Baseball, Columnists

On-Deck Circle: Texas Rangers win first title in team’s 63-year history

After a 5-0 win in Game 5 of the World Series on Wednesday night, the Texas Rangers are the 2023 World Series Champions. 

Chloe Patel | Senior Graphic Artist

It was a fitting end to a dominant postseason for the Rangers, who took home their first championship in the club’s 63-year history. 

The team went 13-4 in the postseason, including coming back from a 3-2 deficit against the defending champion Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series and going 10-0 on the road. 

While many thought this series would go to six or seven games and that the Rangers were evenly matched with the National League Pennant-winning Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas dominated the series. 

The heroics of the Rangers’ stars, Adolis García, Marcus Semien and World Series MVP Corey Seager, helped bring the Rangers their first-ever ring.

While García was removed from the roster before Game 4 due to an oblique injury that caused him to miss the championship-clinching win, he would be named the MVP of the postseason if that was an actual award — García’s postseason included a .323 average, eight home runs and 22 RBIs. The 22 RBIs set a record for the most in a single postseason. 

Semien, who played in every one of Texas’ 179 games this year, opened the postseason cold, struggling to produce as he had all year. However, in his 178th and 179th games of the year, he showed why he was worth the seven-year, $175 million contract he signed ahead of the 2022 season.

Seager homered in three out of the five games in the World Series, with six RBIs and six runs himself. He cemented himself as an all-time postseason great, becoming just the fourth player ever to win a World Series MVP twice. He joined Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson — elite company. Seager and Jackson are the only players ever to win the award on two different teams. 

The series was a bitter ending to the Diamondbacks’ Cinderella story that almost did not happen. With just a few games left in the regular season, Seiya Suzuki of the Chicago Cubs misplayed a fly ball, leading to the go-ahead runs for the Atlanta Braves in a pivotal game for the Cubs, who had still been in the wild card race. The Braves ultimately won the game. If the Cubs had won, the Diamondbacks would not have made it to the postseason. 

Arizona faced the gauntlet on the way to the World Series, taking down the Brewers, Dodgers and Phillies, all of whom were favored to beat Arizona. After the Diamondbacks and Rangers split the first two games of the series, it all came crashing down for Arizona, who dropped the next three games, ending their season. 

This surprising run did not come without bright spots. The team’s ace, Zac Gallen, pitched a gem in the series finale, going 6.1 innings, only allowing one run on three hits. Gallen was solid all year, going 17-9 with an ERA just below 3.5. 

Catcher Gabriel Moreno and centerfielder Alek Thomas emerged this postseason, giving D-Back fans optimism for the future, along with star outfielder Corbin Carroll, who is likely to win 2023 NL Rookie of the Year.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, it was a memorable postseason run for veteran Tommy Pham, who played in his first World Series after his tenth season in the league. Pham posted career postseason numbers, breaking his own records for hits, home runs and RBIs in a postseason. 

Pham shared a moment with teammate Jace Peterson in Game 2 of the World Series, asking manager Torey Lovullo to “get my boy an [at-bat],” according to The Athletic. Peterson was also playing in his first World Series, and Pham wanted to give him an experience he would never forget: an at-bat in the World Series. With the Diamondbacks up 7-1 in the top of the ninth, Peterson got his shot, thanks to a selfless act from Pham. 

Pham, who was 4-for-4 at the plate then, could have gone back up to bat, looking to become the third player ever to go 5-for-5 in a World Series game. Instead, he gave his teammate what may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Peterson would go on to ground into a fielder’s choice and then score a run in his lone World Series at-bat. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Pham last year on BU’s campus at Insomnia Cookies. Pham had just played an excellent game for the Red Sox, and I, on my way down the Green Line from Fenway Park, stopped by Insomnia. I asked Pham, who was directly in front of me in line, for a picture, and he was kind enough to take one with me. I still remember his order because of how absurd I thought it was: two oatmeal raisin cookies and a quart of vanilla ice cream. 

While some may look back on this run by Arizona as a fluke, the team’s future is bright and will be back next season in the running for the NL Pennant once again. It remains to be seen whether this young core’s experience will be able to push them over the hump to a championship. 

For Texas, the party has just started. The team, who added pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery this season to complement their hitting stars, will look to build on this season’s success in the coming years. The future seems promising for this team that was obviously built for the postseason.

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