Texas Rangers

Photo Credit: Lex Rojas | Daily Texan Staff

Supporters of the Fiji party perpetuating harmful stereotypes of Mexican immigrants claim that the party was to have had an “innocent” “Western theme.” This claim is accurate — except the innocent part. The panoramic celebration of white heroes combating savages of various kinds is a staple of the American imagination and deeply racist, nonetheless. I understand this as a white woman.

 

In Texas, the Western theme was epitomized by the Texas Rangers, a small corps of state-empowered, white vigilantes lionized in Texas history books even as they persecuted and murdered both Native Americans and Mexicans at will through the 1800s. They repelled Mexicans fighting against the Texan occupation of Mexican territories in 1846. They fought for the confederacy during the Civil War.

 

After the South’s defeat, the Rangers went on to conquer what the Texas state history website describes reverently as a Texas “‘overrun with bad men,’ with Indians ravaging the western frontier, with Mexican bandits pillaging and murdering along the Rio Grande.” In 1916, they killed at least 5,000 Mexicans during civil unrest across the border.

 

The Rangers defended Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan and were openly racist and sexist, forbidding the enlistment of women and minority groups. When charged in the 1970s with not having any Hispanic members, Rangers replied that there weren’t any qualified Hispanic officers available: “I don’t see any Japanese here,” said one. “I don’t see any Chinamen. We can’t hire every doggone breed there is in the United States.”

 

The Rangers are in their twilight years, their traditions and purposes given over to modern priorities. However, the mythology about them and the pervasiveness of their ideas about the presence of Mexicans in our state — the wild, racist West — remain.

 

So, indeed, the Fiji party, a truly disgusting spectacle of racist stereotypes, did have a “Western theme” in the same way that the law students’ party had a “ghetto theme” in 2006. However, the Fiji party is only the most recent expression of a pattern of ongoing injury at UT against its students, faculty and staff of color. 

 

Fraternity parties are not the exception to the rule of racism at UT. Statues of Confederate leaders greet visitors to our Main Mall. Two years ago, it was revealed that Simkins Dormitory was named after a Grand Dragon of the KKK. There is a monument to the Texas Rangers in the form of the “Littlefield Home” at the corner of 24th Street and Whitis Avenue. 

 

Off-campus racism is common as well. Over the past year, black students have reported being targeted by West Campus residents who threw balloons full of (the symbolically pointed) bleach. In 2013, Young Conservatives of Texas called off a terroristic “immigrant hunt” to challenge the “threat” of undocumented students and workers following pressure from the campus community and the community at large. 

 

The Fiji party was given a pass by the University because it occurred “off campus.” In not sanctioning the organization, the University administration commits another agression against its students of color and the broader Austin community.

 

We cannot expect the University to take meaningful action against racism. Now, as in the past, civil rights gains have emerged from struggle from below. Centers for Mexican and Mexican American studies, black studies, Asian and Asian-American studies and women’s and gender Studies did not appear as gifts from the administration. The pressure put on the University during the civil rights movements in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in gains in representation and voice for minority students. Budget cuts in the ever-more-corporate, lean, mean neoliberal university roll back those victories — making it even less likely that students will be educated in the truths rather than the mythology of Texas expansion.

 

And then there is the attack on affirmative action. Since the Hopwood decision banning attention to race in 1996, and in spite of more recent partially corrective decisions (like the top 10 percent rule), the proportion of black students at the University remains at less than four percent in a state where black people comprise 13 percent of the population. Latino/a representation is also vastly disproportionate to the demographics of our state. Abigail Fisher’s recent challenge to a perceived but completely false discrimination against white applicants sends yet another message to students of color: You are not welcome here. 

 

What can we do now to combat this pervasive, taken-for-granted racism on and off campus? I propose that we undertake a sustained, multi-racial, agitational movement to educate the campus and broader community about the realities of racism and to hold the administration accountable for offenses committed in the Tower’s shadow — including off-campus racist fraternity parties. 

 

An embrace of a multi-racial movement may be controversial among activists who rightly want members of their particular communities — those most heavily impacted — in the lead. It also might be controversial to analogize anti-Mexican and anti-Mexican-American racism with anti-black racism. 

