Tagged: Evan Grant

Eh

Around this time last year, I was living and breathing baseball.

I was so starved for baseball news in the 2009-2010 offseason that when Spring Training finally started up in 2010, I was ecstatic.

I spent the majority of my free time obsessing over all of the tidbits of news I had heard and using it to come up with new predictions about the 2010 Rangers team.

And all that obsessing got me nowhere.

Just to refresh your memory, here is what was happening at this point a year ago:

-the Greenberg/Ryan group was predicted to be the team owners on Opening Day.
-I was looking forward to a dominant year from the top of our pitching rotation (Scott Feldman and Rich Harden).
-I thought that Salty would finally be healthy, and that he would be the starting catcher for the Rangers all season.
-The Rangers were still reeling from the loss of Khalil Greene and had no idea who their utility infielder would be.
-I was still in doubt about CJ’s ability to be a decent starting pitcher.

And of course, all of those assumptions turned out to be false. So it didn’t really do me any good to spend so much time trying to predict.

This past off-season (2010-2011) was much shorter, since the Rangers continued playing all the way through the playoffs and into the World Series.

By that time, I was emotionally exhausted from venturing into uncharted territory. So I was okay with the lull in baseball news.

Then the off-season began to fill up with all kinds of drama, from Cliff Lee to potential DH’s to Adrian Beltre’s signing and a possible Michael Young trade.

Everybody seemed anxious about a disgruntled Michael Young rejoining the Rangers clubhouse, but I think the media whipped up an unnecessary frenzy in order to try to squeeze more stories out.

“Oh, no!!! Michael Young asked to be traded, but he wasn’t traded, so how is everyone going to react?? Will all the other players treat him like a traitor? Will Michael act surly because he doesn’t want to be there? This team should be celebrating the American League Championship, but this will put everybody in a sad mood! Uh oh!!”

Umm, no. That’s not how it works. I thought things might be awkward, but I never doubted that Michael would conduct himself as a professional and act with dignity.

Just as I predicted, Michael decided not to pout like a little kid. There are some ballplayers that would, but not Michael. He’s decided to try to make the best of the situation.

As far as the rest of the Spring Training spectacle, I’ve decided to wait a while before delving into all of the drama.

I mean, sure, I could spend my time trying to predict whether or not Julio Borbon will have a breakout season, or how much time Michael Young will put in at each infield position, but it won’t change the outcome.

Wow, I’m sorry if this blog is taking on a bitter/negative vibe. That’s not what I meant to do at all. I love baseball, and I love my Rangers. I am excited about my 2011 20-game mini plan, and I can’t wait to see all that the new ownership has in store for Rangers fans in the 2011 season.

And I promise that by Opening Day, I will be up to speed on every single player on the Rangers 40-man roster. I’ve just decided that it would be superfluous for me to dissect the Rangers at this juncture, especially since we’re only 2 weeks into Spring Training.

But just because I’m not breaking down all of the player performances, that doesn’t that we should all be in the dark! Evan Grant put out an updated roster prediction today, and I’m perfectly happy with his predictions.

Especially since he sees Michael Kirkman in the 5th starter role!

http://rangersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/03/rangers-roster-report-v30.html

Until we meet again!!

Days ’til Opening Day: 31

OFFICIAL 1st game of 2010!!

Wow. Opening Day yesterday was absolutely amazing!

I knew it was going to be crowded, since the game was sold out, but I was stunned at how fabulous it felt to look up into the stands and see all of the seats filled! My heart swelled with pride!

Another thing that surprised me was how supportive the Rangers’ fans were as a whole. I mean, we watched as our players endured a no-hitter through 6 1/3 innings, and we were down 0-3. It was looking pretty bleak. But as soon as the Rangers started showing signs of life, the fans backed them up, cheering so hard that my heart swelled even bigger.

We arrived at the Ballpark at 10:00 a.m., right after the gates opened. And as we were walking up to the gates, I realized I had left my digital camera in the car. Doh! So that’s why I don’t have pictures to post. I took some with my phone, but now I don’t know how to get them off my phone and on my computer. Oh well.

