Tagged: Jon Daniels

The Michael Young Debacle

As soon as the Rangers got Adrian Beltre a few weeks ago, rumors started flying about a Michael Young trade. I tried to ignore it.

MY said he’d be okay with becoming the Rangers’ full-time DH/super-utility infielder/1B split with Mitch Moreland.

And yet the Rangers continued to pursue Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and Vladimir Guerrero, all DH’s. Whispers continued to swirl about trading Michael. Still I tried to ignore it.

Then the Rangers traded for Mike Napoli, who played mostly 1st base for the Angels last year. And the whispers got ever louder.

So I decided to write one blog about 2 weeks ago discussing the potential impact of the Napoli trade, and I thought that would be all I would write about the subject. I hate to beat a dead horse.

But last week, several media outlets began saying the same thing: The Rangers are talking to other clubs about trading Young. And what did I do? You guessed it: I tried to ignore it.

Yesterday, Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels confirmed via conference call that Michael has asked to be traded. Last night, Young spoke out as well. I can’t ignore it any more.

As much as I want Michael Young to spend his entire career in a Rangers’ uniform, I understand where he’s coming from. I touched on the reasons why we should and why we shouldn’t trade Young in my last blog.

But it appears to be getting ugly now. Michael feels that the Rangers weren’t straightforward with him, and he’s mad.

From his standpoint, the Rangers told him that they didn’t want to trade him, yet their actions told a different story.

Over the past 10 years, Young has moved from 2nd base to shortstop to 3rd base, and now he’s just expected to quietly accept the role of DH. That’s a lot of moving around for the sake of the team.

From the Rangers’ standpoint, they saw an opportunity to upgrade at 3rd base, and they took it. They feel like Young was okay with everything, then changed his mind and asked for the trade.

Nobody knows the whole truth from both sides of the coin, but this is what I think happened:

The Rangers put all of their eggs in Cliff Lee’s basket, then they freaked when he decided to go to the Phillies.

They started scrambling around to find another big-name free agent to show everybody that the Rangers, the defending AL champions, didn’t just sit on their laurels during the offseason.

So they went after a great player… a great 3rd baseman, even though the Rangers already had Michael Young at 3rd base for the next 3 years.

I can understand what the Rangers were trying to do. Adrian Beltre is undoubtedly the superior defensive player at 3rd base. But was it worth it to disrupt the harmony of the team to add a better player?

True, Michael Young’s baseball skills have started to drop off in the last few years. He’s 34 and he’s been in the Bigs for 10 years. It happens.

But he isn’t well suited to the DH position. He has a career batting average of .300, but he’s not a power hitter. His defensive ability has dropped from “really good” to “average,” but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t play in the field anymore.

I mean, come on, it’s not like he’s Vladimir Guerrero or something.

Most importantly, Michael’s value to the team isn’t limited to what he does on the field. His biggest impact is in the clubhouse.

Everybody on the team looks to Michael as the team leader. They take their cues from him. When something happens, they tend to gauge their own reactions by Michael’s reaction, and he brings them all together.

When the pictures from Josh Hamilton’s drunken evening surfaced in 2009, Michael was there for Josh. When word leaked about Ron Washington’s failed drug test last year, Michael was the first to speak up and offer support.

There are some people that think the clubhouse atmosphere is the most important part of a ball club. That a group of guys with a mediocre talent level can excel simply by how well they work together as a team.

Others don’t give team chemistry any credit, insisting that each individual player’s performance is what matters, not whether or not they have fun together or hang out before/after games.

I fall somewhere in the middle, but I’m closer to the “team chemistry” camp than the “individual performance” camp. I think it matters how well everyone gets along, because baseball is all about unity.

For example, in football, it’s completely normal to see a running back do a celebratory end zone dance after scoring a touchdown. It’s actually expected. They strut around and angrily chest-bump each other as a display of their superiority.

