Results tagged ‘ Richard Durrett ’

More on the Napoli trade

Since my post yesterday, I’ve learned a bit more about the Mike Napoli trade.

While I was quite enthusiastic to bid farewell to Frank Francisco, the always-astute Joey Matschulat over at BBTiA wonders here about the affect this trade will have on the bullpen.

I neglected to mention yesterday that trading away Francisco most likely means that Neftali Feliz will remain the Rangers’ closer, as opposed to switching to the rotation. I’m fine with this, but there quite a lot of fans who disagree with me on this point.

I’ve also learned that last year Napoli started 70 games for the Angels at 1B. This was mostly due to need, since Kendry Morales broke his ankle in that freak celebration accident.

That just means that Napoli is even more versatile than I thought. Not only can he catch and DH, but he can also play solid 1st base.

It also brings up the question of whether or not we actually need Michael Young.

There has been a lot of speculation that a Michael Young trade is imminent, and the reasons are definitely persuasive enough to make me stop and think.

Ken Rosenthal brought up the facts here that:
1) Michael Young is under contract for the next 3 years at a staggering $16 million/year
2) With Adrian Beltre at 3rd base for the next 5-6 years, Young has been relegated to a role as a super-utility man/DH, a role he’s too young for
3) After the deal with Beltre, they announced Young would DH, but then continued to pursue Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Vladdy, and finally traded for Napoli
4) With Napoli capable of playing 1B/DH, Young’s role is further threatened
5) In May, Young will achieve full veto power of any trade due to the 10/5 rule (10 years in the majors, at least 5 years with one team)
6) The Colorado Rockies were interested in Young at the Winter Meetings to be their 2nd baseman

So if those are the reasons why we should trade Michael Young, then what are the reasons why we shouldn’t?
1) Face of the franchise
2) MY has said in the past that he wants to stay in Texas

But #2 may not apply any more considering his current role. He may decide that he’d rather go somewhere else to get the opportunity to play full-time offense and defense.

Michael Young said here that he doesn’t see himself as a DH, and he considers this a temporary move. But if he thinks that way, he must be thinking about another team, because Beltre is here to stay.

Okay, maybe Michael is seeing himself at another infield position. Let’s look at those options.

He couldn’t possibly be thinking of taking over for Elvis. Just 2 years ago, before Elvis was proven to be Major League-ready, the Rangers asked Michael to give up his role as shortstop, so they’re not likely to switch back now. Especially since Elvis has shown that he is far superior defensively.

Did Young see himself as a first baseman? That’s a position that has suffered since the loss of Mark Tiexiera. But with Mitch Moreland just coming up and the recent acquisition Napoli, that’s pretty much out as a permanent position for MY.

I could see him at 2nd base, but Kinsler is signed through 2012 (with an option for 2013). Plus, Kinsler and Young are good friends, so I can’t really see Young expecting to push Kinsler out.

So Michael must be envisioning himself with another team, right? Who knows.

Although it seems that Colorado would be a good fit for a trade, MLBtraderumors.com says here that the Rockies are financially tapped out.

The fans would throw a fit. Young has spent 10 years (his entire career) as a Ranger. Even though the Rangers have gained a lot more fans after their World Series trip last year, I don’t know if they’d be willing to risk all the fans they’d lose if they traded Young.

There’s also the “clubhouse factor” to consider, as Richard Durrett of RSPN Dallas points out here. Michael is the unquestioned team captain, even if he doesn’t have a “C” on his uniform. Could the Rangers handle the 2011 player turnover without Young as a buffer?

These are some definitely some points that merit discussion. But I’m 99% sure that if the Rangers do plan to trade Young, they will be very upfront about it and will include him in the discussions.

I can’t imagine them blindsiding him with a trade. The respect him too much for that.

Pitchers and catchers report in: 21 days

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

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

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 :)
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.

