Texas Rangers enjoying escape from reality

As America’s pastime makes its annual spring return, yet another seasonal rite is upon us: commercials for losing teams seeking to fill seats at ballparks. First, we had the 79-83 Minnesota Twins trotting out obscure hurler Pat Neshek (who’s unlikely to ever be mistaken for the real “Ek,” Hall of Famer pitcher Dennis Eckersley). Now we have the Texas Rangers (75-87 last year, good for last place in the American League West), which has created a series of spots (and an Aaron Copland-style Western soundtrack) that attempt to conjure up a Rangers greatness that never was—and never will be any time soon. “There’s no crying in baseball,” each of the spots begin. True enough. There are also no pennants or world championships in Texas. And there won’t be in ’08, either. Fantasy baseball note: Avoid Hank Blalock in the early rounds; that shoulder’s still a question mark. Go Yanks! (Will the Rangers also hold an Eliot Spitzer Night? Couldn’t hurt!)

—Posted by David Gianatasio