Thursday newsletter time: Seeing is believing, but it’s still hard to believe
(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
PHOENIX — To all those who texted me last night after the final out of the World Series, let this serve as an apology for not immediately responding. There was work to do.
But I appreciate your nice thoughts and excitement for what unfolded Wednesday night at Chase Field.
The Texas Rangers, left for dead by many a month ago (I have all of your Twitter receipts) and a 102-loss team two seasons ago, are world champions.
I didn’t have much hope for them after the Game 162 loss in Seattle, either. Once they got past Tampa Bay, though, I started to like their chances. We all watched them in May and June when they played as well as any team in the majors, and they played like that at Tropicana Field.
Some of the faces were different, like Evan Carter and Jordan Montgomery. Some had to regain fans’ trusts, like Jose Leclerc and Josh Sborz. But in the end, the 2023 Rangers were playing their very best baseball and were tough to beat.
And the most shocking thing of all was that they didn’t lose one time on the road in the postseason. They went 11-0 away from Globe Life Field, where they went only 2-4. The two biggest wins were Games 6 and 7 at Houston to dethrone the Astros as world champs and advance to the World Series.
Game 1 of the World Series was the win of the postseason, down two in the ninth before Corey Seager tied it with a no-doubter and Adolis Garcia won it in the 11th. The Rangers had won only one other time this year when trailing after eight innings.
Seager was the World Series MVP. Nathan Eovaldi delivered six of the craftiest innings in club history in Game 5. Marcus Semien came through in the final two games to bring the title home.
There’s so much more to feel good about and write, and there will be plenty of time for that in the coming days and weeks. There will also be news.
As of the final out of the World Series, while the Rangers were celebrating, all MLB players in the final years of the contracts became free agents.
The 2024 season, the defense of the world title, begins now for the Rangers.
A few funnies
The scene in the clubhouse afterward was awfully crazy but probably the happiest place I’ve ever been.
The players and staff were cracking each other up. Two things stand out.
• I found Mitch Garver to ask him about his RBI single that broke the scoreless tie in the seventh inning.
His response: “Remind me what happened in the seventh.”
I thought he was kidding, but he really needed a minute to replay it. He was sober, from what I could tell.
• Max Scherzer, the man with eyes of two different colors, was answering my questions about his brief time here, when a player came up to him and shot beer in his face.
“Ahhhh,” he screamed. “You got the blue one.”
• It’s gets pretty gross in a winning clubhouse. The floors are covered with plastic, which makes sense in an attempt to save the carpet, but after hundreds of bottles of beer and champagne have been poured on various heads, the contents start to pool on the plastic sheets.
No shoe is safe. Socks take a beating, too.
Then, the cigars come out. Smoke, plus the stench of Bud Heavy and cheap champagne is a potent enough combo to give anyone a headache and make anything being worn smell like a casino floor.
Commemorative book coming
The only time I’ve ever cheered in the press box was during the final game of the 2011 regular season.
It was the ninth inning at Anaheim, and the game was tied. If the Rangers were to lose, the beat writers (and, you know, the team) would have had to fly to New York overnight for the start of the division series at Yankee Stadium two nights later. A win meant everyone went home.
Mike Napoli then stepped to the plate and launched a home run. I rejoiced, albeit very quietly.
This postseason run has tested my professionalism. But now that the Rangers have won, I can let the cat out of the bag.
Coming in a matter of days is a commemorative book entitled, At Long Last: The Texas Rangers’ Historic Run to the 2023 World Series from Triumph Books. The Chicago-based publisher is using Rangers Today stories from throughout the season to chronicle the Rangers’ march to the title.
The 128-page book, with a foreword by Michael Young, costs $16.95 plus shipping and tax. The book will ship the week of Nov. 13.
Get it below.
The Texas Rangers have won the #WorldSeries! Preorder your commemorative book ‘At Long Last’ by Rangers Today right now at https://t.co/3FW5LSQFIG. (cover image not final) #StraightUpTX #GoAndTakeIt @JeffWilsonTXR @rangers_podcast pic.twitter.com/O45LRN2vc7
— Triumph Books (@TriumphBooks) November 2, 2023
Get gear here
The lines Monday into the team store at Chase Field stretched more than 100 people deep, and so did the line once inside the ballpark.
If only Diamondbacks fans had had a friendly beat writer with a direct link to official gear.
Fortunately, Rangers fans have Rangers Today.
We have partnered with Fanatics, the official MLB supplier of Rangers World Series champions gear. Click this link and avoid aching feet, early wakeup times, crowded parking lost and the possibility of your size being sold out once you get to the front.
Don’t forget our friends at In the Clutch Apparel, either.
Enter RANGERSTODAY at checkout for a discount. https://t.co/jQzzPuFuzr
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilsonTXR) November 2, 2023
Rangers Today is thrilled to be home, though that 5 a.m. flight came way too early after Game 5. Oh, well. I need to have a word with my booking agent. But with no baseball today, there will be time to catch up. That goes for you guys, too. Relive the three games in Arizona with our latest content, in case you missed it (also, subscribe!).
Game 5 recap: Go crazy, folks
Game 4 recap: Power Rangers
Game 3 recap: Great Gray
Go ahead, folks: Go crazy. Enjoy.
He's got the zoomies bad! pic.twitter.com/ai2CYiXEnJ
— jamie (@gnuman1979) October 25, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org