The only downside to watching your boyhood team reach the World Series -- other than failing spectacularly against the San Francisco Giants' home-grown rotation -- is the postseason hangover that has now reached Day 3. For the past month, we've watched the Texas Rangers do something that never seemed possible in Arlington.
It still seems surreal that World Series games were played in Tarrant County, and that for a few weeks this felt like a true baseball town. Like many of you, I'm struggling to know what to do with myself. My wife suggested that I spend more time with the family now that this magical season has ended, but that seems like such a cliché.
I settled in to watch the Dallas Mavericks pull out a one-point win in Denver on Wednesday evening, but it just reinforced my opinion that you'll never win anything big with a 37-year-old point guard who's absolutely no threat to score unless the defense gives him a "3 Mississippi" count to hoist a 3-pointer. (Yes, I know he had 12 assists and that he's a living legend, but he still annoys me).
The Dallas Stars were rumored to be hosting the Sid Crosbys, so I caught a few minutes of that frenzied second period that featured a fight between Crosby and Matt Niskanen. Still, I'm not quite ready to move on.
I'm not sure there's really a viable cure for the Rangers hangover, although I'm certain the 2010 Dallas Cowboys season isn't the answer. What Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is doing to Wade Phillips right now is cruel. The man basically resigned Sunday during his news conference after a 35-17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But Jones keeps sending him out to practice, and it looks like poor Wade will be on the sideline against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
Jerry's living in denial right now, but he'll eventually come to his senses and fire Phillips before the end of the season. I think Jones will name Paul Pasqualoni the interim coach, because the man's at the point in his career where a few losses on the résumé won't really affect his future. Princeton's Jason Garrett has already had enough self-inflicted pain by passing up head-coaching opportunities in Atlanta and Baltimore.
I've been trying to move on from the Rangers, but it's just not possible right now. That's why I'm going to leave you with five unique thoughts for an offseason that will only last about three months:
1. I've tried to convince myself that our proximity to Benton, Ark., will weigh heavily into Cliff Lee's decision in free agency, but I don't think it will play that much of a factor. His wife was treated rudely at Yankee Stadium, but something tells me the Steinbrenner family will find a way to atone for their unruly fans. The New York Yankees have reportedly made Lee their top offseason priority, which likely means he'll make somewhere in the neighborhood of $130 million. The Rangers will make a competitive offer and try to put Lee's kids in a good school district. But the Yankees will win in the end. Human nature causes many of us to take an extra $30 million more than we need. But I'll still support a Cliff Lee statue at the Ballpark.
2. If the Rangers miss out on Lee, Neftali Feliz should be moved into the rotation. I've always thought he'd eventually end up in the rotation, and this would be the right time. It worked for C.J. Wilson, and I think the presence of Nolan Ryan can be a huge benefit to Feliz as he makes the transition. It's easier to find a closer than it is a viable starter. I think Feliz will emerge as the third starter behind Wilson and Colby Lewis next season.
3. Let the Los Angeles Angels or Boston Red Sox go after Carl Crawford in free agency. I think he's a great player, but I like the Rangers' current outfield situation. Crawford's going to command somewhere in the $75-100 million range, and that's a place the Rangers don't need to be for a player who's a tad overrated.
4. I would think seriously about moving Josh Hamilton to one of the corner outfield spots permanently. I realize the guy plays a nice center field, but he's also going to continue running into walls out there. Put him in a spot where he's not as tempted to sacrifice his body on a nightly basis.
5. As much as it pains me to watch him react late to sharply hit balls, I'd stick with Michael Young at third base for one more season. He definitely made a mess of things at times, but I admired the way he worked through his throwing issues during the season. Adrian Beltre would be a nice option at third, but I don't think the Rangers want to pay him $15 million per season, which is what he's going to be looking for. He turned down a $10 million option with the Red Sox. I really like the player, but I'd stick with Young for now. Regarding Vladimir Guerrero, you simply let the guy test the market and then hopefully sign him to a reasonable $4 million contract. I'm really torn on this decision because I think he's a valuable presence in the clubhouse, but he faded big-time in the second half of the season and he collapsed in the World Series.
OK, I feel a little bit better now.
Matt Mosley covers the NFC East for ESPN.com and the Dallas-Fort Worth sports scene for ESPNDallas.com.