…and it all comes full circle

David Murphy
Last night, I went to an autograph session at the Academy store in West Plano. Josh Hamilton was there, so I took off work early and made a beeline for Plano. David Murphy was there too, but he only stayed for a few minutes, because he was really sick. That was okay with me, because I already have a David Murphy autographed baseball.
Josh Hamilton
Each fan could get Josh to sign one thing, so I had him sign a copy of his book (which I made Daddy go buy yesterday while I was at work), and dad had him sign a baseball. I wanted a Josh Hamilton baseball too, but Daddy made a point of specifically telling me, “Uh-uh, you can’t have my baseball, I’m keeping this one.” “Okay, Daddy, you keep your baseball. I’ve got the book,” I said, secretly disappointed. But there was no way I could blame him. I mean it’s Josh Hamilton!

Jim Sundberg, aka “Sunny”

I went over to the other table to get autographs from Jim Sundberg (Rangers’ Hall of Fame catcher), Jon Daniels (GM), and Tom Greive (former player and manager, current TV announcer). As I walked past JD, he nodded at me and said hi, so I took the opportunity to tell him, “I’m going to be working for you someday. Just FYI.” He didn’t seem surprised, he just said, “Oh really? What do you do?” I said, “I have an English degree, so I can write, edit, do press releases, or whatever you want. I have a Rangers blog.” TR Sullivan was there, and he chimed in, “Yeah, this is that girl that I wrote the article about on Christmas.” JD didn’t remember what he was talking about, so he asked TR to send him the link.

TR Sullivan

Later, as I was talking to TR, he asked me, “Are you going to the Mid-Winter Awards Banquet in a couple of weeks?” I told him that I had really wanted to, but the tickets were too expensive. So he said, “I want you to come as my guest.” My jaw dropped open. “Really?!”

“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll contact you and we’ll work out the details.” At this point, my dad shook TR’s hand, because if he hadn’t invited me, I probably would have talked my dad into paying for us both to go. He saved my dad $120!! Richard Durrett from ESPN.com was standing next to us, and he said “Oh, man, you’ll have to sit at the press table though.” “No, that’s GOOD!” I said. ‘That’s what I want to do: write about the Texas Rangers! So this is perfect!” Then TR said, “Oh yeah, I have to present Michael Young with the MVP award, so we have to figure out what to say to him.” Umm… wow!

Jon Daniels

I saw that Jon Daniels was just sitting at his table, so I went over to ask him some questions. He was very nice, and I felt special that I got to do a little 5-minute “interview” with him.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, aka “Salty”
I asked him first about whether they were looking to acquire another catcher because of the uncertainty with Salty’s health since his surgery. “It’ll all depend on how Salty’s doing in Spring Training. We’ll just have to wait and see how he’s doing. If he’s having trouble, we can pick up somebody then,” he said. Fair enough.
Ben Sheets
Then I asked him why the Rangers are so interested in adding another starting pitcher, considering the pitching depth that the Rangers have right now. “You can never have enough pitching,” he said. “You want too much pitching in April because you never know what’s going to happen in September.” True, Jon. Very true.
Tom Hicks, current owner
Then I asked a question that caused Daniels to clam up: “Do we even have any money left in the budget to get a veteran starting pitcher?” As soon as I asked this question, he lost the open, honest look on his face and became carefully composed. It was as if he was guarding his answer and he wanted to make sure he didn’t say too much. “Well… we’ll do alright…” he started. I immediately started backtracking. “I understand you don’t want to give away exactly how much you have to spend, so that’s okay, you don’t have to answer that.” But that led me to think about the ownership situation.
 
Chuck Greenberg
Chuck Greenberg.jpg“Tomorrow is the deadline for the exclusive negotiating period between Tom Hicks and Chuck Greenberg,” I said. “What do you think is going to happen?” But his guard was already up from the previous question. “I don’t know,” he said. “What do YOU think is going to happen?” he asked. Dead end. Then I got off on a tangent of talking about how I’m Chuck Greenberg’s friend on Facebook, and that he was very nice to me and he sent me an email and everything. I’m easily distracted; what can I say? :)
Vladimir Guerrero

My last question was, “Why Vlad Guerrero over Jermaine Dye? Any particular reason?” His response was “Well, we had to pick one of them. We couldn’t have both. And Vlad’s 35, but he passed the physical, and I think he’ll be a great DH for us.”

