<
>

Happy Thanksgiving, Rangers fans

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I'd like to take this thank you for reading this blog and following our Rangers coverage on ESPNDallas.com. It's been another fun Rangers season and I know from your emails, comments and tweets (you can follow me @espn_durrett) that you're looking forward to 2012.

But on this Thanksgiving Day, a few Rangers items to be thankful for (I can't name everyone, but here are a few):

* Another AL pennant. It's tough to not think about Game 6 and coming one strike away twice only to see the Cardinals celebrate after Game 7. But it's difficult to get to a World Series two straight seasons and the Rangers have fully established themselves as contenders with a winning window that is wide open. So be thankful for that.

* A great World Series. Lost in the disappointment of Game 6 is the fact that the Rangers were part of one of the best World Series we've seen in a long time.

* Front office. General manager Jon Daniels and his staff, along with the leadership of Nolan Ryan and the ownership group, are showing a willingness to make key trades and sign free agents to improve the club. It's a group that has to make Rangers fans confident.

* Adrian Beltre. Just spend a few moments thinking about some of the ridiculously great defense he played this season and his penchant for key hits too.

* The versatility of Michael Young. He's a key leader, a consummate professional and a great hitter as he showed in 2011.

* Mike Napoli. It's still incredible to think the Angels let him get away. He exceeded expectations for Texas in 2011 and heads into 2012 as a critical component to the team's success. It's difficult to imagine how the second half might have gone if not for The Year of the Napoli.

* Ian Kinsler. Some of you forget to be thankful for Kinsler and that's a shame. Don't let his batting average determine the type of player he is. The guy was a versatile leadoff hitter, one of the best defensive second baseman in the game, dangerous on the bases and a huge difference maker.

* Josh Hamilton. Let's hope 2012 is an injury-free season for Hamilton because we've seen the type of skill he has when he's healthy. His at-bats are must-see TV.

* Boomstick. Nelson Cruz's ALCS is still a year's worth of highlights packed into one series. Wow.

* David Murphy. He's a class act and seemed to collect big hits down the stretch. He doesn't complain, but simply goes out and does his job.

* Ron Washington and his staff. The manager sets the tone for the team and few clubs in the league player harder or believe more in their manager than the Rangers do in Washington. But don't forget his staff, either. Mike Maddux is one of the top pitching coaches in the league and will be a manager at some point soon. Jackie Moore gives Washington critical advice as the bench coach and Andy Hawkins, Dave Anderson, Johnny Naron, Scott Coolbaugh and Gary Pettis are important components to team success. Just ask any of the players.

* Hoggy Price and his staff. They make the clubhouse atmosphere fun and the players constantly talk about how well they do their job.

* Ballpark staffers. It's everyone from those working in the press box to the concessions and ushers. You won't meet a nicer bunch of folks in the league.

So be thankful for your Rangers this Thanksgiving, eat some turkey and watch some football. But know that pitchers and catchers report in less than three months.