World Series notebook: Rangers' repeat appearance not enough
The Texas Rangers are the first American League team to make consecutive appearances in the World Series since the New York Yankees in 2000 and '01. But Texas General Manager Jon Daniels said Saturday he has no intention of resting on those laurels.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment: just making the playoffs, winning a division, obviously advancing to the playoffs and advancing into the World Series,” he said. “We talk a lot about [how] we didn't want to be known as a one-hit wonder. We don't want to look back 10 years from now and say it was a nice accomplishment but we weren't able to build on it.
“We’re not happy with getting there twice. We want to win it and try to build something where we look back after 10 years and we’re not just comparing, you know, who’s better, 2010 versus 2011? But 2011 versus 2015, 2013 versus 2018. Obviously that’s the dream for every club. We’re definitely motivated, and the bottom line is the players have to get it done on the field. And they have.”
What’s in a name?
For the record, it’s pronounced zep-CHIN-skee. But Cardinals reliever Marc Rzepcynski said only two people have gotten his surname right the first time they tried and both were teaching assistants at UC Riverside whose families were from Poland.
If hitting against him is difficult, so is calling him by name, which is why the former Servite High (Anaheim, Calif.) standout answers to a number of nicknames including “Scrabble” and “Alphabet.” Even his own manager, Tony La Russa, who speaks two languages and has a law degree, has shortened him name to “R-Zep.”
Some opposing managers won’t go that far.
“I don't know how to pronounce his last name, so I'm not even going to try,” said Texas skipper Ron Washington, who refers to Rzepcynski simply as “Marc.”
Home is where the wins are
No team in the American League won more games at home this year than Texas, which went 52-29 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington during the regular season. And the Rangers went into Saturday’s Game 3 of the World Series having won four consecutive postseason games there as well.
“When you have the fans that we have, it certainly gives you a boost,” said Texas Manager Ron Washington. “You're always comfortable in your home ballpark. There's no doubt about it. Does that mean that you totally can win? No, the game is played between the lines.
“The things that happen through the course of a ballgame that you have to deal with, and if you deal with them, you get the last opportunity at your ballpark. And we've been pretty good with last opportunities at this ballpark.”
Not that any of that matters to St. Louis. The Milwaukee Brewers had a baseball-best 57 wins at home this summer and the Cardinals beat them twice in three games at Milwaukee during the league championship series.
“It's a non-factor,” Cardinal Manager Tony La Russa said of the home-field advantage. “When a club like ours goes on the road, we have a real toughness.”
-- Kevin Baxter, reporting from Arlington, Texas
Photo: Shea McKinnerney cleans an on-deck circle before the start of Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday at the Ballpark in Arlington. Credit: Charlie Riedel / Associated Press