Rick Mauch: In baseball as in life, it’s about relationships

Bruce Bochy (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The right relationship makes all the difference. It brings out the best in us, makes us believe we can do things we never thought we could accomplish before.

Take, for example, my relationship with my wife, the lovely Mrs. Junell. Things I never did before I now do – you know, like washing the dishes and making the bed. But seriously, like so many wonderful partners, she is an inspiration who encourages me to do the little extra that makes all the difference between good and great.

Ironically, she and I were in attendance the last time the Texas Rangers experienced their greatest moment before now. We cheered them on in Arlington as they defeated the Detroit Tigers in Game 6 of the 2011 American League Championship Series.

It was one of many highlights in our time together. We were watching on TV at home when the Rangers clinched their World Series berth in Houston this past Monday, but it was still a special feeling.

- FWBP Digital Partners -

The Rangers, likewise, have found their perfect partner in manager Bruce Bochy. When General Manager Chris Young convinced the three-time (soon to be four-time, we hope) World Series-winning manager to come out of retirement and join the Rangers this year, he created a magical union.

Not to say the union wasn’t magical with Ron Washington, who led the Rangers to the World Series in 2010 and 2011. Texas lost both those Series (to Bochy’s San Francisco Giants in 2010 and to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011), sad to say, and when they square off against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Arlington’s Globe Life Field tonight, it will be the Rangers’ first appearance in the Fall Classic since 2011. By 2014, the Rangers-Washington magic was gone and the Rangers needed someone new to make them believe in themselves again. It took a while but Texas finally got it right by hooking up with Bochy.

Obviously, I’m not a major league manager, and I don’t play one on TV so I don’t know how Bochy does it. The closest I’ve come is coaching a youth baseball team that made the Bad News Bears look like the 1927 New York Yankees. We did have fun, though, and isn’t that what it’s all about at that age?

Maybe that’s a big part of what it’s all about at the big-league level as well. More often than not, the Rangers and their fans have seemed to enjoy themselves this season, to believe good things lay ahead.

- Advertisement -

It has been said that one of Bochy’s greatest strengths is his ability to get players to forget the past and keep them focused on the task at hand. Never has that been more evident than in the 2023 postseason.

Lost the division championship on the last day of the regular season in Seattle? No problem – just travel halfway across the country and win two wild-card games in Tampa Bay.

Opening a best-of-five series with two games in Baltimore, the team with the best record in the American League? No biggie, just win them both and come home to finish the sweep.

Drop three straight at home to the Astros with Game 5 ending in major heartbreak? OK, go down to Houston and win two just like you did to open the series.

- Advertisement -

That inspiration to push for more has led the Rangers back to the summit – ahead of schedule, by the way. Like most folks, I thought even making the playoffs was another year away.

Bochy didn’t think that. Therefore, his team didn’t think that.

Kinda like when I used to assume putting in a load of laundry could be done tomorrow and the lovely Junell changed my thinking to, “Why not today?” I’m there. The laundry’s there. Just do it.

For the record, she still does most of the housework. I am proud to say, however, that I am more involved than the guy comedian Jeff Foxworthy described: “Your wife can be out paving the driveway and you’ll stick your head out the door and yell, ‘Don’t worry about this ashtray, honey. I wiped it out. Did it just for you, Sugar Plum.’”

See what a difference inspiration can make? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some chores to do before settling in to watch the Rangers and Diamondbacks do battle in Game 1 of the 2023 World Series.

Here’s a capsule rundown on the Series:

American League champion Texas Rangers vs. National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks.

Regular season records: Rangers 90-72, second in AL West. Diamondbacks 84-78, second in NL West.

Playoffs: Rangers defeated Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 in best of three; defeated Baltimore Orioles 3-0 in best of five; defeated Houston Astros 4-3 in best of seven.

Diamondbacks defeated Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 (best of three); defeated Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 (best of five); defeated Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 (best of seven).

Previous World Series: Rangers lost to San Francisco Giants 4-1 in 2010 and lost to St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 in 2011. Diamondbacks defeated New York Yankees 4-3 in 2001.

On the air: TV – FOX. Radio – ESPN. FOX Deportes is the exclusive Spanish language broadcast.

World Series schedule:

All games at 7:03 p.m. Central time.

Game 1: Friday, Oct. 27, at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 28, at Globe Life Field.

Game 3: Monday, Oct. 30, at Chase Field, Phoenix.

Game 4, Tuesday, Oct. 31, at Chase Field.

Game 5 (if necessary) Wednesday, Nov. 1, at Chase Field.

Game 6 (if necessary): Friday, Nov. 3, at Globe Life Field.

Game 7 (if necessary): Saturday, Nov. 4, at Globe Life Field.

Rick Mauch writes regularly for the Fort Worth Business Press, covering a wide array of topics including business, sports and entertainment.