 

However, the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ adage, “They divided both to conquer each,” applies here. The capitalist society that depends upon inexpensive immigrant labor (which, in turn, perpetuates the category of the hyper-exploitable “illegal” immigrant) also depends upon the scapegoating of black people, resulting in mass incarceration and police murder of black men, women and children. We have seen the eruption of a national conversation about race since movements in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country (including here in Austin against the police murder in 2013 of Larry Jackson, Jr.) forced the broader society to take notice.

 

White people like me should stand in solidarity with the oppressed to contest efforts of the establishment to “divide both” to “conquer each.” What happens when we all stand together? We should find out, because both black and brown lives matter. 

 

Cloud is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Department of Rhetoric & Writing. She is also a member of the International Socialist Organization.

  • 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.

We’re roughly 25 games into the Major League Baseball season and the two teams from the Lone Star State have experienced mixed results.

For the Texas Rangers, the record looks good but it seems as if the problems of old have returned. The batting is as good as ever, but pitching is where this team’s problems lie.

The Rangers rank 16th in the league with a 3.85 ERA so far this season. The only pitchers that seem to be on track are team ace Yu Darvish and Martin Perez. Both maintain earned run averages below two.

Darvish has picked up right where he left off last season, striking out tons of batters while allowing minimal damage.

As of right now, the Rangers are a half game ahead of Oakland in the American League West. To make matters worst, the Rangers have added Tanner Schepprers to their list of injuries in this young season..

If the Rangers hope to contend for a division title this season, the pitching must get better. Matt Harrison has come off the disabled list and the staff is whole again.

The Astros are a whole other matter. Last in the league in all major batting categories and 26th in earned run average, the Astros are once again seated comfortably in dead last in the American League.

The Astros have the exact opposite set of problems than the Rangers but the issues for Houston are to a much worse degree.

The Astros have scored only 80 runs this season, the second fewest in the MLB, while giving up 130 runs to opposing teams. This is perhaps the reasoning for the early arrival of highly touted minor league prospect George Springer.

Springer made his debut in Houston against the Royals last Wednesday. As a minor leaguer last season, Springer narrowly missed becoming the first player in 50 years to post a 40-40 season in the minors, posting 37 homers and 42 stolen bases.

So far, the only ray of light in the starting rotation has been the newly acquired Scott Feldman from the Rangers. Feldman has posted 1.69 ERA and a 2-1 record through four starts so far this season.

It looks though, despite glimpses of hope here and there, that the Astros are headed for another season in the division cellar. There will be a few more prospects called up throughout the year, names like Jonathan Singleton and Carlos Correa, but the Astros won’t make too much noise until 2015 or 2016. 

Heartbreak and disappointment have been a theme for the Texas Rangers over the past several years.

After narrowly missing two world championship opportunities, the Rangers have failed to win a playoff game in the past two seasons, despite having one of the highest payrolls in Major League Baseball.

The Rangers spent even more cash this off season in hopes of regaining a foothold in the MLB playoff picture.

Texas signed Shin-Soo Choo and traded away Ian Kinsler for power hitter Prince Fielder, who will take over at first base for the Rangers.

Texas will go into 2014 with a strong lineup boasting the likes of Alex Rios, the always dependable Adrian Beltre, and the promising Jurickson Profar starting at second base now that Kinsler is gone.

The Rangers will field a veteran lineup loaded with big hitters, but that is not where the problems reside. Hitting is only part of the game.

Texas has one of the best pitchers in baseball, if not the best, in Yu Darvish. Darvish will be a productive asset for this staff for years to come.

The problem is with the depth of the starting rotation. Darvish is an outstanding pitcher and an ace for any club, but there isn’t much behind him.

Matt Harrison, the opening day starter from last season, has been plagued by injury over the last two years and may not have his same stuff this year.

Alexi Ogando has shown promise at times, but has yet to prove his reliability at the major league level, winning only seven games last season.

The Rangers are hoping that 22 year-old Martin Perez will step up this season as the number two man. Perez carries a career ERA over four, but did manage to win 10 games in 20 starts last season for the Rangers.

The bullpen remains strong with Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria as the set up man and closer, respectively, for the club.

Here’s my preseason prediciton of American League’s west division standings:

  1. Oakland Athletics
  2. Texas Rangers
  3. Anaheim Angels
  4. Seattle Mariners
  5. Houston Astros

Texas has the strongest starting lineup in the division, but the pitching is what makes the difference between first and second place here.

