Texas Rangers: 10 Biggest Controversies in Team History
If you're like me, when you think of sports in Texas—the DFW area specifically—you probably don't think of the Texas Rangers when the word "controversy" pops up.
I mean, Terrell Owens, in his brief stint as a Cowboy, put on a veritable clinic on contention—a "who's who" of hurrah, if you will.
If I was writing about the Dallas Cowboys, I could probably come up with fifteen controversial moments from that horrible fourth quarter loss to the Jets on Sunday night alone.
Fortunately, I'm writing about the Texas Rangers instead.
Sure I love the Cowboys, but it's a complex relationship—equal parts mutually beneficial as well as indignantly destructive—much like an acid-reflux sufferer and their antacid of choice, with the Cowboys being my source of discomfort.
Believe it or not, the Texas Rangers have had their fair share of controversy since they moved from the nation's capital, to Arlington (not Virginia), Texas, back in 1972.
Here's my personal top ten most controversial moments in the history of the Texas Rangers—if I missed one, please feel free to add via my comments box.
No. 10: Ron Washington and the Whole "Cocaine" Thing.
It's hard to believe that Ron Washington was extremely close to being fired in the off-season following the 2009 Major League Baseball Season.
Washington failed a drug test—for cocaine—retroactive to July of 2009.
You can't use the "I didn't know that was in my supplement" excuse on the old "nose candy."
Had it not been for Wash's extreme honesty, and his willingness to resign if the team deemed it necessary, he surely would have been let go by the more-than-a-little conservative Nolan Ryan.
This did create quite a stir at the time. And believe it or not, I bet there are still a few folks in the Lone Star State who think he should have been canned.
Yours truly is the exact opposite—I'm superstitious—I figure if he failed for cocaine last year and we made it to the World Series and lost, what should he fail for this year so we can actually win the whole shebang?
No. 9: C.J. Wilson from Bullpen to Starter
C.J. Wilson was not always a starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers.
He was the closer/set-up man that you loved to hate prior to his starting debut last season.
It's kind of like the old Washington cocaine thing—hard to believe it happened, the memories have been repressed by so much recent success.
In 2009 a large proportion of Texas hated C.J. Wilson. I was never one of them, I have the bobble head to prove it.
Most dudes hate him because their girlfriends or wives think he's "hot."
Well, my girlfriend is no different. I encourage this behavior. I even told her if she thinks she can hook that up, go for it.
As long as C.J. agrees to play catch with me on occasion and bat cleanup on my softball team, I'm cool with that.
Ironically enough, every single person who wanted C.J. moved the heck out of the state two years ago, are now nowhere to be found.
Funny how that works.
No. 8: Michael Young from Short Stop to Third Base
Death. Taxes. Michael Young demanding to be traded during Spring Training.
All are inevitable.
Nowadays, most fans of the Texas Rangers look at Michael Young's seemingly routine disgust at moving positions much as a Californian looks at earthquakes:
Yeah, it sucks, it's an inconvenience, but it'll go away soon.
To Young's credit, he never makes complaints—at least not publicly—after Spring Training. That's just the kind of guy he is—work first.
Major League Baseball could use more Michael Young types.
Okay, the fist time he was asked to move positions, it was from second base to short stop to make room for Alfonso Soriano.
This is actually kind of a job "promotion" if you will, short stop is considered a more skilled position than second base.
It's similar to the notion that all relief pitchers are simply failed starters; all second baseman can be assumed to be failed short stops.
So, no complaints from MY on that one.
But when he was asked to move from short to third base—after winning a gold glove, his first there—well you would've thought that Marisa Tomei had been asked to give back her Oscar.
There was quite a good deal of controversy over that move.
Many folks were upset that a veteran, a team leader, was asked to move.
And then we all (Young included) got a chance to see what Elvis Andrus could do and we all suddenly understood.
Kind of like watching Beltre at third base this year.
No. 7: Frankie Francisco Gives Fan an Unusual Souvenir
This was pretty dang controversial when it happened..
What's the big deal?
If you watch the video backwards, Francisco was just accepting a chair from a generous fan.
Everyone knows that the bullpen in Oakland provides the best seats in the house, right?
The bizarre incident occurred in September of 2006. September 13th, 2006 to be exact. Hard to believe that was almost five years ago! Well, since that time, many things have happened with Frankie Frank:
He went to court.
He was injured (not in court).
He made the segue from set-up man to closer.
Then, he was injured.
He pitched his way from closer back to set-up man.
