thing this team has done in years.  It would make Little Jon DanielsHart a seller around the deadline (not that he’s kept a lot to sell – except Tex, but more on that later), and prevent him and Hicks from making some stupid deal that costs us dearly in the long-term just to keep the Rangers close enough that they can keep selling more tickets.  And then the young guys can play. 

Robbers Evidence: McCarthy as Next Year’s Opening Day Starter? No Way!

Over on T.R. Sullivan’s blog – Postcards from Elysian Fields – blue-blooded, brain-washed Rangers fans are getting their hoped up about Brandon McCarthy.

I like Brandon.  I really hope he turns out to be a 15+ game winner.  I hope I’m wrong and that panther (who posted on T.R.’s blog) is right and McCarthy becomes the Rangers’ Opening Day starter in ’08 (although I’m not sure that’d be saying much).  But anyone who really believes that needs to WAKE UP!  Because you, me and every Ranger fan is getting hosed, and the fact that McCarthy (instead of a quality veteran) is on the roster is evidence of it.

First, McCarthy was supposed to be (as Little Jon Daniels said) “battle tested” and ready to produce now.  So, we shouldn’t have to endure any growing pains with McCarthy – the fact that we are proves that DanielsHart, again, made a dumb trade.  (I’ve merged them together in my mind since Hart is still around as a special advisor to Daniels, and based on Daniels’ bad signings, terrible trades, and complete lack of anything resembling an ability to put together a contending team, Daniels is clearly the Sith apprentice of Hart).

Second, for what we gave up for McCarthy, we could have gotten veteran talent (for example, Buerhle was reportedly available for less last season when Danks was “untouchable” and the D-Train was possibly available for an aggressive deal).  But when Little Jon DanielsHart, anything for a buck Cogen and bi-polar (cheap-stupidspedingspree) Hicks saw a chance to get a supposedly “rotation ready” pitcher who’s very inexpensive, suddenly Danks (along with Massett and Rasner) were more than touchable!

Third, other than maybe Keving Brown, when has a young, talented pitcher ever realized his potential as a Ranger?  Ssome teams (most notably the Rangers) seem to be able to manufacture good to great hitters with extreme frequency, others can’t.  Some systems/teams can produce quality starting pitchers (i.e. the Braves), others can’t.  The Rangers just plain can’t.  The Ballpark, the farm system, the weather, the team mindset and other factors may contribute to this particular Rangers handicap, but it’s real nonetheless.  And it’s about time we all just admit the problem, start the 12-step healing process, which concludes with finding a GM who can trade for proven starters (they clearly won’t sign here – Rocket, Unit, etc., etc.) who have honed their potential into realized talented front-line pitching.

It’s just nuts that pitching has always been the Rangers problem (the start to this season being somewhat of an exception since they can’t hit or field either), but they generally crank out offensive talent at will.  Let’s swap farm systems for 5 years with a team that can produce pitchers but struggles with hitters.   Problem solved – see you in the Series!

Robbers Evidence: Exhibit B: Part 2: Recent Tom Hicks Quote

So, the Rangers’ “partners” are back in town and back to taking care of their business – which they apparently understand more clearly than Rangers’ owner Tom Hicks.  While they may be unsure where they’re from – California, Anaheheim, Los Angeles, wherever; they clearly understand that their job is to beat other teams, especially those in the same division and apparently, especially all teams hailing from Arlington.

Meanwhile, as I wrote about a while back, when announcing the re-branding of the team’s home field, Hicks was quoted saying,

“The Cowboys are building the finest football facility in the world, and we have a huge development coming of Glorypark. The perception of the value of your brand has changed. Look at our partners, the Angels.”

With my heart and bloodpressure monitors on, they’ll tell me when to take a break in writing about this before I have a stroke!

The most flagrant part of the quote is the reference to the Angels as partners.  I covered that last time, and revisiting it today while the Angels are throwing Colon at the Rangers right now, leading 5-0 in the top of the 4th on their way to their umpteenth straight game against the Rangers… blood pressure couldn’t handle that.

So as I get back to the game, let me pose a question:  Do you believe that Hicks and Cogen decided to rename the field “Rangers Ballpark in Arlington” because they care about the Rangers? 

Read the quote again.  He doesn’t even mention the team’s name here.  Sure, he did in other quotes.  But this one just captures the essence of the circus-like fan-fleecing con game he and Cogen are perpetrating against Rangers fans like me.

They changed the name because Ameriquest is riddled by scandal, losing money, and wasn’t likely to be able to continue to afford to pay.  Hicks all but says so by referencing “the value of the brand” and “Glorypark” (I’ll get to that another time) and saying anything about how this move is going to help the organization compete.

Meanwhile, the same pair are too worried about constant changes to switch back to the Rangers Red uniforms that actually saw postseason play (but only one win) in the late 90s.  Hey, superstition’s been part of the game as far back as Abner Doubleday.  Let’s go back to the red uniforms; Ranger Blue has never seen the postseason.

But I digress, my blood is boiling, and I feel like some torture so I’m going to back to watching the game.  More late…

Robbers Evidence: Exhibit C: Recent Trade History Part 4 – The Texas Rangers Team We Should Have

In this series, I’ve considered what it says about the Texas Rangers management when recent ex-Rangers could form a team that would be far superior to the current team Hicks / Cogen / DanielsHart are giving us.  The case against the terrible trio in the front office looks worse if you ask what they could have done if they’d made better, “we’re serious about winning” decisions about every current and former Ranger in recent years.

The following 25-man roster is what we really could have today (if you grant me a little poetic license on a couple trades).  While this isn’t fully realistic, it does demonstrate the bad, not-in-it-to-win decisions Rangers management has made:

Esteban German  INF
Gary Matthews    CF
Alfonso Soriano    OF
Alex Rodriguez    3B
Travis Hafner      DH
Carlos Lee            OF
Adrian Gonzalez  1B
Ivan Rodriguez    C
Michael Young     SS
Rod Barajas          C
Mark Texiera       1B
David Dellucci       OF
Kenny Rodgers     SP
Chris Young          SP
Kevin Milwood     SP
Estaban Loaiza     SP
Adam Eaton         SP
Francisco Cordero   C
Akinori Otsuka        SU
Ron Mahay           RP
Bryan Corey         RP
CJ Wilson              RP
Fabio Castro         RP
Darren Oliver       RP
Brian Shouse        RP

Wow!  What a team we could have if only our management cared about winning more than money, realizing that winning would bring them more money than the Rangers have ever seen.