We collected our Opening Day magnetic schedules and several Rangers’ “It’s Time” stickers for the car window. We headed to the Majestic Grand Slam Gift Shop, and found a 3x t-shirt for Daddy that was blue with red sleeves and said “Rangers” in block letters across the front. Daddy was ecstatic, and he’s convinced that he was able to find that shirt because Chuck Greenberg ordered it specifically for him.

Then we headed down to watch the Rangers take batting practice, but I actually spent more time scanning the crowd on the field for familiar faces. Richard Durrett was interviewing Chuck Greenberg, and I saw Evan Grant wandering around. JD even stuck his head out of the dugout for a little bit. But no TR Sullivan. Hmm, where were you TR?

Daddy and I went to find our seats, and we were pretty impressed. We were in section 243, all the way in the corner of the ballpark on the 1st base side. Seriously, our seats were literally in the corner, so Daddy and I had extra leg room. Which is always good, ’cause Daddy is 6’5″ with bad knees. So he has to stretch his legs out.

We just sat for a while, then Daddy decided he was hungry and he went off to find us some hot dogs. I stayed in our seats and read my program. (Vlad was on the cover, holding 2 baseball bats that were on fire! Awesome!)

When Daddy finally got back, he told me he had seen my friend “Dustin Traig” who reads my blog. I had to think about this for a minute, then I said “Oh, do you mean Dustin Troxell?” “Yeah!” he said, “That was it!” Then I had to explain to him that Dustin wasn’t just some random person that reads my blog, but that he was in band with me in high school. I didn’t know that Dustin read my blog! Hi Dustin!!

The coolest part of the pre-game ceremony was when Sgt. Dana Bowman parachuted onto the field. He is retired now, but he was a member of the Army’s Golden Knights when he had both legs severed in a mid-air training accident 15 years ago. 9 months later, he became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the Army. He delivered the ball to Roger Staubach, who threw the first pitch of the game.

I couldn’t help feeling optimistic, even though the Rangers couldn’t seem to get anything started at first. The guy sitting next to us kept joking around and saying things like, “Okay, Little Miss Rangers’ blog, their pitcher’s got a no-hitter going. It’s not looking good.” But I’d just say, “Don’t worry about it. We’ll be alright.”

In the bottom of the 7th, Shaun Marcum walked Josh Hamilton, and I knew it was all over for the Toronto Blue Jays. Vlad followed with the first hit of the game, a single. Runners on 1st and 2nd, down 0-3, Nelson Cruz coming up to bat.

I turned to my dad and said, “Nelly is exactly who you want coming up to bat in this situation!” And he came through, hitting a 3-run homer and tying the game 3-3!

Then in the top of the 8th, the Blue Jays got another run across. But I still wasn’t too worried. I just knew the Rangers could do it!

Bottom of the 9th, down 3-4, we had to do something. And Michael Young was leading off. No problem.

Young started the rally by leading off with a double. Josh Hamilton struck out. Vlad got a single, and we had runners at the corners with 1 out. Then Nelson Cruz came up to bat, and he tied the game up for the 2nd time that afternoon (4-4) by hitting a double, scoring Young and moving Vlad to 3rd base.

The Rangers put in David Murphy to pinch-run for Vlad, and the Blue Jays intentionally walked Chris Davis to load the bases. So it was gonna fall to the bottom 2 guys in the order to get something done. When Saltalamacchia stepped into the batter’s box, I noticed Joaquin Arias warming up in the on-deck circle. Uh-oh. I prayed for Salty to take care of business.

But no need to worry. Salty hit a screamer to the base of the wall in center field, which scored Murphy from 3rd. And those 90 feet were all we needed, even though that hit would have been at least a double. The Rangers won it in walk-off fashion, 5-4. Uh-may-zing!!

The Rangers have an off day today, but they’ll be playing game 2 against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night, then they’ll finish off the series on Thursday afternoon. Next the Mariners will be coming in for Fri-Sat-Sun, and I’ll be at the game on Saturday night.