But in baseball, you don’t often see a player running around showing off how amazing he is. His teammates congratulate him, but when he’s interviewed after the game, he will almost always say something like “I couldn’t have done it without my team.”

We have seen Michael “take one for the team” over and over again in the past 10 years, and he’s finally had enough.

Both sides are frustrated, and I don’t think this is something that can be fixed easily.

The best situation for Young at this point is a trade. If the Rangers can trade Michael to another team where he can be an everyday player both offensively and defensively, the Rangers have a much better chance of mending fences with him.

Then the Rangers need to apologize to Michael (publically would bwe nice, but privately would work too). They need to tell him that they’re sorry if they misled him in any way or didn’t give him the whole truth, and that they wish him nothing but the best in all of his future endeavors.

They should stress that they’ve loved having him the last 10 years and that he has been an invaluable asset to the Texas Rangers. They should emphasize how truly sorry they are that a deal couldn’t be worked out to keep Michael with the Rangers. And they should be sincere!

But I don’t think the Rangers will be able to trade Young without assuming responsibility to a big chunk of his salary. He is owed $48 million over the next 3 years, and it’s not likely that new team will want to pay that.

If they can trade Young, it will be catastrophic for the Rangers’ clubhouse. Not to mention the fact that we won’t have a DH.

They have to at least try to trade him, because Michael isn’t be happy with the role he’s been handed, and that will only cause more problems down the road.

After May of this year, Young will be a 10 and 5 player (at least 10 years in the Bigs, at least 5 years with the same team), so the Rangers won’t be able to trade him. If they’re going to do it, they need to do it now.

I don’t foresee a miracle where Michael is suddenly okay with his new role, or where the Rangers suddenly find a full-time infield position for him here. So I guess they’ll have to trade him. But it’s not gonna be pretty.

Pitchers and catchers report in: 8 days

Non-Fan Fest stuff

First and foremost, I have to acknowledge that Manny Ramirez is NOT going to be playing for the Rangers for the 2011 season! YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

The morning after I posted my anti-Manny blog, I got in the car to head out to Fan Fest. On my way out to Arlington, I heard that Manny had signed a one year deal with the Rays. It was a great way to start off the day!!

The blog I wrote yesterday about Fan Fest was already so long that I didn’t get to address this other stuff. So here are some other things I’ve been thinking about.

It was announced on Sunday that the Rangers reached a deal with Darren O’Day, so that’s one less arbitration candidate that the Rangers have to worry about. Now the only 2 arbitration-eligible players who have yet to sign are Josh Hamilton and Frank Francisco.

I hope they don’t pay Frankie Frank a lot of money. After his monumental crash early last season and the subsequently unimpressive remainder of 2010, I kinda wish Frankie would go away. Instead of spending money on him, we could put money towards a better use.

I’m not sure why they can’t reach a deal with Josh Hamilton, because he was the AL MVP last year. He only wants $12 million, just pay it!

From what I understand, the arbitration process comes up with a salary placed on what similar players are getting around the league. But there’s no one to compare Josh Hamilton to; he’s the best.

Major League Baseball recognized him as the Most Valuable Player in the entire American League in 2010. So I don’t think it would be out of the question to find the guy with the highest salary in the AL, then pay Josh more than that. Seriously.

Alex Rodriguez made $33 million dollars last year, but he wasn’t the MVP. Josh Hamilton was. Josh Hamilton is only asking for $12 million in 2011. Just pay it! It’s better than $34 million!

They were fine with offering Adrian Beltre a 6-year/$96 million deal, so why not Hamilton? Well they probably shouldn’t offer Hamilton a 6-year contract, because he’s pretty injury-prone.

But how about a 3-year deal where they pay him $12 mil for 2011, $13 mil for 2012, and $14 mil for 2013? And add in lots of incentives based on the number of games he plays, homer he hits, his batting average, etc.

Now it’s easy for me to give Hamilton someone else’s money. But I thought the Rangers weren’t supposed to be cash-strapped any more. I think the Rangers need to realize that they’re looking a gift horse in the mouth, put on their big boy pants and pay the man.

