Ownership battles can be a real drag. I feel (well, kinda) for Dodgers fans who have had to deal with the Guiding Light-esque storyline of the McCourt’s divorce and its’ effect on the team morale for the past few years. Alas, there was a happy Magic Johnson-related ending for Dodgers fans. But they’ve still got nothing on the fairy tale that is the Texas Rangers ownership falling into the punch-happy hands of Nolan Ryan.
The Tom Hicks days were grim. An owner doesn’t have to be likeable but it usually helps when he’s not the human amalgamation of Vicki from Small Wonder and Bernie Madoff. Nothing says “take me out to the ballgame” quite like this Tom Hicks quote:
“You don’t even have to win a championship every year to draw the fans. You just have to show you’re really trying.”
That was Tom Hicks motto: “We’re trying. Kinda.” Then he sank all his money into risky Subway franchises and scratch off lotto tickets and next thing you know, the Rangers are up for sale. And Nolan Ryan is the buyer.
Holy shit, you’re kidding right? Nolan Ryan of Robin Ventura headlock punching fame? Nolan Ryan, the guy who made Whataburger commercials in which he sounds despondent to borderline suicidal about the fact that some cities don’t have a Whataburger? Nolan Ryan, the Advil commercial guy who speaks in a South Texas drawl so thick you could repaint the ballpark with it?
Yeah, that Nolan Ryan. And while most Rangers fans were ecstatic to have Nolan guiding the ship, we all thought that there was no way they were going to let Nolan be Nolan. Surely. The primary charm of Nolan is that he seems to either have 0% or 100% self-awarness with no middle ground. In short, Nolan doesn’t give what the kids today call “a fuck.”
He sits in his owners seats at nearly every home game, even on the hottest August days. His facial expression is one that simultaneously conveys deep baseball contemplation and quite possibly a raging case of heartburn. Perhaps caused by a Boomstick, made with 100% Nolan Ryan beef franks, no less.
But you know when I really knew that Nolan “got it”, so to speak? When he had embraced his meme-ness fully? Year ago, Nolan was somehow roped into being the US ambassador for snow monkeys, a story you can hear Nolan himself tell in surreal detail.
Taking a look at the Rangers promotional giveaway schedule for this season, you’ve got your bat giveaway, your Josh Hamilton beach towel giveaway (no jokes, too soon) and your team yearbook giveaways. But on July 1st, the Rangers bring you the “Chicken Express Nolan Ryan Snow Monkey Night.”
And that is really all I can ask of my team’s ownership. Good offseason moves, fostering a sense of true team camaraderie and occasionally giving away stuffed Nolan Ryan snow monkeys. Thank you, Rangers.
Let’s get the “pointing out the painfully obvious” portion of this whole thing out of the way first. The Kardashians may very well be the seldom-awknowledged Eighth Seal that foretells the impending apocalypse. And yes, I totally watch their shows. I am part of the problem, not part of the solution. While it’s a distinction similar to being called The Coolest Guy at a Creed Meet and Greet, Khloe Kardashian seems to be the most palatable of the klan. And, please forgive me for typing these words, Lamar Odom comes off as a genuinely likable guy on the show. So why do I, like all Mavs fans, wish only a lifetime of dysentery on long haul international flights upon him?
Because he sold his soul for cheap, tacky reality TV show fame. He took a reasonably respectable 12 year career in the NBA, wrapped it in a dirty sock and flung it into the murkiest river he could find. I know it’s nearly impossible to believe this but this is the same guy who scored 30 points and had 12 rebounds in his NBA debut game. Dude is, or was, skilled. While he’s never made the All-Star team, his name is floated around every season. He might even have a point when he says that he was snubbed in 2011. Hey, at least he became the first Laker to win the Sixth Man of the Year award that year, right?
Then came reality TV. No, he didn’t do the kind of reality TV where you eat bugs or sleep on a really uncomfortable mattress in a haunted house. He did the worst kind. He did the kind where everyone in the world sees you laying in bed, unwrapping and eating an endless stream of mini Baby Ruths while your fameball wife talks to you in her baby voice. Understandably, there’s been a Kardashian backlash as of late. Apparently, people aren’t as into an unbridled celebration of all things vapid and foundation-caked as they used to be. Or they ran out of “big ass” jokes. So when it was announced that Odom was coming to Dallas, he was already a dead man walking.
And it wasn’t just the TV show stuff. Mavs fans needn’t have a long memory to recall that Odom was ejected from Game 4 of the Mavs-Lakers playoff series for a flagrant foul on the beloved Dirk Nowitzki. It got overshadowed by the much more flagrant-y foul Andrew Bynum committed on JJ Barea a few minutes later. But Mavs fans remember that shit. While Bynum’s foul was inexcusable, it was committed in the waning moments of the Lakers, the LA Fucking Lakers, getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks. To add insult to injury, Barea was lighting up the Lakers defense all while being barely tall enough to ride a roller coaster at Six Flags. But Odom’s foul was just so Odom-esque. It was a big, dumb, slow, whiney, pointless flagrant foul.
So to hear Lamar Odom say that it hurts when he’s boo’ed on his home court is frankly laughable. You had the deck stacked against you, sure. But you did the stacking. You allowed yourself to become a laughing stock on television each week. You allowed that show to prove that you didn’t train during the lockout. The only option you had was to come to town and prove to the Lakers that they never should have let you go, just like teenage girl on a revenge diet after a break up. And you did the furthest thing from that. You whine constantly. You put up one point, one rebound and one assist against your former team. Which is actually better than your stats from Sunday’s game against Houston where you managed to pick up two fouls on your way to a breathtaking two rebounds and zero points. You’ve shown nothing but apathy bordering on contempt for your new team. You cry like a baby because you miss your LA buddies. And you’re “confused and hurt” about why you’re getting boo’ed on your own court?
According to some, Kobe misses your scent (no really, you have a scent) and is trying to get the band back together. I pray for your sake and the collective sake of all Dallas Mavs fans that this comes true. Until then, just close your eyes and dream of all the candy beans you’ll be eating back on the West Coast with your besties.