So I’ve been to 2 Rangers games in 2010, and we’ve won them both!

My Rangers’ record: 2-0
Rangers’ overall record: 1-0
Days ’til my next game: 4

Lots o stuff

Wow. Just yesterday I posted my prediction for the Opening Day rotation, but last night I checked TR Sullivan’s blog and found out that I was apparently completely off. The lefties and righties are still interspersed, like I predicted they would be, but their placement does not appear to reflect skill level. Just to recap, this is what I predicted:

Rich Harden (R)
Scott Feldman (R)
Matt Harrison (L)
Colby Lewis (R)
C.J. Wilson (L)

Here’s what Mike Maddux envisions for the 2010 rotation:

Rich Harden (R)
C.J. Wilson (L)
Scott Feldman (R)
Matt Harrison (L)
Colby Lewis (R)

Rich Harden
Both rotations list Rich Harden as the ace. Duh. But everything else is different.
Usually, the starting rotation reflects a pitcher’s skill level. You’ll often hear the terms “top-of-the-rotation pitcher” and “back-of-the-rotation pitcher” when speaking of starters, and it is generally understood that pitchers at the top of the rotation are more skilled than the pitchers at the back of the rotation.

CJ Wilson

C.J. has done an amazing job in Spring Training, and he has a lot of years of experience in professional baseball either as a starter or reliever. But he does not qualify as a No. 2 starter. For Pete’s sake, he’s been competing for a job all Spring Training! Yeah, he’s worked as a starter in the past, but those experiments all failed. Until he proves himself as a starter, he shouldn’t be our No. 2 man. He should be our No. 5 man.
Scott Feldman
Scott Feldman was guaranteed a starting job at the end of the 2009 season. He should be the Rangers’ No. 2 starter. Given, Feldman didn’t begin the 2009 season in the starting rotation, but he was our best pitcher last year. He had a 17-win season! Come on, people!
Colby Lewis
Colby Lewis is the Rangers’ only pitcher with a multi-year contract. He has been tearin’ it up in Japan for the last 2 years. He was guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation in 2010. And Maddux puts him as the No 5 starter??? I had him as the No. 4 starter, but only because I wanted to diversify the rotation with a lefty. As far as talent goes, he should be the No. 3 starter of this Rangers’ rotation.
Matt Harrison
Sure, Matt Harrison spent most of the 2009 season on the DL. But he was one of the Rangers’ starting pitchers on Opening Day in 2009, and he amazed in the Arizona Fall League immediately after the end of the 2009 regular season. Plus, he comes into 2010 a full 30 pounds lighter than he was in 2009. That shows dedication. But we knew Harrison was competing for a spot as a back-of-the-rotation starter, so it doesn’t really hurt my feelings that Maddux lists Harrison as his No. 4 man. I only had him at No. 3 because he’s a lefty.

So, to summarize, I think my rotation is better. But then again, Mike Maddux has a pretty stellar reputation. I mean, look at what he did for the Rangers’ pitching staff in his very first year as pitching coach: he brought the team ERA down a whole run. That’s pretty impressive! I trust his judgement, but there was so way I could let this slide without getting my 2 cents in first.

I would also like to interject here at Evan Grant’s projected starting rotation is identical to mine. Grant came up with his prediction on Monday, March 22, but I looked at it just now, and it looks exactly like mine! I guess great minds think alike! It also goes to prove that my assumptions weren’t completely baseless.

Tommy Hunter

On a related note, Tommy Hunter finally admitted today that he won’t be able to open the season as one of the Rangers’ starters. TR Sullivan predicted this first late last week, almost immediately after his injury last Thursday evening.

Anyway, today Tommy grudgingly admitted that he wouldn’t be ready by Opening Day. But he does think he’ll be ready by April 8, just 3 days later. Wishful thinking?? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

With the starting rotation pretty much figured out, Evan Grant has predicted the following 7 players for the Rangers’ bullpen: RHP Frank Francisco (closer), RHP Neftali Feliz, LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Darren O’Day, RHP Brandon McCarthy, RHP Dustin Nippert, and RHP Doug Mathis.

