A phenom who struggled with substance abuse; a manager who endured the same problems; a pitcher who was traded for an upgrade; another pitcher that wasn't going to make it in the majors; a veteran whose career was declining.
These are just some of the players that make up the now 2010 AL Champions and have led the Texas Rangers to their first World Series in the team's history.
The 2010 Texas Rangers are a true story of comebacks.
Things hadn't gotten off to a good start for the rangers at the beginning of their season. News reports had come out about manager Ron Washington's cocaine use and how he had tested positive in a 2009 drug test. Rangers management could have fired him at the time but decided against it because of Washington's admittance of his drug use prior to the test results.
With the talk of Washington's issues, it was difficult not to remember Josh Hamilton's similar experience with addiction problems. In his early playing days Hamilton had been indefinitely banned from the MLB for drug and alcohol abuse. Hamilton got his life together and the Rangers decided to give him a second chance. That decision would end up paying great dividends to the Rangers, especially this season with an MVP caliber season.
Another question mark, Vladimir Guerrero, was acquired during the offseason. His old team, the Los Angeles Angels, showed very little interest in re-signing a player who had provided for them during his entire stay there. Guerrero had only 15 homers, had 50 RBIs and played in 100 games for the Angels last year and was thought to be washed up. This season he played in 152 games, had 29 home runs and 115 RBIs, proving that the Angels were too quick to give up on him.
Then in the middle of the season the Rangers made one of there biggest acquisitions by trading for Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners. Lee had been traded to the Mariners from the Phillies because the Phillies were upgrading with star pitcher Roy Halladay. With the Mariners headed to a losing season, the Rangers lucked out and were able to get the staff ace that they were looking for.
Now with all of the pieces together, the Rangers have beaten the Yankees with the most unlikely contribution of all. Pitcher Colby Lewis was playing in Japan last year, with fleeting hope of making it in the MLB.
But the Rangers are a team that believes in giving people chances. The chance with Lewis payed off. Lewis gave the Rangers 8 innings, 3 hits and 1 run in the ALCS clincher to advance the Rangers to the World Series.
In the ultimate story of irony, the Rangers defeated the player that used to be the face of the franchise, Alex Rodriguez. To finish the series closer Neftali Feliz struck out Rodriguez for the final out of the game.
Now a team built on second chances is headed to the World Series. They better hope to win it in their first try though. Not too many teams get a second chance at a championship.