I’ve written off this Rangers team several times and will continue to do so

Chip Stewart
3 min readOct 24, 2023

Plenty of other people are writing the good words about the Texas Rangers’ improbable, impossible, ridiculous post-season run that somehow wound up with them as the AL pennant winners last night.

As Adam Morris put it so accurately, as if he was staring right into my eyes when he wrote it:

“This was a team that gave ample reason to not believe, to jump ship. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen folks, on here, on Twitter, write this team off, pronounce them dead, dismiss their chances. It was a team that was going to fade, would collapse, and even if they snuck into the playoffs they wouldn’t do anything, not with that broken down rotation and dumpster fire of a bullpen.”

Yep, that’s me.

I wrote them off in early July, listing out the Rangers All-Time Rookie Team (and Josh Jung’s looming place on it) as a “distraction from the Rangers’ current iteration of their inevitable gut-wrenching collapse.”

After the Rangers limped into the All Star Break with a 2–7 record after trading for the erratic and repulsive Aroldis Chapman, I said about a second-half collapse the likes of which we hadn’t seen since 1983 or 1991, “I can fathom the Rangers being a seller after a surprising and exciting first half.”

Projecting out their 12–19 record after deGrom went down for the year, I saw an 80–82 finish.

Then, in August, I saw a mirror image of another classic Rangers collapse — the 2013 club that went 9–18 in a bad stretch in August and September to go from a 3.5–game lead to an 8.5-game deficit against the A’s — as the current edition was on the same trajectory. I wrote, “the Rangers are just not a very good team. They haven’t been for months. They started 40–20, riding the high of being able to run Jacob deGrom out there every five or six days. Once it was announced he was done for this year and next, Texas turned back into a pumpkin. They’re 32–34 since and have frittered away a 5-game division lead.”

As these Rangers rolled over and played dead the final weekend of the season, including a lackluster 2–0 loss in the finale against a Seattle club that pulled its best players midway through the game as Texas just surrendered the division title to Houston, I didn’t even bother writing. I was done. They were done. I gave a shoutout to the 2012 collapse on BlueSky, but that was about it:

I was not in a good place on October 3, 2023

And yet — here we are, with the Rangers as AL champions, coming off what is to me the most satisfying single game win in team history. Game 7! At Houston! In a blowout! With Adolis Garcia laughing all the way! As Levi Weaver put it in The Athletic’s Windup Newsletter today:

I’m flabbergasted, stunned, out of good words. There are no more words. That was the real World Series, and as I’m convinced that the Rangers franchise is cursed to never get an actual title, I’m grateful and, kind of afraid to say it, satisfied.

To the point that when that final out was recorded last night, after I’d been nervously expecting an 8-run comeback in the bottom of the 9th, I poured a glass of the good rye, the one my dad gave me for Christmas last year in what turned out to be his last gift to me, a few weeks before he unexpectedly passed. I promised to save it for special occasions. Last night was one.

A toast to the 2023 Texas Rangers, a maddening, gut-punch of a team that somehow found a way to win the ALCS. With special thanks to El Bombi.

I will never stop writing you off, Texas Rangers. I dare you to prove me wrong.

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Chip Stewart

Lawyer. Journalist. TCU professor. Viewer discretion is advised.