Jamey Newberg thinks it will be RHP Frank Francisco (closer), RHP Neftali Feliz, LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Darren O’Day, RHP Dustin Nippert, RHP Doug Mathis, and RHP Chris Ray.

As much as I admire Evan and Jamey, I think the Rangers will need more than one lefty in the bullpen. Darren Oliver is a fabulous pitcher, but I’m not sure he will be able to fill all of the club’s needs for a lefty reliever by himself.

Derek Holland

Derek Holland will almost certainly find himself starting in AAA. The Rangers will want to keep him stretched out as a starter in case he’s needed in the Bigs in 2010. Ben Snyder seems to be the only other viable lefty option, but he has been unimpressive so far in Spring Training. Maybe Jon Daniels will sort through other teams’ “trash piles” and grab another lefty reliever off waivers or the Rule 5 Draft. JD’s always got something up his sleeves. 🙂

Brandon McCarthy
While I agree that Brandon McCarthy is worthy of the big league club, he may prefer to stay a stretched out as a starter down in AAA rather than join the big league ballclub. Doug Mathis can fill the Rangers’ needs for a long reliever/spot starter. And I don’t know anything about Chris Ray, since he was only acquired by the Rangers this off-season (received in the trade for Kevin Millwood).

In other news, the Rangers have made what appears to be a bit of progress in finding a utility infielder. Hernan Iribarren, who was nabbed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers, cleared waivers with the Rangers today and was outrighted to AAA. So apparently they don’t see Iribarren making the big league club.

Also today, the Rangers announced that they had traded pitcher Edwar Ramirez (recently acquired from the Yankees and rumored to be trade bait) to the Oakland Athletics for infielder Gregorio Petit. Petit’s experience has been primarily at shortstop, which is what the Rangers have been looking for.

This search for a utility infielder has been exhausting. The Rangers will need 2 guys to do what Omar Vizquel (SS/2B/3B) and Hank Blalock (1B) did last year. First there was an almost-trade for Mike Lowell (1st/3rd baseman) in the early off-season, but he failed the physical, so that put the kibosh on those dealings. Then we got Khalil Greene, and it looked like everything was going to be just fine.

Wrong.

The Rangers had an influx of new infielders vying to win the SS/2B job, but they all seemed to be lacking. Joe Inglett, Mitch Hilligoss, Hernan Iribarren, and Erik Morrison joined Esteban German, Joaquin Arias, and Ray Olmedo in the pursuit of a utility infielder for the Rangers. But none of them were a very good fit.

Now that a month of Spring Training has passed, Matt Brown is looking like the frontrunner for the backup 1st/3rd baseman, and he has shown quite a bit of pop in his bat this Spring Training. Could Gregorio Petit be the SS/2B the Rangers have been searching for?

TR Sullivan doesn’t think so. He predicts that Petit will play SS in AAA, now that Ray Olmedo has been traded away. And apparently, the Rangers are still looking at veteran infielders Augie Ojeda (Diamondbacks), Ramon Vazquez (Pirates), Kevin Frandsen (Giants), and Willie Bloomquist (Royals).

Ian Kinsler

Ian Kinsler is planning to get into a Spring Training game next Monday, March 29. This will give him one week to practice in game situations before Opening Day. This sounds great. I just hope Kinsler’s ankle really is okay by Monday, and he doesn’t cause more health problems for himself that end up keeping him out of regular season games. If he does have to miss, I guess we’ll be seeing our newly minted utility infielder sooner than we thought!

 
The only other question remaining for the starting lineup? Catcher. It will be the best/healthiest two out of Salty, Taylor Teagarden, and Matt Treanor. Who knows?

I just know I’m excited for the season to start. Vlad Guerrero in a Rangers jersey!!! SqueeeeEEEEE!!!

12 days ’til Opening Day!!

