Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister said that the team is praying and feeling for the people of Houston, which is being ravaged by the remnants of Hurricane Harvey (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com
Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister said that the team is praying and feeling for the people of Houston, which is being ravaged by the remnants of Hurricane Harvey (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com

Mac Engel

Rangers embarrass themselves on Houston series scheduling

August 29, 2017 12:03 PM

While all of Texas says to Houston, “Whatever you need, just let us know. We’ve got your back,” our Texas Rangers announced to their brothers and sisters in H-Town, “Whatever you need, you just let us know ... and we’ll get back to you.”

Then the Rangers texted, “Sorry. Would love to help, but can’t do this one. #PrayForTexas.”

Not literally of course, but you get the point.

Why? Because ball.

Mother Nature has forced perspective down all of Texas’ throats in the most unpleasant and tragic of ways. Despite all of this tragedy, ball has trumped it all.

Unless the Texas Rangers did exactly what the Houston Astros requested regarding their remaining home-and-home three-game series they were going to look bad.

And, brother, let me tell you how badly our Rangers and GM Jon Daniels look on this one. So bad it makes the Shin Soo Choo deal look good.

Because of Harvey, the Astros sought to flip their remaining two home series with the Rangers; the Rangers would have played the Astros in Arlington for three games beginning Tuesday night and returned to Houston for three games starting Sept. 25.

The Rangers offered to host all six games, and to give all of the revenue to the Astros from their “home series;” then they offered to essentially cover expenses, along with a hefty donation to a Harvey relief fund.

The Rangers said they would do anything to help out ... but anything has a limit. The team’s real priority was to avoid adding another three games to a nine-game road trip when they were pushing for a playoff spot.

There are priorities, and then there are priorities.

The Astros took this as if to say the Rangers wanted all six games at the Ballpark, which was a non-starter. Team president Reid Ryan went scorched earth on the Rangers, and in the process took a swing at the team that dumped his dad.

Despite all of life’s “perspective” surrounding us, the two sides could not agree. Because of ball. MLB had to act as the mediator, which is why the teams will meet in Florida for a three-game series that began Tuesday night.

Shortly after Harvey hit land, the primary concern for the Rangers was the “welfare and the safety of the residents of the Houston area and South Texas who are dealing with a catastrophic weather situation.”

Those were JD’s words, issued via a release on Sunday around noon. A lot can change in 24 hours.

Because when the ball hit the bat, competitive balance was more important than “perspective,” thus giving JD a red Sharpie “F” in public relations. This is a strikeout on but one pitch.

As painful as it would have been, you let the Houston Astros make the call. The end.

While JD owes it to his franchise to act in the best interest of the team, a 12-game road trip is not that big of a deal. We know that because of the living hell that Harvey thrust on Houston, and much of Southeast Texas.

The Astros are the team with competitive disadvantages that will be far more strenuous than a 12-game road trip. They are the ones whose lives are flooded, whose homes are swamped, whose fans need help and compassion.

Avoiding a 12-game road trip near the end of September was the priority. JD said he didn’t want to affect Rangers fans schedules. He told Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram that he was “cringing” when he said it.

That’s good to know because we all cringed when we read it.

Judging by the eye-ball test of the attendance, the only major factor affecting Rangers’ fans is an overpriced, mediocre team that is deluding itself into believing it’s a contender.

This move is entirely about JD’s prayer that his team can grab that second wild card and prove his team had a good season, when we all know they are not.

The Rangers went into Tuesday’s play 64-66, three games back of the Minnesota Twins for the second wild card. There were four teams ahead of the Rangers for that spot.

Given how the season has progressed there is a decent chance that by Sept. 25 the Rangers will be mathematically eliminated.

JD’s professional responsibility is to act in the best interests of his club ... which is odd because he’s the guy who traded for Prince Fielder.

Cheap shots aside at some of his baseball deals, he is the one who maneuvered his way into this position to act as the primary spokesperson for the Texas Rangers. Both he and the team failed.

They failed because it’s in times like these we always hear from victims, “This shows you what’s really important in life.” We hear to hug your kids. To call your parents. To slow down. To enjoy a sunset, because you never know if you will see the next one.

Invariably these real priorities are set aside for whatever self-imposed drama we have to check off a to-do list that runs our daily life. Usually, however, this transition takes more than a day or two.

For the Rangers, the priorities and perspective from Harvey lasted almost 24 hours.

The only play here was to let it be the Astros’ call. They are the ones with the competitive disadvantage.

In the end, ball was the priority, and the Rangers lost.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof

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