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07/30/2013

Major Leaguers advise to follow the standings around this time

6a00e54f7fc4c588330191047a20fc970c-300wiARLINGTON, Texas - The Texas Rangers rallied for their most inspiring win of the season thanks to a pair of ninth-inning solo home runs to defeat the mighty California Angels yet it didn't help in the actual standings. 

Brad Pitt's Oakland A's may never lose again. The A's defeated the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, so the Rangers' rally kept them six games back in the AL West with roughly two full months of the season to play.

Fans and self-appointed baseball/football/all-things-life experts smash the panic button with 56 games remaining in the regular season, yet the players themselves barely notice.

I asked a handful of players as well as Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington when they actually paid attention to the standings, and the answer is what you might expect from the actual professionals. 

"Around the first of September," Rangers outfielder David Murphy told me. "That's around the time you have a pretty good idea of where everyone is." 

We're not even into August, so none of these guys is sweating too much. It's the advantage/disadvantage of regular season that lasts approximately five full years.

"First of September," Washington said. "I've always done it that way, ever since I was a player. I don't read the papers or look or the standings."

The Rangers' six-game deficit is the second largest for any second place team in baseball; the Washington Nationals trail the Atlanta Braves by nine games in the National League East. Every other division race is 2.5 games or closer.

"I look when it matters," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "That's Day 1. I want to be in first place."

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