Tagged: Tampa Bay Rays

Goodbye, Cliff Lee

Well folks, it’s over. Cliff Lee is not a Ranger or a Yankee, he’s a … Philly??

When I heard the news, I was as surprised as everyone else. Who would have thought that Cliff Lee would decide to go to the Phillies for less money and a shorter contract?

But it just goes back to what I’ve been saying since he entered free agency… no one knew where Cliff Lee would decide to go. Only Cliff and his family could make that decision, and they chose Philadelphia for their own reasons.

It obviously wasn’t because of money or length of contract, so it must have come down to a personal decision about where he and his family wanted to go.

I’m not mad at Cliff Lee. Why would I be? I mean sure, I wish Cliff was coming back to the Rangers. But just because he didn’t pick my team doesn’t mean that I hate him now.

But how about the Phillies starting rotation now? Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, AND Cliff Lee? Sheesh. It looks like the Phillies will be heading back to the fall classic in 2011.

At least he’s not going to New York. HA!!! TAKE THAT, YOU HEATHENS!!

So now I think the Rangers need to put all of their eggs in Zack Greinke’s basket. (Wait, that doesn’t sound right…)

Let me rephrase: They should do whatever is necessary to get Zack Greinke. If that means giving up Martin Perez or Tanner Scheppers, okay then. Just not both of them please!

Derek Holland? Fine. Jurickson Profar? Okay. Robbie Erlin? Sure. Leury Garcia? No problem.

Yes, it could come back to bite us later. The same could be said for any trade. But it’s not like we’re trading away all of our young talent for some has-been.

Grienke is still young, and he still has a lot of upside. And we NEED a top of the rotation starter!

CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis can’t carry us all year by themselves.

Recently, I’ve also heard that Matt Garza (Tampa Bay) could be a possible trade option. If we don’t get Zack Greinke, I would be perfectly happy with Garza!

So the same principle applies for Garza: I think the Rangers should do whatever they have to do to get one of them!

In other news, the Rangers were able to re-sign Matt Treanor for the 2011 season. That’s great, because he knows our pitching staff and he can help Torrealba get acclimated. And he’s dependable, so I feel confident with him as our back-up guy.

He’s also CJ’s preferred catcher. We don’t want to mess with CJ!

So now we’re just waiting for a front-line starter and a DH. There aren’t too many big names on the free agent market, so if the Rangers want somebody good, they have to be willing to trade some prospects.

I’ll let you know as soon as something happens!

Merry Cliffmas!!

Wow, has it really been 2 weeks since my last blog posting? Once again, I apologize for my dereliction of duty. But I DO have a real job and family and friends that need my attention.

Okay, so… the past 2 weeks have been a wild ride! I went to the last regular season Rangers’ game of the year, and even though the Rangers lost the game, IT WAS AMAZING!

I’ve gone to the last game of the season several times in recent years, but this year it felt completely different.

That’s because in previous years, I always knew that it really was the last Rangers’ game for 6 months. But not this year!!

Because we made the playoffs this year, there was a completely different atmosphere in the ballpark for that final game of the regular season. No one was really that disappointed when the Rangers lost, because everyone knew the game didn’t matter and the Rangers would soon get to play in games that DID matter!

Since the Rangers are post-season newbies and the Tampa Bay Rays can’t seem to get any fans in their ballpark, both of the first 2 games were on while I was at work. I couldn’t pay really close attention to them, but the Rangers completely dominated those games.

Cliff Lee put David Price to shame in Game 1, and C.J. Wilson dazzled in Game 2. It was beautiful, and I couldn’t wait for the Rangers to come back to Arlington!

I had tickets to both Saturday and Sunday’s games in Arlington, but I didn’t think that Sunday’s game would be necessary. My dad and I took brooms to the ballpark, and I truly believed that the Rangers would sweep the Rays.

My dad wore his beloved antler batting helmet, which got a lot of praise, of course! We arrived at the ballpark early, and we were sitting in our seats when Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas spotted the antlers and made his way over to us for an interview.

I had met Richard back in January through TR Sullivan, but he didn’t realize that the “antler man” was with me until after he had already introduced himself to my dad. It was kind of a “hey, small world” moment.

Here is a link to the article: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/texas-rangers/post/_/id/4855711/fans-arrive-early-pumped-for-game-3

The atmosphere at the ballpark on Saturday was absolutely electric! The Rangers were leading until the late innings, when Tampa Bay surged and overtook them. I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach.

But I wasn’t too worried, because the Rangers could still beat the Rays at home on Sunday, and I would be there for that game as well.

But Sunday’s game was even more pathetic than Saturday’s had been. And so it was down to the final game in Florida last night.

