ARLINGTON, Texas — All Texas Rangers chief executive Chuck Greenberg was trying to do was rile up his own fans. He got so into it, the team had to issue an apology — to Yankees fans.
“I thought Yankee fans, frankly, were awful,” Greenberg told the local ESPN affiliate on Monday. “They were either violent or apathetic, neither of which is good. So I thought Yankee fans were by far the worst of any I’ve seen in the postseason. I thought they were an embarrassment.”
Before Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night, the club issued the following statement: “Earlier today, in the course of praising the extraordinary support and enthusiasm of Texas Rangers fans, I unfairly and inaccurately disparaged fans of the New York Yankees. Those remarks were inappropriate. Yankees fans are among the most passionate and supportive in all of baseball. I have spoken directly to Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine to apologize for my intemperate comments. I would like to express again how proud we are of our fans and how remarkably they have supported the Rangers throughout lean times and now during this magical season.”
The whole thing began with the Ben & Skin Show comparing the enthusiasm of Rangers fans in Game 3, which Texas won, and in Game 4, a shutout loss. Greenberg had posted something about it on Facebook, so co-host Ben Rogers decided to have him on the air to discuss it.
Maybe it worked.
Fans were loud and cheering every pitch in the first inning. Of course, having Cliff Lee on the mound in an elimination game, knowing this was the final home game of the greatest season in club history regardless of the game’s outcome might have helped, too.
SHUTOUT BALL: The Giants have made some history in this World Series before they potentially really make history and win the franchise’s first championship since moving West in 1958.
With a 9-0 shutout in Game 2 and Sunday night’s 4-0 victory over the Texas Rangers, San Francisco became the first club with two World Series shutouts since Baltimore threw three straight to close out the Dodgers in 1966.
“Sure it’s historic because we’re facing a very good lineup,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It shows how good those guys have been pitching. It shows how good they are and can be. That’s our strength and they’ve done a good job to this point — against a good hitting team.”
The Giants have done it with four starters developed in their system: ace Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and rookie Madison Bumgarner. General manager Brian Sabean has worked to keep that group intact.
“It’s nice to have that staring you in the face for the future,” Bochy said.
PRIDEFUL OWNER: Country music singer Charley Pride has been a regular at Rangers spring training since the team moved to Texas in 1972. His clubhouse concerts for the team are a highlight.
Now he’s more than just one of the Rangers’ biggest fans. Pride is also part of the investment group with Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg that bought the team this summer.
“It’s wonderful. I’m glad that I got a chance to be a part of it,” said Pride, who was on hand to sing the National Anthem before Game 5 of the World Series.
A former Negro Leagues player, the 72-year-old Pride comes to spring training each year. He puts on a uniform and works out with the team.
“I would love to have me a bat to go out there and be hitting right now,” said Pride, sporting a World Series jacket on the field before Monday night’s game. “I’m in the Country Music Hall of Fame. I would have loved to be in the baseball Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.”
So when he goes to spring training next year as a part-owner, will things be any different?
“Only just being part-owner,” he said. “I’m still going to associate with the guys the same way, and I’m going to work out with them and talk with them, and be the same way I always was.”
BOCHY LOOKALIKE? San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy isn’t about to encourage any kids to dress up like him the way 7-year-old Liam Roybal did this past week as Rangers manager Ron Washington.
Bochy poked fun at himself at the very thought of it.
“Well, he’d have to blow his head up somehow,” Bochy said before Monday night’s Game 5 of the World Series. “I don’t know how he would do it. Put a lot of air in it and he would get close. I don’t think you’re going to find too many kids that could do that with me.”
THINKING ABOUT A FRIEND: In July, Mitch Moreland was riding buses in the minors. Now he’s the starting first baseman for the Texas Rangers in the World Series, having hit a home run in Game 3.
But Moreland isn’t letting success go to his head. All he needs to keep his ego in check is a glance at the red rubber bracelet on his left hand, etched with, “Do it for Duffy,” and a Mississippi State logo.
Ryan Duffy was Moreland’s teammate at MSU, a catcher Moreland remembers as “one of those guys who every time you saw him he put a smile on your face.” Moreland also remembers Duffy doing a back flip before every game the year the Bulldogs went to the College World Series.
Now Duffy is paralyzed from the neck down, a venilator helping him breathe. He broke his neck in a diving accident in Key West, Fla., on Aug. 14.
“It makes you step back and say, ‘You can lose it like that,’” Moreland said, snapping his fingers for emphasis. “I mean, you’ve got to take advantage of what you have. It’s crazy, me being here in the World Series and he’s lost everything. You’ve got to step back and say thank you for what I’ve got.”
Moreland said he’s planning to visit Duffy in Atlanta this offseason.
“You’ve got to hope every day the best will come out,” Moreland said.
NOT GOING SHORT: Texas general manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers had some internal discussions before the postseason about the possibility of ace left-hander Cliff Lee pitching on three days’ rest.
“We talked about it, pros and cons,” Daniels said Monday before Game 5, when Lee was pitching in his regular spot. “We decided if we could avoid it, we’d like to. Because it’s not just one start, it’s the starts after that, other guys that may have to pitch on three days’ rest.”
After the Rangers lost the first two games of the World Series, including Lee in the opener, there were questions about whether Lee would start Game 4. That became a moot point when Texas won Game 3.
But Texas lost Game 4 on Sunday night when Tommy Hunter didn’t make it past the fourth inning in his third consecutive postseason start, a 4-0 loss. The Rangers managed only three singles over eight innings against San Francisco Giants rookie Madison Bumgarner.
Still, it worked out that Lee didn’t pitch on a night when the offense came up empty.
AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley and AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed.