Deep in the heart of Texas, the Rangers are closer to a World Series title than ever before. The Rangers, who are managed by former Minnesota Twin Ron Washington, are back in the World Series for the second consecutive year. They are no one-year wonder.
Clearly they have proven themselves all year in a season when Boston, New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia were the prohibitive favorites. The New York Yankees back in 1992-93 were the last to have won consecutive American League Championships.
Last year, the San Francisco Giants beat Texas four games to one in the Fall Classic. But the Rangers are back. Two years ago they went through franchise bankruptcy and were saved when they were bought by Hall of Fame legend Nolan Ryan. Ryan put a group together that has saved baseball in the heart of Texas, and just like that it’s turned into a money-making machine.
Texas took a three-games-to-two lead after winning game five Monday night 4-2 and are one victory awaay from the first World Series Championship in Texas. In 2005 the Chicago White Sox swept the Houston Astros 4-zip, so the heart of Texas is beating fast.
Texas is not only winning, they are also generating lots of money now. They have a new, rich $3 billion television contract and are drawing nearly three million fans a year.
St. Louis has won 11 World Series Championships, and this is their 16th appearance in the World Series. The Cardinals are down but not out, as Twins fans know all too well. Back in 1987 and ’91, the Twins rallied after trailing 3-2 to both St. Louis and Atlanta to win games six and seven at home in the Dome to win the World Series.
The last two games six and seven (if necessary) of the World Series are in St. Louis. The Cardinals are the first Wild Card team to hold the home-field advantage in the World Series. Major League Baseball decided years ago that the league that wins the All-Star game will have home-field advantage.
However, the Rangers, after losing game one and game three, have won the last two games 4-0 and 4-2 after being blown out 16-7 in game three when Albert Pujols tied a World Series record with three home runs going 5-6 with six RBIs.
Ponder this: Vikings 1-6
The Vikings, if nothing else in 2011, have been consistent. They have from week one given up big leads in the first half of games and floundered in the second half to lose six of their first seven games.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb has been benched after failing to move the passing game, replaced by rookie Christian Ponder. Ponder, drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft with the 12th overall pick, started his first game Sunday and sparked the Vikings offense in a 33-27 loss to the unbeaten 7-0 Green Bay Packers.
Ponder did some good things: He threw two touchdown passes with two interceptions for 219 yards. His completion percentage was not good, just 13-32, but he did a better job of moving the chains on third down.
The Vikings were 9-16 on third down against the Packers after converting just 36 percent in the previous six starts with McNabb. The Vikings led 7-0, 14-7 and 17-13 at halftime only to allow the Packers to dominate the third quarter 20-0 and put the game out of reach.
Ponder contributed to the Packers’ comeback with two critical interceptions in the third quarter that allowed the Packers to sustain momentum and get two field goals off interceptions by Charles Woodson. Ponder was aided by a season-best rushing performance by Adrian Peterson.
Peterson ran for 175 yards and a touchdown. However, the Vikings were outscored 20-10 in the second half. It’s the seventh straight game the Vikings have been outscored in the second half.
Over the season, opponents have outscored the Vikings 120-39 in the second half. Despite the improved performance against the Packers, it’s another loss.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was again sensational. He completed 24-30 for 335 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions. Rodgers since 2008 has thrown 66 touchdowns with just one interception in the red zone, which is inside the opponents’ 20 yard line.
The Packers could have been had Sunday, but the Vikings allowed them to win their 13th straight game.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2), and you can follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr.
Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.