So it was a pretty great evening! But that wasn’t all! Last night, while we were waiting for Josh to sign the autographs, Daddy and I entered a raffle for several different Rangers’-related prizes, then I didn’t think twice about it. I never win anything. But this morning, when I got to work, I had a voicemail from somebody who worked at Academy. I called her back and I said, “Hi, I’m Katie Brownfield. Did I win something?” “Yes, you did,” she said. “You won a Josh Hamilton autographed baseball!”

And it all comes full circle!

ramblings

I feel like I’m going into withdrawal. I crave information about my Rangers, but I don’t know how to feed my addiction. I’d been watching the AL and NL division series playoff games on tv, and that helped a little. But that’s been over for a few days. I think the NL championship series is starting tomorrow, and the AL championship series is starting Friday, but this mini-drought has just reminded me that pretty soon, baseball will be finished. And I’ll have nothing to do for the next 6 months. I keep checking all of my baseball websites periodically, trying to get any information I can, but it’s pretty sparse.

Richard Durrett of the ESPN Rangers’ blog posted that the Arizona Fall League started their mini-season yesterday, and I know that several Rangers’ minor league prospects are playing in that, but I don’t know where I can get more information about it. He seems to have adjusted to ESPN very well, after leaving the DMN blog. He’s also been analyzing all of the Rangers’ players according to their defensive positions (i.e. 1st base, left field, catcher, etc.), and that’s been interesting to read.
Evan Grant
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News’ Rangers’ blog has started doing the same thing, only with letter grades for each individual player and with a little more detail. He’s still trying to make the transition from D Magazine’s Inside Corner blog (which was way cooler), so he’s got some changes to make with the DMN blog. But I’m enjoying anything that has to do with the Rangers right now, so even people just giving their opinions about certain players is captivating to me at this point. And I love getting Evan Grant’s opinion on anything baseball-related.

TR Sullivan
T.R. Sullivan posted yesterday that the Rangers’ organization fired 3 long-time employees yesterday, but I don’t know what that means. Two scouts got the axe, along with the equipment manager, and each had been with the Rangers for at least 6 years. There was no explanation as to why, so I don’t know if they were all involved in some kind of nefarious activity together and they got caught or if it’s just something simple like budget cuts.

BBTiA (Baseball Time in Arlington) always has great stuff to read, and it’s always pretty technical, so it takes me a while to digest and fully understand their postings. They break down the Rangers’ performance and go by the numbers and make charts and formulas and stuff, so it’s always entertaining to see what they come up with. They really put some serious effort into their postings!! For example, they’ll examine a group of pitching prospects in the Rangers’ organization, and they’ll pull up all the stats, including innings pitched at each minor league level, number of strike-outs/walks, ERA, etc. and compare it all in black and white. It’s really amazing what emerges when you look at all the numbers! And I love that they spend so much time with the research and stuff to back up their opinions.

I’m excited for the ALCS and the NLCS, but after all of my losing horses in the ALDS and NLDS, I’m hesitant to make my predictions. I know that rationally speaking, it makes absolutely no difference who I’m rooting for when it comes to the outcome of the games, but baseball is a very superstitious game. Okay, I’m just going to say it, like ripping off a Band-Aid. And anyone who has read my blog will know who my choices are anyway (not that anyone actually reads my blog). I’m rooting for the Angels to beat the Yankees in the American League, and I hope the Phillies beat the Dodgers in the National League.

I know the Angels are the Rangers’ rivals in the AL West, but I think they’re a really good team (apart from Mike Scioscia, of course). I even think Mike Scioscia is probably a great manager, he just personally kinda rubs me the wrong way. And I’ll root for just about anybody against the Yankees.

Vicente Padilla
The Phillies won the World Series last year, and it’s already well-known that I hate the Dodgers. But if the Dodgers and the Yankees are the winners and they end up playing each other in theWorld Series, I actually would rather the Yankees win. I couldn’t watch the World Series and root for the Yankees, because it goes against every fiber of my being. But the Yankees have won so many World Series, at this point, is it really gonna matter? I just don’t want Vicente Padilla to get a World Series ring. Punk.

Rudy Jaramillo
WHOA!!! This just in: Rudy Jaramillo will NOT be the Rangers’ hitting coach next year! The Rangers offered him a one-year contract, and he said ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ Huh! Interesting!

