G64: Rangers drop close one to Rays, 5-4

I was at this game, and despite the heat out there, I was quite comfortable. I was sitting in Section 326, and there was quite an nice breeze going. After third inning, I actually moved UP, and ended up sitting in the absolute last row – there was almost nobody up there, and it was quite nice – very breezy up there. Enjoyed that. One other comment about the ballpark. I don’t like that the Rangers have cut the number of ushers in the sections over the last 5-6 years. When my wife and I first got our season tickets in 1997, there was an usher for every section. You never had to worry about coverage. Not anymore – they’ve been cutting them (to cut operational costs), and there seems to be one for every three sections now. Chuck Morgan’s announcement of “The ushers are now passing through the aisles distributing All-Star ballots” was a lie. They weren’t. As was the other lie that they would collect them in the sixth. I haven’t seen that happen in the upper decks in YEARS. Better check into that, Chuck. I even ASKED the one usher for some All Star ballots, since I never picked any up. He said he didn’t have any (despite seeing them in his back pocket), and then never came back with any for me. Rather poor ushering, actually. In fact, the policy of going to the front of the section to see what the section is doing between innings has gone away in the upper decks. You’re lucky if you see that happen in anything but a handful of sections.
OK, complaining about the ushers aside… It ended up being a good game, even though we lost. Scott Feldman started for Texas, and again was hit with no run support. Scott gave up a two run home run in the second inning, but that’s all he let cross the plate in his seven innings of work. His record is 1-2 in eight starts, but he really should be something like 4-5 and 1-2 at this point. He has pitched better than his record shows. Joaquin Benoit followed him, and is acting like the Benoit of old. For the last year or so, you liked seeing him come out, but not now. He’s reverted to the “Oh crap, here come two more runs for the other team” Benoit of old. Bleargh. Jamey Wright came in for the ninth, and gave up a run, but it was an odd one. Jamey was not paying attention to Jason Bartlett on base. