Sunday, April 20, 2008

The View from the Basement

Warning! Frustrated Texas Rangers fan post ahead!

Are the winds of change already blowing across the Metroplex? Is the Express, who once cold-cocked Robin Ventura in the classic "Don't Mess with Texas" pose getting ready for a house-cleaning? Gerry Fraley thinks something is up.

Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington are not making a good first impression on new team president Nolan Ryan.

The Rangers had three crowds of fewer than 17,000 for seven dates in the first homestand of the season. That cannot please Ryan the businessman.

The Rangers also are playing sloppy baseball. Their offense remains stuck in the homer-or-nothing mode, with terrible baserunning contributing to the malaise. The defense is statistically the worst in the league.

None of that can please Ryan the Hall of Famer.

Upon taking the job, Ryan said he wanted to observe the club for an extended period before deciding if any changes should be made in the baseball operation. He might have to accelerate the timetable.

With eight consecutive seasons of third place or worse in the four-team AL West, the Rangers are becoming increasingly irrelevant in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. The level of play has deteriorated under Washington. The Rangers might be learning why the Oakland A’s twice bypassed Washington for managerial openings.

If Ryan wants a change in the dugout, there is no obvious replacement. Jackie Moore managed Ryan’s minor-league team in Round Rock, Texas, but he is 69 years old and could prefer the relative security of being Cecil Cooper’s bench coach with Houston. It’s a reach, but Jim Fregosi managed Ryan with the California Angels and would like one more turn at the job.

Saturday on the FOX Game of the Week pregame show, Ken Rosenthal surmised that Ron Washington might not make it to May 1.

One can only hope.

Let's face it, the Rangers are abysmal, evidenced by Sunday's remarkable collapse by Mitch Williams, err C.J. Wilson and crew in Boston. It's sad to be so hopeless before May 1 but facts are facts.

Thankfully, the new Sheriff in Arlington doesn't seem to have a long fuse or a longsuffering disposition for the inept product between the white lines.