Saturday, before the game

I went to the game on Saturday, even though it had been raining all day and didn’t seem to be letting up. I mean, come on, I had tickets; I had to go. And I just found out the other day (by emailing Richard Durrett with the Dallas Morning News) that they open the gates 2 hours prior to game time, while the Rangers are still usually taking batting practice on the field. So I was really excited to get to the ballpark right when the gates opened and get some autographs.

I showed up right at 5:00 with my dozen or so baseballs, and the gates were open, so I immediately ran down to the Rangers’ dugout to see if I could catch any players. The infield was still covered, because of the rain, and I guessed (correctly) that they weren’t doing batting practice. I met up with 2 guys that were standing there waiting for a David Murphy autograph, and we decided to divide and conquer. I waited on the 1st base side of the Rangers’ dugout (and I could actually see into the dugout), and they waited on the home plate side. I told them that if I saw David Murphy, I would wave my arms at them and let them know he was in the dugout.
 
David Murphy
And sure enough, here comes David Murphy. I started waving my arms at them, but they weren’t looking. So I cupped my hands around my mouth (because my voice isn’t very loud) and yelled “Hey! Guys!” One of them saw me and elbowed the other in the ribs, and they got David to autograph a game-used bat that they had bought. So yay, they got their autograph! And I helped! I didn’t mind that I wasn’t over there with them to also get a David Murphy autograph, because I already have an autographed baseball by him.

I decided to stay by the other side so I could see into the dugout, and also because players were going out to right field to warm up for the game, and so they had to walk right past me. I called out to each of them by name, but most of them just ignored me. Some said they had to go for right now, but that they would be back later to sign autographs. Yeah right.
 
Mike Maddux
So after standing in the rain for an hour and a half, I got a just 2 autographs. One was the pitching coach, Mike Maddux, and I think he just gave me an autograph because he was impressed that I would still want it even though he isn’t a player anymore. Apparently his little brother, Greg Maddux, was a 4-time Cy Young award winner. So he probably has a little bit of an inferiority complex, and he was just happy that I wanted his autograph. I don’t know; anyway, he was really nice.
Guillermo Moscoso
I also got pitcher Guillermo Moscoso’s autograph. I’m sure you’re thinking “who??” He’s a pitcher, and he’s gone back and forth several times this year between the Rangers and AAA. I think he gave me his autograph because he was impressed that I actually knew his name. And plus there was a cute little kid standing next to me. He was precious; maybe 7 years old, with red hair and freckles. They love that.
 
I saw Derek Holland and Brandon McCarthy and Scott Feldman and Neftali Feliz and Frank Francisco and Marlon Byrd and Warner Madrigal and Eddie Guardado, but they didn’t sign autographs. Punks! Matt Harrison signed some, but I wasn’t over where he was. And Kevin Richardson signed some (not near me), and of course David Murphy, who I already mentioned.
Chris Davis, a.k.a. my husband
Okay, are you sitting down? I almost got Chris Davis’ autograph!! He was signing for a group of people, and I was over there, like 4 feet away from him! But before he got to me he was like, “Okay, guys, I have to get ready for the game!” And he ran back to the dugout! And I’m standing there like ‘No, I love you, please!!’ Ugh. Just break my heart. But at least my husband was one of the nice guys who signed autographs for people.
 
I mean, come on, guys!! I stood in the rain for an hour and a half waiting for you. And you can’t get your butt out of the (relatively) dry comfort of the dugout to sign a dozen autographs? Who do you think you are??
 

Sunday night’s RoughRiders’ game

[Sorry for the different sizes of photographs. Some came from my camera and some came from Richard Durrett]

A few weeks ago, I read on the Dallas Morning News’ Rangers’ Blog about a special ticket deal that they were doing for Rangers’ bloggers. And who has a blog about the Rangers? Why, I do, of course! :) For $15, you could get seats right by the RoughRiders dugout, all-you-can-eat hotdogs/burgers/chicken sandwiches/chips/drinks, and a special meet-and-greet with Blake Beavan before the game. Sound familiar?
Blake Beavan
No, of course it doesn’t. No one actually reads this thing. I’m doing it for my own amusement. Anyway, it sounded remarkably similar to the deal we got when we went with Evan Grant to see a RoughRiders’ game a few weeks ago. With Evan, the tickets were free, but the food wasn’t, so I spent about the same amount of money. And the last time I met Blake, I didn’t get to get his autograph, but I DID THIS TIME!! YAY!!!
 
