Ratto: Texas History Makes Giants' Yankee-Esque

October 26, 2010, 1:49 am
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SAN FRANCISCO -- As those who roam The Thing On King regularly, the Giants pound you into a thin gray paste with their history in this town. A steady, pulsing beat of Hey, look, its Cap Peterson, and now throwing out the first pitch, the ghost of Herman Franks. The players they havent hauled out for public viewings, you will see soon enough.

The Texas Rangers, on the other hand, have the history befitting the second incarnation of the Washington Senators -- the fourth-worst team in the history of baseball.

OK, the fourth-worst history of the still extant teams in the history of baseball. Were not going to include the Wilmington Quicksteps, Worcester Ruby Legs, Elizabeth Resolutes or Fort Wayne Kekiongas.

But the point is, the Rangers bring to this World Series a far more modest pedigree than the Giants -- Fifty Years, Forty-Seven Percent make a nice T-shirt -- and the Giants have marketed around the theory that they have suffered more than any team other than maybe the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians.

Please. They havent smelled anything close to what the Rangers have cooked all these years.

The Rangers have been owned by:

- Elwood Quesada, whose claim to baseball fame was that he was an FAA administrator who couldnt figure out why the minor league players had to be paid;

- James Johnson, who with Jim Lemon bought out the investors in 1965 and whose reward was dying in 1967;

- Bob Short, who owned and moved the Lakers to Los Angeles and still went bankrupt;

- Eddie Chiles, an oil man who wanted statistical projections from his managers and players on how they would do each year. And that was one of his saner moments.

- George W. Bush. The George W. Bush. People pretty much liked him as an owner, and you may finish that sentence any way you like;

- Tom Hicks, who had enough money to pay Alex Rodriguez and buy the Dallas Stars, Liverpool Football Club and Mesquite Championship Rodeo, and went monumentally bankrupt;

- And Nolan Ryan, whose principal achievements as owner include sticking with manager Ron Washington, approving the trade for Cliff Lee, and being Nolan Ryan rather than Tom Hicks.

Well, one out of seven aint bad.

Theyve had good managers -- Billy Martin and Whitey Herzog and Don Zimmer. Theyve had good players too numerous to list, really. But by and large, they have been an afterthought of an afterthought, known mostly for playing their home games in a place whose average temperatures are actually closer to those of Hell than any other franchise.

Of course, the good thing about bad history is that as soon as you get a chance to make some, it will be the lasting impression for everyone else. You might have to work a little harder to find someone to throw out the first pitch, true, but the Rangers are playing more of the casinos money than the Giants are.

They have no good memories to overcome, except that one postseason win in Game 1 of the 1996 AL Division Series -- Giants hyperlink! The winning pitcher was John Burkett -- and the nine losses all tend to blur together, especially since theyve scored two runs in the last six games.

In short, the Rangers are OTO -- on their own, and the absence of any historical burden or template to overcome can only help, even if a eensy teensy bit. It sure beats having to apologize for being the Fort Wayne Kekiongas.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.