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ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 5: Manager Bruce Bochy #15 of the Texas Rangers watches action against the Houston Astros during the second inning at Globe Life Field on September 5, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Now that the football dreadnought has pulled fully into view—the games are starting and there are only a couple of holdouts left now that Nick Bosa got his steamer trunk delivered—all the other things are about to be crowded out of sight, as the calendar intends. This is the one bit of not-entirely-awful news for the Texas Rangers, who have chosen a particularly good bad time to become, well, the Texas Rangers.

On the one hand, after being thrice bludgeoned at home by their potential archrivals from Houston by an aggregate of 39-10, they are now three games behind in a division they have led all year. In a sport that once was not dependent on the obnoxious how-tough-was-your-schedule form of analysis but now very clearly is, they have lost series to not only the playoff-slotted Astros but the Twins twice, the Diamondbacks and Brewers, and beaten only the Christ-awful Mets. The brilliant offseason move of hiring Bruce Bochy as manager and the splashy midseason acquisitions of Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery have faded—no, plummeted. Bochy is like every manager in that he cannot help a pitching staff that cannot help itself, the bullpen is horrifyingly bad (better than only four last-place teams), and the once-feared top-to-bottom lineup has been reduced to Corey Seager and Mitch Garver.

In short, they have chosen a poor time to go bad because the Astros have not caught fire but the Mariners have, and there are only 20-some-odd games left, but a great time to go bad because football's here and they play in Texas, where anything that isn't football is communism with a side of plague.

Not that there's any real reason to necessarily feel sorry over the possibility of not having the Texas Rangers in October. With 40 percent of the membership now eligible for a playoff berth, teams 13–30 have no whingy if-only-this-had-happened complaints for not making it. I mean, Miami is in playoff position today; nobody else gets to make a single noise about injuries or bad luck. That window is closed, Pookie. You failed, and your sad story is just white noise in a world full of it.

And truthfully, the only real hook for wanting the Rangers to make the playoffs might be the tepid Hall-of-Fame manager-vs.-manager battle that could arise between Bochy and Dusty Baker, but if you think watching the game is a bit light on effervescence, watching two old guys in odd-fitting costumes trying to outthink each other is chess in a Jell-O filled tomb. In short, the Rangers finally falling out of a playoff spot they have had since Opening Day does not qualify as epic tragedy.

Besides, things might get better now that Oakland, baseball's Doctor Feelgood with a full satchel of mother’s little helpers, is next on the Rangers' docket. Being three back with 23 to play is possible to overcome especially when there are two available wild card berths after Tampa Bay’s.

Still, the arrival of football overshadows all other things unless you are of a mind to ignore it except as a betting proposition. The Texas Rangers just got spaghettified by the other team in the state, and the only things on anyone's mind are Jerry Jones defending the Trey Lance trade, Texas at Alabama, and the billion-degree weather that is the state's new eight-month summer. In short, a third-string quarterback who was overdrafted by another team, an early September college game, and Hell. And, weirdly, given the relative long-term impact, in exactly that order.

Thus, while the Rangers could have done themselves some good by not losing 13-6, 14-1, and 12-3 in successive home games, nobody who isn't actively seeking them out is going to notice. So commiserations are in order for going bad, and congratulations are in order for going bad in secret. Sounds like a hell of a weird parade.

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