Since this game was scheduled for a Sunday night, I knew my dad wouldn’t be able to go, since he works till 8:00 on Sundays. And most of my other friends are sick of my baseball obsession, so I decided to be a big girl and go by myself. And maybe I could meet some other people who are as obsessed with baseball as I am, and I wouldn’t feel so crazy!
 
Blake Beavan (in the gray)
First was the Q&A with Blake Beavan. We were in one of those outside seating areas with picnic tables all around, and he and Richard Durrett (the DMN Rangers’ Blog guy) were just sitting at a table kind of in the middle. There were some other fans just sitting around eating before the game, with no idea that one of the team’s starting pitchers was sitting among them. And how would they know? He wasn’t wearing his uniform; he was in regular clothes (a polo shirt and jeans).
Richard started off by asking Blake some questions, and then Richard said he didn’t want to be the one asking all the questions; he wanted us to get in there too. I was sitting at a table kind of in front of Blake, with two other guys that I didn’t know. Richard looked right at the guys and said, “Come on, guys, I know you have some questions.” But they didn’t say anything, so I piped up. “How many pitches do you have, and are you working on developing any more pitches right now?” Richard obviously didn’t expect this from me, and he looked at me and nodded with raised eyebrows, kind of like “wow, I’m impressed! Good question!”
 
Blake Beavan
Of course I wasn’t able to process most of the answer, because I was looking at Blake Beavan, and oh my gosh. I remember he said that he had 4 pitches: a 2-seamer, a 4-seamer, and 2 others I don’t remember. He’s not really working on any other pitches specifically right now, but he’s always trying to improve the pitches he has. He said that he’ll probably want to try and develop a 5th pitch somewhere down the road, but not now. Maybe a slider or something? I don’t remember. I think I picked my chin up off the ground long enough to mutter something like, “Four sounds like a good number to me.” Stupid! He’s freakin’ 20 years old!! He was born in 1989. He’s waaaay too young for me. But I have this weakness for guys who are in the 6’4″/6’5″ range height-wise. And man, is he pretty!
Blake Beavan
Anyway, I learned a lot of stuff from the questions people asked, but I know that no one reads my blog anyway, so it’s kind of pointless to go over it all in detail right now.
The highlights:
-Blake has a pitching regimin worked out for him by his pitching coach that he follows during the off-season
-He practices with Kevin Millwood (Rangers’ starting pitcher) during the off-season
-His goal is to make his big-league debut at 21 years old
-During the season, they have to throw bullpen sessions of about 50-60 pitches on some of their off days, so they don’t get 5 full days of rest. At most, it’s 3 days of rest.
-On some of the games when he doesn’t start, he has to “chart” during the game instead of hanging out in the dugout/bullpen with his teammates. I asked him what “charting” was, but I didn’t get most of the answer, because he was standing next to me at that point and I was looking at his eyes atop his 6’5″ frame. Oh my! But from what I gathered, it’s kind of like keeping score. They have to track everything that happens in the game.
Blake Beavan
After I got Blake to autograph a baseball for me, he was just standing there looking bored, and I didn’t want to leave yet, so I hung back. Everybody else was leaving to go get food, and that’s when I asked him why he wasn’t wearing his uniform, and he told me about charting. As I was talking to him, another girl/lady walked up with something for him to sign. She didn’t have a pen, so I loaned her one of my stolen Olive Garden pens. And that’s how I met Sara!
 
yeah, I’m the fat one on the left! :)
Since I was there by myself, I knew I needed to open up and talk to people. So we started talking on the way to get something to eat, and she mentioned how nice Blake Beavan is to look at. A girl after my own heart! I soon realized that she is like me: someone who is very interested in the game, but also enjoys stopping to take in the scenery along the way. And when I’m with my dad, I can’t say stuff like that.
 
