Tagged: Josh Lewin

Just Say No

A few days ago, I started hearing rumblings about the Rangers and Manny Ramirez. Uh oh…

Last year, the same rumors began to circulate after Manny was put on waivers in late August. I prayed fervently that Manny would stay away. And he went to the Chicago White Sox, so the Rangers escaped unscathed.

I can only wait and hope the same thing happens again this year.

With the signing of Adrian Beltre, something like this was bound to happen. With Michael Young moving to DH/1B, Vladdy was practically guaranteed not to re-sign with the Rangers. Vladdy wants to play every day, and that’s not gonna happen on the Rangers in the near future.

So the Rangers are looking for a big right-handed bat to come off the bench late in games. (They want him to be right-handed because Mitch Moreland is a lefty, and Moreland would be riding the bench if Michael Young was in the game at 1B.)

Jim Thome was a possibility, but he’s a lefty. And he also decided to re-sign with the Twins for 2011, so he’s no longer an option.

There aren’t too many veteran righties left on the market at this point. It’s pretty much down to Vladdy and Manny. And we already know that Vladdy wants a more active role.

{Sigh}

I’m not saying that I won’t root for the Rangers if Manny is playing here, or even that I won’t root for him when he’s up to bat, but I’d rather have someone else.

I used to like Manny. I remember when the Red Sox has their heyday in the early 2000’s (culminating with their World Series win in 2004), and I loved to watch Manny alongside Johnny Damon and Big Papi.

But soon after, I started hearing lots of negative things about Manny. He publicly discussed his displeasure with the BoSox and requested a trade. It was suggested that he was not a team player.

Then during a game in 2008, Manny was shown slapping teammate Kevin Youkilis during a spat in the dugout. He had another altercation with the Red Sox’s traveling secretary, with Ramirez allegedly pushing him to the ground.

He also stopped hustling on the field, and Red Sox fans assumed it was because of his desire to be traded. But it may have had something to do with sore knees. Who knows?

Manny spent most of the next 3 years with the Dodgers, which just caused me to like him even less. I hate the Dodgers. They’re my least favorite NL team, and their my 2nd most hated team in all of baseball (behind the Yankees, of course).

During the 2009 season, Manny was suspended for 50 games because he voilated a drug test. He tested positive for HCG, which is a female pregnancy hormone thought to help reset an athlete’s body after a steroid cycle.

Later in the 2009 season, it was released that Manny had also failed a drug test in 2003.

The Dodgers put him on waivers in late August, and on August 30 of 2010, Manny was claimed by the Chicago White Sox. His performance for them was decidedly lackluster during his 24 games. Now he’s a free agent, and the threat of Manny looms on the horizon.

TR Sullivan reported today that the Rangers, Angels, and Rays are all in the mix for Manny. MLBtraderumors.com agrees, they report that the Rays are also discussing a deal with Johnny Damon. So if the Rays get Damon, does that mean they’ll quit pursuing Manny? {Gulp}

Manny is reportedly very focused on baseball, and he’s had some amazing stats. But if he’s been taking steroids for at least the last 7 years, his accomplishments are greatly diminished.

With all of the stunts he’s pulled in the last decade, I’d just rather not have him in Texas. Period.

In other news, John Rhadigan has been named to replace Josh Lewin as the play-by-play announcer on television. I think I like this, but I won’t be able to give a definitive diagnosis until after I hear him call a few games.

You know who I would love to see calling games on tv? Steve Busby. I love when they bring him in to talk pitching. But he probably would need to be the color guy as opposed to the play-by-play guy.

I love Tom Grieve; he’s a very nice guy and he’s Mr. Ranger. But I would prefer Busby over Greive any day. Can’t you just imagine Buzz and Rhads together?

Well of course you can, because you’ve seen them do pre- and post-game shows together. It would be awesome, I’m telling you.

Maybe some day.

This weekend is the first 2-day Rangers’ Fan Fest, and I’m excited/nervous. It’s at the Arlington Convention Center this year, which is definitely different from having it at the Ballpark. But last year it didn’t get above freezing all day at Fan Fest, and spending most of the day outside was not easy.

