Tagged: World Series

Eh

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

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

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

And all that obsessing got me nowhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until we meet again!!

Days ’til Opening Day: 31
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Big Announcements

Announcement #1
Today it was finally revealeed that Josh Hamilton is the 2010 recipient of the AL MVP award.

It was expected, but you never know. I though Ron Washington was certain to win AL Manager of the Year, but I was wrong.

Don’t get me wrong; Gardy is a great manager. But with the Rangers getting to the post-season for the 1st time in 11 years, then finally getting past the 1st round of the playoffs for the 1st time EVER, and then actually getting to the World Series… it seemed to me that Wash was the obvious choice.

Gardy is a perennial MOY candidate, and he certainly deserved MOY honors after his last 6 years. But for this year, Wash had the best year.

Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now. We’re supposed to be talking about Josh Hamilton! Congratulations Josh!!!

He was wonderful this year, but there was talk that he might miss out on MVP because he missed a month right at the end of the season.

Thankfully, the Rangers made it to the WS, and Josh got a chance to remind everyone of how good he is. Hamilton’s MVP award means that Rangers’ players have won 2 out of the 4 big awards this year: MVP and Rookie of the Year.

I’ve already mentioned that Ron Gardenhire was named Manager of the Year for the American League, and Felix Hernandez was named as the Cy Young award winner for 2010.

In the National League, Joey Votto got the MVP, Roy Halladay got the Cy Young, Buster Posey got Rookie of the Year, and Bud Black got Manager of the Year.

Announcement #2
The other big announcement made today regards the Rangers new hitting coach: Thad Bosley.

Five guys were interviewed, including Scott Coolbaugh, Johnny Narron, Ty Van Burkleo, and Luis Ortiz in addition to Bosley. Bosley was one of the finalists last year before the Rangers selected Clint Hurdle.

Bosley was the hitting coach for the Oakland A’s from 1999-2002. Before that, he played in the Majors for 14 seasons, including one season with the Rangers (1989-90).

Random other stuff
The Rangers have several holes they need to fill this off-season, just like every other Major League baseball team.

The main things are:
1) Sign Cliff Lee or another top-of-the-rotation starter
2) Extend Ron Washington (done)
3) Find a big-name catcher
4) Re-sign Vlad or find another big bat to add to the lineup
5) Find another hitting coach (done)
6) find a righty to share 1st base with/back up Moreland

Two of those six have already been taken care of, and the Cliff Lee situation will probably be up in the air for quite a while.

I would personally like to see Bengie Molina and Matt Treanor sharing the backstop duties for the Rangers next year, but Bengie is looking at possibly retiring.

The Rangers were thought to be going hard after Victor Martinez of the Red Sox, but it was released earlier today that he is close to a deal with Detroit. John Buck was another big name on the market, but he was signed by the Florida Marlins 5 days ago.

I’m not really sure what other front-line catchers are still up for grabs, bit it’s sad to see the Rangers lose out on V-Mart.

Tomorrow is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents. The Rangers have 4 free agents: Frank Francisco, Vladimir Guerrero, Cliff Lee, and Bengie Molina.

Cliff Lee is a given, because he will net 2 draft picks if he signs elsewhere, and if he accepts arbitration (which he won’t), it would only be for a 1-year contract. He wants a multi-year deal with a no-trade clause.

The only question I have is: if we end up signing Cliff Lee to a multi-year deal, do we still get the 2 draft picks? Hmm…

They might offer arbitration to Vlad, because they want him back, but only for a 1-year contract. He wants a multi-year deal, so he may not accept. But if he does accept, the Rangers may have to pay him significantly more than the $6.5 mil he earned this year.

I don’t know about Frankie Frank. I really wish they would just get rid of him, but for some crazy reason, the Rangers’ higher-ups seem to love him.

Bengie is unknown, because as I said earlier, he may want to retire.

Okay, I’m tired now. That’s all I got. Have a happy Thanksgiving!!!

2-fer

Hey, so you guys are actually gonna get 2 blog entries today! I’ve tried to blog several different times in November, but blogspot is always messed up. When I try to create a new entry, the text box just says “loading” and it won’t let me type anything. Punks!!

So I decided I’d better write another blog while I can. I’m going to cover 2 main topics: Clint Hurdle and Neftali Feliz.

Clint Hurdle was our hitting coach for the 2010 season, and he did a phenomenal job. I mean, come on, we made it all the way to the WORLD SERIES!!

Hurdle stressed situational hitting and small ball, and that obviously worked very well for the Rangers. I was really hoping that Hurdle would be here to stay.

