ARLINGTON, Texas -- Barely 12 hours after arriving back in Texas from a crushing World Series defeat, Rangers players trickled into a quiet clubhouse lined with moving boxes. It was clean-out day Saturday. At 1:15 p.m., Yorvit Torrealba was the only one present packing up his belongings.
Then David Murphy came through with his two young daughters wearing matching outfits. They were the happiest of the bunch in the room, dancing and smiling and excited about an upcoming trip to DisneyWorld. For a moment, they made their dad smile, too. Murphy made the final out in Friday night's Game 7 loss to the champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Mike Adams packed up his things to be shipped to Corpus Chisti where he makes his offseason home. Derek Holland then arrived wearing a Dallas Stars cap, but not much of a smile. The Game 4 winner made his final appearance of 2011 in relief in Game 7, the Rangers' second consecutive defeat to lose the World Series, and their first back-to-back losses since late August.
It was quickly evident how much this second consecutive World Series defeat will sting and how long it will linger. The pain of not putting away two two-run leads, twice pinning the Cardinals down to their final out and final strike, can be an overwhelming load to bear in the short term.
"We appreciate what we've done and we're happy and blessed, but at the same time it's a letdown to use," Holland said. "We made it for a second year in a row and we didn't get the job done. We feel like we let ourselves down, our fans down, Texas down. We had the team to do it."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels will meet the media on Monday. The club's front office has little time to exhale or reflect. Free agency is right around the corner and they will begin work to improve on this season's club. C.J. Wilson is the key unrestricted free agent. Most of the team is locked up under contract, giving the Rangers an excellent chance of making a third return trip the charm.
But, on Saturday, as players cleaned out 2011, said their good-byes and went their separate ways for the winter, looking forward with the still unfathomable past fresh on their minds was hard to do.
"I'm probably going to feel the pain for a couple of days," Holland said. "It's the World Series we just lost, the biggest game of the year for us," Holland said. "That's huge for us. Once it's a couple days we'll let it settle and move on from there and get ready for next year."