I met some friends of mine (and my dad) at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the game, and I’m so glad I did! They had the game on just about every TV in there, and there were a ton of Rangers’ fans.

Every time a Ranger would get a hit or Cliff Lee would work himself out of a jam, there would be spontaneous applause. I was doing “the Claw” with complete strangers!

About the 7th inning, when the Rangers were leading 3-1, I looked across the table at my childhood friend Rachel. I said, “Holy $#!+, Rach. They could actually win this game and make it past the first round of the playoffs for the first time ever!”

“Oh wow, they really might do it!” she said with wide eyes. And that was when it really sunk in for me.

Ian Kinsler’s 2-run home run in the 8th solidified the Rangers lead, making the final score 5-1. Coincidentally, Game 1 of this series was played in Tampa Bay with Cliff Lee and David Price as the starting pitchers, and the Rangers won 5-1. Hmm…

Cliff Lee was phenomenal, throwing 120 pitches for a complete game. Cliff Lee is now 7-0 in the playoffs. Maybe he should be the new Mr. October!

I didn’t make it home last night until about 11:00, and I didn’t get to bed until after midnight. So I’ve been pretty bleary-eyed all day. But elated!

I have tickets to the first ALCS game this Friday, and I’m excited about the game, but it will be a bittersweet day.  I don’t mean to depress everybody, but I just found out that my only remaining grandparent has passed away. He was 91 years old, so he lived a long and happy life, but it’s still tough.

Anyway, his funeral will most likely be on Friday morning. Hopefully the Rangers will whip some Yankee butt for my Paw Paw’s sake. He LOVED the Rangers!!

But the Yankees still scare me. Oh, by the way, I already bought World Series tickets. Since I had a 16-game mini-plan this year, they let me buy tickets during the pre-sale today. So if the Rangers make it that far, I’ll be there!

I love you, Paw Paw! LETS GO RANGERS!!

Overall Rangers record: 90-72 / 3-2 in the playoffs
My Rangers’ record: 16-10 / 0-2 in the playoffs
Days ’til my next game: 2

4-game skid & ‘Riders win

me with Duece

Today was the Rangers’ 3rd off-day in a week’s time, and since it was a Monday in which I didn’t have to go to work, I invited my dad to a RoughRiders game. It was really hot, but I had a great time!

First, though, I should address the Rangers’ dismal road record. They have lost their last 4 games in a row, including being swept in Minnesota. If the Rangers want to be taken seriously, they HAVE to start winning on the road.

Colby Lewis, C.J. Wilson, and Derek Holland started the Rangers’ last 3 games, respectively. Colby and C.J. each threw a pretty darn good game, but they couldn’t get enough run support.

I know C.J.’s line for his game didn’t look very good, considering that he gave up 5 earned runs in 6 innings, but his performance was actually a lot better than that. It was good to see the old C.J. again, after his last mediocre start, not to mention his meltdown 2 outings ago.

Derek Holland had to come out after throwing only 43 pitches in Sunday’s game, and he has been placed on the DL. Tommy Hunter will likely be called up to pitch in his place.

The Rangers are going to Chicago next to face the ChiSox, and they would have to sweep them in order to split the road trip. That would be nice, but I’m not counting on it.

Especially since Harden and Feldman are starting the first two games of the 3-game series.

Blake Beavan

Okay, enough about that. Back to the RoughRiders game today! Blake Beavan was on the mound today, and the ‘Riders won 9-6 over the Tulsa Drillers.

We got there at 2:45 for a 4:00 start. I would have liked to get there at 2:00, since I love to get to ballgames early, but it’s a good thing we didn’t get there that early.

Apparently, they don’t open the gates to the general public until 1 hour before the game starts, unlike at the big league parks. And they also don’t let you bring food or coolers inside the ballpark. What??

I thought this was kind of goofy, but hey, whatever. The funniest part was that they handed out little soft-sided coolers on our way out of the ballpark as the give-away item. Tell me if that makes sense.

Josh Leuke

Anyway, the players started warming up and playing catch about half an hour before the game started, and I went down to watch them. Some of them came over to sign autographs for the little kids, so I jumped in there and got 5 autographs!!

Marcus Lemon and Jacob Kaase

Tanner Roark, Brennan Garr, Josh Leuke, Marcus Lemon, and Jacob Kaase. Yes! Each on their own baseball. Great stuff!

As I returned to our seats, I noticed that Dad was talking to 2 people. When I walked up, he said “Katie, I want to introduce you to Blake Beavan’s mother and grandfather.” What?? Awesome!

They were both very sweet, and Michelle (Blake’s mom) gave me a hug before they left to sit in their seats behind home plate. So now, not only did I get a chance to meet Blake last year, but I now know 3 members of his family!

