Tagged: TR Sullivan

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

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. πŸ™‚

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!!

the last 2 weeks

After I interviewed Chuck Greenberg last Tuesday (2/2/10), my throat hurt so badly that I started to worry that I might have Strep Throat. So I went home, called in sick to work, and called my doctor’s office the next morning to get an appointment.

On Wednesday, my throat didn’t hurt as badly, and my head was all congested. So I didn’t have Strep Throat, just a bad cold. Or the flu. Or something.

I stopped by the drug store after my doctor’s appointment and I bought a vaporizer, Vicks’ stuff to go in the vaporizer, DayQuil, Sudafed, a thermometer, 2 kinds of cough drops (1 with menthol and 1 without), orange juice, Mucinex, Puff’s Plus (with aloe), and Mentholatum. Since I live by myself, I didn’t have any of that stuff, so I figured I should stock up.

After I got back home, I decided to check my email. I saw that TR Sullivan had sent me an email with “your phone” in the subject line. Yes!! He said that someone with the Rangers had found a cell phone after the Banquet, and gave me a number to call. The phone that was found was a black Samsung phone with a touch screen, just like mine. I made plans to pick it up at the Ballpark on Saturday.

On Wednesday evening, I was feeling better and thought I might be able to go back to work on Thursday. But at 6:00 on Thursday morning, I woke up and I couldn’t breathe. I also couldn’t quit coughing, which didn’t help my screaming headache. I can remember holding my hands to my temples as I coughed, so that my head wouldn’t throb. It didn’t work.

My whole body hurt, and I felt like I was moving through molasses as I took every type of medicine I could find to lessen the symptoms. I didn’t go to work on Thursday.

Or on Friday.

On Saturday, I got up and started getting presentable to go to the Ballpark and pick up my phone. And I noticed that my toilet was running. That wasn’t right.

I had 2 inches of standing water in my bathroom, about 4 feet of wet carpet outside my bathroom, and somewhere I had to be. So I turned off the water, used every towel I owned and called my apartment complex in a panic. I knew someone from maintenence was coming, so I left for Arlington.

When I got to the Ballpark, I discovered that it was my phone! Yay!!

And when I got home, the maintenance guy had already been here. He fixed the toilet and used a wet-vac to clean the carpet outside my bathroom. Double yay!!

I went back to work on Monday, even though I wasn’t over being sick. I went to work every day this week. And I’m still not over being sick. {Sigh}

On Wednesday, I logged onto Facebook, and I saw that a minor league ballplayer who used to play for the Rangers had accepted my friend request. I had sent him the friend request a few months ago, but I didn’t really think anything of it.

Then he IM’ed me on Facebook. What? I’ve never met this guy. Does he think I’m someone else?

It was determined that no, we had never met before. He started hitting on me. He told me I was pretty, asked if I was married, etc. Seriously?! Then he told me he wanted me to drive 6 hours to meet him. Umm… what??

I had to inform him that I’m not that kind of girl. That was awkward.

Then on Thursday, it snowed. A lot, Officially, there were 11.2 inches of snow at DFW airport. In one day. In Dallas. Yikes.

So to recap, over the past 2 weeks I have had flu-like symptoms that I can’t shake, I found my missing cell phone, my bathroom was flooded, I got propositioned by someone who is on the 40-man roster of a major league baseball team, and Dallas got record-breaking snowfall. Yeah. Pretty eventful.

And no, I’m not going to tell you who it was. πŸ˜‰

Jamey Newberg/Carson Leslie/Michael Young/Chuck Greenberg

When TR Sullivan wrote his story about me, Chuck Greenberg read it and remarked that he would like to meet me. I know, right?! How amazing is that?! Anyway, since then, we had been emailing back and forth. On Thursday January 28th (the day before the Rangers’ Awards Banquet), I sent Chuck Greenberg an email asking him if he was planning on attending the banquet. I told him that I was going, and perhaps we could finally meet and I could interview him.

He said that he hadn’t seen his wife in about 3 weeks, so he was planning to go home to Pittsburgh over the weekend, but that he would be back for Jamey Newberg’s Q&A on Tuesday. Yes!!

I had heard that Jamey Newberg was planning on doing a 2nd Book Release Party in January, since his first one on December 17th was so hugely successful, but that it wasn’t going to be an autograph event like the first one. Jamey would instead turn it into a Q&A event with Michael Young. Michael would sign 5 copies of this year’s Newberg Report (which I already own) and 5 copies of some book by somebody named Carson something (which I didn’t know anything about), and they would auction those off to the highest bidders.