I just want to take a moment to address the fact that I have loved baseball since before I was aware that it sometimes happens to be filled with attractive guys. At 11 years old, I wasn’t looking at Pudge saying, “ooh, he’s hot!” Ugh. I still don’t say that. Sorry, Pudge, but the love I have for you is purely from your performance on the field. I have always been pretty good at separating my “crushes” on players from their performance in the game. Although you’re always a little bit prouder when the player you think is cute does a good job on the field. :)
 
Inside the RoughRiders’ dugout
Okay, enough of that. On to the game. I soon realized that I was sitting all by myself, with no one in the seats surrounding me. Geez, do I smell or something?? I thought all the DMN blog seats would be together. I watched the first couple of innings, but then I got bored, so I went to find Sara. The seat next to her was empty, so I sat there for the rest of the game and we talked for most of the game, about baseball and the players and about life in general. Aww, good times! I made a new baseball friend! The picture to the left was taken when I walked down and snuck a peak inside the RoughRiders’ dugout.
The RoughRiders ended up shutting out the Midland RockHounds 7-0, and Johnny Whittleman had a 3-run homer! I found out about an interesting tradition that they have at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, where they take up a collection for a player if he gets a home run, because those poor minor league guys get no money. I wish I’d had more cash on me, but I chipped in all I had, which was a dollar. I thought that was really cool!
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
I had heard during Saturday night’s radio broadcast of the Rangers’ game that Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Rangers’ catcher, would be making a rehab start with the Frisco Roughriders on Sunday. [He’s been on the 15-day DL with a mild case of Thorasic Outlet Syndrome.] And sure enough, he was there! I really would have loved to have the opportunity to get his autograph, but I never really got an opportunity. This is a picture I took of Salty’s first at-bat, but you can’t really tell it’s him. Oh well.

Batting Coach Brant Brown, Salty, and Chad Tracy (1B)
I could have easily walked up to Salty while he was in the dugout, but the players aren’t allowed to sign autographs during the games. I know this because I tried. Well, not with Salty, but with Jose Diaz, a pitcher. I recognized Diaz from a tv show I watched chronicling one of the RoughRiders’ road trips earlier this season. But no dice; I wasn’t able to get the autograph from Diaz. I looked for Salty after the game, but he came out after the 7th inning, and he must have snuck back to the clubhouse when I wasn’t looking. This picture is just before Salty’s 2nd at-bat. He was 0-for-2 on the night with a walk and a run scored.
 
Salty behind the plate 
 The game was scoreless through 5 innings, and it seemed like a very long game. Not that that was bad! I really enjoyed myself, and normally “time flies when you’re having fun.” Last night’s weather was fabulous too. The temperature was in the 80’s at the beginning of the game and in the 70’s at the end of the game, with not too much humidity and a light breeze. Perfect!
Marcus Lemon
 After the game, I tried to get some autographs, but most of the players just headed off the field. Marcus Lemon (the 2nd baseman for the RoughRiders) stayed, and he was very nice to the fans. There was a dad was there with his little boy, and Marcus had a couple of baseball bats that he was carrying. And he gave one of the bats to the little boy! Aww!
 
Marcus Lemon is a name I’ve heard thrown around quite a bit when I’ve heard people talk about Rangers’ prospects. But unfortunately, since he’s a 2nd baseman and our infield is pretty much sewn up for the near future, he may have to get traded to another team to see any big league playing time. He signed a baseball for me. Really nice guy.
 
Johnny Whittleman came over for a little while to join Marcus in signing autographs, but left soon after. He is normally the RoughRiders’ 3rd baseman, but he was DHing last night. And in the 8th inning, he got a 3-run homer to seal the deal for the ‘Riders! So I got the autographs of Blake Beavan, Marcus Lemon, and Johnny Whittleman last night, which join my growing collection of RoughRiders autographs along with Beau Jones and Mitch Moreland!
 

Chris Davis Article

I’m apparently not the only one who is keeping tabs on Chris Davis. Richard Durrett, one of the main bloggers for the Dallas Morning News’ Texas Rangers’ Blog, interviewed CD before last night’s Oklahoma RedHawks game. And he’s looking pretty good (well, Chris always looks good, but you know what I mean). Check out the link:

http://rangersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/chris-davis/

At the end of the interview, he even thanks all of his fans for sticking with him! Aww, Chris, we weren’t just gonna abandon you in your time of need!!

 
Originally published August 21, 2009
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