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Texas Rangers Opening Day: 5 Fearless Predictions

Rangers manager Ron Washington shares a slice of the real American experience with new pitcher Yu Darvish. (To see the full illustrated tale of Yu's first wacky days in Dallas, read the April issue of D Magazine.)
Manager Ron Washington shares a slice of the real American experience with new pitcher Yu Darvish. (For the illustrated tale of Yu’s first wacky days in Dallas, read the April issue of D Magazine.) Illustration by Roman Muradov

The Texas Rangers season is set to begin against the Chicago White Sox at 1:05 p.m. today at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Now to my rank speculation about the 2012 campaign of your defending American League champions.

1. The Rangers will set an attendance record. They did last season, following their first World Series appearance. Expect even more fans at the Ballpark this summer. In 2012, they’ll pass the 3 million total season mark for the first time in franchise history, thanks to the excitement following their second straight AL pennant and (hopefully, fingers crossed) a summer that isn’t (unlike 2011) the hottest in Texas ever.

2. Yu Darvish will be pretty, pretty good. He’s pitching just fourth in the team’s rotation, on Monday, to start the season. (And there are apparently still plenty of tickets available for the game against the Mariners.) Arlington’s hot summers and hitter-friendly dimensions mean he’s not going to post a sub-2.00 ERA, as has been his habit back home in Japan.  But he’ll still be plenty awesome, and the ace of the staff. He’s the AL Rookie of the Year.

3. The Champion Dog will claim its first victim by June 15. I’m not going to say whether the 1-pound hot dog will induce a heart attack, or nearly choke some poor soul to death, but there will be an incident.

4. The Rangers will win 91 games, and make the playoffs. But the Angels will edge them out for the division title. Yes, Nancy believes they will win the World Series. I think the Rangers will suffer a bit of performance regression by some players, and injuries to others. Meanwhile the Angels, being the Angels, will catch a lot of breaks.

5. I will continue to wish I could walk across downtown after work for a 7:05 game, instead of driving down Interstate 30 to reach the sea of parking lots in Arlington.