But alas, the Baseball Gods decided otherwise. Clint Hurdle was the skipper of the Colorado Rockies from 2002-2009, so he actually took a step down by accepting the job as hitting coach for the Rangers last year.

After the World Series was over, the Pirates asked for (and received) permission to interview Hurdle for their open manager spot, and I got a really bad feeling.

And of course, the Pirates loved him. (Why wouldn’t they? He’s awesome!) Hurdle signed a 3-year contract with the Pirates, so now we have to find our 3rd hitting coach in 3 years.

Some of the names popping up now are of people who were finalists last year.

First is Thad Bosley, who was the A’s hitting coach from 1999-2002. I don’t know anything about Thad Bosley, but I think it will be confusing if he gets the job because of Assistant GM Thad Levine. Thad isn’t a common name, but the Rangers’ organization could have 2 of them in the near future!

Johnny Narron could also be a viable choice. He has spent a lot of time in baseball, but for the last several years he has followed Josh Hamilton around as his babysitter, aka “Special Assignment Coach.”

That sounded snarky, and I didn’t mean it that way. I think it’s really great that Josh has someone with him all the time to make sure he doesn’t relapse. But I think it would be helpful to the Rangers to give Narron a job where he actually does something, and they could eliminate the “Special Assignment Coach” position from their payroll.

Scott Coolbaugh is a name we heard about quite often during last year’s search for a hitting coach. He has been the Rangers’ AAA hitting coach for years, so he would already have history with most of the players.

First-base coach Gary Pettis also has some experience as a hitting coach in the minors, so they could possibly move him over and find a replacement first-base coach.

Rusty Greer was a candidate last year, and he may be a great choice for the Rangers. He spent his entire career with the Rangers, and he is certainly a fan favorite. He also happens to be a great guy, and I think he would be a good fit.

Buddy Bell and Tobey Harrah are 2 other former Rangers’ players who could get a look as well.

More on that story as it develops. 🙂

Next, I have to talk about Neftali Feliz. Today, he was overwhelmingly voted as the American League Rookie of the Year for 2010!

YAAAAAYYYYYY!!!

The Rangers have not had a Rookie of the Year winner since Mike Hargrove won it in 1974. The 36-year drought is the longest that any major league has ever had without a ROY winner.

Neffy got 122 points (20 for 1st place, 7 for 2nd place, and 1 for 3rd place). Those numbers don’t add up, but from looking at the other scores, I’m guessing that each player gets 5 points for each 1st place vote, 3 points for each 2nd place vote, and 1 point for each 3rd place vote.

Austin Jackson came in second place with 98 points (8 1st place, 19 2nd place, and 1 3rd place votes), and Danny Valencia finished a distant 3rd place with only 12 points (1 vote for 2nd place and 9 votes for 3rd place).

And man, did Neffy deserve it! He saved 40 games for the Rangers in 2010, witch was a Major League record. And he didn’t even start out the year as our closer!

It was supposed to be Franky Francisco, but after a miserable Opening Week, Ron Washington buckled under the pressure and made Feliz the “interim” closer.

I don’t see him giving up the closer spot any time soon, although he was mostly a starter in the Minors. He said that he’ll do whatever the Rangers ask of him, but he also emphasized how much he liked being a closer.

I think it would be a bad idea to try to stretch him back out to a starter. He obviously has a gift as a closer, and we don’t have anyone else who could come close to replacing him in that capacity.

But who am I to make that decision? I mean, come on, look how wrong I was about C.J. Wilson!!

I also would like to point out once again how amazing Jon Daniels is for pulling the trigger on the blockbuster Mark Teixeira trade in 2007.

We got rid of a guy who didn’t want to be here (Tex) and a right-handed reliever (Ron Mahay), and in return we got Neffy, Elvis, Matt Harrison, Salty, and minor leaguer Beau Jones. It was one of the best trades of all time.

Fittingly, Buster Posey won the NL ROY award. And hey, both ROYs were in the World Series this year!! Coincidence? I think not!

