This morning I woke up to NFL highlights, 48 degree temperatures, and the beginnings of pumpkin flavored everything being offered at the local coffee shop.
Fall is upon us.
And after a year off, so is meaningful late season baseball.
I really don't think I fully realized how miserable last season was until this year reminded me how amazing the end of a 162 game season can be when your team is in contention.
As a fan, 6 months of regular season baseball provides so many highs and lows, so much frustration and jubilation, countless headaches, and a great number of evenings where the excitement from a huge win provides a sleepless night. Without the stress and nerves provided by the last month of a playoff push, the MLB emotional roller coaster feels incomplete.
By this point in 2014, Rangers fans were checking the standings to see if there was a chance we could end up with pick 1.1. The entire franchise was in turmoil following the sudden resignation of Ron Washington and the rabid fan base looking for more reasons to question Jon Daniels following the 2013 collapse, the Matt Garza trade, and a failed 2014 season.
What a difference a year makes.
Without a doubt, this season has provided more ups and downs than any Rangers season in my memory. Throughout the course of the year, I have written off the entire team in late May. the value of Elvis's contract in June, Choo's ability to baseball in July, and the pitching staff more times throughout the season than I care to remember.
I should have listened to Jeff Banister. Never Ever Quit.
Honestly, who saw this coming? I sure didn't. If you look back through my previous pieces, you can clearly see documentation that I stated "These Rangers are not a playoff team". Oops.
My head told me to plan for 2016 so that my baseball heart would not be disappointed by this season's results. My brain told me that Choo was done. My eyes told me that Elvis was not focused. Dave Cameron told us that the Rangers were simply "a bad team".
I have never been so happy to be so wrong in my entire life. This serving of crow is absolutely delicious.
Here we are. September 14, 1.5 games out of first place, starting a four game series against the division leading Astros. What a grand place to be.
20 games remain in this drive to play 162+, with every single night providing that extra "must win" and huge game edge to it. It's time for Rangers fans to buckle up and come out in full support, filling the stadium with Rangers Red and providing that home field environment that existed in 2010 and 2011.
Whatever happens from this point out is a pure bonus, whereas every element of this season has exceeded expectations. The NFL, college football, hockey, 2016, and even Yu Darvish can all wait. It's time to step back and enjoy every moment of Colby and Derek, Napoli and Beltre, Roogie and Delino, Hamels and Tolleson, and yes, even Andrus and Choo.
20 more. Never ever quit.