The Newberg Report: 2013 Bound Edition
The Newberg Report: 2013 Bound Edition
Writing the preface to this book is always my final act before the publisher gets the files and tells me to get out of the way. It's part habit, part procrastination. Either that, or all procrastination.
It happened to be very early in the morning on Election Day when I started writing this one. It was the last morning not knowing who our President would be for the next four years, and what level of change was in store. Regardless of whether Barack Obama was about to succeed in securing a second term or Mitt Romney would manage to unseat him, there was going to be change afoot, on some level. It's the only constant, of course, in politics, in metaphysics, in sports.
The year 2012 brought on lots of change for my family and me. New friends, a new school for one of the kids, the insane (and awesome) world of club sports for both. I coached the eighth and final team I'll ever coach, which makes me happy and sad. Some new and good things developed at work. I started taking better care of myself.
The Newberg Report subscriber base went from 13,000 a year ago to over 17,000. The Twitter follower count went from 14,000-plus to 21,000-plus. During the 2012 season, the website pulled in about 12 million page views per month, which was over 10 times more traffic than during the 2011 season. We raised more money for charity at Newberg Report Night than ever before. We held our first event in Round Rock. I wrote an e-Book at the beginning of the year, and with this book we're now offering the Bound Edition in e-format for the first time, too.
As there is every year, there was change for the Rangers as well, starting in the winter with a fascinating chase across the world for a potential ace and the signing of a new closer. For much of the season, Texas was on course to set another record for games won in the first 162, which phenomenally would have meant an increase in victories in each of Ron Washington's six seasons at the helm. The club drew 3.4 million fans, half a million more than ever before. TV ratings and radio ratings crushed previous records. Team payroll was at the highest level it had ever been. Despite a lousy 2-7 finish, the Rangers still spent more days in first place than they ever had, comfortably ahead of the two World Series clubs from 2010 and 2011.
But they went home a lot sooner than those 2010 and 2011 clubs did, forcing a much bigger adjustment than getting used to seeing Yu Darvish start games or Joe Nathan finish them. We had to watch (or not watch) a month of baseball without the Rangers playing. I don't really want to, but maybe I'll come back to that in a little bit.
We head into an off-season that promises as much Texas Rangers change as any off-season in memory, which would probably have been the case, more or less, even if the club had just won a World Series. Will Josh Hamilton be with the Rangers in 2013? Will Mike Napoli? Will Zack Greinke? Will Shohei Otani?
So many different things could happen between now and the final few sleeps before Pitchers & Catchers Report, but this front office and ownership group have a track record of being a dozen steps ahead of the game, with two dozen balls in the air, and executing. I'm less concerned about this winter than I am fascinated by how it could shake out.
Nowhere in A.J. Preller's foreword to this book, or in Jason Parks's, is there talk of how the 2012 season ended. Both talk about hope, about hunger, about expectations and the love of the game. Part of living in this era of Texas Rangers baseball is the conviction that, as hard as it is to win in this game, we as fans get to ride a train that's moving forward, fully fueled, with a rock-solid foundation and relentlessness of vision committed to never getting stale.
Of course, 2011 hurt worse than 2012 because of how close we all got &82