An early summer series between sub-.400 and a sub-.500 team might not seem like a big deal, but not when the Washington Nationals are visiting the Texas Rangers.
Not when the Nats are playing in Texas for the first time in 17 seasons, and only the second time since Washington Senators’ owner Bob Short moved his club to a minor league ballpark between Dallas and Fort Worth after the 1971 season.
Short has been dead for 30 of the 50 years since he moved the Senators to Texas, and he still stinks.
On behalf of millions of kids whose hearts Short ripped out after we had fallen in love with Frank Howard, the Senators and baseball, that 50th anniversary patch on the Rangers’ sleeves is galling.
If Charlie Culberson can celebrate what became of Washington’s heartbreak 50 seasons ago, then Carl Edwards, Jr. could certainly rock some 2019 World Series championship gear in batting practice, even if he didn’t earn his own World Series ring in Washington.
Maybe the Nats should have hauled the Commissioner’s Trophy down to Texas for the series so the Rangers and their fans could see what a real one looks like.
Go ahead and sling that 50th anniversary merch for all it’s worth, Texas, because since the Rangers set up shop at the former Turnpike Stadium in 1972, they’ve lost 4,056 games, including Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Nats, won just 3,876, and have zero World Series titles.
They've lost one, but never won one.
The Nationals have, and products commemorating it will sell forever.
The Nats know all about being one strike away from victory over the St. Louis Cardinals with David Freese at the plate. It took them seven years, but they got past it.
The Rangers have won just two postseason games and are 0-3 in postseason series since Freese precipitated their World Series collapse in 2011.
In the half century since Short moved his team halfway across the country for a better cut of the parking revenue than he had in D.C., Arlington has grown from a suburban pit stop into a city.
And since the Rangers threatened to move again in 1989, the budding metropolis has paid for one new stadium and half of another with a retractable roof to improve attendance in the hot, Texas summers.
The Rangers and Nats have drawn about the same this season — the Rangers’ second in their newest ballpark — almost 22,000 per game for the Nats and just over 24,000 for the Rangers. ranking 17th and 19th in attendance, respectively. Neither has drawn 1 million fans yet in 2022.
Announced attendance at Globe life Park Friday night was about three-quarters of capacity.
The Nats at least filled their ballpark while honoring hometown hero Ryan Zimmerman in the midst of a losing season.
Once upon a time, Washington and Dallas had a great sports rivalry, but that’s lost its shine in recent decades. Maybe when the Nats and Rangers play three games every season starting in 2024, it will pick up some steam.
A good inter-city rivalry will make games more interesting, even when when both teams stink as well.