It was a just last week that I was writing about Yu Darvish’s promising spring. Improved English. Same nasty pitching. Optimism abounding. And then …
Like you, I awoke Saturday morning to the news that the Rangers’ ace had a partially torn ligament in his pitching elbow that might require Tommy John surgery and him missing the entire 2015 season. I mean, we haven’t made it to Spring Break yet and – coupled with Jurickson Profar’s shoulder surgery – the Rangers’ master plan is such a disaster that the Red Cross needs to head to Surprise.
Just three weeks ago I felt extremely confident about my wager that the Rangers would exceed Las Vegas’ betting line of 77 wins. I thought 81 was a lock and this team might win upward of 88.
But now? If Darvish is gone you have to replace a guy who can throw a no-hitter any time he takes the ball and an ace capable of 20 wins.
As we’ve learned through painful lessons over and over again, injuries change everything. Moods. Expectations. Careers. Results. Even franchise directions.
I’m sure I’ve missed a couple, but off the top of my noggin' these are the most devastating injuries in DFW sports injuries:
10. Yu Darvish – Too early to be definitive, but this – worst-case – has the potential to ruin be franchise. If it ends or seriously minimizes his career, it could move up to No. 1 on this list. At the very least it harpoons the 2015 season before Opening Day.
9. Ruben Mateo – Long the top prospect in the Rangers’ organization, he led all Major League rookies in batting average when he broke his leg after landing awkwardly running to 1st base in 2000. He was gone from Texas the next year and hit only 21 homers in six pedestrian MLB seasons.
4. Michael Irvin – Taken off the field on a stretcher after a routine crossing-route catch in Philadelphia in 1999. The neck injury ended his career, buried Dallas’ dynasty and prompted the Cowboys to overpay for his replacement (see No. 1).
3. Tony Romo – Again, pick one. Coming off a playoff season, his broken collar bone early in 2010 paved the way for a 6-10 record and the firing of Wade Phillips. And his herniated back disc in 2013 forced backup Kyle Orton to start the team’s loss to the Eagles in a Week 16 NFC East Championship Game.
2. Prince Fielder – After generating buzz and raising expectations upon his arrival via trade from the Tigers, neck surgery in 2014 prematurely ended his season and sent the perennial playoff Rangers spiraling to 95 losses and the departure of manager Ron Washington.
1. Joey Galloway – Tore his ACL in his first game after the Cowboys traded two 1st-round picks to acquire him. It was the first domino that sent Troy Aikman into retirement, the Cowboys into three straight 5-11 seasons and head coach Dave Campo into unemployment.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.