Well, that counted me out. I don’t have enough money to be a high bidder. For anything. No matter how great the cause.

But then I heard that Chuck Greenberg was going to attend the Q&A. Not from Chuck, but from Jamey. That made it more interesting.

Craig and Annette Leslie

But the final deciding factor was when I met Annette and Craig Leslie at the banquet. Words cannot express how wonderful and caring and strong and altogether beautiful they are. Seriously, they’re amazing. And yet so humble and unassuming. Okay, that’s enough. I said “words cannot express,” and yet here I am trying to come up with words.
 
Anyway, when I talked to Annette and figured out that their Carson was the Carson that Jamey was talking about, I knew I had to go. And I wanted a copy of his book!
So I went to http://www.carrymecarson.com/, which Annette had told me about. I decided to just buy an (unsigned) copy of the book at the Q&A session instead of ordering it online and then having to wait for it to ship to me.

I also started writing out questions to ask Chuck Greenberg, just in case I got an interview, but I couldn’t think of very many. I asked my newound Facebook friend, Megan Nemec, to help me out. Megan is a girl who loves baseball like me, and she started following my blog last August when I posted something on my blog about meeting Blake Beavan (who happens to be Megan’s cousin). Megan came up with some suggestions, and she also contacted Blake for some ideas. So I had a pretty impressive batch of questions. I was ready.

I noticed an annoying tickle in my throat on Monday that sometimes caused spontaneous bouts of coughing, but I remember thinking, ‘At least it’s still a weak cough, and it hasn’t turned into one of those deep, echoing, hoarse coughs. When it progresses to that stage, you’re in trouble.’ When I woke up on Tuesday, I discovered, ‘Hey, whaddaya know! It’s progressed to that deep cough! Lovely!’ But I had to go to work, and if I was going to work I might as well go to the Q&A session afterwards. It was too big an opportunity to miss.

I told my dad that I was going to the Q&A, and that I might get to interview Chuck Greenberg, and he decided that he wanted to meet me there. Okay, that’s good. At least I won’t be alone.

I can’t do a complete play by play; I’m just gonna give what I consider to be the highlights. If you’d like to watch the entire thing, the Q&A session was broadcast on the internet and you can see it at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/4405103.

When we got to Sherlock’s, it was standing room only. I saw Annette Leslie, and I was able to get her attention and wave to her. Then I snagged a barstool and settled in to listen, and Daddy took his spot standing behind my stool. I decided that I would save all my questions for my would-be interview with Chuck Greenberg later.

Chuck Morgan mentioned that everybody on the internet wanted to know where Chuck Greenberg got the Rangers zip-up jacket he was wearing. It looked like my Rangers hoodie, but without the hood.

After that, Daddy decided that he didn’t want to bother with stepping up to the mic, so he just hollered out, “Why don’t you carry any clothes in men’s sizes?” When everybody turned to look at him, he explained that he was only able to find 2 shirts at the Rangers’ store in 3XL. See, Daddy is 6’5″ and weighs 300 pounds. He’s a big guy.

“Well, there’s an easy way to fix that,” Chuck said, and everybody in the crowd started laughing (my dad included), because they thought Chuck was saying that Daddy needed to lose weight. Which he does, but Chuck quickly recovered, “No, I didn’t mean that! I meant that we can just order more!” So we all got a good laugh out of that! πŸ™‚

Soon after Michael Young arrived, Jamey announced that they were going to start the auction. He said that they had sold out of unsigned copies of Carson’s book (DANG IT!), so if anybody still wanted to go home with a copy that night, they would have to buy a signed one. I groaned.

my book!
Daddy tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Do you want one?” I just stared at him with my mouth hanging open and nodded. “Really?” I asked. “Sure, it’s for a good cause,” he said, and a look of resolve came over his face.
Then professional auctioneer Luther Davis took the stage, and things got kind of crazy. But I ended up with one of the 5 books! Daddy even got Michael to make it out to me specifically! Thanks Daddy!! [I’m about halfway through the book now, and the only problem is that the signature is starting to smudge and rub off! Oh no!]

As they continued to auction off signed copies of Jamey’s book, as well as various autographed balls, bats, and other items, I noticed that Chuck was talking to some fans on the side of the stage. So I walked over to them and just waited for them to finish their conversation.