So at least we won’t be cold this year. But I’m dreading all the running back and forth. I’ve seen the layout, and it looks like I’m going to be running around or standing in line all day tomorrow. All by myself, because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me. Great.

A crushed pelvis + arthritis + a long time on my feet = lots of pain for Katie. And since it’s a 2-day thing, if I get up on Sunday morning incredibly sore and beat up, I’m screwed. But it’s a new experience, so we’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll bring my cane.

I just need to remember that if I don’t get somebody’s autograph, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll get it later. I shouldn’t push myself too hard, but just try to have fun! Woo hoo!!!

Oh, I just remembered that I hadn’t told you about the autographs I got last weekend. The Rangers Winter Caravan made a stop at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco (I LOVE that place!), and there were a lot of guys signing autographs.

For myself: David Murphy, Dave Anderson, Steve Buechele, and Mitch Moreland
For my step-dad Larry: Derek Holland (smeared everywhere unfortunately) and Chuck Greenberg
For my dad: Steve Buechele, Tommy Hunter, and Mitch Moreland

My step-sister Faith went with me, and we had a BLAST! So hopefully this weekend will be more of the same!

Pitchers and catchers report in: 26 days
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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 馃檪
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.

Game 1 win in Oakland

I was worried about last night’s game for several reasons: 1) the last time we played 4 games in Oakland (about a month ago), we lost the first 3 of the 4 games, 2) Oakland just swept us in Arlington last week, 3) the Rangers have been playing horribly of late (lost 7 of the last 9 games), 4) the Rangers’ winning percentage on the road is only about .500, 5) the A’s had won their last 7 games, and 6) Kevin Millwood was getting the start. But they surprised me, not just by winning the game, but by completely dominating! The final score was 10-3.
Kevin Millwood
Kevin Millwood actually lasted 7 innings, which he hasn’t done since June 21st. And he did a really good job! He had a shutout going until the bottom of the 6th, and he only have up 3 hits and 1 walk in the outing. He did hit 2 batters, but that was just because hit ‘cutter’ cut too much. Those 9 days of rest and extra work with Mike Maddux must have really helped, because I was really impressed! He didn’t look tired, and he didn’t have to battle. I was nervous because I knew that Kevin Millwood’s $12 million option for next year would vest after 4 1/3 more innings, and I was afraid we would be stuck with a pitcher who couldn’t pitch any more. But he proved us all wrong! Great Job, Millie!
The Rangers jumped out to a lead early, leading 1-0 after the first inning, 4-0 after the second inning, and 6-0 after the 4th inning! And they did it by playing small ball, as opposed to via the home run. The Rangers didn’t hit a single home run last night, yet they scored 10 runs! Instead of talking about all the hits, it’s probably easier to talk about the guys who DIDN’T get hits.
Ian Kinsler
Ian Kinsler and Taylor Teagarden were the only 2 guys with significant playing time who didn’t get hits. Kinsler had 5 total at-bats, at he either flied out or popped out 4 of those times. I’m getting to where every time he comes up to the plate, I expect him to pop it up and get an out. For the past few weeks, I’ve actually really been surprised when he managed to get on base. Seriously, Rudy, we’ve got to do something about his swing. Now if we can just convince Kinsler that he needs help…
Taylor Teagarden
Taylor is having a bit of trouble offensively, but I’m okay with that because 1) he apparently works really well with Millwood, 2) he caught Adam Kennedy trying to steal 2nd base in the bottom of the 2nd inning, and 3) he laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt in the top of the 2nd inning to get 2 men in scoring position. They both scored on the following play.
Craig Gentry
Craig Gentry got one at-bat in the 9th inning last night, after Wash put him in to replace Marlon Byrd in the 8th. Last night was only Craig’s 2nd big league at-bat; he hit into a force-out the first time. So he has yet to get his first big league hit. And last night, with 2 outs in the top of the 9th inning, bases loaded, he stepped up to the plate. And struck out swinging. Poor guy! Don’t worry, you’ll get your first big league hit soon enough!
Darren O’Day
When Millwood came out of the game after 7 innings, Darren O’Day came in to pitch the 8th inning. And he did a fabulous job, like usual. Seriously, we really need to keep him next year. Do you hear me, JD? He is by far the most dependable of our relievers. He’s not flashy or anything, he just goes out there and quietly takes care of business. And the side-arm thing is cool.