So, was I the only one who was sad to hear that Vernon Wells will be with the Angels next year? I mean, how did the Rangers miss out on that one?

Vernon Wells is a beast, and I would absolutely LOVE to have him in a Ranger uniform. I mean, he’s FROM here!!

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, Vernon Wells was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the LA Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.

But maybe he wants a more active role that we would have available here in Texas. Wells is an outfielder, and the Rangers are pretty set in the outfield.

Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy, and Julio Borbon are our 4 outfielders, not to mention Mitch Moreland (if he’s not at 1B) and Craig Gentry waiting at AAA.

For at least the next 3 years, Adrian Beltre will be our 3rd baseman and Michael Young will be the DH. So we can’t put Wells at DH.

Wells also has 4 years left on his contract for a hefty $86 million dollars. I think any team would be leery about taking on a paycheck that big.

I get all the reasons why, but it’s still upsetting. I like Vernon Wells.

It makes me feel better to know that Wells didn’t chose to go to the Angels, though. It wasn’t like he was a free agent; he was traded. He was happy with the Blue Jays. Yes, he waived his no-trade clause to accept the trade, but he didn’t go seek them out.

Ooh, hey! I just got an email from Jamey Newberg saying that the Blue Jays have traded Mike Napoli to us for Frank Francisco! Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

But wait, isn’t Mike Napoli a catcher? We already have Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Treanor. I guess the Rangers’ recent lack of good catching taught them a lesson, and they don’t want that to happen again.

After having Salty spend so much time injured and Taylor Teagarden unable to step up, the Rangers were lucky that they were able to get Matt Treanor during Spring Training of 2010.

And then we had to go after Bengie Molina mid-season, and we traded Salty away. So I guess they want to make sure they don’t get caught in a lurch again.

Maybe Napoli can work as the other right-handed big bat the Rangers were hoping to add. So maybe he’ll DH on the days when Young is at 1B. Or something.

I don’t know how it’s all gonna work out, but I know that I like it. Way to go, JD!!!

Seriously, guys, how amazing is our GM?!? It’s all coming together, and I’m starting to really get pumped for the 2011 season!!

Pitchers and catchers report in: 22 days

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: Part 3

I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long to finish this, but I’ve been sidelined with the flu for most of the past week.

After the ceremony
When Eric Nadel announced the conclusion of the ceremony, I started looking for Annette Leslie so that I could give her back the wrap that she let me borrow. But she said, “It’s Rangers’ blue and it looks really good on you, so why don’t you just keep it?” How sweet is that?! She’s amazing.

TR told me that a bunch of people were going over to the hotel bar to get a drink afterwards, so we headed towards to back hallway to retrieve my coat. I brought a little bitty black purse that was very pretty, and I was trying to wrestle my phone out of it as I walked, so that I could call my brother and let him know what was going on. But if any of you know me, you know that I’m not coordinated at all, so I was finding this difficult.

I put on my coat and was following TR through the crowd when he stopped to greet Tommy Hunter. Tommy was in a great mood (I’m guessing that had something to do with the drink in his hand), and he was feeling no pain. TR asked me, “Katie, have you ever met Tommy Hunter?”

“Yes, I met you at Jamey Newberg’s thing a little over a month ago, and I even got a picture with you!” I told Tommy. “Well do you want another one??” Tommy asked, putting down his drink. “Sure!” I said as I handed my camera to TR.

I put down my purse so that I could take off my coat, and Tommy asked, “Whoa, wait a minute, what are you doing? I thought we were going to take a picture.” “We are,” I replied, “but I’m wearing a pretty dress, and I want it in the picture.” As I shrugged out of my coat, Tommy’s eyes got big. “Whoa, you sure are wearing a pretty dress!” he said. Why thank you, Tommy!

