Rangers snookered Yankees once; why not again



Is this the best ever in irony? Yes, ever. Has a pennant ever come down to such an extremely delightful contrast in two franchises?

The Boys of Bankruptcy vs. The Bank of Baseball.

The History of Baseball vs. Historical-type Failure (until Tuesday night in St. Petersburg.).

But why not?

Once the Texas Rangers’ season of insanity went from the shock of Ron Washington’s confessional session in Arizona, to the prolonged agony of courtroom dirty dealing in Fort Worth, to the pitching version of a Second Coming in Arlington, and all that strangeness eventually worked out for the best…

Why not?

Next up, it’s meet the New York Yankees for the American League pennant. And then beat the New York Yankees for the pennant?

Why not?

Vegas obviously says not, and is laying odds nudging toward 2-to-1 that the Rangers won’t. An overwhelming majority of Americans, even the 90 percent who are now devoted anti-Yankee Rangers fans, are thinking “no prayer.” You can’t blame them.

On paper, and on history, this is a bet-’til-your-hands-bleed mismatch.

The Yankees have 27 world championships, including last season, and 40 pennants.

The Rangers? They still haven’t won a playoff game at home. Ever.

But on Friday night on Randol Mill Road in Arlington, Game 1, best-of-seven, the Rangers will be trying it again. Trying to win a playoff game at home after it took 39 years to win a playoff series.

Why not? It won’t be Cliff Lee taking the ball, but C.J. Wilson on Friday is good enough and, in a good way, goofy enough to get that win done. And if C.J. does, look out, New York.

One-two-three, Mr. Lee, will be waiting for the third game, in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees don’t want this series to be 1-1 at that point.

The Yankees know Cliff Lee well from last October. The Yankees also want Cliff Lee, and all of Gotham is confident they will have him pinstriped and money-whipped by December. That figures to be right.

But this isn’t December. Right now, Cliff Lee is the Rangers’ hired gun. He rides for the brand.

The Yankees fear Cliff Lee. That’s funny. Gotta love Yankee fear.

This late into October, size almost always matters in baseball payroll.

The Yankees pay out a world-record $207 million. The two October finalists in the National League are also in the top 10, with the Phillies at $142 million and the Giants at just under $100 million.

Go way, way down to the bottom of the payroll list, and there’s the Rangers. Bottom five in baseball, at $55 million, but that’s somewhat misleading the wrong way, because over $10 million of that went to pitchers (Rich Harden and Scott Feldman) not even on the playoff roster.

By size of bankrolls, this is the Salvation Army soup kitchen vs. Wall Street Madoffs. Cheering for the Yankees is like cheering for your credit card company.

On the field, however, it’s the Yankees coming to Arlington, and it’s for the pennant, and four decades later the dream of the great Tom Vandergriff, our founding father of major league baseball, is finally moving a step closer. It took a while, but there is progress.

And that progress took root back in the summer, the first week of July.

The biggest game in Rangers history was Tuesday night in St. Pete.

Thanks to Mr. Lee, it was the biggest win in Rangers history.

But that’s where the Rangers have already beaten the Yankees this season.

Beaten the Wall Street Madoffs to the No. 1 legitimate investment in baseball.

What the Yankees want, the Yankees get. Except not this time.

The July trade war for Cliff Lee came down to the Yankees being challenged by the Rangers, a team in bleeping bankruptcy.

Jon Daniels came in one Seattle door, the Yankees in the other, and the Rangers GM walked out with Lee, causing a considerable amount of whining in New York.

“The Mariners did the double-cross” was the Gotham cry.

Actually, Daniels just snookered the Yankees. He delivered the goods, or what Seattle considered the goods.

No matter how it would have worked out, it was the best trade in Rangers history.

Once October came, Lee was Lee against the Rays. It all worked out.

But a big Yankees advantage, sayeth the New York papers, was when the Rangers failed to put away Tampa last weekend, meaning Lee is now on hold until Monday, three games into the pennant series.

That theory, of course, is valid.

But if crazy stuff happens, and if C.J. can drag a win out of Game 1, and if the Rangers can keep this series going, look who would be Game 7-ready on full rest in Arlington.

The Yankees fear Cliff Lee, and that goes double for a Game 7.

The Boys of Bankruptcy vs. The Bank of Baseball.

It was an insane summer. Let the insanity continue.

Randy Galloway, 817-390-7760


Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/10/13/2545166/rangers-snookered-yankees-once.html#ixzz12TU1l9wj


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