The last time Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers won anything of significance, the cries of “NA-PO-LI!” were still echoing off of the facades of Arlington Ballpark. Ron Washington’s boys were one game away from a World Series title. And then, a few days later in St. Louis, one tantalizing strike away. (Twice!) But like the hope for relief from the record-setting heat wave that plagued Texas last summer, the last strike – and the win – never materialized.
So, while Ranger fans continue their offseason therapy sessions, many have not taken full stock of the significance of this week’s news. The American League champions ponied up (pun intended) a reported $51.7 million to simply negotiate with Japanese pitching phenom Yu Darvish. In doing so, the Rangers outbid all other major league teams, even though signing Darvish to a lengthy contract may involve upwards of an additional $75 million. While these figures represent an extraordinary risk, there are a multitude of reasons that Ranger fans should consider cancelling their next counseling appointment.
Here are three reasons why Darvish will be a perfect fit for the Texas Rangers:
1) The seven pitches! Forget the seven deadly sins, Rangers fans will soon get to know the Darvish’s slurve, cutter, curve, change-up, splitter, two-seam fastball and a four-seam fastball that he’s already calling the “Take A Seat, Albert” pitch. The last time anyone checked seven is six more than what Neftali Feliz threw when trying, quite unsuccessfully, to close out the St. Louis Cardinals with his 99 mile hour fastball. 2) The first name! Sure, it doesn’t have the box-office appeal as Coco Crisp or Milton Bradley, but it’s pretty darn fitting for Texas. Why? Well, Texans absolutely love “you,” but, as is widely known, they like to twist this useful pronoun into the ever-popular “y’all.” If they sign him, there is little doubt that a future conversation among two Ranger fans might go something like this:
Adam Arlington: Y’all Darvish?!
(Translation: Did you happen to see that fabulous game thrown by the new Ranger pitcher who is half Iranian and half Japanese?)
Rocky Ranger: Yup.
Adam Arlington: I figger we fixin’ for ‘nuther World Series.
(Translation: I do believe we have another wonderful chance to take part in the so-called “Fall Classic.” And, dare I say, win it this time. )
Rocky Ranger: Shor ’nuff!
3) The last name! “Darvish” is Persian for “glorious.” During the 2011 season in Japan he notched a stunning-for-a-starter 1.44 ERA, along with 276 strikeouts in 232 innings. Oh yeah, and he only walked 36 batters and posted a .82 WHIP. Granted, these numbers were earned in Japan, but if Darvish comes anywhere close to repeating them in Texas, the 2012 season may be glorious indeed.