Second World Series loss worse than the first

Autumn Keefer, News Editor

Tears forming at the corners of my eyes, a Kleenex in hand, and the shouting of family members surrounding me were enough to express the feelings I was experiencing. The Rangers had lost the World Series for the second year in a row. With a final score of 6-2 in the seventh game, the Rangers were not able to close out the series they led 3 games to 2. Down 2-1, the Rangers came back and won 2 games in a row, only to be shut down by the Cardinals in St. Louis in games 6 and 7.

After being badly beaten in Game 3 by the Cardinals 16-7, the Rangers were able to fully recover from the loss to win two more straight at home to take the Series to Busch Stadium.  The favorite to win the World Series according to almost every single ESPN story, news website, and newspaper, the Rangers did not play as expected. They had the bullpen, the starters, and the hitters that should have come forward when they needed to be. The jersey numbers spelled out the recipe for a victory but it was never properly followed.

Along the way, there were missed calls, miscommunications, and missed opportunities. One of the most talked about plays of the Series was a play at first where Mike Napoli was pulled off of the first base bag by a bad throw by Elvis Andrus and still managed to tag the runner a full step before getting to the base. The umpire called him safe and this led to a four run inning that could have probably been held to only one run. The umpire, Jerry Layne, behind the plate during Game 7 had a controversial position as well. Over the course of the season, the Cardinals were 9-1 with him behind the plate while the Rangers were to 1-7 with the loss.

Despite many records being set by both sides, the most surprising one is the Rangers walking a record 41 batters in a World Series. This accounted for a good number of the runs the Cardinals scored. The umpire wasn’t much help either as he missed quite a few key calls as well. One of the worst was the Game 7 bases-loaded ball four call to Yadier Molina in the fifth. The pitch was clearly a strike as shown by the official pitch tracker on the television screen.  The call walked in a run, followed later by another one that put the Rangers down by 2 more.

It wasn’t just wrong-doing by the Cardinals and the umpires, it was also dumb mistakes like two errors committed by Michael Young in Game 6 or Ian Kinsler getting picked off after safely reaching first base in the first inning of Game 7. How about the Nelson Cruz home run that was robbed by the Cardinals left fielder, Matt Holiday, that would have put the Rangers within two? Too many missed opportunities and not enough lucky breaks.

All of these controversial calls also bring up a very important point about missed calls. The MLB (Major League Baseball Association) doesn’t have official review for any play that the manager wants to challenge. Football coaches in the NFL get two challenges per game and if they win they are awarded another. Tennis, basketball, field hockey, rugby, cricket, rodeo, horse racing, and motor sports all have it for use during a competition.  Baseball only uses instant replay to determine if a ball is fair or foul or to determine if the ball was a home run or not. If they had instant replay then the officials would have been able to make those calls in the third, sixth, or even seventh games, possibly changing the overall outcome of the game and the series. The managers could also challenge strike three calls, such as the “ball four” call to Yadier Molina in Game 7. Any one of these calls could have been overturned thanks to instant replay that quite possibly could have turned the Series in the Rangers favor.

What can be described as tragic is the fact that the Rangers had the title in their hands two different times when they had two outs and two strikes on David Freese, in both the bottom of the ninth and eleventh innings of Game 6. Freese responded in these situations with a game tying 2-run triple and then a walk-off solo homerun to win it. When this happened, I cried. All season the Rangers worked hard for this and then to sit back and watch them lose after having it within their grasp makes me tear up a little.

Despite the loss, the Rangers had a great run, really nothing to hang their heads about. They tried their best despite all of the bad calls, missed opportunities and unlucky breaks. Maybe next year, the new Rangers rally symbols will bring more luck for them. Until then, the Rangers shirts will still be worn, the car flags left on cars, and the Ranger’s spirit will always be in the Texas atmosphere. Until then, there’s always next year.