Rangers’ Awards Banquet 1-29-10: Part 2

The ceremony
I reluctantly left the players behind and went to our table at around 6:45. Our table was at the front, but all the way to the right, so it was hard to see. There were 2 big screens on the sides of the room, though, and our table was in front of one of these screens.
I took my seat between TR and Annette Leslie, trying to regain my bearings after meeting a bajillion of my idols mere minutes before. As the resident “fat girl” (don’t worry, I say this with love), it was my duty to first notice the individual servings of chocolate cheesecake with raspberries located at everybody’s place setting.

I immediately elbowed TR. “Ooh, that looks good!” I said, my eyes wide. He laughed.

Annette was obviously worried about her speech, and she kept going over her notes and fidgeting. I am always the “fixer” among my friends and family, so I started trying to help Annette feel more relaxed by encouraging her and patting her arm and smiling at her. Focusing on her helped me deal with my nerves.

I grabbed my purse to get some Burt’s Bees lip balm (because I’m seriously addicted), and I thought to check my phone. It was a good thing that I thought about it, because my brother Matt had called me, just to make sure I made it to the hotel safely. I told you guys he was a good brother!

Dave Barnett and his wife

Dave Barnett and his wife were the first to our table, and Eleno Ornelas and his guest were next. Dave does the radio program with Eric Nadel most of the time, but he sits in for Josh Lewin on the television side occasionally too. And Eleno broadcasts the Rangers’ games in Spanish.
Eleno Ornelas and guest
Next Josh Lewin came over to say hi to Dave Barnett, and TR asked him if he’d met me yet. “Yeah,” he said, “I met her when she was standing with the other Katie.” Meaning Katie Hamilton, of course. “And the other Josh,” I said. He smiled and nodded.
 
Josh Lewin (left) and Richard Durrett
The last to join our table was Richard Durrett, from ESPN Dallas. I just like him. He’s always really nice, and I really enjoy the way he writes. He always make me forget I’m reading a story, and I’m just in the story. So bravo, Richard.
Eric Nadel
Anyway, Eric Nadel was the night’s emcee, so he started us off with a welcome and explained that we were going to have dinner first before the awards ceremony. Everybody seems to want to know what we had to eat, so I made sure to include all the details.
Josh Lewin started passing a gravy boat around our table that was filled with a salad dressing that tasted very similar to Ranch, but it wasn’t exactly Ranch. I don’t know what it was, but it was good. The salad was topped with 2 spears of asparagus that were criss-crossed, and they were good too. They weren’t quite raw; I could tell that they had been cooked, but they were still really crisp. Dude, I sound like a food critic!
After the salad came the main course, which was a pecan-crusted chicken breast accompanied by some kind of sauce. It came with mashed potatoes that had been put in one of those bags like the cake decorators use and was squeezed out to make a cute little decorative blob. The mashed potatoes were orange, but they didn’t taste like they had any flavoring. So maybe it was just food coloring.

There were also about half a dozen green beans and a mid-sized carrot wrapped in a thin slice of cucumber. It looked really pretty, but when I tried to cut the green beans with my fork, they wouldn’t cut. I believe that if you have to have a knife to eat your cooked vegetables, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear. So that’s what I did.

And the chocolate cheesecake was divine. TR finished his meal before I did, and he glanced over at me and said, “You can eat your dessert now.” “I know,” I said, “I’m excited!” He just smiled at me, rolled his eyes, and shook his head.

When we were still eating the salad, I noticed Jarrod Saltalamacchia had come over to our table to say hi to Josh Lewin. I elbowed TR again. “Hey, that’s Salty!” I breathed, as if he were a wild animal and if I spoke to loudly I might spook him. “Yeah,” TR said, “you want to meet him? Hey Jarrod!”

He spun around, saw TR, and headed toward us. “I want you to meet my friend Katie,” TR said. Salty bent over his 6’4″ frame and stuck his hand out, his head about a foot from mine. “Hi,” I said shyly, glancing up at his mop of curly hair. “Can I just…?” I asked, inching my hand towards the top of his head. “Sure,” he said, ducking his head down so I could pat his hair. And it was awesome!

