Results tagged ‘ CJ Wilson ’

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

Cautious excitement

Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training in just 2 days, and I’m excited for the Rangers to start getting some of this confusion sorted out!

At the time of my last post, it seemed as if a Michael Young trade was going to happen immediately. Wrong.

Michael still hasn’t been traded, most likely because of the hefty salary that accompanies him. And it’s starting to look more and more like a trade won’t happen.

So I guess that’s kinda good, because it means that the Rangers won’t have a hole in their lineup. But it means that Michael is stuck in a role where he’s not happy.

He could get traded during Spring Training, though. A lot of stuff happens during those 6 weeks.

And I don’t even have to cite examples from multiple years in order to prove that point. Last year should be sufficient.

Players will get injured, putting their spot on the team in jeopardy. Remember what happened to Salty, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, and Ian Kinsler during Spring Training last year?

Players who we thought would be shoe-ins for a particular position will surprise us by underperforming. Remember Khalil Greene from last year? Or the idea of Neftali Feliz as a starter for 2010?

Other players will surprise us by performing way above expectations. See C.J. Wilson, who emerged from Spring Training as one of the top 2 starters on the team. That was something I definitely did not expect!

We traded for several players during Spring Training, including Matt Treanor and Andres Blanco. They were both instrumental in the Rangers’ success in 2010, especially Treanor.

So it’s still possible that Michael Young could get traded after Spring Training starts. You never know. I just hope that if a trade does happen, we get a good bat in return who can fill in as our DH.

As the title of this blog entry implies, I’m excited about the beginning of baseball activities in 2011, but I’m still nervous.

Last year, I was worried. We had gaping holes at utility infielder and catcher, and we thought we had an abundance of pitching.

The holes were filled well by Andres Blanco, Matt Treanor, and Bengie Molina, but our pitching faded quickly. Luckily we were able to trade for Cliff Lee, and we actually made it to the World Series!

This year we seem to be lacking a true ace, and our team captain isn’t happy and is asking for a trade. Again, it’s not looking good.

But perhaps these issues will be resolved and we’ll be back in the World Series in 2011! There’s no way to know what the future has in store.

Spring Training is a time of endless possibilities, and I’m sure that many of my expectations and predictions will be thrown out the window. But it sure is fun tring to predict what will happen!

You’d better hold on tight, because I have a feeling it’s going to be a bumpy ride!!

Pitchers and catchers report in: 2 days

Fan Fest

Since Fan Fest was going to be different this year, I was pretty apprehensive. But the overall verdict is….. I LIKED IT!! Make sure to keep that in mind while I’m complaining about the autograph process in future paragraphs, okay?
I had planned to get up early on Saturday morning to wait in line for autographs, but I couldn’t sleep on Friday night. So when my alarm went off on Saturday, I decided to call an audible and reset my alarm for 10:00 instead.
I headed out to Arlington later than expected, but I was feeling great because of the extra rest.
When I arrived, it took me a good 15 minutes to find a parking space, and I only found that one because of dumb luck. Then when I tried to enter the Convention Center, I was told that I was entering through the exit and that I had to walk around the building. Lovely!

This did not put me in a great mood. But I eventually got around the building and found Will Call to pick up my ticket. As soon as I entered, I asked where I needed to go for autographs.
After walking around aimlessly for a while trying to find where the lady was talking about, I finally figured out the general area where I was supposed to be.
Let me first explain how the autographs were set up at Fan Fest. There were 4 autograph stages (A, B, C, and D) where players would be signing autographs at their specified times. They had players signing 2 at a time, so for example Matt Treanor and Colby Lewis were each signing at stages B and C, respectively, from 12:00-1:00.

So if you wanted to get both Matt Treanor and Colby Lewis, you were screwed. You had to have a special colored wristband to get an autograph, and 200 wristbands were given out for each player. Each person could only have one wristband at a time, and you were required to be already waiting in line for your player when the autograph time started.
After you got your autograph, there was a person standing there to cut off your wristband. Then you could head back over to the wristband area to try to get a wristband for another player’s autograph.