The ballgame started off kind of boring, with no score until the bottom of the 4th inning. But that innings saw 2 home runs by the ‘Riders (one a 3-run homer and one a 2-run shot) along with a bases-clearing double. Yes, the ‘Riders scored 8 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning!

The score was 8-0 for awhile, but Blake gave up 4 runs in the top of the 7th inning. He still had a pretty nice outing, especially considering that his boys gave him an 8-run lead to work with.

The Drillers got another 2 runs in the top of the 8th, but the ‘Riders added on another run somewhere in there.

In the top of the 9th, I went to wait by the ‘Riders dugout to try to get some more autographs. The usher in our section said that I would have an even better chance of getting autographs after the game, especially if the ‘Riders won.

Taylor Teagarden

But nobody stopped to sign any autographs after the game, not even for the numerous kids around me. I thought everybody had left the field to go to the clubhouse when I noticed Taylor Teagarden coming out of the dugout with his bag full of catching equipment.

Since my dad has a much louder voice than I do, I told him to yell “Taylor!” When Taylor looked over at us, I raised the baseball and pen I was holding.

Taylor looked kind of dubious at first, as if he was thinking “Why do they want my autograph?” or something, but he headed over to us.

He signed my ball, but instead of staying to sign some of the kids around me, he just turned around and headed to the clubhouse. I was surprised that he didn’t sign more, but I’m not gonna lie; I felt kinda special that I was the only one to get an autograph!

Okay, that’s about it. Like I said earlier, the Rangers are playing 3 games against the Chicago White Sox starting Tuesday night. Then they’re coming back home for a weekend series against the Rays, and I’m going to Saturday’s game.

I’m excited to go to another Rangers’ game, but it’s gonna be hot. The game was supposed to start at 7:05, but they changed it to a 3:10 start because it’s going to be on national television. Lovely.

Oh well. I need to quit whining. Texas summers are hot, and I have a heck of a lot more games to go to before the summer’s over.

And on the upside, I think Tommy Hunter will be starting on Saturday! Go Rangers!!

My Rangers’ record: 6-3

Overall Rangers’ record: 26-25

Days ’til my next game: 4

New owners and a new catcher

On Saturday, January 23rd, a deal was finally struck between Tom Hicks and the Greenberg/Ryan group for the sale of the Texas Rangers!! YAY!!

Of course, there are still a lot of hoops left to jump through, but it looks like this sale is actually going to happen! They still have to get the approval of the MLB, as well as Tom Hicks’ 40 creditors, so the sale may or may not be finalized by Opening Day.

All of the approvals seem like a no-brainer to me. Let’s say you had loaned someone a whole bunch of money, and they had no way to pay you back except by selling off some stuff. Wouldn’t you be okay with them selling said items in order to get you the money they owe? Duh.

The Rangers also signed catcher Toby Hall to a minor league contract on Friday. He will provide some catching depth in case Salty has problems coming back after his TOS surgery last fall. Hall has an invitation to come to Spring Training, so he’s hoping for a chance to prove himself and make it on the big-league roster.

Hall has played 686 major league games behind the plate. He missed all of 2009 after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. He has played with the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, the LA Dodgers, and the Chicago White Sox. He was drafted in 1997 by Tampa Bay, and he was their Opening Day starting catcher for 5 consecutive years (2002-2006), which was a record for TB.

He has thrown out 28% of attempted base stealers. That’s the 4th highest percentage among catchers with at least 600 games from 2000-2009 in the American League. The only 3 guys with a better percentage are Pudge, Joe Mauer, and Bengie Molina.

Pretty impressive.

24 days until Spring Training

Originally published Monday, January 25, 2010 

Worst things about 2009

Ugh, it hurts me to write this list, but these are setbacks/disappointments/frustrating things that affected the Rangers during the 2009 season (in no particular order):

*Losing 5 games in a row at the end of August – killed our chances

*Josh Hamilton’s injury-plagued season

*Financial constraints of our ballclub

*Injuries to our pitching staff: Joaquin Benoit, Eric Hurley, Brandon McCarthy, and Matt Harrison all had to go on the 60-day DL.

*the Rangers’ offensive slump

*Losing 3 out of 4 games in Oakland in the beginning of August

*Not signing Matt Purke

*Josh Hamilton’s January scandal

*All of our losses against the teams that we should have beaten (Minnesota, Oakland, Seattle, Baltimore, Detroit, etc.)

*Losing the game to Tampa Bay in the 8th and 9th innings during the last home game of the year

*Michael Young’s injured hamstring, which caused him to stay out of the lineup for 3 weeks during our late August/early September downhill slide

So basically, it all boils down to injuries, not having any money, and the inexperience of having a young club not used to dealing with stressful situations. Next year will be better.