I had noticed when I saw him earlier that his hair was quite a bit longer than usual, and it’s really curly, so he had kind of a ‘fro going on. “It’s crazy; I need to cut it,” he said, grinning. “No, it’s great!” I said, all the while thinking: Dude, I just patted Salty’s head! What the heck?!

Craig and Annette Leslie
While we ate dinner, I talked to Annette. TR had told me that Annette and Craig were the parents of Carson Leslie, who had recently died of leukemia. “So tell me about Carson,” I said. Annette said that Carson was diagnosed when he was 14, and that he had been fighting for 3 years before he finally lost his battle 2 1/2 weeks ago.
I was horror-stricken. Two and half weeks ago? I don’t know how she was able to go out in public. But she was so strong! When she talked about Carson, a feeling of calm would come over her face and she would smile with her eyes.

“Carson met Michael Young at a charity golf event for Wipe Out Kids Cancer,” she said, and they became good friends. Three weeks ago, Michael came over to their house to spend time with Carson. She said they spent an hour huddled together on the couch trying to figure out how to sync their iPhones together to play some kind of game. “They kept working on it, but they couldn’t figure it out,” she said. “Oh, it’s so great that he came over to visit right before Carson passed!” I said, and she agreed.

She then told me that Carson had published a book right before he died called “Carry Me.” I am so excited to read this book!! You can go to http://www.carrymecarson.com/ to order it. So go do it. Now. I’ll wait.

After we had all finished our dessert and were waiting for the ceremony to start, Annette and Craig said they were going to check out the silent auction that was just outside. “Ooh, I haven’t seen it yet! I’ll go with you!” I said.
Vlad Guerrero!!!
They were selling Rangers’ t-shirts at a table outside the banquet room, as well as several items up for auction. There were Rangers autographed pictures and memorabilia, as well as a few a few Cowboys items and other random stuff. As I was looking over the items, Annette came up to me and asked if I wanted to borrow her wrap. “I’m wearing this sweater already,” she explained, “so I don’t really need it.”
 
“Thank you, yes, I would LOVE to borrow this!” I said, amazed by her generosity. Some of my friends had offered to let me borrow wraps or pashminas to wear to the banquet, but I had turned them down, thinking it was just something else for me to potentially lose. In the half hour that I had been at the banquet, though, I had started to feel self-conscious because my dress was sleeveless and I was feeling kind of exposed. It was also a bit cooler in the banquet room than I had expected, so I had started wishing I had brought a wrap for the warmth. I don’t know how she read my mind, but she did, and I really appreciated it!

Evan Grant and Michael Young

At some point during the ceremony, Michael Young slipped off stage for a little bit to watch the ceremony on one of the big screens with Evan Grant. As soon as I spotted him, I tapped Annette and pointed, because he wasn’t supposed to know that she was there. She glanced over to where I was pointed, saw Michael, and her eyes got big. She mouthed “Thank you!” to me and immediately turned around so that Michael wouldn’t see her. And she waited for him to leave. And waited. And waited.
Rich Harden, Evan Grant, Michael Young
A few minutes later, Rich Harden joined Michael and Evan. And they still made no move to go back up onstage. So we waited some more. Every so often, Annette would look at me and mouth, “Is he still there?” I would nod and roll my eyes. He finally went back up onstage
Dale Hanson
They spent some time honoring Jim Reeves, aka “Revo”, who just recently retired from the Fort Worth Star Telegram after many years covering the Rangers. Dave Hanson even took part in his “roast.”

When Eric Nadel called TR Sullivan up to the stage to say a few words about “Revo,” TR started walking towards the stage, but then he turned back to me and smiled and held out his hand in a “stop” gesture. I was confused. Then I heard Eric Nadel say, “And TR has a special guest with him tonight, Katie Brownfield. She is a big Rangers fan and was in a bad car accident 5 years ago…” I don’t even remember everything that he said, I was just thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s talking about me!’ When he finished, I stood up for a second and waved, because I could see everyone looking around and craning their necks trying to figure out who he was talking about. Crazy!!