Highs and Lows

Wow, what a drastic difference in the Rangers’ performance in their last 2 games!
Let’s start with the good. I was fortunate enough to attend Friday’s game, and it was absolutely magical. I mean, the ballpark was electric. Everyone knew that the Rangers could possibly clinch the AL title that night, and we were on pins and needles.
There were lots of ominous-looking clouds, and the threat of rain weighed heavy on everyone’s minds. And sure enough, when they were doing the pre-game ceremonies, it started raining.
It wasn’t bad at first, just sprinkles. But about halfway through the national anthem, the downpour came. But the guy who was singing the national anthem did a fabulous job.
Coincidentally, he was the guy who sang “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” and he handled it like a pro. He didn’t have an umbrella, but he didn’t speed up the pace of the song to get through sooner, and he didn’t go off-key. Impressive!
The rain stopped soon after the anthem was finished, and it only rained one other time all night – during the 1st inning. We had great seats, on the 1st deck 22 rows up from the 1st base bag. But we stood up for 80% of the game.
My step-dad (Larry) actually got us the tickets, and he and my mom accompanied me and my friend Matt Pesta. (Hi Pesta!)
My mom is NOT a baseball fan, and she said that someone at her work actually told her that she didn’t deserve to go to a playoff game because she didn’t know what the Claw and Antlers meant. I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment, but she really got into it and had a great time!
She was a little crabby through the first inning, because she got wet. But I called her out on it, (nicely, of course, the loving daughter that I am) and she made a concerted effort to have fun. Thanks, Mom!
The people around us definitely made our experience better too. Every out that Colby Lewis recorded was an occasion for high fives all around. I’m talking everybody behind us, next to us, and in front of us. It was great!
After the 7th inning, when the Rangers were leading 6-1, it started to dawn on people (including myself) that we only needed to get 6 more outs to win the game. From that point on, everybody was holding up fingers to signify how many more outs we needed.
The instant that A-Rod struck out, ending the game and sending the Rangers to the World Series for the first time ever, the stadium erupted, of course. But what I didn’t expect was all the red, white, and blue confetti that shot out from somewhere up above. It was everywhere!
The Rangers started celebrating by spraying each other with ginger ale, and the MLB people set up a stage on the field for the presentation of the awards.
Mrs. Gene Autry presented the American League Championship trophy to Nolan Ryan, because Gene Autry used to own the Angels when Nolan played with them or something. Then the emcee interviewed Nolan, Chuck, Wash, and JD.
Finally, Josh Hamilton was presented with the ALCS MVP award, and he was wonderful. First he said that he wanted to thank God, and then he thanked his teammates. When the emcee asked him about his performance in the ALCS, he said “I don’t want to talk about me; I want to talk about my teammates.”
He’s such a great person.
People stayed on the field for a long time doing interviews and such. My mom and Larry took off, but Pesta and I stayed for another hour or so, down by the Rangers’ dugout.
We were yelling at everybody on the field, and we even got some (semi)famous people to come over and talk to us! Dale Hansen, Mike Doocy, Emily Jones, and Tom Grieve each came over to speak to the fans.
After we finally left the ballpark, Pesta and I were still pretty amped up, so we decided to stop by IHOP. Seriously, I didn’t get home until around 2 AM! That was hands down the best experience I have ever had at the ballpark!!
And on the opposite end of the spectrum we have what happened last night in Game 1 of the World Series.
Cliff Lee was on the mound for the Rangers, and Tim Lincecum took the hill for the Giants. It was supposed to be a low-scoring game because of the pitchers, and the Rangers were favored to win.

Both assumptions were incorrect.

The final score of the game was 11-7 Giants. Cliff Lee started the game looking like the better pitcher, because Tim Lincecum started off with a brain fart that lasted about 2 innings.
The Rangers got on the board early with one run in each of the first 2 innings. In the bottom of the 3rd, however, the Giants tied it up 2-2. But that wasn’t what got us.

If I had to pinpoint one thing that caused the Rangers loss it would have to be… that Cliff Lee gave up 6 freaking runs in the 5th inning!!!
The bottom of the 5th started out with the score tied. But by the time the Rangers finally got 3 outs, the score was 8-2 Giants.

Yeah, that inning was torture.

The Rangers also made 4 errors last night, and 2 of them were made by Vlad Guerrero in right field.
I love Vladdy, and he’s got a great bat. How many other baseball players do you know that can hit a ball after it’s bounced in the dirt or that’s a foot outside the strike zone?? But he should NOT play in the outfield!!!
The one bright spot in the game was when Cliff Lee got a double off Tim Lincecum. It was beautiful! He showed bunt, and then pulled the bat back and launched one into the gap!
As disappointing as last night’s game was, I have faith that the Rangers can come back tonight and even up the series. The ballplayers that took the field last night were not the Rangers we’ve all come to know and love.
Let’s just chalk last night up to the fact that none of the Rangers had played in a game for at least 4 days. Last night, we knocked the rust off, and tonight we’re back in playing shape. GO RANGERS!!!