Pretty sure he was then injured.
He was traded to the Blue Jays, for, ironically enough, a case of baseballs and 14 folding chairs—one for every stint he had on the disabled list.
Whoops, then he got injured again.
Oh well, he got us Mike Napoli, and I'm cool with that.
No. 6: Potential Owners Sweepstakes, Circa Summer 2010
Controversy follows the Dallas Mavericks' owner, Mark Cuban.
Most of it I feel he either invents, or desperately desires it.
Last summer, while the Texas Rangers were in bankruptcy court—fear not, it'll be off their records in seven years—there was more than a little controversy surrounding who would end up as the Rangers' owner(s).
Mark Cuban was in the mix.
Thank God, it ended up being Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg,
Good old Greenberg—aka the next slide's topic.
No. 5: Chuck Greenberg
Honestly, I just don't know what happened to Chuck Greenberg.
Greenberg was the face of the Nolan Ryan partnership group which won the rights to own and operate the Texas Rangers after the proceedings at the aforementioned bankruptcy hearing,
He seemed like a cool dude.
He immediately lowered beer prices—what in the heck is there not to like about that?
I was reminiscing over a stadium beer priced like a six-pack (rather than a twelve-pack) when I heard the news of his firing.
Word on the streets is that the "real" money owners, the ones we've never heard of, didn't like how he fronted that he was the owner.
Personally, I think that he had a Robin Ventura tattoo on his left arm, and Nolan wasn't having that.
But, hey, the beer prices still stayed low, so there's that.
No. 4: John Rhadigan
John Rhadigan was probably the worst television play-by-play announcer in the Major Leagues this year.
He was awful. Epically bad, friends.
There isn't enough time or space to really get into it, but there is this:
1. Watching the game on television (Rhadigan was the TV play-by-play man) you'd get the feeling that he was on some type of delay. You'd watch a ball land in the upper deck for a homer, and he would make the call five seconds later.
2. He would rarely deviate from tired cliches ("side is retired" for example). I mean, EVERY inning.
3. His opening catch phrase was "let's play ya'll!" It sounds like a catchphrase someone would write to sound like a "Texan", the same type of foreigner who thinks that all Texans ride horses on their way to the "Mercantile Shop."
Rhadigan was controversial on multiple levels. First off, he replaced long-time TV guy, beloved by many, Josh Lewin.
Secondly, he'd never done play-by-play before. Folks, it's not easy—trust me.
When he was fired, there was little controversy.
Just one big collective sigh of relief that washed over Texas like a sixty-degree cool front in the dead of summer.
No. 3: 10-Cent Beer Night
10 cent beers were considered cheap, even back in 1974.
Anyhow, when all it takes is a buck (minus tip) to get your sweet, sweet, "buzz on", well multiply that times roughly thirty-thousand (it was an extremely popular promotion) and all hell is going to break loose.
The real controversy started when they cut everyone off, and the riot police showed up.
Some people thought it was a terrible thing to happen at a baseball game.
Most people in attendance had no idea they were at a baseball game.
No. 2: Kenny Rogers
This was pretty controversial.
It happened back in June of 2005.
And at the time, it was the only way the Texas Rangers were going to do anything remotely "big" enough to make the evening news.
Personally, I feel it was blown way out of proportion.
Yes, Kenny Rogers shoved the man's camera. What do you want? Kenny Rogers shoving the man behind the camera?
Anyhow, Rogers was recently inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.
And no, it wasn't for his work done in front of a camera—or to a camera, for that matter.
No. 1: A-Rod
Alex Rodriguez is an unbelievable baseball player. He might just be the best player to ever play the game. He's certainly one of the most egotistical, and that's saying something.
A-Rod is a pretty lousy human being. He should have been a politician.
He'll tell you everything he thinks you'll want to hear. It must be tough to take his mind off of himself long enough to make this happen. Regardless, the man is a living controversy lightening rod.
Whether it's gambling in an illegal black jack ring—possibly doing blow with Matt Damon?—or cheating on his ex-wife (or giving the opposition his team's signs), Alex Rodriguez should change his number to "1" because that is clearly all he's concerned with.
Oh yes, and Texas Rangers fans love the fact that he supposedly only tried steroids while he was playing for them.
Also his ridiculous contract—so lucrative that it set a standard that is still in existence ten years later—which still (somewhat) cripples the franchise.
We always knew A-rod would take the Rangers to a World Series—we just didn't think it would be while striking out against us.
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