Tommy Hunter & me

I went to stand next to Tommy while TR tried to take the picture. But the flash wasn’t working, so I took the camera back to try to fix the settings. TR walked off to talk to Scott Feldman. “Why aren’t you acting like to like me?” Tommy asked. “I smiled really big in the picture, but you can’t see it because it didn’t come out,” I said, puzzled. “No, you’re not acting like you like me,” he said again.
“What do you mean?” I asked, as I gave the camera to (former Ranger) Curtis Wilkerson. “What do you want me to do to show that I like you?” “Well come here!” he replied, opening his arms wide. So I snuggled up to Tommy and Curtis took the picture. I think it turned out nicely, don’t you?
 
Tommy Hunter & Curtis Wilkerson
Then Curtis Wilkerson, who was in a very good mood too, wanted to show me what my proper response should have been when Tommy said I wasn’t acting like I like him. They were hilarious!
I knew TR wanted to go, so I set out to find him again, and I found him talking to Scott Feldman. “Katie, have to met Scott Feldman?” he asked.
“Actually, no,” I responded. “You were at Jamey Newberg’s book release party a while back, but you had to leave early, so I never got to meet you,” I explained. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. “Do you want a picture?”
Scott Feldman & me
I looked at poor TR, who was more than ready to leave, and raised my eyebrows as if to say, “Is it okay?” He rolled his eyes. “Alright,” he said, taking my camera once again. “It should work without a problem this time,” I reassured him. And he got a good shot of me with Scott Feldman! Yes, he’s tall. He’s 6’5″!
Then we finally left and headed to the hotel bar. I was still messing with my purse, trying to find my phone. Without success. {Sigh}
When we got down to the lobby, Annette and Craig Leslie, Jamey Newberg, and Eleanor Czajka were all together talking, and we met up with them. I immediately went up to Jamey Newberg and told him what I had wanted to tell him since before the ceremony, which was, “I can’t believe you know who I am!” “Sure!” he said. “I like how you just kind of jump around from topic to topic in your blog.”
“Whoa, wait a minute,” I said, putting my hand up to stop him. “You read my blog?? Seriously??” “Oh yeah,” he said, “we’ve gotta support each other.” “I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. Jamey Newberg reads my blog.” He just grinned.
Everybody began to migrate towards the bar, so I followed them into a small back room where Jim Reeves was already seated with his family. At this point, I was pretty sure I had lost my phone, but I used the opportunity to take everything out of my purse and make sure. Yep, it was gone.
I explained to TR that I had misplaced my phone, and I left my coat with him while I retraced my steps. First I checked around my seat at our table in the banquet room. Nada. Then I remembered that I had been fiddling with my purse after we left the table, and I started walking back to the back hallway to see if it had fallen out of my purse back there somewhere.
As I stepped towards the back hallway, I was interrogated since I didn’t have TR with me to grant me entrance. I explained that I had been back there earlier and was just looking for my phone. They reluctantly let me in and I started checking the floor. Jon Daniels saw me looking and said, “Hey Katie, did you lose something?” I explained to him about losing my phone while I tried to calm the voices in my head that were screaming, ‘Oh my God!! Jon Daniels remembered my name!!’
Then, he pulled out his Blackberry and said, “What’s your number?” I recited my number as I realized that Jon Daniels was going to call my phone. As I wandered around trying to hear it ringing, I thought, ‘Man, I really hope I find my phone! I’ll have Jon Daniels’ number!!’ But I couldn’t hear it ringing.
 