Oakland just has too much young talent in its starting rotation. For example, 24 year-old sophomore pitcher Sonny Gray who dazzled in last year’s post season against the Detroit Tigers.

The A’s won’t score 760 runs as they did last season on the way to a division title. The difference will come in the months of August and September. The Rangers have too many unpredictable and unhealthy arms in the starting rotation to be certain that all of them can hold up through the lengthy 162-game season.

We may see Texas opt for a midseason acquisition to bolster the rotation if the season is going well through May. But for now, the starting rotation is a sign of weakness and will need to improve for the Rangers to reach the postseason.

The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers got the Major League Baseball offseason started quickly Wednesday night, springing a blockbuster trade on the baseball world: Prince Fielder to Texas with Ian Kinsler shifting to Detroit. It’s a rare, old-fashioned baseball trade, player for player.

On paper, the trade looks like a win for both sides. First base has plagued the Rangers since 2007, when they dealt Mark Teixeira to the Braves in a trade that helped set up two World Series runs. This trade frees up the middle infield logjam in Arlington, allowing Jurickson Profar to slide into second base and officially start his career as an everyday infielder for the Rangers. It also provides a much needed power bat in the middle of the lineup with Nelson Cruz now a free agent. Plus, it’s a left-handed power bat, something the Rangers desperately needed in 2013. 

The Tigers also addressed needs in the blockbuster. For a team that has been knocked for its defense over the years, the middle infield looks infinitely more athletic now with Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler saddled in over other combinations they have tried. While the Tigers ate $30 million of Fielder’s contract to help offset some of the cost for the Rangers, they still freed up about $60 million in salary. With Cy Young winner Max Scherzer getting ready to hit free agency in a year, and Miguel Cabrera in two years, the Tigers needed some financial flexibility. This trade helps achieve that.

Both the Tigers and the Rangers fancy themselves in the elite class of the American League, and this trade will help keep each firmly planted in that category going forward.

The stove is just now getting warm as Major League Baseball heads into the winter months, when teams start to try to piece together what they think will be the magical combination to get them to the pinnacle. 

For the Texas Rangers, it is an offseason of intrigue, with holes to fill and different options for how to fill them. Right fielder Nelson Cruz turned down his qualifying offer, left fielder David Murphy comes off the books as a free agent along with catcher A.J. Pierzynski and relief pitcher Joe Nathan is already flirting with Detroit to fill its closer vacancy after holding the position with the Rangers for two years.

There are options galore for General Manager Jon Daniels and the Rangers’ front office to pore over. Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann is on the open market and can be had for the right price. Former Ranger and fan favorite first baseman Mike Napoli is also back on the market after winning a World Series during his one-year contract with the Red Sox. Former Cy Young winner and the man who slayed the Rangers 2013 season, David Price, is rumored to be moved out of Tampa Bay this winter, as well as the young, hellacious slugger Giancarlo Stanton down in South Beach. Center fielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo — the list of moves to improve Daniels‘ baseball club does not suffer from brevity. 

Here is one that hasn’t been discussed much, but I believe deserves at least a little bit of thought. Knowing that Daniels and the Rangers’ front office is mostly comprised of ninjas, I highly doubt that I’d be the first one to pitch it, but the Rangers should check in with the Minnesota Twins about first baseman Joe Mauer. Hear me out.

The Twins, well, they aren’t good. And they aren’t going to be good for a while. They’re in the process of building one of the most impressive farm systems comprised in years, but they aren’t there yet. Meanwhile, Mauer will be making $23 million a year to hit in the middle of a lineup that is sure to be dreadful. The Twins have pretty much sold off all of their other big league commodities in the name of building the farm system, and Mauer doesn’t really fit their current business model. 

It was recently reported that Mauer would move from behind the plate to full time at first base in 2014. Who knows if that was his call or the club’s, but either way, he fills a position of need. If he could catch 80-100 games per year in the remaining five years of his contract and split the rest of the time at first base or designated hitter, it is a win. If he wants to move out to first base permanently, it is still a win because that position has also been a bit of a revolving door for the Rangers for more than a decade. 

He’ll cost a lot in prospects — make no bones about it. I would personally rather see Stanton in a Rangers jersey for the price that Mauer will cost, but it is something to consider. Now we wait to see if Daniels will. His opinion is the only one that really matters anyway. 

