It’s time for another World Series. Time to take attendance.

In the National League—San Francisco Giants? Check. Lineage of the old New York Giants—the franchise of Ott, Mathewson, Hubbell, Mays, Durocher and Irvin, then later in San Francisco: McCovey, Marichal, Cepeda, all those Alous. Here’s your pass—good luck out there.

Now to the American League.

Hey, is this someone’s idea of a joke? Who goes there? The Texas Rangers?

The Texas Rangers?

I’m not laughing. This may as well be the World Serious. No time for gags.

Texas Rangers, please have a seat. Where are the Yankees, tied up in the back room? Were the Red Sox too busy? Heck, give me the Oakland A’s—or even the Angels of Los Angeles/Anaheim/Southern California. Let’s make it an intra-state Series.

What happened to the Baltimore Orioles? I hear Boog Powell is ready to club another three-run home run while Earl Weaver steals a smoke in the runway.

Really, stop fooling around here. The Texas Rangers? Aren’t they the team that got their asses kicked by a bunch of dime beer-consuming fans in Cleveland back in 1974? Manager Billy Martin was running around the field at Municipal Stadium wielding a bat, trying to keep the drunks off his players.

What’s tradition with the Rangers? They came from Washington—first in war, first in peace, last in the American League. Ted Williams was the Rangers’ first manager; he lasted one season before he realized he didn’t look good in cowboy boots.

The Texas Rangers? In the World Series?

Where’s Allen Funt and that hidden camera? OK, you got me good. I wasn’t ready for that one. Nicely played.

How could the Rangers be in the World Series? Their all-time greatest team includes Buddy Bell and Pete O’Brien. Is this the Rangers’ reward for being the first team to schedule Sunday night games? Hey, it was only because it was too damn hot to play during the daytime—let’s not go overboard here.

Didn’t Nolan Ryan just pitch for them a couple of years ago? He went from the mound on a Friday to the president’s office on Monday, I hear.

The Texas Rangers, showing up to the World Series? To actually play in it?

Is this like when they elected Carrie as Prom Queen? Are they going to dump pig’s blood on them just before the first pitch in Game 1?

No teams named after a whole state should be in the World Series—isn’t that a rule? The Minnesota Twins did it three times and the Arizona Diamondbacks once but I hear someone had some photographs.

The Texas Rangers. They didn’t even win a postseason series until this year. Hell, they hadn’t even won a playoff game at home, period, until this month, and that was in the second round. There ought to be a law against such a fast track to the World Series.

With the Giants all the aforementioned names come to mind. With the Rangers, I keep thinking of Billy Sample and Steve Buechele and Jeff Burroughs. I stop and try again and all I can come up with is Joe Lovitto and Jim Sundberg and Dean Palmer.

Yeah, I know they had the Rodriguezes Pudge and Alex, but they both beat it out of town.

This is the franchise that won 94 games in 1977, but it needed four managers to do it—all managing within a week of each other.

Frank Lucchesi was fired on June 21. Eddie Stanky was brought in and he managed one game on June 22 before he got homesick and quit. The Rangers then turned to coach Connie Ryan and he managed six games. Finally, Billy Hunter took over a week after Lucchesi’s last game and guided the Rangers for the final 93 games. The name plates were made from dry erase board.

Two of the Rangers’ first three managers were Ted Williams and Billy Martin. Whitey Herzog was in between. Three big names, and that was the problem—they were bigger names than their players.

Until the Rangers won the ALCS the other night, the proudest night in franchise history was the night Nolan Ryan beat the stuffing out of young whippersnapper Robin Ventura on the pitching mound, when Ventura charged Ryan after being hit in the back with one of Nolan’s fastballs.

Someone should have told Robin that he got lucky with a medium-speed fastball in the back; if Nolan wanted to, he could have killed him, right there in the batter’s box.

So it’s not a joke then? The Texas Rangers are really here to play in the World Series?

Ohhh…I get it. This year’s Series is going to bleed into November and they needed a warm weather state.

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