Then Tommy Hunter approached us. “What’s going on?” he asked. “I can’t find my phone,” I said. “Did you steal it, Tommy? Is that why you were hugging up on me, bacause you wanted to steal my phone?” I joked. “No, I swear I didn’t take it!!” he said, holding his hands up. “I know you didn’t, Tommy. I’m just messing with you.” “Okay, good.” What a sweetheart!
One of the security guards suggested that I talk to someone at the front desk, because if it was found, it would probably be turned in there. So I went back to the lobby to report my phone missing, then I went back to the bar.
As soon as I got back to the bar, everybody asked me, “Did you find your phone?” “No,” I said, “but Jon Daniels called it!” Then Jamey Newberg pulled out his phone and asked me for my number, so he could call it too! I gave it to him, but I couldn’t hear it ringing. ‘Geez,’ I thought, ‘if I get it back, I’ll have Jamey Newberg’s number too!’
Then TR let me borrow his phone so that I could call my brother. I couldn’t remember Matt’s cell phone number, so I had to call information to get the number of the hotel we were staying at. As the clerk at the hotel put me through to our room, I prayed that Matt would answer it. And after about 3 rings, he finally did!
“Hello?” he answered, sounding really unsure. I explained the situation with the missing phone, and he was really glad that I had called, because it was about 11:00 and he was wondering where I was.
With that taken care of, I joined everybody else back in the bar. I listened while Jamey talked to Eleanor about a certain player, and then Jamey turned to me and said, “You can’t put that on your blog!” I smiled at him. “Okay, I won’t,” I said. But it made me feel special, like I’m really a member of the media or something.
I had a drink with TR, and then I left a little while later. But I didn’t pay for my drink! I completely forgot! So I’m really sorry to whoever ended up paying for my drink!
I headed back to the hotel and ended up staying up until about 1:30 telling my brother all about it. He doesn’t really care about baseball, but he knew I was excited about it, so he listened for way longer than he should have. I was supposed to meet my friend Rachel and her fiancé John the next morning at the Ballpark for Fan Fest, but I didn’t know Rachel’s phone number and I had lost my phone. Matt agreed to go with me, so I wouldn’t have to go to the ballpark alone. My next entry will be all about Fan Fest, with pictures!

How did I get so lucky? AKA Rangers’ Awards Banquet 1-29-10: Part 1

Oh, wow. Just… wow. I’m gonna have to split this one up because there’s so much to talk about!

Awards day:
I took the day off work, so I would have time to get ready. I woke up at 10:00 and had an appointment for a mani/pedi at 11:00. (For all of you guys out there, that’s a manicure and pedicure.)

Then I went over to my friend Rachel’s so she could help me with my hair and make-up (she sells Mary Kay). She also helped me choose my jewelry and which shoes to wear.

After that, I called my brother, cause he agreed to come to Fort Worth with me so I wouldn’t have to stay by myself overnight. Such a good brother!

We headed out to Fort Worth at got there about 4:30. I started getting ready around 5:00 and left my hotel at 5:45.

Now, I’ve never been very girly, and I never think I look very good. I mean, I love baseball, for Pete’s sake! I obviously don’t get dolled up very often. But let me just come out and say it: I looked amazing. I never look that good. But I was smokin’ hot, even if I do say so myself. 🙂 Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I can tell you about my evening.

TR Sullivan was already waiting in the lobby of the Omni Hotel in when I got there, and he gave me my ticket. Then he told me we were waiting for Annette and Craig Leslie, because Annette was a surprise guest to present Michael Young with this Player of the Year Award.

Annette and Craig arrived about 10 minutes later, and TR handed them their tickets and explained the process. We said “see you later” to them and started upstairs to the banquet room.

As we were walking through the lobby towards the escalators, I saw Rusty Greer talking to someone just inside the front doors. I elbowed TR and said “That’s Rusty Greer!” We walked over to him and waited while he quickly finished his conversation.

Then I stuck my hand out and blubbered something like, “Hi Rusty, I’m a huge fan! You probably don’t remember me, but I’ve met you a couple of times before, and I just love you!” Or something to that extent.

Just FYI, I did a lot of ‘gushing’ and ‘blurting’ and ‘blubbering’ throughout the night. I felt like my mouth wasn’t quite connected to my brain.

But Rusty surprised me by saying, “Yes, I remember you.” I don’t know if he really did remember or if he was just being nice, but it made me feel good!

I followed TR upstairs, where we met a nice lady who offered to take us where we were going. “It’s kind of confusing, so just follow me.” I still didn’t know what was going on, so I just followed.