Annette Leslie
Michael Young’s Player of the Year Award was the last one given of the evening, and Annette did a fabulous job, just like I knew she would. She gave a moving speech explaining Carson came to know Michael, and how good a friend Michael became to Carson over the years. 
Michael Young, looking all humble 🙂
My favorite part was the story of how Carson and Michael’s first meeting. At that first charity event, Carson had contributed a painting of pinstripes with the number “2” (representing Derek Jeter) to the charity’s auction. Michael Young and Kevin Millwood got into a bidding war to buy it. 
 
Michael and Annette embrace
Michael won, but Carson painted another one just like it to give Kevin Millwood. So sweet!
Then, Michael went above and beyond. He took the painting to Derek Jeter and had him sign it, then he gave the painting back to Carson the next year. And that painting is still hanging over Carson’s bed in his room.

Okay, this is getting pretty long, so I guess this is as good a place to stop as any. I think Part 3 will be mainly stuff that happened after the banquet ended, but if I remember anything else from the banquet, I might add it in there next time too.

Stuff

I didn’t include this in my other post because I didn’t get it until the Monday after Christmas, but it’s freakin’ awesome, so it definitely deserves a mention…

My friend Helen got me a framed autographed 8 1/2 x 11 photograph of Pudge!!! It’s a glossy color picture of him decked out in his Rangers’ uniform and all his catching gear, crouched behind the plate during a game. The autograph is in blue Sharpie and it says “Ivan Rodriguez” with “Pudge” written below it in quotation marks. Love it!!

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So Elvis Andrus may not want to be my friend on Facebook, but a bunch of other Rangers do! I know they’re not really my friends; it’s just Facebook, but still, it makes me feel special.

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Evan Grant announced the Rangers’ Winter Caravan dates yesterday. The Rangers will be making over 40 public appearances spanning the next month throughout North/East Texas and into Oklahoma. I’m planning to try to go to about half a dozen autograph sessions. Good times!

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Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar did NOT make it into the Hall of Fame this year. Better luck next year, guys! I know you can do it!

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In honor of Tommy Hunter, I just wanna say GO ‘BAMA! ROLL TIDE!! I’m sorry, Taylor Teagarden, but I hope they beat the hell outta those stinkin’ Longhorns today. Gig ’em!!

World Series Game 1, Random Rangers Thoughts

Last night was Game 1 of the World Series, and the Phillies won!! And they didn’t just barely skate in for the win; they completely dominated. Cliff Lee was the starting pitcher for the Phillies last night, and he pitched a complete game. CC Sabathia started for the Yankees, and he did a pretty good job, but he was nothing compared to Cliff Lee. The Phillies were leading 6-0 going into the bottom of the 9th, but the Yankees were able to score a single run, keeping them from getting shut out. The final score 6-1. It was awesome!

The Rangers met with CJ Wilson at the end of the 2009 season and talked to him about possibly going back to a starting role. Which is very interesting. I think CJ could be a good starter, but we have a lot of options for the starting rotation in 2010. As things stand, we’ve got Kevin Millwood and Scott Feldman for sure, and the remaining 3 slots could be filled by: one of our other starters from 2009 (Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Brandon McCarthy, or Dustin Nippert), Guillermo Moscoso or Luis Mendoza (who were starters in AAA), or by Neftali Feliz (being groomed to be a starter). Ron Washington also apparently wants to acquire a veteran starter, and Ben Sheets’ name is being tossed around yet again.

Rusty Greer confirmed that he recently interviewed with the Texas Rangers to take over Rudy Jaramillo’s former job as batting coach. Although Rusty doesn’t have any MLB coaching experience, he was a beloved player for the Rangers who spent his entire career here and who was adored by the fans. He has been coaching baseball at the collegiate level for Texas Weslyan. Evan Grant wrote a rousing article campaigning for Greer to share the job with current Oklahoma City batting coach Scott Coolbaugh, but Joey Matschulat with the website Baseball Time in Arlington (bbtia.com) reports that Scott Coolbaugh isn’t even interviewing for the job. Interesting.

