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The Texas Rangers: “The Best Culture in Baseball”

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The Rangers signed Andrew Cashner to a one-year deal on Monday. They had been trying to land him for a while. Meanwhile Cashner, a Texas native who went to TCU, has long been interested in Texas. Everyone always says nice things right after a contract is signed, but the words from both the club and the player this week are particularly effusive.

For Cashner’s part, he said something which, I suspect, will become a recurring theme with the Rangers:

“The biggest thing for me is getting to come to what somebody told me the other day is the best culture in baseball,” Cashner said. “That sets the tone for winning.”

It may not always be a welcome recurring theme. Ask Cardinals fans how much they enjoy the whole “Best Fans in Baseball” thing (hint: they really, really, don’t). It has a way of taking on a life of its own and becoming the source of mocking more than anything.

So, the next time the Rangers are reported to be experiencing a bit of clubhouse drama or find themselves on the wrong end of some unwritten rules controversy — especially if it involves Cashner, which it very well might — expect the whole “Best Culture in Baseball” thing to come back again.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.