I’m just going to come right out and say it, Jon Daniels is Lando Calrissian, minus the black-guy coolness that comes with being played by Billy Dee Williams.
I know what you’re thinking…
“That’s exactly right! Your statement is flawless and your reasoning must be airtight, so you shouldn’t even bother explaining your point!”
Well, you’re going to get an explanation anyway.
Earlier this afternoon, I happened upon something that Mike Hindman wrote for Baseball Time in Arlington. It’s a great read about the Rangers outfield, which might be hanging on the precipice of destruction and could come crashing down at any moment.
But I won’t make you read the whole thing, the important bit follows:
After spending much of the fall watching a deeply flawed professional football team from Arlington, TX that is run by a megalomaniacal, part-time general manager […] I am once again reminded of how remarkable it is to watch the truly great front office operate next door.
He of course meant Jerry Jones and the Cowboys vs. the Jon Daniels/Nolan Ryan regime at The Ballpark.
Later in the day I had a brief Twitter convo with Grant Brisbee.
Brisbee wrote an article about the impending Josh Hamilton free agency. I sent him a message, in jest, asking if Rangers fans had suffered enough at the hands of his people (San Franciscans) and suggesting that the article was just one more twisting of the knife.
At the end of the conversation, I sent him the following:
No harm done. I don’t hate your team anyway. Except for Cody Ross. I absolutely despise Cody Ross.
…and that’s what really kicked off this post.
Jon Daniels doesn’t get enough credit either locally or nationally. The local angle is obvious; in that what the Cowboys are doing will always overshadow what the Rangers are doing. The Hindman article starts by pointing out how in shambles the Cowboys front office is compared to the Rangers.
Which is something that even the most diehard Cowboys fan should be able to admit.
In my back and forth with The Incredible Mr. Brisbee, I got to thinking about Cody Ross, then the 2010 Giants, then the roster of that 2010 Giants team.
I remember during the World Series two years ago, there was a lot of buzz around the Giants roster. They were a team of misfits. A lot of their key players in the post-season weren’t even on the team at the start of the year (Cody Ross, Pat Burrell) and a lot of them played well above their skill set (Cody Ross, Pat Burrell).
In this way, Jon Daniels was again overlooked. Nothing about the Rangers of the past two seasons has been an accident. They don’t rely nearly so much on cast-offs and spares.
Since 2007, JD and his people have spent a lot of time looking at every angle, meticulously crafting a lineup to rival any in the AL and even in baseball.
So, why is Jon Daniels Lando Calrissian?
Like Lando, Daniels has made mistakes, such as handing Han over to Vader (trading away Adrian Gonzalez), but is actually more clever than that. He helped Leia and Chewie escape from Cloud City (made deals for players like Hamilton and Cruz, which went largely unnoticed at the time), helped rescue Han from Jabba’s palace (cut a very shrewd deal for Cliff Lee), and blew up the 2nd Death Star (took the Rangers to back-to-back World Series).
But Jon Daniels will never get the credit he deserves. His efforts will often go unnoticed because of what’s happening in the AL East or even just across the street at Cowboy’s Stadium. Just like Lando’s efforts, which were probably ignored for the most part because Han’s the one that actually blew up the shield generator on Endor.
At the end of the day, though, there isn’t much to be unhappy about. Whether anyone notices or not, the Rangers are still one of the more finely run organizations in all of sports and we’ve finally got the skins on the wall to prove it.
If only we could convince a few Cowboys fans to actually appreciate that fact instead of waiting around desperately for the NFL preseason to start.