Eddie Guardado
But instead of Wash leaving in O’Day to finish out the game in the 9th inning last night, he brought in Eddie Guardado. I mean, sure, Eddie needs to get some work in too, and we were leading by 9 runs, so we had a good cushion to work with. Which we ended up needing, because Eddie gave up a 2-run homer to the rookie Matt Carson. It was actually Carson’s first big league home run. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love Eddie Guardado. He is a respected veteran and he seems to have a great sense of humor. But I think he’s gotten past the days when he was reliable “Everyday Eddie,” and he just may have lost his stuff.
Game notes:
Josh Hamilton
*Michael Young and Josh Hamilton have still not made an appearance in the lineup in quite a while. I heard a rumor somewhere yesterday that Hamilton was hoping to be in the lineup tonight, but I’m not sure how credible that is. I honestly don’t remember where I heard it. But before I heard that tidbit about Hamilton, it had been my impression that Hamilton had pretty much given up on playing for the rest of the season.
Julio Borbon
*Julio Borbon went 3-for-5 with a walk, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. He also had another stolen base, making him 16-for-17. I can’t wait to see what he does in his first full season as a lead-off hitter!
*The Rangers scored more runs last night than they did in their last 7 games combined. Wow. I guess that’s what a string of shut-outs will do to you.

David Murphy
*David Murphy went 3-for-4 with 2 walks, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. When Josh & Tom interviewed Murph after the game, the first thing he did was give credit to Kevin Millwood for a great game pitched. Aww!

*The Rangers appear to be playing much better now that the playoff pressure is gone. Which is understandable, since we have such a young team without much playoff experience. But a team that doesn’t do well under pressure can’t make it to the playoffs. I don’t really care at this point; it’s just good to see the Rangers playing good baseball again. We can try for the playoffs next year.

Chris Davis
*Chris Davis went 2-for-4 with a walk, including a 2-RBI triple with 2 outs in the 7th! It was his first triple of the year, which makes sense, because triples rarely happen in baseball.
Hank Blalock
*Hank Blalock impressed me again, going 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. Every time I think Hank has completely run out of gas, he steps it up and shows he can still play with the big boys. He still makes his share of errors/bobbles at first base, and he goes through hot and cold streaks at the plate, but he can still come through in a clutch situation. I can remember last year when it seemed like every time Hank came to the plate, he was swinging for the fences. But now, he seems content to get base hits just to keep us in the game. Which is exactly what we need.
Brandon McCarthy
Tonight’s pitching matchup: Brandon McCarthy (7-3) against the A’s Trevor Cahill (9-12). Just looking at the win-loss records, this looks like a lock. But in BMac’s last outing, he only lasted 3 innings, and he gave up 4 runs (3 earned). That was the 2nd game against the A’s in Arlington last week; the 6-1 debacle that I witnessed first hand. He had proved to be solid in his first 2 starts off the DL, but he unfortunately fell apart in that third start. Cahill’s last start was also last week against the Rangers, in which he gave up only one hit over 7 shut-out innings. This will be his 4th start against the Rangers, and he is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA and a .192 opponent’s batting average in those games. This one will be tricky.

Funny DMN comment

I was reading a post on the Dallas Morning News’ Rangers’ Blog today, and they were calling for people’s predictions during the Rangers’ upcoming series with the Minnesota Twins. A commenter named “Aardvark” posted the following comment, and I thought it was absolutely hilarious! You guys probably have no idea what all of this is about, because I only have a couple of readers anyway, and you guys don’t know about sports, but just in case:

Posted by Aardvark @ 1:58 PM Fri, Aug 28, 2009

The Rangers will win 2 out of 3.

Kinsler will have two home runs in the series and 12 pop-outs to the infield.

Pudge will pull a muscle crossing himself too quickly.

Joe Mauer will defy all odds and get 19 hits in just 13 at bats.

The home plate umpire will have to ask for help when he fails to see a pitch from Feliz.

Josh Lewin will relate Nick Punto to the Seinfeld episode about the Punto Mayo store.

Marlon Byrd will have to receive CPR after crashing into the center field wall and nearly suffocating after becoming entangled in the baggie.

