With a Title Run For the Ages, the Texas Rangers Prove They’re the Toughest Team Ever — How Seager, Semien & Bochy Ended a 63-Year Drought By Refusing to Give In
There Is Going to be a World Series Championship Parade in ArlingtonBY Courtney Dabney and Chris Baldwin // 11.02.23
Adolis Garcia and Corey Seager marveled over the World Series trophy that is finally the Texas Rangers' after 63 years. (@rangers)
Bruce Bochy proved he's one of the greatest managers of all time, winning a title (his fourth) with the Texas Rangers. (@rangers)
Texas Rangers slugger Adolis Garcia can change games with one swing. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Texas Rangers fans have certainly enjoyed their teams game at Minute Maid Park this postseason. Astros fans? Not so much. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Aroldis Chapman coming out of the bullpen will have a huge impact on this Astros-Rangers ALCS one way or the other. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Adolis Garcia and Marcus Semien are difference makers for the Rangers. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado and Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien don't exactly get along. Semien once memorably told Maldonado to hush. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
The Texas Rangers want to burst the Houston Astros' bubble. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Nathaniel Lowe can be a critical bat for the Texas Rangers. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Josh Jung brings major power for the Texas Rangers. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
These Texas Rangers believe they can beat anyone after their start to these playoffs. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Marcus Semien finds Corey Seager first, the Texas Rangers’ $500 million middle infield, the massive free agent outlays that proved billionaire owner Ray Davis is in it to win it, hugging with the pure joy of little kids. This is what happens when the most resilient team ever, a true ride or die squad if there ever was one, wins the World Series with one of the most emphatic and improbable playoff runs ever.
“I’m just honored to ride with you,” Bruce Bochy, the 68-year-old baseball lifer of a manager who made it all possible, tells his team in the soon-to-be-champagne-and-beer soaked visitors clubhouse at Chase Field. “. . . “You guys just made history.”
Yes, the Texas Rangers are finally world champions after 63 years of existence. Just two years after losing 102 games — and following that by losing 94 more games last season. Twelve years after coming just one strike away (twice) from becoming the first Texas team to ever win the World Series in 2011.
For many Rangers fans, this new championship feeling is still sinking in.
Those fans will have until Friday to adjust. That’s when the World Series championship parade will be held in Arlington’s Entertainment District.
The Rangers punch their parade future with a 5-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the World Series that sees them no hit for the first six innings and dominant in the last three (how 2023 Rangers is that?) With that, Seager, Semien, Nathan Eovaldi, Adolis Garcia and Co. finish one of the great postseason runs of all time, a 13-4 march that includes a perfect 11-0 mark on the road. That’s a record, one no one ever expected to be set.
Teams that have to play this many road games in October, like this fifth seed in the playoffs, just don’t win championships. Except for these never-give-in, never-give-up Texas Rangers.
“We just got a group of winners,” Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe says on Fox in the moment after the win. “. . . We’ve got a special group.”
It is a group that is really challenged in only one of its four playoff series — that epic seven game American League Championship Series showdown with the defending champion Houston Astros that proves to be the real World Series. Bochy’s team goes 9-1 against the other three teams it topples on the way to the franchise’s historic first crown.
“You know this fan base waited 63 years to pick up that trophy,” Davis says while accepting the trophy live on national TV. “I can’t tell you what that means.”
The Texas Rangers have covered a lot of ground beginning in 1961 as the Washington Senators in Washington D.C. The team arrived in Arlington and debuted as The Texas Rangers in 1972. Now, for the first time in franchise history, they are the champions of the world.
The Rangers started playing their games at the old Arlington (or Turnpike) Stadium — a builder basic, retrofitted minor league ballpark. One that no self-respecting college team would choose to play in. One without even a hint of shade.
Of course, now these world champion Rangers play their games in the $1.2 billion modern palace that is Globe Life Field ― with its hidden speakeasy, luxury box amenities galore and a retractable roof with air conditioning.
“The wait is over,” Rangers general manager Chris Young tells the Fox cameras and all the Rangers fans watching back home in the Metroplex.
Young takes that grand championship stage, hastily erected in the middle of the Diamondbacks’ field, wearing jeans. Which is about the most perfect Texas thing ever.
Young is both the tallest general manager in baseball history (the former Princeton baseball and basketball star stands 6-foot-10) and arguably the most down to earth one ever. A hometown kid born and raised in Dallas, the 44-year-old wunderkind baseball executive’s fingerprints are all over his championship team. One of the more unlikely champions baseball has ever seen.
Few thought the Rangers would do anything this postseason. Stumbling into the playoffs, losing the division to the hated Astros on the final day of the regular season, Bruce Bochy’s team was left for dead. The Rangers even found themselves criticized for daring to celebrate making the playoffs the night before that 1-0 loss in the regular season finale. Everyone thought Semien, Seager and Garcia would be quick outs in October.
Instead, the Rangers fought their way through as a wild card, toppling the 99 win Tampa Bay Rays and the 101 win Baltimore Orioles without losing a single game before knocking out the two-time World Series champion Astros (2017 and 2022) in that unforgettable all-Texas throwdown.
Who could have ever imagined this?
The Rangers’ Winding Road
Rangers fans have had some incredible players to root for over the past 60-plus years ― Jim Sundberg, Ruben Sierra, Nolan Ryan, Julio Franco, Josh Hamilton, Ivan Rodriguez, Andre Beltre, Juan Gonzalez, Ian Kinsler, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Brown. . . just to name a few. They witnessed a lot of history in Arlington too. From that unforgettable scene when Robin Ventura made the unfortunate decision to charge the very hill Nolan Ryan happened to standing on to the Hamilton home run shows and the runs to the 2010 and 2011 World Series.
But nobody thought this year’s Rangers were anything to worry about heading into the playoffs. The bullpen that hurt the Rangers so many times during their 90-win regular season got tagged as the likely Achilles’ heel. Instead, the bullpen stood tall almost all playoffs. Even Aroldis Chapman, the man with the 100 MPH fastballs and the penchant for giving up killer walks.
Coming into the World Series, nobody was a bigger hero than ALCS MVP Adolis Garcia. He absolutely destroyed Astros’ pitching in the last three games of that series. But an oblique injury would end Garcia’s World Series after just three games. The in-and-out Max Scherzer would also be declared done after Game 3.
Even holding a 2-1 series lead, it seemed like the Rangers could be in trouble. How would they hit without the fearless Garcia in the middle of the lineup?
In Game 4, everyone found out. They’d hit very well. Seager, Semien and catcher Jonah Heim all smashed home runs. Journeyman Travis Jankowski stepped right into Garcia’s right-field position and added two RBI of his own in a 11-7 Rangers runaway.
That set the stage for Game 5, clinch night. No team had ever won a World Series game after being no hit through six innings. The Rangers have now.
Corey Seager walks away from the party with his second World Series MVP Award (winning his first as a Dodger in 2020), matching the immortal Reggie Jackson, who now works for Astros owner Jim Crane, as the only position player to ever win two. Bochy now has four World Series titles, becoming just the sixth manager in baseball’s long history to win that many. Talk about making the most of your un-retirement.
“It truly is incredible,” Seager says in his MVP press conference, broadcast on the MLB Network. “But it’s not just me, man. What this team did and how we competed and all the guys in there rallying. . .
“We don’t really have one leader. That whole clubhouse is the leadership.”
The Rangers’ long wait is finally over. But the partying is just beginning. And absolutely no one can criticize these Rangers for that now.