By Sarah Earhart aka swampstyle

While I have been a Texas Rangers fan most of my life, I have really enjoyed watching them more the past few years than in the past. One might argue that is because they have been pretty freaking hot in the past few years (until they were  one strike away from winning the World Series, that is). However, that is not why my level of enjoyment has increased.

If you have not spent much time watching the Rangers, prior to playoffs, much of their antics may seem odd. You see them behave more like a team of high school kids or little league kids. Such as signalling “ducks on the pond” when one Ranger gets on base. What are you thinking when they signal each other with antlers or claws? How about their manager that runs in place as his players are running the bases, jumps up and down when they get a hit or score a run, who talks to them like a coach is supposed to without fear of retribution? This is why I love watching the Rangers play ball!

In professional sports today, you have a lot of professional teams that have I in the word team. You have superstars that care more about their next contract then they do their team and the game before them. You have players that do not respect or listen to their coaches. You have coaches who are unwilling to coach a superstar for fear of retribution by team owners if the “stud” player gets mad at them. That mentality has even trickled over into college teams and college coaches. Rarely do you see a team truly celebrate the small stuff in the same way they celebrate big victories.

When you see this team together, you see them seem to really enjoy one another. You see them congratulate one another on a hit. You see them chit chatting in the dugout and before games. You see them encourage one another. I have seen them dog pile on home plate after a regular season game just because it was won in a cool fashion. I have seen them stand behind players who are slumping, injured, suffering and be there for one another.

Seeing players play with this kind of enthusiasm and love of the game makes me believe that there is some good still left in the world of professional sports. So much of sports news is filled with professional athletes getting into trouble. Maybe it was because they couldn’t behave themselves on a night out on the town, maybe it was because they thought they were above the law and that the law didn’t apply to them, or sometimes it’s just athletes not being able to keep their mouths shut in front of reporters and/or on social media sites. Whatever it is, there always seems to be some professional athlete in the headlines for doing something wrong.

That being said, the Rangers are not without their token bad boy. Josh Hamilton’s story is one that is well known throughout professional sports. He is one of the “bad boys” who got his act together and has kept it together. The team rallies behind him and does what they can to be supportive of him and the demons that haunt him. He has taken responsibility for the damage his demons have caused in the past and he has even apologized for them. How many super star athletes would have apologized to the team that they wronged many years later?  As he did when the Rangers were playing in the playoffs in Tampa Bay. That not only speaks of him as a player, but as a man. No wonder his team is so willing to adjust traditional celebrations to meet his needs!

Also when talking about team players, no one can forget Michael Young.  Michael Young was displaced, for lack of a better term. When the Rangers were unable to trade him, and he lost his field position, he did not let that affect his play. He went on this season to have one of the best seasons of his career. He stood up and did what a team player should do, and in doing so became one of the most important pieces of the puzzle to the success of the Rangers this past season.

Hopefully the Rangers will have success for a third season, and maybe the third time will be the charm for them. Regardless of the success they have on the field, the standard they set is one that all professional teams should use as a model. When the players are having obvious fun, it makes it a lot more fun to watch. I am hopeful that they will not make too many changes in the off season and that this team will be just as much fun to watch next season as they have been the past few! I strongly encourage everyone to watch them play anytime the opportunity arises!