Scott Feldman will just miss being hit in the face by a hard liner, saved only by the fact that he has no chin.

A beaned batter will charge the mound against Tommy Hunter and learn the definition of “Junior Olympic judo champion”.

Tom Grieve will once again get in trouble when he stumbles on the pronunciation of Jeff Manship’s name.

And speaking of Jeff Manship, his new bar will draw a totally different crowd than planned when he names it Manship Twinkie.

Oh my gosh, I literally laughed out loud several times when I read this at work today! I’m sure the lady who shares my office was thinking “What in the world is so funny?”

seriously?

Last night, the Rangers game was the first game in a series of 3 games against the Cleveland Indians. And it was a very uninteresting game. Not because we lost the game, which we did, but because nothing really happened. The Indians scored all 5 of their runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning, and there were no runs scored by either team during the rest of the game. So, pretty much, there was a single half-inning of excitement. That was it.

Dustin Nippert
Dustin Nippert got his first start as an official member of the Texas Rangers’ starting rotation tonight, and he actually did a pretty good job. He had that one bad half-inning, but he ended up lasting a total of 6 innings with 10 strike-outs. Giving up 5 runs in a game is never good for a starting pitcher, but if the Rangers had been able to score 6 runs or more, this would have been called a stellar outing for Nippert. It seems like every time that we think the Rangers’ bats are waking up, they do something like this. Seriously?

So, in summary: both pitchers did a pretty good job, both offenses did a pretty bad job, Cleveland had 1 good inning. And that was about it.

What is it with the Rangers not being able to beat the bad teams? It’s like they only bring out their A game for the good teams. We should have creamed the Oakland A’s, but we lost the series. We should have stomped the Cleveland Indians, especially since they don’t have Cliff Lee anymore, but we couldn’t even score once last night. Yet when we went up against the Angels, who have a better record than us, we won 2 out of 3 games. We’re playing the Boston Red Sox this weekend, and I’m betting we’ll win that series too, because the Rangers always seem to step up their performance against the scary teams. They need to realize that every single game is important. Especially now, with only 50-something games left before the post-season. Maybe the Rangers don’t understand what they need to do in order to be contenders this year. I mean, we haven’t made it to the post-season since the 90’s, so maybe they forgot. {Sigh}

Tommy Hunter

Tonight’s pitching matchup: Our Tommy Hunter (4-2) against Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona (2-6). By the win-loss record alone, it looks like Tommy’s got this one sewn up. But this is Carmona’s 4th year of experience in the Bigs, whereas it’s Tommy’s first year. Although, to be fair, Carmona hasn’t spent 4 full years in the Bigs. The Indians sent Carmona back to AAA earlier this season, but after trading star pitcher Cliff Lee at the trade deadline, they called Carmona back up to take Lee’s spot in the rotation. Tommy’s also shown several times this year that he’s pretty darn good at bein’ a hoss. [Translation (for those of you who don’t live in the South): hoss=badass] I think Tommy can pull this one out. Well, at least I hope he can!

Tonight, Evan Grant and Inside Corner are hosting a “Rangers Watching Party” at Pappasito’s restaurant in Dallas. And Rusty Greer is supposed to come! He’s one of my favorite players from when I first got into baseball, when I was in middle school. He played with the Rangers for a long time, and he’s now in the Rangers’ Hall of Fame. I was excited when Evan told us about this on Monday, thinking it would be an exclusive thing. But yesterday, I saw it widely advertised on Evan’s website. And then the Rangers’ t.v. announcers, Josh Lewin and Tom Greive, talked about it on the broadcast last night. So now everybody and their dog is going to be there. I thought that my dad was as excited as I was, but I think he’s gonna bail on me because he thinks too many people are coming. And he’s probably right. So now, if I go, I’ll have to go by myself. Daddy said, “Hey, maybe you can meet a guy there!” Thanks, Dad.

