- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

For the second straight autumn, the World Series offers a dandy chance to boo our fool heads off until or past midnight. Call it the bitching hour.

The Texas Rangers against the St. Louis Cardinals? Normally, Washington area fans might be as apathetic as millions of other viewers across the country who won’t bother to tune in the local Fox channel. This matchup between non-traditional rivals must have TV executives leaping from ledges all over Manhattan, or at least considering the idea. Whatever happened to the Yankees, Dodgers or Red Sox — clubs with genuine national followings?

Hereabouts, however, we should be watching with a big bowl of figurative raspberries at our side for frequent use whenever the Rangers schlep onto the field.

I have nothing against Ron Washington, Josh Hamilton or any of the other guys with lone stars on their sleeves. In fact, the Rangers deserve respect for winning two straight American League pennants despite all those big bucks floating around for free agents at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. But they shouldn’t be taking the field with “TEXAS” on their shirtfronts. Instead the letters should spell “SENATORS” because this is where the club was born and bred.

OK, so it has been 50 years since the American League allowed the original Senators to move to Minnesota and dumped a terrible expansion club in our laps and 40 years since carpetbag owner Bob Short shanghaied it to Texas. So sue me if I’m a diehard hater. I have lots of company among older fans in these parts.

Nowadays, we can get our kicks from the Nationals with the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and soon Bryce Harper wearing the curly W. In the best of possible worlds, the Nats will be in the World Series themselves in a few years — and dare we dream that they might face and flatten the Rangers?

But no matter what happens at Nationals Park, it won’t make up for those 33 seasons when the national pastime was only a rumor in the nation’s capital. And that’s why we should still hate the Rangers, even if nobody with the current franchise was involved in that inexplicable shift from RFK Stadium to Arlington, Texas, four decades ago.

I know Short, that rotten guy, sold the club in 1974 and went to his grave in 1982, but they say wronged lovers never forget. He deserves our rancor more than Calvin Griffith, who took the first version of Senators westward in 1961.

For one thing, Calvin was going broke playing at dilapidated Griffith Stadium and saw much greener horsehide pastures in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Then, too, he left with the understanding that the American League would immediately grant Washington an expansion franchise.

Also, the Griffith family owned its club for 50 years, but Short ran the expansion version for just three. He made one headline-grabbing move by signing baseball immortal Ted Williams to manage in 1969. Everything else he tried was disastrous, most notably establishing the highest ticket prices to watch the worst team in baseball and trading the left side of his infield to Detroit for washed-up pitcher Denny McLain in 1971.

When it comes to bad sports owners, Short remains our all-time champion. His only challenger is the bombastic George Preston Marshall, who doomed the Redskins to 25 years of futility by refusing to employ black players. Earlier, though, Marshall assembled teams that won two NFL titles and five divisional championships. You have to give him that at least.

So we should root, root, root nonstop for the Cardinals over the next week or so and hope all sorts of pre-Halloween hobgoblins bedevil the Rangers. Albert Pujols, may you slug like the best hitter in baseball, which you are. Chris Carpenter, may you strike out every Texas batter who lugs lumber to the plate. And Tony La Russa, may you make decisions like Casey Stengel, Connie Mack and John McGraw rolled into one genius skipper,

All together now, let’s hear it for those Cards! How does a four-game sweep sound?

• For more of the author’s columns, go to dickheller.wordpress.com.

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