This should have worked out pretty well, because the Rangers had publicised that they wouldn’t start handing out wristbands for a specific player until 2 hours before his autograph session. But I heard that the fire marshal said that all the people lined up waiting to get their wristbands were blocking the exits, so they had to start handing out all the wristbands.
They also had only 4 lines (for stages A, B, C, and D), so you had to know what stage your player was going to be at. But if someone was waiting for either Michael Kirkman (signing on stage C at 2:00) or David Murphy (signing on stage C at 4:00), they were in the same line. It was madness!
After asking around for awhile, I realized that since Kirkman was signing before Murphy, I could go to the front of the line to get a Kirkman wristband.

I got there at a little before noon, and I ended up getting a Kirkman wristband for the 2:00 signing. I also wanted to get Darren O’Day (3:00) and Engel Beltre (4:00), but I couldn’t get those wristbands until after my Kirkman session was over.
Jamey Newberg 
So then I had 2 hours to kill before the autograph session, but I had to make sure I was in the line for Kirkman before 2:00. I decided to visit Jamey Newberg’s booth to see what he was up to.
Jamey and I talked for a little while, and unfortunately I allowed my displeasure about the autograph situation to overflow a little.
I said something like “I don’t know if I like this new Fan Fest. It’s kind of ridiculous!”
He cocked his head to the side, narrowed his eyes, and grinned at me. “But it’s also kinda awesome, right?” That helped me to realize that I was the one being ridiculous, and I needed to chill and try to have a good time. Thanks, Jamey!
Fergie Jenkins
Jamey had a prime spot, right between C.J. Wilson’s Children’s Charities and the Hall Of Fame Booth with Ferguson Jenkins and Gaylord Perry. So Jamey just got to soak in the greatness all day!
CJ Wilson 
The gracious C. J. stopped by his booth just before I got there, and he spent quite a while signing autographs for various kids. I was going to get in line, but then some official-looking guy said that C.J. had to leave soon, and the line was already too long.
I already have a C.J. Wilson autographed ball, but the 1st pen he tried to sign with ran out of ink, and the end result doesn’t look anything at all like C.J.’s signature. Oh well.
Gaylord Perry
Fergie and Gaylord Perry were also signing autographs, but you had to donate $20 to the Texas Rangers Foundation for each autograph. I would have done it if it had been the beginning of the month, but it was the 22nd, and I don’t get paid again until the 1st. Dangit!
On the other side of Fan Fest, there was a big stage that had been set up for Q&A Sessions all day long, and I realized that this was a good place to be. Not only because I learned some great stuff, but also because I got to sit down!
There were several different sessions scheduled, including ones with Nolan Ryan, members of the coaching staff, Rangers’ wives, Chuck Greenberg, former Rangers, and Nelson Cruz.

I listened to some or all of several of these Q&A’s, and I really enjoyed them. It made me feel special as a fan to get the opportunity to ask questions, and I learned a lot by listening to the questions that other fans asked.

There was also a little corner by the stage where the Rangers’ Foundation was selling various Rangers memorabilia. They were selling a bunch of things I already have at a reduced rate, like a 2010 Rangers’ Media Guide that I paid $10 for at the beginning of the season was going for $1.

They also had a Rangers’ cookbook that I already own, as well as some old Hank Blalock bobbleheads from a few years ago.
But the things I purchased were some baseball-themed potholders ($1 each) and an autographed Jarrod Saltalamacchia baseball. Score!

I had wanted to get Salty’s autograph for the past couple of years, but when we traded him to Boston and I thought that my chance had passed. But they had at least a dozen baseballs with his John Hancock, as well as countless other autographed baseballs that were completely illegible, and each was only $15.