My daily Chris Davis fix:
my husband, Chris Davis
Days since CD has been in the majors: 38
 

Newberg Report Night

I got this from the blog “Texas Rangers Trades” (http://texasrangerstrades.blogspot.com/). Apparently the blog writer got to go to some kind of press conference or something about the Rangers. It was called “Newberg Report Night,” referring to Jamey Newberg. I didn’t know they had a “Newberg Report Night.” Anyway, there was some great info:

Will Carroll and Kevin Goldstein (both from Baseball Prospectus) were the first guests and were already up there hanging out when we arrived, even though they weren’t supposed to start until 4:00. They started taking questions at about 3:00 and went for 90 minutes. Will was great as always. This was the first time I had met Kevin. Both of them seem to know everything that’s going on in baseball and they’re funny too.

Here are some of the questions that I asked and their answers:
Q: What was the strategy of the Mariners and Reds at the trading deadline, when they both traded prospects for veterans, and then traded veterans for prospects?
A: Mariners: They have a long-term strategy, and they think that the Mariners are way ahead of where they thought they would be, although Will and Kevin are still trying to figure out the Jack Wilson trade.
Reds: They don’t understand what the Reds did with getting Scott Rolen. They said that they are confused by it and that the Reds got him because they could for a reasonably cheap price, even though Kevin wonders what it does for the team.

Q: What was the most surprising trade to you?
A: The Jake Peavy trade because nobody saw it coming and there were no rumors whatsoever. They also said that it might be the best trade and that it came so quickly, they didn’t even talk to the medical people because apparently this deal got done in minutes.

Q: What teams do you think are best at starting pitching and relief pitching?
A: Starting Pitching: Red Sox and Giants
Relief Pitching: Brewers

Will and Kevin also said that if the Rangers traded Neftali Feliz, Tommy Hunter, Wilfredo Boscan, and Thomas Diamond, it would be about the equivalent of what the White Sox gave up for Peavy, and if the Rangers traded Wilfredo Boscan and Tommy Hunter, it would be about the equivalent of what the Tigers gave up for Jarrod Washburn. Kevin also said that he could see Justin Smoak and Kasey Kiker coming up to the majors around this time next year.

After the Will and Kevin Q&A, Jamey auctioned off some prizes, with proceeds going to the Hello Win Column Fund. They raised thousands of dollars, which was great. There were two items that were very exciting for me personally. First, I won an inning in the TV booth with Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve! That was awesome. Second, I had donated one of the items for auction (a baseball with autographs from a lot of different Rangers players) and it went for $200.

Then, at 5:00, Jon Daniels came in and did 90 minutes of Q&A. When Jon kicked off the Q&A he said ‘I typically open up with Grant but his questions are usually a little challenging so I’m going to warm up with a few others first.’

I was able to ask the following three questions:
Q: Can you please name 3-5 minor leaguers who are most likely to be called up and have an impact on this year’s pennant race, including at least one who’s not currently on the 40-man roster?
A: ‘A handful of guys have the chance to play some role for us either as part of a September call-up or earlier. I think guys like Julio Borbon, Doug Mathis, and Guillermo Moscoso have done nice jobs while they’ve been up here. I think (Neftali) Feliz is certainly an option. Esteban German has had a very good year for us. I think he has the chance to help us in some regard. He’d be a nice guy for any contending club to have on their bench down the stretch.’ (Note that Mathis and Feliz were activated for that evening’s game.)

Q: The Rangers have managed to remove a number of players from their 40-man roster over the last couple of years, get them through waivers, reassign them to the minors, and then repurchase their contracts later to help the major league team, like Nelson Cruz and Doug Mathis. Is there a key to the timing of these moves that increases your chances of keeping the player?
A: ‘Absolutely. Nelson Cruz cleared waivers right at the beginning of the season. That’s the toughest time to claim a guy on waivers just because you have your roster set, your big league club’s set, and you’re breaking camp. Unless it’s a slam dunk upgrade, everyone just says ‘hey, let’s go with our own’ rather than taking someone else’s discard. So I think that’s probably the easiest time to slide a guy through waivers. Mathis was a non-tender re-sign. In that situation, it’s basically explaining to the player the options and, if they agree to resign with you at that point, you can give them some things that they might not get as free agents. That’s more of a leverage situation than anything.’

Q: Can you name three Rangers prospects that are not on most people’s radars who have made their way onto your radar?
A: ‘I’ll put (Jurickson) Profar on there. I’ll put Leury Garcia on there, shortstop at Hickory. And I’ll put Tim Murphy on there.’

