The Highs, Lows Of Texas Sports Teams
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Texas sports fans - wait, aren't all Texans sports fans? Anyway, Texas sports fans are whipsawed this week between the thrill of victory...
(Soundbite of MLB broadcast)
Unidentified Man #1: ...breaking ball, strike three called. The Rangers are going to the World Series.
BLOCK: ...and the bone-crunching agony of defeat.
(Soundbite of NFL broadcast)
Unidentified Man #2: Romo is hurt. Michael Boley got a clean shot on Romo, and he is down.
BLOCK: Tonight, the Texas Rangers play in their first World Series ever. But for the Dallas Cowboys, it's nothing but bad news. On Monday, quarterback Tony Romo was hit hard and broke his left collarbone. He'll be out for most of the season. The Cowboys are tanking. They're one and five so far.
Well, to talk about the stunning reversals of fortune with these two teams, we're joined by columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News.
And, Jean-Jacques, it wasn't supposed to be this way, right?
Mr. JEAN-JACQUES TAYLOR (Sports Columnist, The Dallas Morning News): No. This was supposed to be a good year for the Rangers, but I don't know anybody who went to Vegas and put money on them getting to the World Series. And the Cowboys, we thought, were going to be Super Bowl contenders.
BLOCK: Well, let's start with the bad news there with the Cowboys, so we can always end on an uplifting note with the Rangers. What happened to the Cowboys?
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, I think that's one of those $64,000 questions. All I know, they have a different problem every week, but I think the one central thing is that they struggled during training camp, and everybody saw it. And they kind of pooh-poohed. They just said, it's just training camp. We'll get better. But the bottom line is they never did get better.
BLOCK: The kicker here is the Super Bowl is going to be played in Dallas, in that fancy new - what - $1.2 billion stadium. It will not be played, obviously, by the Dallas Cowboys.
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, I think it was Jerry Jones' pipe dream. He's the Cowboys owner and general manager, and so he put a team together that he thought was worthy of a Super Bowl. And when you look at it on paper, they are. But as we all know, there are no paper champions. And now, it's going to be a long cold winter, unless, of course, the Rangers win the World Series, and then maybe there'll be some good times all the while.
BLOCK: Well, there you go. That's the Cinderella story, right, with these Texas Rangers that seem to come out of nowhere, and here they are in the World Series for the first time.
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, really, the thing that separates the Rangers from the Cowboys is the Cowboys are a mentally weak team. They've had some performances where they just kind of laid down. The Rangers are a resilient team. Every time you think that they're about to get knocked out, they gather themselves. They fight back. You know, that's one of the reasons that they're in the World Series now.
BLOCK: And this was a team, the Texas Rangers, who started the season in financial chaos, right? The team was in bankruptcy.
Mr. TAYLOR: Well, not only that, they're in bankruptcy. Their manager admitted failing a drug test for cocaine.
BLOCK: This is Ron Washington.
Mr. TAYLOR: They got a whole lot of problems. They had an off-season with a whole lot of indecision. There was some talk about firing the manager last year. So this is a team that's really bonded and come together as a unit and a group. It's clear that they play for one another, and they fight and scrap every game. And it doesn't matter whether they're winning or losing. They lost that game five to the Yankees, 6-1. And in the last inning with two outs in the ninth inning, Mariano Rivera, the best closer in the game, is pitching, and the ninth batter had a nine-pitch at bat. That's an indication of a guy and a team that even though they lost and didn't play well was fighting till the end.
BLOCK: Well, Jean-Jacques, are most people, yeah, in Texas writing to you about how lousy the Cowboys are or how great the Rangers are? Where are the sentiments this week?
Mr. TAYLOR: Now, you would think with the Rangers being in their first World Series, that my email inbox will be filled with letters and questions about the Rangers. Nope.
Mr. TAYLOR: I've gotten about two or three emails about the Rangers this week and about 200 emails about the Cowboys.
(Soundbite of laughter)
BLOCK: What does that say?
Mr. TAYLOR: Everybody wants to know what's wrong with Jerry Jones, why he won't hire a real football guy. When are they going to fire Wade Phillips, the head coach? And, you know, I can't - I don't - I really don't have enough time to answer all these emails.
BLOCK: I guess not. Well, what does that say, do you think, just a bunch of complainers?
Mr. TAYLOR: No. I think there's a passion for the Cowboys that's rooted in 50 years. The team has been around 50 years. They've been to eight Super Bowls. There's a generational love for the Cowboys, you know, fathers, sons, grandfathers. You know, the Rangers are just here, this year's team. They never even won a playoff season until this year.
BLOCK: Well, Jean-Jacques Taylor, enjoy game one tonight.
Mr. TAYLOR: Hey, don't worry about it. I have a good time watching it.
BLOCK: I bet. Thanks for talking with us.
Mr. TAYLOR: Hey, no problem. Thanks a lot.
BLOCK: Jean-Jacques Taylor is a sports columnist with The Dallas Morning News.