Pre-Awards Meet-and-Greet:
She led us through a curtain into a long hallway that was filled with people. As I looked around, I started noticing baseball players everywhere!! It dawned on me that we were in an exclusive area where we would get to hobnob with all of the Rangers until the event started!

As I was walking through the all people towards the back, I saw Kasey Kiker, my favorite minor league prospect. I grabbed his arm. “Kasey Kiker!! I love you!” I blurted out.

He responded, “Well I love you too. Who are you?” Ha ha ha! “My name is Katie, and I’m just a huge fan. You’re my favorite RoughRider,” I said. “Well thank you so much, I really appreciate that,” he said.

I continued towards the back to hang up my coat. TR stopped to talk to Jeff Wilson from the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and he introduced us. “Oh yeah, I recognize you from your picture next to your posts on the blog,” I said.

Jeff said he was just about to interview Kasey Kiker, and I started gushing all over again. “I just love him!” I said. “Do you have a pen?” Jeff asked. “Yeah, sure,” I said, thinking he wanted to use it to take notes during the interview.

Then Kasey came over, said hi to me again, and shook my hand. Jeff looked at me and said, “Well, get his autograph!” I stammered, “Oh, I thought you needed it,” and I reached in my purse again to get my notepad.

Kasey seemed a little nervous too, maybe because he’s not used to people recognizing him, [or maybe because of how gorgeous I looked :)], but he finally signed the autograph. Yay!!

I spotted Jamey Newberg as I headed toward the coat rack, and he glanced at me. “Hi Jamey,” I said. I’ve been reading his blog for a while, so of course I know who he is. But then he surprised me.

“Hi Katie,” he answered. What? Jamey Newberg knows who I am?? Are you freaking kidding me???

After hanging up my coat in the back of the hallway, TR started introducing me to everybody. He was so great all night!! We would run into somebody, and TR would say, “Hey Katie, have you ever met [fill in the blank]?”

First was, “Hey, have you ever met Eric Nadel?” I shook Eric’s hand, and then we started talking about some doctors he had recently seen in the department where I work. He was very nice, and we even talked about another secretary that I work with that just had knee replacement surgery.

TR introduced me to Jon Daniels next, and JD said, “Yeah, we met a few weeks ago!” He actually remembered me!! “Yeah,” I said. “I told you that I’m going to be working for you someday.” “That’s right,” he said, and he smiled at me.

Michael Young was next. I don’t think I’ve ever met him before, but my mind was reeling, so I don’t think I said much to him.

Then came the Big Kahuna. TR said, “Katie, have you ever met Nolan Ryan?” I couldn’t even speak; I just shook my head. Then TR said, “Nolan, this is my friend Katie Brownfield. Katie, this is Nolan Ryan.” Wow.

Then Nolan Ryan shook my hand!!! I honestly don’t even remember what I said to him. It’s all kind of blank after that.

Until I spotted Katie Hamilton. She’s a little bitty thing, and so pretty! I rushed over to her and started gushing about how I was reading Josh’s book and how I had so much respect for what she went through with him. I quickly explained who I was and about the story that TR wrote about me.

Then Josh came over, and Katie said, “Have you met my husband Josh?” As if he was just some Joe Blow off the street.

And Josh looked fabulous, of course. He peered down at me from atop his 6’4″ frame with a lopsided grin. He was wearing a sport coat,but he had no tie on. He wore his white long-sleeved button-up shirt with the top button undone at his throat.

I explained that I had met Josh at a Winter Caravan autograph signing a couple of weeks ago, and how I had mentioned to him then that my name was Katie too, just like his wife. “Oh yeah, now I remember!” he said.

Then Katie started explaining to him about my accident. Josh’s eyes got big and his eyebrows arched up. “Whoa, ” he said, clearly taken aback. “Well, it was 5 years ago, ” I said. “I’ve obviously gotten a lot better since then!”