Other interesting comments from Jon in answer to questions:
路 After receiving a huge round of applause when someone thanked him for not trading some of the guys that were rumored to be traded, Jon said ‘I’ll do nothing more often. That was awesome.’
路 Jon was asked why he didn’t wait a month or so to promote Elvis so that he could keep control of him for an extra year. He said that they looked at it and talked about it but it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. To tell Elvis that he’s the shortstop but that they were going to wait a few weeks because they wanted to exploit his arbitration eligibility didn’t feel right. There are certain times you make business decisions and separate your emotions from those decisions, but they were telling this 20-year old kid that they believed in him and he would be a big part of the club. Plus they were telling the players on the big league club ‘Hey, trust us on this’. He felt it would have been talking out of both sides of their mouth. They would rather deal with the financial consequences than create a potentially divisive situation.
路 When asked about the media not giving much coverage to the Rangers, he said that he doesn’t totally buy into it just being because Dallas is a football town. A lot of it is because the Rangers haven’t won to create the fan base and interest. He feels that the media will cover whoever the fans tell them to cover.
路 They’re still watching Ben Sheets to see if he’s an option for next year.
路 When asked if the starting center fielder for next year is in the organization, he said that candidates internally are Hamilton, Byrd, and Borbon. He feels that one of them will very likely be starting for the Rangers in center field next year.
路 When asked why Borbon was brought up earlier this year if he wasn’t going to play, Jon said that he doesn’t completely buy into the philosophy that you shouldn’t call a top prospect up if he isn’t going to play every day. He feels that Borbon got a lot out of the experience.
路 He typically goes out to see the A clubs once per year. He sees Frisco and Oklahoma City more often.
路 90% of trade rumors reported are inaccurate.
路 When asked who would be called up if Salty or Teagarden were hurt, Jon said that Max Ramirez would be recovered from his injury soon. Manny Pina would also be considered, especially since he’s Rule 5 eligible this year. Richardson and Frostad could also do the job in the short term.
路 Main internal candidates for the starting rotation next season are Kevin Millwood (he expects him to vest his option), Scott Feldman, Vicente Padilla (the club has an option on him), Matt Harrison, Brandon McCarthy, Derek Holland, and Tommy Hunter. Others in the mix are Neftali Feliz, Dustin Nippert, Guillermo Moscoso, and Doug Mathis. The position will be high on the list of priorities during the off season.
路 When asked if it bothers him when a player like Halladay doesn’t want to come to Texas, he said that it does a little bit but that it’s sort of like his answer about media coverage. The team needs to win first and then people will be more i
nterested in coming here.
路 The cost to put a dome on the ballpark is prohibitive plus the ballpark wasn’t engineered to facilitate something like that. There’s a company that said they can put a screen over the park to lower the temperature 10 degrees. But odds are that there’s really not a realistic option to help with the heat.
路 Benoit is throwing. There’s a chance he could be back in September but it’s unlikely.
路 People need to keep in mind that Josh Hamilton is still recovering from surgery.
路 They’re not trying to preach a philosophy of more pitches per plate appearance. He doesn’t think that it directly correlates to success. Getting a good pitch to hit is directly correlated to success.
路 They’ve discussed moving McCarthy to the bullpen to ease the strain on his shoulder. They’re focusing on a starter’s routine during his rehab, which allows them to go either way with it. He’s pitched in the bullpen successfully in the big leagues. It will depend on what their needs are when he’s ready to come back.
路 They’re not sure why Blake Beavan’s velocity is down but he’s 20 years old and time is on their side. They’re going to let him keep pitching and see if it improves.
路 He would be in favor of moving the deadline for signing draft picks up to June 30th. It would be a challenge to sign them quicker but it would let them have the rest of the summer to focus on other things and also let the players start playing and getting on with their development sooner.
路 Chris Davis is still very much in their plans. He will be a strong consideration for a September call-up, if not before then.
路 Eric Hurley’s on pace to be 100% for spring training.
路 Jurickson Profar will likely be developed as a position player not a pitcher. He thinks he’ll be one of the top shortstop position player prospects in the game.
路 He expects that Tanner Scheppers would start out higher than Low-A to start his minor league career.
路 Right now, Chris Davis is better defensively than Justin Smoak.

