Cleat Geeks

Is the Texas Ranger’s Banister the key to the playoffs?


Who is Jeff Banister? His biography sounds like something that should be made into a Disney movie starring Dennis Quaid. At 15, he survives bone cancer and avoids a possible amputation. In college, he suffers a snapped neck, crushed vertebrae and paralysis for 10 days from a runner trying to jump over him as he was defending home plate. Right before his Major League debut, two family deaths: his father and grandfather died two weeks apart. All this could break a typical man. There is nothing typical about Jeff Banister. He had a short career in the big leagues, just one at-bat and five days, but he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for 29 years. He played almost every position in the minor league system and made his way to bench coach for the Pirates. Then in October 2014, he got the call to come to Texas and take the helm for the Rangers.jeff-banister-pirates

You would never know that this is Banister’s first year as a Major League manager. He has a cool, collective vibe. Very motivational, as per his Twitter account, complete with his own hashtag, #nevereverquit. (Good words to live by.) This was supposed to be the Rangers’ comeback season after an injured-plagued 2014. Then Yu Darvish was out, and then Derek Holland was injured, as well as others. It seemed history was going to repeat itself, and the beginning of the season only reflected this fear. To say Banister’s first month at the helm was abysmal would be an understatement, with a winning percentage of .333. Then the Rangers made a steady comeback.

Banister did what good managers do. He made tough decisions. Placing players where he thought they needed to go, whether in the batting order, on the field or to the minors. When there was an improvement, then the player came back. I think we can all agree Rougned Odor needed his AAA time and has made a wonderful comeback. Banister is a manager that takes calculated risks, such as with Joey Gallo. He wasn’t in a rush to bring Holland back. With Banister, the adage is true: Slow and steady wins the race. Remember, the road to the postseason isn’t a sprint, but a very long marathon. Those teams that have paced themselves will win. Those who put all their energy to get to the playoffs will have nothing for the postseason.BanisterChoo

Banister is going to put the Rangers into a position of strength, and that is what is going to get the Rangers to the postseason. He seems to be correcting previous mistakes made by the Rangers. I think what is even more amazing is that this is all in his first year.

If the Rangers make it to the post season, and possibly make a deep run into the post season, one thing is for sure. They will have to be beat, they will never, ever quit. Their manager wont let them.


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