It was merely coincidence, but it couldn't have been more fitting.
Jeff Banister, a product of the Houston area who went to high school in LaMarque and college at Houston, returned to Texas last winter to take the manager job for the Texas Rangers. In his rookie season, he not only brought the Rangers back from dead, he did it by passing the upstart Houston Astros for the AL West title.
The teams played 18 hotly contested games against each other in what quickly became one of the best rivalries in baseball, and Banister said he hopes that trend continues in the future.
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“[Astros manager] A.J. [Hinch] and I talked about that, what a lot of fun that was for a Texas guy,” he told reporters from the winter meetings on Monday. “I hope that’s a rivalry that will last the length of baseball. At any given time to have the eyes of the baseball world on the two teams in the state of Texas is pretty special for me.
“A.J. and I talked about the rivalry. Our wish is that it continues to be strong and that we are both battling it out year to year.”
Of course, Banister and Hinch were at the center of perhaps the iconic moment of the rivalry this year when they were going chest to chest, with Banister pointing at Hinch in a heated dugout-clearing "incident" in Houston.