Josh Lewin came up to say hi to Josh and Katie Hamilton, and they introduced me. Josh Hamilton asked his wife, and then me, if we had any gum or mints or anything. “I feel like I need something. My mouth is dry. I need some water or something.”

And I had to tell the great Josh Hamilton that I didn’t have anything. “I have some Burt’s Bees lip balm; that’s about it, ” I said. Bummer.

Josh Lewin left to get him some water, and I told Josh and Katie Hamilton, “I can’t believe I get to do this. I’m standing like 2 feet away from all these baseball players! It’s surreal.” And Josh just looked at me and shrugged and said, “We’re just people.”

“My brain gets that, but it’s a little harder to deal with when I’m standing here with all of you,” I said. Craig Gentry walked by next, and I said blurted out, “Oh my gosh, Craig Gentry, I love
you!”

He heard his name and looked at me. “Hey, how’s it going?” He said, smiling sweetly and bobbing his head at me. Then Craig saw Josh Hamilton, and he said hi to him before heading off through the crowd.

Then I spotted Elvis Andrus. He opted to wear a tan suit, instead of the traditional blue or black, and it looked great on him. “Oh my gosh,” I exclaimed to Katie, “that’s Elvis!”

So Josh just called him over. Elvis hugged Josh first, then me. Elvis’ cologne was kinda strong, so I kept catching whiffs of it for the next 5 minutes or so!! Wow! I couldn’t think of anything else to say to him, so I blurted out, “Why won’t you be my friend on Facebook? I keep asking but you keep ignoring me.”

But Elvis didn’t answer. There was a lot of stuff going on, and Josh started telling Elvis that he looked good, and that his muscles looked bigger. “You too,” Elvis said to Josh. “I couldn’t even button the top button on this shirt tonight,” Josh said, “so I couldn’t wear a tie.” Oh, so that explains it!

Then they started rounding up the players to make their entrance, as well as the wives to be seated together at one of the tables. Josh and Katie were so cute; they kissed before they went their separate ways! Awww!

Then Katie Hamilton looked at me and said, “It was so nice to meet you!” And she hugged me! She asked, “If I Google your name, will I be able to find your blog?” I told her yes, that if she Googled me, the article that TR wrote would come up, and that my blog was linked in the article. She was so sweet!!

Now whether she’ll actually remember to look me up in another question, but she was really nice!

Then I made my way inside with TR to find our table.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

I don’t even know anymore

I was under the impression that the Texas Rangers were extremely strapped for cash, mainly because that’s what everybody has been saying. Not that I think “everybody” was lying, I just really think I’ve been confused as to how a baseball budget works.

When I was growing up, “we’re on a tight budget” meant that we rarely ate out, we didn’t expect toys more expensive than $20 unless it was our birthday, and all of our family vacations were spent in a camper. But somehow, Jon Daniels keeps digging in the couch cushions and finding a few million more dollars. Kudos, JD. I’m not that talented. He seriously should teach a class on “creative budgeting,” because I could certainly use a couple million to tide me over.

I was surprised to hear that we had $5.5 million to offer Vlad Guerrero. Then Darren Oliver got $3.5 mil. We added Colby Lewis for $1.75 million. Brandon McCarthy got a raise to $1.32 million, which is double the $650,000 he made last year. CJ Wilson is getting $3.1 million, up from the $1.85 mil he made last year.

And Josh Hamilton is getting a staggering $3.25 mil., after pulling in only $555,000 in 2009. That’s a 585% increase. I’d gladly take a 1% increase on my salary. Which is not much, believe me.

I haven’t gotten a raise since August of 2008. My rent has gone up twice since then.

Sorry. When I started out writing this blog entry, I didn’t mean for it to turn into a bitter diatribe. What I meant to convey is that throwing around a couple million here and a couple million there isn’t a “tight budget” to me. Granted, it isn’t the tens of millions that teams like the Yankees throw around, but it’s still shocking.