Originally posted on DFW Fanbase:

Worried? Me too.

I admit it. I’m a homer. I unconditionally support my home teams through the thick that Jerry Jones makes sure his (deteriorating) fan base endure or the thin that has been the past seasons of Texas Rangers baseball. Baseball’s emerging powerhouse has gone through their American League mates for two straight seasons, but despite a pair of pennants and matching flags that will indeed fly forever, the ultimate prize remains out of their hands.

After last year’s collapse at Busch Stadium, which everyone irresponsibly pins on Nellie Cruz and Nellie Cruz alone, the mindset was of no resemblance to the year before when the Rangers were swiftly taken care of by the San Francisco Giants in their first World Series appearance.

After Game 5 concluded the World Series and thus the baseball season, the attitude among the team and the city seemed just “happy to have been…

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My Fraction on The Extra 2 %

110% inspired by Jonah Keri’s The Extra 2%; How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First.

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In 2003, the story of ‘Moneyball’ was published to the world by Michael Lewis.. eight years later, the story was adapted into a(n altered to no end) feel-good Hollywood film. Starring A++ lister Brad Pitt, who reprized the role of Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, as well as inventor, orchestrator, and engineer of the ‘Moneyball’ concept – putting together a championship caliber baseball team with the budget sizing a New York Yankee.
This strategy did indeed change the culture of baseball, but the results – while glamorous and without a doubt memorable – never resulted in a championship.
Beane’s Athletics reached their peak in 2006 when they reached the American League Championship Series, but were then swept by the Detroit Tigers.
Since, the A’s have not been back to the ALCS or even the playoffs. Their roster is reconfigured every year from top to bottom, dealing away any players soon eligible for a payday in exchange for handfuls of young talent. Promising talent, yes, but this never-ending cycle has kept Oakland out of contention until the ongoing 2012 season.

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The strategy that somehow has gone and still goes relatively unnoticed – especially outside the baseball world (no thanks to the Moneyball film) – are the masterminded plans that escalated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from the laughing stock in all of sports to an American League champion, a feat even the great Billy Beane could not achieve.
Founded in 1998, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were run for eight years, in the words of Batman Universe’s John Daggett, “into the ground” with flying colors by their first owner Vince Naimoli. Naimoli’s era as a sports owner would put (Clippers owner) Donald Sterling in the hall of fame.
Under Vince Naimoli, plans for the Devil Rays changed by the year, even the month and the week, trying and failing to construct an expansion franchise, all the while driving away a rookie fan base and depleting the team’s financial balance and flexibility in just a few years.
As an expansion team, the Rays payroll debuted at $27,370,000 with an average salary just under $900,000. This was greater than seven teams, including the Oakland A’s, who were a year away from Beane and “Moneyball.”
Just four years later, signings like the inexplicable $34 million dollars given to Greg Vaughn and other epic fail investments like Jose Canseco and Wilson Alvarez, the Devil Rays were cornered into the lowest payroll in all of baseball.
Foolish signings and an astounding ignorance to player drafting and development kept the Devil Rays in a recycling state of being well below average, lethal in pro sports.
Finally after eight terrible years ‘highlighted’ by a 70 win 2004 season and the franchise’s first finish outside of last place, (not even my hero Frank Catalanotto could help the 2004 Blue Jays) Vince Naimoli finally finally surrendered control of the franchise to the three-headed power combo that was and still is Owner Stuart Sternberg, President Matt Silverman and Andrew Friedman, who was given the title Executive President of Baseball Operations.

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Notably missing is the job of General Manager. In a highly non-traditional move, Sternberg did not appoint a GM, believing the spot to be “outdated.” Instead, the aforementioned “three-headed power combo” would put their unique print on a new era of Devil Rays baseball.

Part 1 Ends Here – Just Like The Dark Knight Rises…. (spoilers ahead by the way) should have been two parts;

 

 

i mean, hey, GREAT movie don’t get me wrong but the last battle…Bruce returning to Gotham/finding Catwoman and trusting her with everything after ya know, she got his back broke and sent to die in a pit….the whole damn movie was about John Blake…i mean, seriously the orphanage scenes, it’s a BATMAN movie!

the user Willprot from forums.superherohype.com will take it from here

Originally posted on A Run On of Thoughts:

I can’t get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won’t go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm‘s way. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.

What started off as a trip to the mall to get sushi and shop, ended up as a day that has forever changed my life. I was on a mission to eat sushi that day, and when I’m on a mission, nothing will deter me. When I arrived at the Eaton Center mall, I walked down to the food court and spotted a sushi restaurant. Instead of walking in, sitting…

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All-Star La Vista

According to ancient philosophies dating all the way back to 2004 – you know, when we were young – the ‘third time’s the charm.’

Well for the Texas Rangers, the 2012 All-Star Game shattered and spit on that expression and then lowered a spinning headlock elbow drop on the defenseless phrase before finally moving on to addressing the snapback issue with teenagers and why anyone besides Fernando Rodney gets away with a sideways hat in public.