If they had taken the time to decipher some of those autographs, they probably could have sold a bunch more!
Right next to the old Rangers’ memorabilia was the “photo booth” where different current and former Rangers’ players would take some time to take pictures with the fans. There was no publicised schedule for the photo stage, so you just had to get in line and hope for the best.
I got in line for Mark McLemore, but his picture with the guy in front of me was his last one. Aww, man! I was upset, because I had no idea who the next guy would be or if I would want my picture taken with him.
Matt Treanor
But then Matt Treanor walked up, and I breathed a sigh of relief. When I walked up to have my picture taken with him, I explained that I had been waiting for Mac, but that I was glad to get to have a picture with him instead.
He was so sweet; he said, “Do you want me to get him back up here?” and he made a move to call Mac back to the stage. I laughed. “Oh, no!” I said. “I’m glad it’s you!”

Mark McLemore
After my picture with Matt Treanor, I realized that Mark McLemore was still off to the side talking to some people. When it was my turn, I explained that I had been the next person in line. “Well, I can’t leave you hanging,” he said. “You were the next person!”

The area between the big Q&A stage and the photo booth was also a great spot to catch various Rangers’-affiliated people for pictures.

Jim Sundberg
Jim Sundberg was walking through the crows unnoticed, and as he passed by me, I asked, “Sunny, would you mind taking a picture with me?”
“Sure!” he said. Then I felt kinda bad because a lot of other people realized who he was and they wanted pictures too. Oops!

Richard “Hoggy” Price

I also spotted Richard “Hoggy” Price, and I’ll bet that some of you hardcore Rangers’ fans don’t even know who he is. He’s the Rangers’ clubhouse manager, and I explained that I had seen him on Rangers Insider.
“Yeah,” he said with a wink and a smile, “I try to avoid the camera as much as possible, but sometimes they get me.” I told him I appreciated all the stuff he does behind the scenes that most people never know about, and he was very nice. He even gave me his business and said to call him if I ever needed help getting an autograph or something!
Michael Kirkman 
Then I realized that I needed to get in line for my Michael Kirkman autograph, so I headed over to the other main room. I got there around 1:45, but I ended up talking to the girl in front of me, and the line seemed to move quickly after that.
After Kirkman signed my ball and handed it back to me, I said “Thanks! This will be worth something someday!” He smiled, and I said “You’re gonna be great. I have a good feeling about you.”

After I got my autograph, it was about 2:30, and they had already given out all of the wristbands to the day’s remaining autograph sessions. Sad!

Chuck Greenberg
I decided to head back to the other room to see what else was going on, and I ran into Chuck Greenberg again, for what was probably the 4th time that day. I finally thought to get a picture with him. I’ve known him for a year, but we’ve never taken a picture together!
I was just wandering around when I saw a booth for the Texas Rangers Women’s Club. My friend Rachel had mentioned that we should check them out, so I went over to get some information.
The lady I talked to said they have women of all ages, and that they volunteer at various games at the Ballpark. As a member, I can work as many or as few games as I want, and unless the game is sold out, I can stay and watch the game for free!
They’re also the ones who hand out the promotional items, and my favorite thing was that she said we get each of the promotional items for the games we work, even the ones for kids 13 and under!
They also help with charitble events, have special TRWC events and get to have group outings at Rangers’ games. I almost feel guilty, as if I’m stealing something! It seems too good to be true.
She said the yearly dues are $22, but for your first year you have to pay a one-time-only badge fee of $7. I think I can handle $29!! Although I spent way too much money at Fan Fest, so the lady said I could take a form and just mail it in with a check after I get paid next. Yessss!!
Emily Jones and Nelson Cruz 
Next it was time for Nelly Cruz’s Q&A session, so I headed over to take a seat. This isn’t a very good picture, but it’s Emily Jones and Nelly onstage.
Someone asked Nelly why he wasn’t playing Winter Ball, and he responded “That wasn’t my decision; it was the Rangers’. I just want to play ball all the time. It’s harder to stay in shape when I’m not playing.”
So that was interesting. I guess the Rangers don’t want him to get injured playing Winter Ball and have it affect his Major League season, which makes sense.
Chuck Morgan
After Nelly’s session was over, I made one last loop around to make sure I didn’t miss anything. While I was making my rounds, I spotted Chuck Morgan, and he was gracious enough to take a picture with me too!
The whole autograph thing was total chaos, and I sincerely hope it is fixed for next year’s Fan Fest. Chuck Greenberg mentioned that they might need to get a bigger venue, and I agree. But the next venue needs to have a whole separate area dedicated only to autographs, with plenty of room for people to wait in line.

