Search “2016 sucked” on Google, and you get 104 million results, somewhere among the back half of which I suppose there might be an entry about the Rangers leading the American League this past year in wins, only to get swept out of the first round of the tournament that they played six months of great baseball to earn the top seed in.
Whether 2015 was worse than 2016 probably depends on your worldview of the comparative sting of three-and-done vs. going up 2–0 in a best-of-five and then spitting it up.
Were either of those years worse than the 2014 season that treated us to 95 losses, the most here in 29 years?
(Maybe more painful. But not worse.)
How about 2012 and 2013, when Texas earned the right to play beyond 162, but lasted only 27 outs?
Were any of them worse than 2011, when Texas was one strike away, twice, from the title that has eluded the organization to date?
Can the difference between the quintessentially best moment in 45 years of Rangers baseball and the worst be the result of a single pitch?
Did 2010 suck, since Texas lost the World Series? In the moment, sure. But that was a team that had yet to claim so much as a playoff series winning a pennant. Come on.
Here’s the thing.
Yes, 2016 sucked and, in their own way, so did 2010 and 2011 and 2012 and 2013 and 2014 and 2015.
But would you rather have been the Astros, whose run of irrelevant awfulness in the first five of those seven years was followed by two seasons in which they would have won the division if they could have figured out how to win games against Texas?
The Angels, who over those same seven years reached the playoffs once (in the 2014 season in which the Rangers disappeared) and otherwise averaged finishing 11 games out in the division, despite having the best player in baseball for all but one of those seasons?
The Mariners, who incredibly haven’t appeared in a playoff game in King Felix’s 12 years?
Would you rather be the 1972 Rangers or 1973 Rangers or 1974 Rangers or 1975 Rangers or 1976 Rangers or 1977 Rangers or 1978 Rangers or 1979 Rangers or 1980 Rangers or 1981 Rangers or 1982 Rangers or 1983 Rangers or 1984 Rangers or 1985 Rangers or 1986 Rangers or 1987 Rangers or 1988 Rangers or 1989 Rangers or 1990 Rangers or 1991 Rangers or 1992 Rangers or 1993 Rangers or 1994 Rangers or 1995 Rangers or 1997 Rangers or 2000 Rangers or 2001 Rangers (that finished last in the West with Alex Rodriguez) or 2002 Rangers (that finished last in the West with Alex Rodriguez) or 2003 Rangers (that finished last in the West with Alex Rodriguez) or 2004 Rangers or 2005 Rangers or 2006 Rangers or 2007 Rangers or 2008 Rangers or 2009 Rangers?
Really, would you rather be the 1996 or 1998 or 1999 Rangers, who broke out of a generation of ineptitude but basically showed the baseball world, after the first of 10 games against the Yankees those three Octobers, that they pretty much didn’t belong?
Rangers baseball 2010–2016 has been awesome.
Even though it hurt us in all kinds of different ways.
The point, I guess, is that sports almost always leads to disappointment. Sometimes it’s a 24th straight year missing the playoffs. Sometimes it’s 95 losses. Sometimes it’s three straight last-place finishes despite suiting up the best player in baseball.
Sometimes it’s one strike short.
It’s almost always painful, at some level.
But sometimes it’s not, even if that specific sometime hasn’t happened yet, at least not here.
That’s the one resolution that doesn’t suck. It’s elusive, often painfully so, and that’s a big part of why it’s the best.
This franchise has played 162+ six years out of seven. That’s awesome. But, as we all know too well, it’s incomplete.
A new resolution for this year.