Forget about winning. The Texas Rangers haven’t even led a baseball game in 63 innings. It's coming apart at the seams at the worst possible time, and the Rangers appear to be out of answers.

Take a look at these stats since the beginning of the Minnesota Twins series that started in Arlington on August 30th.

-They have a record of 3-13

-That have slugged .360%

-The pitching staff is in the bottom five of ERA and FIP (a pitching sabermetric that separates pitching from fielding)

-They have averaged 3.1 runs per game in the 16-game nose dive

The offense has been suspect at points in the season, but the pitching staff has been enough of a strength to mask it. Now, the offense has gone cold, and the pitching staff isn’t there to bail it out.

Not hitting and not pitching is normally a sure fire equation to find yourself in a tail-spin, and voila, here are the 2013 Rangers falling out of the sky like an asteroid.

They held a division lead when that series with the Twins kicked off, and heading into Tuesday’s game with the Rays, they find themselves clinging to the last Wild Card spot in the American league with the Indians, Royals and Orioles all giving chase.

Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows, and the Rangers are not dead yet. They’re on life support, but not dead. While the Indians probably have the most favorable schedule down the stretch, the Rangers still control their own fate. The three games left with the Rays and the three this weekend in Kansas City are doubly important since they find themselves in a street fight with both. Texas returns to Arlington for the last seven games of the season.

If the Rangers want to play past 162 games, their key cogs have to get it going. Elvis Andrus has done his part during the rough patch, but someone in the lineup has to start protecting Adrian Beltre in the lineup. The pitching staff must recapture what made them one of the most complete rotations in the American League for most of the summer.

The Rangers aren’t dead yet, but they are on their death bed, and the doctor is checking for a pulse.

 

Rangers rookie Nick Tepesch impressive in MLB debut

A year ago, Nick Tepesch made his debut for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the high-A affiliate for the Texas Rangers. Last Thursday, he was the Opening Day starter for the Round Rock Express, biding his time and tuning up for his major league debut that would come a week later after he won the Ranger’s fifth and final rotation spot in Spring Training.


He looked sharp at the Dell Diamond facing the Omaha Storm Chasers, surrendering five hits over five innings, giving up one unearned run and striking out five. After the start, he sounded like a kid ready for the spotlight of the big leagues.

“I feel confident,” Tepesch said. “I can command all my pitches and keep doing what I’m doing and trying to get better every day. I’ll just stick to my gameplan no matter whose up at the plate and stick to what I do.”

Apparently, sticking to what he does is going to be A-OK. Tepesch made his Major League debut Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays and threw 7 1/3 innings of four-hit, one-run baseball. The Rangers won the game, 6-1, giving Tepesch his first Major League win and making the night one he won’t soon forget.

From Myrtle Beach to Arlington in 365 days, the ascent of Tepesch has been quite astonishing. His crashing of the big league party this week suggests he belongs.

Tepesch’s next scheduled start is Sunday in Seattle.

Useless division projections: American League West

The weather is getting warmer. The days are getting longer. Spring training is in full swing, and you can almost smell the freshly cut grass, hot dogs and peanuts of your local ballpark. The Rangers and Astros will kick off the season in just a few short weeks, and it is now time for a round of useless division predictions so we can all start getting our mind out of basketball mode and into its baseball preset.  If you saw the Orioles finishing in second place in the notorious American League East or the Oakland A’s winning the AL west, then these projections aren’t useless. As it stands, we never know what twists and turns will take place over the course of 162, but we’re going to try to look into the future and see where things will stand come October.

American League West:

Houston Astros, 5th place

Sorry, Astros fans. 2013 is going to be just as forgettable as the last couple years of baseball in H-Town. Coming off a miserable 55 win season, the path to relevance gets a bit harder with their transition to the American League West, home of a couple of the best teams in baseball and the DH. The Astros will begin the year with the lowest payroll in the league by far, and their current roster would have trouble competing in AAA, let alone the big leagues. But I am really excited to see the retro uniforms they’ll be rolling out this year. They’re going to be put to shame on the field while dressed to the nines.