And the Rangers should actually wait until 2 hours prior to the autograph session to hand out wristbands, so that people can have a chance to get more than one autograph all day!
They should also have a lot more lines, with each one dedicated to each player. The 4-stage setup worked out pretty well, but waiting in line for your player’s stage alongside other people who were waiting for another player at the same stage was bad. It just created a lot of confusion, both for the fans and for the poor people working the event who didn’t know what was going on either.
Okay, enough with the griping. I had planned to attend Sunday’s Fan Fest as well, (since I had purchased a 2-day pass), but I was so exhausted after Saturday that I ended up deciding that I needed to use Sunday to rest and get ready for the work week. Just another example that I’m getting old. {Sigh}
With the Rangers making it to the World Series in 2010, it was necessary to change Fan Fest to accomodate all of the extra people attending. The Arlington Convention Center was nice because it’s right next to the Ballpark, and because it was indoors. It just still wasn’t big enough.
All of the booths and events that were at this year’s Fan Fest may have been present before, but if they were, they were hidden in various nooks and crannies around the Ballpark. I really liked how most things were easy to find (besides the correct autograph line), and I had fun.
This year’s Fan Fest was geared more towards children, with indoor batting cages, speed pitch, a game where you try to steal home, pitching and hitting instructional clinics by Rangers’ coaches, and a Home Run Derby.
But I thought it offered plenty for the grown-up Rangers fan too. I enjoyed the Photo Booth and the Q&A sessions, and at least I got one autograph! Dang this entry was long!
Pitchers and catchers report in: 23 days

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!

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!

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

How awesome!

When the Rangers celebrated their AL West championship, Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson couldn’t participate in the celebration. Josh is a recovering alcoholic/drug addict, and C.J. made a personal decision not to ever consume alcohol.

But to celebrate their ALDS win, the Rangers decided that they should be included, so the beer/champagne shower was replaced by… ginger ale!!

http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101013&content_id=15608712&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

So awesome! Another blog will be coming today to discuss the ALDS champion Rangers!

Drive-by blogging

Hey there. I don’t have much time to blog, but I haven’t posted anything since Monday, so I’ll mention a few things real quick.

-The Rangers tried to claim Manny Ramirez on waivers, but the Chicago White Sox got him first. I’m glad. We don’t need a poisonous presence like his in the clubhouse.

-Michael Kirkman is awesome.

-Bengie Molina has a blog. I didn’t know that. Apparently he blogged for 3 years while he was with the Giants, so now he’s blogging for the Rangers. It’s pretty good stuff, and it just points out what a great guy he is.

You should check it out: http://bengiemolina.mlblogs.com/

-Rich Harden isn’t all that great. Yes, he threw a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings on Monday. But he also walked 5 batters and threw way too many pitches.

I think everybody is blowing this whole “no-hit” thing way out of proportion. He still needs to go deeper in games and control his walk totals.

-What’s up with Cliff Lee? Seriously! If you had posited the following scenario to me 6 weeks ago, I would have predicted a very different outcome:

“The Rangers will win 3 out of 4 against Minnesota. Rich Harden, Colby Lewis, C.J. Wilson, and Cliff Lee will be the starters in those 4 games. One of the starters will have a no-hitter through 6 2/3 in that series, and one starter will only go 5 innings and get the loss.”

Obviously I would have gone with Cliff Lee for the no-hitter and Rich Harden for the 5-inning loss. This is crazy.

-Playoff tickets are ridiculously expensive.

-I went to the game on Wednesday, and I had a great time. The weather was wonderful and the Rangers won. What more can you ask for?

-I’m going to the game on Sunday, and I’m really excited. I was dreading the prospect of an afternoon game at the end of August, but thanks to the cold front, it’s not going to be as hot! Sure, the high on Sunday is still going to be 97 degrees, but that’s better than 107!

