Look, losing sucks. No one wants to lose, and in 2021 it’s been a rough road for the Texas Rangers. Therefore, with the struggles, you’d expect a miserable clubhouse, right? Not so fast.
“I mean, we have a very young, very young team, and everybody’s in a very similar boat,” Dane Dunning said. “Everybody comes in every day with a good attitude, and no one’s ever down. Everyone’s like a glass half full type of person that brings good positive energy.” It’s an excellent point by Dane Dunning. There’s little big-league experience among the 2021 Texas Rangers; therefore, each day is an aspect that most haven’t been before (trade deadline, filled road stadiums, facing MLB Superstars down the stretch, etc.). It’s an overwhelming task, but the positivity is what is keeping the clubhouse going.
Lack of Major League experience is also a point brought up by Rangers’ reliever Josh Sborz. “Most of us are just happy we’re playing one,” Sborz said. “It’s an honor, but we’re trying to learn that way next year the things we messed up on this year we can learn from. A lot of guys have been through it from the start of the year where we were 19-19 and felt like we put a good two months in, and then we just kind of hit a wall.” It’s hard to decipher if the chemistry improved or remained the same from back in April (I had to watch the clubhouse from above), but watching batting practice and fielding practice, even the new guys, they all fit in.
In speaking to Jonah Heim, he attributes the one-day-at-a-time mentality that’s kept the ball club going. “I think everybody looks to the next day. If we have a bad game, [then] move on to tomorrow and go from there.” It’s not just the veterans in the clubhouse either; it’s the coaching staff and Chris Woodward that keeps these guys on track. “I mean, we play 162 games, so if you’re worried about one game, then you’re in a loss,” Heim said. It’s a similar approach that veterans like Brock Holt and Charlie Culberson mentioned daily on the outside. Now it feels it’s passed down to the rookies and younger players.
It’s also an aspect the Rangers’ other catcher, Jose Trevino, uses. “Everybody is taking it day by day, coming and giving everything they have every single day. No matter what the score is [or] no matter what the outcome is like, that shouldn’t determine our confidence or how we come about and do our thing.” It’s not dismissing what happened the previous game, but it’s not letting that game distract you from the next one.
— Jose Trevino (@HipHipJose5) August 22, 2021
That also brings me to the next point, the end goal. There aren’t any selfish guys on the Rangers’ roster, or if there are, they don’t show it. It’s an all-for-one attitude that connects all twenty-six guys. “There’s sometimes you get [where] you’re a part of a team where guys have self-interests in mind,” Nathaniel Lowe told me. “The guys in this clubhouse understand that for us to play better, we have to do it as a unit. I think that’s a big piece moving forward. The effort level is the other key. In 120+ games, the club has come out and played hard in every single one of them (except one). Yes, the bulk resulted in losses, but playing hard doesn’t always translate to winning. It can translate to success, however.
Dane Dunning came from the University of Florida. An established program used to winning. “I remember going to [Florida], and I was in an established program in college that we didn’t lose any games. If we did, it felt like the world was at the end.” Now, with the Rangers, having a losing season could be beneficial for these young guys. “I think that’s going to help me out and help the team out in the future,” Dane said. “[When] you get that rough spell, and you’re a contending team, and you do hit that rough spell. You don’t go down in the dumps at all. It’s like, so what, we lost a couple of games and then right back at it. I think that separates a lot of teams.”
The positive mind and effort on the field showed Saturday in the 10-1 win over the Red Sox. It’s a team that needs experience, and unfortunately, losing can piggyback off that lack of big-league time. But, it’s a unified clubhouse that wants what’s best for each other. Just look at each of their Instagram and Twitter posts. Plus, the cowboy hat remains a thing.
Seven strong and the sombrero. 🤠 pic.twitter.com/M5HRynUtIy
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) August 22, 2021
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