If the Texas Rangers go 0-162, it'll be definitive proof that the baseball gods grant wishes to the embittered, or at the very least, read Ian Kinsler stories. Texas' former second baseman (and current Tigers keystoner) made statements to that effect for an ESPN the Magazine piece published on Tuesday.
"To be honest with you, I hope they go 0-162. I got friends, and I love my friends, but I hope they lose their ass," Kinsler told the magazine for a story in its "Conspiracy Issue." Kinsler, who was traded in the offseason for first baseman Prince Fielder, places the blame for his departure and the Rangers' recent decline squarely on the shoulders of the team's president of baseball operations, Jon Daniels.
"Daniels is a sleazeball. He got in good with the owners and straight pushed Ryan out," said Kinsler, referring to Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan's recent departure from the team this offseason. That this followed a power struggle between the two that began in the aftermath of two straight trips to the World Series, both of which resulted in losses, was not lost on Kinsler. "He thought all the things he should get credit for, Ryan got credit for. It's just ego. Once we went to the World Series, everybody's ego got huge, except for Nolan's."
The distaste for his former front office goes beyond its perceived treatment of Nolan, though. The trade that sent the second baseman away from the only professional organization he had ever played for was announced publicly before Daniels had a chance to tell him personally. "I want to be the one who tells Ian," said Daniels, "but literally, the story breaks while I'm on a plane to Tucson. I feel bad that's how he found out."
And things weren't exactly rosy before the trade, either, with Kinsler -- a notoriously intense, focused competitor -- bristling at the added responsibilities placed on his shoulders by the 2012 trade of clubhouse leader Michael Young. "It hurt us, he held everything together."
With Young gone, Kinsler believed the onus was being put on him to fill the leadership role now vacated, even if he didn't want it. "I was bogged down," Kinsler said. "They wanted me to lead these young players, teach them the way to compete, when the only thing I should be worried about is how I'm performing in the game." Of course, in deteriorating relationships, especially with someone as difficult as Kinsler, the somewhat selfish tone of his remarks certainly leaves open the possibility that the discord between the two sides wasn't entirely a function of the Rangers' mismanagement.
"He's a little intense," third baseman Adrian Beltre said of the second baseman, who the article characterizes as a "good friend."
"Sometimes he'll go overboard because he just wants to win and doesn't care about anything else." And, for his part, Daniels has not pointed the blame at Kinsler for the acrimony between the two sides, saying, "He was a key member of the best teams in the history of the franchise. He's entitled to his opinion."
Where this story goes remains to be seen, though it seems unlikely it will involve a winless Rangers team forsaking its decision to trade its stalwart second baseman for a much-needed left-handed power bat. But if it ends up involving a beanball in his back, we'll know his wishes for failure bothered his now ex-teammates.