And it will be good to put some more distance between ourselves and our closest competition in the AL West (Oakland).

Overall Rangers’ record: 72-55
My Rangers’ record: 14-8
Days ’til my next game: 2

It’s good to be home again!

Man, that was a tough road trip. At least we ended it with a win.

Dropping three straight to Tampa Bay was awful. We split the 4-game series in Baltimore, but we probably should have swept them.

So which do you think is worse? That the Rangers were humiliated against a team they will very likely see in the playoffs (TB)? Or the fact that they only took 2 out of 4 against the worst team in baseball (the O’s)?

I’m not giving up on my boys. They just really need to step it up.

Yes, we still have an 8-game lead in the AL West. As long as we win our division, we will get to the playoffs. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get past the first round.

If the season ended today, the Rangers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Rays would be going to the post-season. And the Rangers would have the worst win/loss record of all the playoff teams.

In the first round, Tampa Bay would play Minnesota, and the Rangers would again face the Yankees. And the Yankees would have home-field advantage.

We’ve seen this before, and it doesn’t end well for the Rangers. They need to prove that they’re not just the Yankees’ whipping boy. Because the goal isn’t just to get to the post-season, but to actually make it past the 1st round.

I really feel like the Rangers have a shot this year. They just need to be careful so that they don’t fade down the stretch.

Speaking of fading down the stretch, I’m concerned about all the injuries hurting our playoff berth. The Rangers currently have 6 players in the 15-day DL. If most of them are well enough to come back by August 31st, we should be good.

I’m sure that most of you know that the active rosters expand on September 1 from 25 up to a maximum of 40 players. But only the players who are on the Rangers’ 25-man roster on August 31st can participate in post-season games, unless there is an injury and someone has to be called up.

Kinsler’s been out since July 29, and hopefully he’ll be able to come back at the end of August. The Rangers could really use Kins in the post-season. Cristian Guzman was pretty useless as Kinsler’s initial replacement.

Taylor Teagarden has been doing a great job filling in for Matt Treanor, so it will be interesting to see what happens if Treanor can make it back before the 31st.

It will be good to get Dustin Nippert back too. Matt Harrison is a great lefty long reliever, but Scott Feldman is not a good option for a righty long reliever. Dustin is no longer having headaches, so I’m not really sure what the hold-up is.

But the player that the Rangers need the most is Nelson Cruz. They need his boomstick as well as his range and strong arm in the outfield. Seriously, I can’t wait for Nelly to come back.

Luckily, Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero seem to have emerged from their slumps, lessening the need for Nelly’s bat. But just think how much better we will be with Cruz!!

The Rangers are back in Arlington today, and they are set to play 3 games against Joe Mauer the Minnesota Twins. The Twins are a good team, but the Rangers have been great at home this season.

Rich Harden is starting tonight for the Rangers. Again? I thought we got rid of him! I thought he was gone for good when the Rangers put him on the DL this last time. I mean, how many chances are we gonna give this guy?

He’s just too unpredictable. He’s only had 2 good starts all year long. Enough already!

But then again, maybe he’ll have another stellar performance this evening and continue it all the way through the post-season. Miracles can happen, right?

After Harden, Colby Lewis is expected to pitch on Tuesday night, followed by C.J. Wilson on Wednesday.

My prediction is that we will lose the game tonight (and then hopefully we’ll really be rid of Rich Harden)! Then Colby will finally get his 10th win on Tuesday, followed by another spectacular show by C.J. Wilson, earning us the series win on Wednesday.

I’m going to the game Wednesday, and I’m really excited because I just looked at the 10-day forecast. It looks like tomorrow will be our last day of 100+ degree weather! Yay!!

My dad mentioned that a cold front is supposed to come through on Tuesday night, so I figured the temperature might drop a bit on Wednesday and then climb right back up. But the forecast predicts 93-95 degree highs every day through Wednesday, September 1! Woo hoo!!!

Bring on the Twins! It’s gonna be downright chilly!!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 69-54
My Rangers’ record: 13-8
Days ’til my next game: 2

Finally!!