Yay for Chris Davis! At least they haven’t forgotten about him!

Last night’s game summary later. They lost right at the end… boo. BUT… Neftali Feliz awed everybody with a pretty spectacular MLB debut!

My daily Chris Davis fix:
my husband, Chris Davis
Days since CD has been in the majors: 30

We swept the BoSox!

So, last night we went to the game and

it was amazing!!!

I’m really glad I Tivo’d it, because I can’t wait to watch it again and listen to the commentary by the announcers, Tom Grieve and Josh Lewin. Oh, and speaking of Josh and Tom…

I got their autographs!!!

Tom Grieve was a player for the Texas Rangers. He moved down with the original Washington Senators when the Texas Rangers were first formed, and then after his playing days were over, he became the General Manager for the Rangers for a few years. And now, he’s one of the announcers. I took some brand new baseballs to the game with me (just in case), and I got Tom to sign one of the baseballs. I just walked up to the press box and hollered out “Tom!” and he turned around. I asked him if he would sign a baseball for me, and he just held out his hands so that I could toss it to him.

Tom Grieve

After I tossed Tom the ball, Josh leaned over to say hi. I asked Josh if I could get his autograph too, on a pad of paper (since he wasn’t a baseball player), and he agreed. He signed the autograph “Go Rangers! Josh Lewin.” Tom’s signature was very “pretty,” not messy like so many autographs you see nowadays. So that was cool.

Josh Lewin

I almost got Tommy Hunter’s autograph too (our newbie pitcher that went up against the veteran Boston pitcher in the 2nd game of the series), but he quit signing right before I walked up. The MLB has some rule about players not being able to sign autographs 45 minutes before game time or something. Stupid rules. [grumble grumble grumble]

Tommy Hunter

For the record, Vicente Padilla DID NOT pitch last night. He had some kind of flu bug or something. Apparently, it’s going around the clubhouse, and the players are kinda spooked. Ron Washington warned all the players to be careful and to try not to touch each other as much as possible. They made a big show of not touching each other, even during the congratulatory high-fives after they won the game. It was pretty funny watching them to pretend to slap high- and low-fives! They also were careful to cover their mouths with their gloves, to keep from spreading any germs.

Vicente Padilla

So anyway, Dustin Nippert stepped in instead of Padilla, and he was superb! YAY NIPPERT! And they let Taylor Teagarden start as catcher, so that was good.

Dustin Nippert

Ian Kinsler made 2 AMAZING plays at 2nd, and he also got a solo home run during the game. The first play was in the top of the 2nd inning, when a line drive was hit about 4-5 feet over his head. And he just popped up like it was nothing and caught it!! I don’t know how he jumped that high! He’s a short little dude!

Ian Kinsler

Kinsler’s second awesome defensive play came in the top of the 9th inning, when another line drive came screaming right at him, and this time he dove and caught it about 2 inches above the grass for an out! Fabulous!

One long ball that the Sox hit to right center field in the 6th inning provided some entertainment too. Both Josh Hamilton (playing center field) and Nelson Cruz (playing right field) were running for it, and right as they were closing in on it at the warning track, they collided in a big bear hug! They both stayed upright, and after regaining his composure, Nelly held up his glove to show that he still had the ball. In the replay, you can see that Nelly caught the ball about 2 steps before he ran into Josh, then Josh seems to whisper something in Nelly’s ear right as Nelly raises his glove. Love those guys! When Jim Knox interviewed Nelson Cruzon the field immediately after the game, Knoxy asked Cruz what he was thinking as Josh Hamilton was running toward him. Nelson said with a grin, “He’s a big guy. I don’t wanna get hurt.” Apparently they were both calling for the ball, but they couldn’t hear each other because of the crowd. Now let’s hope that their hugging doesn’t put them both out with the flu, because we really need those guys!

Josh & Nelly hug 馃檪

For a more complete game summary, check out the Rangers official website:

http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090722&content_id=5999124&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=tex

The Rangers have an off day tonight, then they’re going to Kansas City for 3 games over the weekend.

Originally published July 23, 2009