As you very well know, Major League Baseball began awarding home field advantage in the World Series to the victorious league of the “Midsummer Classic” in 2003. Although just tentative and essentially a ‘trial run,’ an extension and eventual implementation was somehow agreed upon by the Players Union beginning at the 2007 All-Star Game.

So with this game-changing move, the formerly fan-oriented, relaxing, enjoyable 9 innings became immensly important, and as a Rangers fan…we know.

When the move was made, the American League seemed to be in prime position. Before the switch, home field rotated each season between the AL and the NL (why they don’t just use best record like the NBA is beyond me). With the change it seemed like the American League might have home field on baseball’s biggest stage forever…just for winning the All-Star Game…which takes place during the All-Star Break

During my lunch break i’m not tasked with deciding the company’s annual budget. Well, that’s what baseball is doing here. Fans vote starters that only play a few innings then give way to reserves who give way to final vote-in guys. Constant substituions, pitching limits (duh) and a team consisting of teams within teams within teams. And aren’t we just trying to have fun?

This game decides home field in the CHAMPIONSHIP; Players were ENCOURAGED TO TWEET in the dugout during the game.

Cool, Bud.

So anyway, back to the American League totally benefiting from this rule change….

….The American League should totally benefit from this rule change.

With the Designated Hitter and the force as their ally, the American League entered the 2010 All-Star Game with an incredible 12 game winning streak dating back to 1997 when Jose Rosado of the Kansas City Royals was the winning pitcher. (Me either)

So since the new rule in 2003, home field advantage belonged to the AL 7 years in a row. (Except for the 2011 Dallas Mavericks) Home field advantage is downplayed by players and coaches but there is no doubt that if there are 40,000+ screaming fans watching their every move, they would prefer them on their side. In the 7 years since the instillation of the rule with the AL holding home field in each World Series, they still only captured 4 of the 7 titles.

The Texas Rangers weren’t anywhere near the World Series during these years, but they certainly helped their league mates capture home field.

In 2003, Hank Blalock hit an unforgettable 8th inning 2-run home run off of Eric Gagne to give the AL a 7-6 lead that would last the 9th. Gagne did not blow a save all year outside of the All-Star Game, which doesn’t go on his season statistics. However home field couldn’t help the Yankees overcome the amazing story of the NLCS-Bartman-guided Florida Marlins from winning the championship.

In 2004, Rangers second baseman Alfonso Soriano was the All-Star Game MVP and the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in the World Series. (Just a frustrating side note I still haven’t gotten over: Rangers turned A-Rod into Soriano and were given a choice by the leverage-possesing Yankees to choose from 2 infielder prospects; Joaquin Arias or Robinson Cano…2 years later Texas flipped Soriano to Washington for Armando Galarraga, Termel Sledge and Brad Wilkerson and years after that Arias was dealt at the deadline for a Jeff Francoeur rental)

Okay….The non-contending Rangers aren’t done helping rivals gain a crucial advantage….

In 2005, Mark Teixeira belted a 2-run homer in the sixth inning off Dontrelle WIllis – obviously revenge for defeating the Yankees (Irony!) in 2003 when Hank Blalock captured the home field advantage for New York. Well, the Chicago White Sox swept the Houston Astros that year. (Lighten the mood, shall we? The Rangers traded Teixeira to Atlanta at the deadline for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltala——- and Beau Jones, the first 3 have made all-star game appearances. However, the Rangers main rival Angels – yes Angels of all teams – would get the last laugh when Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees after a brief stint with the Halo’s…..but the compensation pick from New York that LAA received turned into…Mike Trout. This world….)

Finally in 2006, 2B-turned-SS Michael Young was the game’s MVP. In the 9th inning with 2 outs, 2 strikes, and 2 on (oh, and home field on  the line of course!) and the American League a strike away from it’s first defeat in a decade, Young hit a 2-run triple off Trevor Hoffman, scoring Jose Lopez and Troy Glaus, to give the American League a 3-2 lead which would prove to be final score. However the Cardinals defeated the Tigers in the 2006 Series. (Worth noting: Alfonso Soriano of the Nationals was voted a starting outfielder for the NL squad…Brad Wilkerson spent the next season on the benches of Seattle and Toronto)

Even while the Rangers were bad and badder, they managed to produce some fine all-star bats that would prove instrumental in determing the outcome of several All-Star Games and providing the AL with home field in the “Fall Classic.”

Under new management (Jon Daniels hired as GM 2005, Nolan Ryan becomes President 2008) and eventually new ownership (Chuck Greenberg buys team 2010) the Rangers have become more than A example of baseball’s best, but the example signified by back-to-back World Series appearances.

The American League continued to own the All-Star Game but the streak of 12  consecutive victories ended with brutal timing.

The Rangers finally broke through and made the World Series in 2010, but for the first time since 1996 and the very first time since the new ruling, the National League won the All-Star game and claimed home field.

They did it again next year, this time the Rangers contributing to their own fate when their own ace C.J. Wilson was tagged with the loss.

Last night the National League took their third in a row, pouncing on reigning MVP and Cy Young award winner and Kate Upton’s bff Justin Verlander for 5 first inning runs.

So if the Rangers are to return to the World Series this year, it will have to be without the advantage that they won for other teams in years past.