It’s been a week since I last blogged, and there was a HUGE development that I neglected to address. Late Wednesday night (actually early Thursday morning) the Rangers were sold to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan.

HALLELUJAH!!!

This has been a very long time coming, and I’m elated that Rangers Baseball Express (a.k.a. the Greenberg/Ryan group) decided to stick it out. They had to pay more than their primary bid ($575 million back in January), but it’s finally over.

$70 million of that initial $575 mil bid was alloted for the parking lots around the stadium. So, in essence, RBE was going to spend $505 mil for the team (and acquired debts) and $70 mil for the parking lots.

But in order to free up more money for the actual team, RBE scratched the deal for the parking lots. The final amount decided Thursday was $593 million, not including the parking lots. This bid includes $385 million in cash and the assumption of $208 million in debt owed by the club.

As far as I can tell, there are 3 options as far as the parking lots go: 1) RBE acquires the lots in a separate transaction, 2) Hicks Sports Group (a.k.a. Tom Hicks) refuses to sell them (which would create tension), or 3) RBE and HSG split up the profits somehow.

I’m just glad it’s over. This has been 15 months in the making. Now the Rangers can just focus on winning!

Okay, back to the Rangers’ actual baseball performance. They just finished a 9-game road trip against all 3 of our AL West opponents, and they didn’t fare too well. But they’re still leading the West by 7 1/2 games!

They played the first series of the road trip in Anaheim, winning just 1 out of 3. No bueno. Then they headed to Seattle and won 2 out of 3. Of course, cause the Mariners suck! Next they went on to Oakland and they only won 1 out of 3. Come on, guys!

That means they went 4-5 on the road trip, which isn’t great. They were off last night, but tonight starts a 2-game series in Arlington against the Yankees.

Out of all the teams that are coming to Texas this year, the Yankees are the only ones I’m not seeing. And that’s not because I couldn’t get tickets; it’s because I didn’t want tickets!

It’s so sickening to go to RBiA when the Rangers are playing the Yanks, because at least half of the crowd is dressed in Yankees garb. Disgusting.

Anyway, the Yankees are coming, and they’re going to be a tough team for the Rangers to beat. The last time we played them was in April, and that series was in New York.

And the Rangers got swept. Lovely.

At least this time they’ll be in our house instead of the other way around. Then, after another off-day, the Red Sox are coming to Arlington. Now that’s a game that I am going to!

The BoSox are my 2nd favorite team, but I won’t be cheering for them at the game I go to on Saturday. I want my Rangers to win. But I love Big Papi and Terry Francona and Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

C.J. Wilson will be starting tonight (10-5, 3.30 ERA) against A.J. Burnett (9-9, 4.93 ERA). The numbers seem to speak for themselves in this matchup, but we must remember that C.J. hasn’t been doing so hot lately. He only went 3 innings in his last start, and that’s not typical C.J.

Tomorrow it’s Cliff Lee (10-4, 2.44 ERA) against Javier Vazquez (9-8, 4.63 ERA). Yeah, I know how it looks too. It looks like the Yanks don’t have a chance. But Cliff is only 2-2 in 6 games as a Ranger. Hopefully he’ll pick it back up, but the Yankees are a hard team to face.

Before I sign off, though, I should address Rich Harden. When we last left off, I was very impressed by his first start after getting off the DL. But unfortunately, he pulled another “Rich Harden” in his last start.

He only went 2 1/3 innings, walking 5 and allowing 3 earned runs. I don’t know what we’re going to do with him.

They will probably skip his next start, because there was some leeway in the schedule with a day off before and after the 2-game Yankee series. Or they could bring up Derek Holland from AAA.

I think Rich should get one more chance to prove himself, but if he tanks next time, I think he should be gone. Either he should go on the 60-day DL, go to AAA, or be outright released. We don’t need to keep screwing around with this.

And I think the higher-ups realize that they can’t let him flounder indefinitely. This is a legitimately contending team. Go Rangers!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 64-47
My Rangers’ record: 13-7
Days ’til my next game: 4
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