A few sentences in, Chuck glanced at me out of the corner of his eye and cocked his head towards me. “Katie, is that you?” he asked. I just smiled and nodded, pleased that he had recognized me.

After the other fans stepped aside, Chuck turned to me and shook my hand. “It’s so good to finally meet you, Katie!” he said. I took a moment to let that sink in. Chuck Greenberg, the new owner of the Texas Rangers, was excited to meet me. Whoa.

Chuck suggested that we do our interview after the Q&A session was over and the place had cleared out a bit. Hey, once he confirmed that we were doing the interview, I was willing to wait all night if necessary!

And, after everything else had been auctioned off, Chuck literally sold the shirt off his back (okay, it was the jacket off his back) and donated the proceeds to Wipe Out Kids Cancer! What a great guy! Before they began the auction, someone asked what size the jacket was. Chuck stepped up to the mic and said, “It’s a 3XL, for my friend in the back.” Nice. πŸ™‚ That jacket was a hot commodity, and it ended up selling for $500!

me with Chuck Greenberg

Chuck spent 30-45 minutes after the event was over talking to fans and taking pictures with people. He was so nice, and I didn’t mind waiting. Then I finally got my interview!!
 
My dad even jumped in and asked a question! I didn’t record this; I just took notes, so these aren’t necessarily direct quotes. Just FYI.
 
 

Me: How long have you been interested in baseball?

CG: My aunt took me to my first game when I was 5 years old.

Me: Did you play any sports growing up?
CG: I played baseball, football, and basketball when I was growing up, and my sons played baseball, football, and hockey.

Me:Why the Texas Rangers?
CG: The Rangers are the most attractive opportunity for someone who loves baseball. I believe the Rangers are the greatest sleeping giants in all of sports.

Dad: Katie and I are big fans of Ron Washington. What do you think about the job he’s done as manager?
CG: One thing I’ve noticed about Ron is how hard the team plays for him for a full 27 outs. They really push themselves for him, and that says a lot.

Me: How did you become partners with Nolan Ryan?
CG: I meet his son Reed through my experience in the minor leagues, and as soon as I heard that the Rangers were up for sale, I knew I wanted him to be involved. I knew all along that if Nolan aligned himself with another buyer, I had to bow out. I never would have gone up against him. But Reed was the one who helped to get the two of us together.

Me: I think someone asked a question along these lines earlier, but I couldn’t hear the answer. After this year, do you or Nolan plan to add your minor league teams to the Rangers’ system?
CG: You know, honestly, we haven’t even thought about that yet. Right now we’re trying to focus on the business at hand and get this deal taken care of.

Me: Fair enough. You also touched on this earlier, but what are your ideas about improving the stadium?
CG: The Ballpark is beautiful, but we just want to update it a bit. Like the video board, for example. We’re interested in doing anything that enhances the fan experience. We want to deliver better value. It won’t happen in 2010, but we’re really looking for that ‘Wow factor.’

Me: Your experience as a minor league owner has allowed you to be more accessible to fans, and you’ve already shown interest in doing that with the Rangers. How do you plan on making the transition to ‘the Bigs?’ Is it overwhelming?
CG: I don’t really know how I’m going to handle it yet. I guess we’ll figure it out as we go along. It has be a little overwhelming at times, but one thing I want to convey is that I’m a fan as well.

Me: What is the most interesting piece of fan advice that you’ve gotten so far?
CG: The biggest thing that I’ve noticed has just been an overall feeling of anticipation and a sense of hope. People here are ready to believe.

At this point, Chuck expressed his worry that he wasn’t being gracious enough to his host, Jamey Newberg. They were supposed to eat dinner and have a beer together, and Chuck didn’t want to make a bad impression. So I decided that I had taken up enough of his time, and I asked him my final question:

Me: I need a job. What have you got for me?
CG: You need a job? [Laughs] Let me finish the sale first!

I would like to thank Chuck Greenberg for being so gracious to me and granting this interview. I would also like to thank Michael Young, Chuck Morgan, Jake Krug, Luther Davis, Jamey Newberg, Eleanor Czajka, and Annette and Craig Leslie for donating their time to raise money for Wipe Out Kids Cancer. And a special thanks to Michael Young and his wife, Cristina Barbosa Young, for matching the donations raised through the auction.

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 fiancΓ© 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!

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 πŸ™‚
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.