18-year-old Japanese pitching phenom Yusei Kikuchi decided last week that he was going into the Japanese Draft and that he would not take part in American MLB. The Rangers had sent Derek Holland over to Japan in hopes of luring Kikuchi to the Rangers, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

Originally published October 29, 2009 

ramblings

I feel like I’m going into withdrawal. I crave information about my Rangers, but I don’t know how to feed my addiction. I’d been watching the AL and NL division series playoff games on tv, and that helped a little. But that’s been over for a few days. I think the NL championship series is starting tomorrow, and the AL championship series is starting Friday, but this mini-drought has just reminded me that pretty soon, baseball will be finished. And I’ll have nothing to do for the next 6 months. I keep checking all of my baseball websites periodically, trying to get any information I can, but it’s pretty sparse.

Richard Durrett of the ESPN Rangers’ blog posted that the Arizona Fall League started their mini-season yesterday, and I know that several Rangers’ minor league prospects are playing in that, but I don’t know where I can get more information about it. He seems to have adjusted to ESPN very well, after leaving the DMN blog. He’s also been analyzing all of the Rangers’ players according to their defensive positions (i.e. 1st base, left field, catcher, etc.), and that’s been interesting to read.
Evan Grant
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News’ Rangers’ blog has started doing the same thing, only with letter grades for each individual player and with a little more detail. He’s still trying to make the transition from D Magazine’s Inside Corner blog (which was way cooler), so he’s got some changes to make with the DMN blog. But I’m enjoying anything that has to do with the Rangers right now, so even people just giving their opinions about certain players is captivating to me at this point. And I love getting Evan Grant’s opinion on anything baseball-related.

TR Sullivan
T.R. Sullivan posted yesterday that the Rangers’ organization fired 3 long-time employees yesterday, but I don’t know what that means. Two scouts got the axe, along with the equipment manager, and each had been with the Rangers for at least 6 years. There was no explanation as to why, so I don’t know if they were all involved in some kind of nefarious activity together and they got caught or if it’s just something simple like budget cuts.

BBTiA (Baseball Time in Arlington) always has great stuff to read, and it’s always pretty technical, so it takes me a while to digest and fully understand their postings. They break down the Rangers’ performance and go by the numbers and make charts and formulas and stuff, so it’s always entertaining to see what they come up with. They really put some serious effort into their postings!! For example, they’ll examine a group of pitching prospects in the Rangers’ organization, and they’ll pull up all the stats, including innings pitched at each minor league level, number of strike-outs/walks, ERA, etc. and compare it all in black and white. It’s really amazing what emerges when you look at all the numbers! And I love that they spend so much time with the research and stuff to back up their opinions.

I’m excited for the ALCS and the NLCS, but after all of my losing horses in the ALDS and NLDS, I’m hesitant to make my predictions. I know that rationally speaking, it makes absolutely no difference who I’m rooting for when it comes to the outcome of the games, but baseball is a very superstitious game. Okay, I’m just going to say it, like ripping off a Band-Aid. And anyone who has read my blog will know who my choices are anyway (not that anyone actually reads my blog). I’m rooting for the Angels to beat the Yankees in the American League, and I hope the Phillies beat the Dodgers in the National League.

I know the Angels are the Rangers’ rivals in the AL West, but I think they’re a really good team (apart from Mike Scioscia, of course). I even think Mike Scioscia is probably a great manager, he just personally kinda rubs me the wrong way. And I’ll root for just about anybody against the Yankees.

Vicente Padilla
The Phillies won the World Series last year, and it’s already well-known that I hate the Dodgers. But if the Dodgers and the Yankees are the winners and they end up playing each other in theWorld Series, I actually would rather the Yankees win. I couldn’t watch the World Series and root for the Yankees, because it goes against every fiber of my being. But the Yankees have won so many World Series, at this point, is it really gonna matter? I just don’t want Vicente Padilla to get a World Series ring. Punk.

Rudy Jaramillo
WHOA!!! This just in: Rudy Jaramillo will NOT be the Rangers’ hitting coach next year! The Rangers offered him a one-year contract, and he said ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ Huh! Interesting!