Sometimes things just donʼt go as planned. No one knows this better than the Texas Rangers, who currently own the worst record in all of Major League Baseball.
The season started off with promise. The team was slated to continue the tradition established over the last four years of being a successful contender in the American League; they had back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. They racked up 90 wins last season for the fourth consecutive time before missing the playoffs, thanks in part to the Oakland Athletics, who won the American League West for the second season in a row. This past off-season, the team acquired Prince Fielder in a deal with the Detroit Tigers to add some explosiveness to their lineup.
In spite of all that, the Rangers have come out of the All-Star break with the worst record in the entire league.
The teamʼs abysmal play is becoming a financial problem; before the season started, tickets for Rangers home games were priced as high as $100.99, one of the most expensive in the league and in the company of teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants. Since the first game, ticket prices have dropped 41% on the secondary market, the largest decrease in baseball by a considerable margin. The current top price, $59.78, is one of the cheapest in the league.
A large part of the problem is the difficulty of the division in which the Rangers find themselves. Theyʼre being asked to compete in the AL West with three of the best teams in the league: the Athletics, Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners, who have all passed the 50-win mark this season. The Rangers have yet to reach 40. Interestingly enough, the Rangers boast a record that is worse than the Houston Astros', but even with the major price reduction, Rangers tickets are somehow still more expensive than both the Angels and the Mariners.
Injuries are likely playing an even bigger role in the teamʼs problems. Second baseman Jurickson Profar played just nine games before tearing a muscle in his right shoulder. Fielder will miss the remainder of the season with a neck injury and 11 pitchers had made at least three starts for the team before the All-Star break.
The Rangers are projected to finish the season with 64 wins, which, if the rest of the teams in the league finish even roughly near their win projections, would be the fewest in baseball. In the last month, the team has suffered two brutal eight-game losing streaks, and is currently amidst the worst 25-game stretch since the franchise moved to Arlington. Texas still somehow has the highest total attendance in the American League but, over the course of the season, fans have received a significant discount as an incentive to continue attending games.