Seattle Mariners, 4th place

Slowly but surely, they’re putting the pieces back together. Felix Hernandez will do Felix Hernandez things, but the putrid smell of the offense can still be smelled all the way from the East coast. Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero should begin to take the next steps in their progression into impact players, and the additions of Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales will aid the cause. If the offense can hold up and the rotation can find someone to help out King Felix, the Mariners could be primed to make some noise in 2013.

Oakland A’s, 3rd place

I refuse to believe they can catch lighting in a bottle twice. Refuse. The 19-5 record they posted in July surely can’t be replicated again, and surely the amazingly young pitching staff can’t repeat their out of mind performance of 2012. A healthy season from Brett Anderson will help in their defense of the American League West title, as well as a full season from the Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. I don’t think they can repeat, but I also had them finishing last in the predictions last year. Who knows with Billy Beane’s group.

Texas Rangers, 2nd place

Following a rough offseason that saw almost nothing go according to plan, the Rangers have some doubters heading into the 2013 campaign for the rest time in awhile. The starting rotation led by Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison should be formidable, but Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando are going to have to have solid seasons if they want to reclaim the AL West title. Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and the rest of the gang are going to have to make up for the loss of Josh Hamilton, and A.J. Pierzynski is going to have to replicate the solid season of 2012 he had with the White Sox in the heat of the summer. The Rangers have as good a chance as anyone, but they have some work to do.

Los Angeles Angels, 1st place

Sweet, sweet Déjà vu. Seems as though it was only a few short months ago I picked the Angels to win the American League West a season ago after a big offseason, only to watch them fall flat on their face coming out of the starting blocks. Josh Hamilton, Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout probably represent the most compete outfield in the big leagues, while Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo hold down the corners of the infield. The starting rotation could be an Achilles heel after Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, but on paper, it looks like it should hold up. I’ve done this before and it didn’t pan out, we’ll see if 2013 is any better for the Angels.

Cactus League preview: Rangers move on without Hamilton, Giants begin pursuit of third World Series title in four years

The most exhilarating organized stretching and long toss practice of the season took place Monday afternoon, officially marking the unofficial start to the 2013 baseball season. While it didn’t take place for every team in Major League Baseball, the battery mates got the ball rolling yesterday, with a flood of more pitchers and catchers set to report. In honor of one of the single greatest days of the year, here is the reporting date for each team followed by a single sentence that summarizes each team’s 2013 campaign

Cactus League, Arizona (date pitchers and catchers due to report in parantheses):

Arizona Diamondbacks (Monday, Feb. 11)
• Did trading Justin Upton really help this team?

Chicago Cubs (Feb. 10)
• Still the Chicago Cubs, the Curse of the Billy Goat goes on for another year.

Chicago White Sox (Feb. 11)
• Can the young rotation, led by Chris Sale, lead the Sox into the postseason?

Cincinnati Reds (Feb. 11)
• The experimental move of Aroldis Champan to the rotation should be fascinating to watch.

Cleveland Indians (Feb. 10)
• The Tribe faithful are hoping Terry Francona and a new outfield, including Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, can pay dividends.

Colorado Rockies (Feb. 10)
• Carlos González will waste another year of his career playing in the mountains.

Kansas City Royals (Feb. 11)
• Royals fans everywhere are going to be enamored since the team appears to finally be out of their two-decade-long rebuilding mode and into a win-now mode after their trade to acquire James Shields.

Los Angeles Angels (Feb. 11)
• Does the addition of Josh Hamilton make this team the favorite to win the American League?

Los Angeles Dodgers (Feb. 12)
• With a 123 percent increase in salary since last July, they better win something or they’ll be a laughing stock.

Milwaukee Brewers (Feb. 12)
• Ryan Braun and the Brewers faithful pray the latest performance enhancing drug scandal doesn’t turn into anything serious, or 2013 could be a nightmare.

Oakland A’s (Feb. 11)
• Surely the extremely young pitching staff can’t lead the team to another AL West crown, can they?

San Diego Padres (Feb. 12)
• At least they play in an absolutely beautiful ballpark.

San Francisco Giants: (Feb. 12)
• Defending World Series champions brought the whole band back together to make another run. Can they win three out of four titles?

Seattle Mariners: (Feb. 12)
• Improved, but most fans will only tune in one out of every five days to watch King Felix work his magic.

Texas Rangers: (Feb. 12)
• Does the loss of Josh Hamilton remove this team from the list of World Series competitors?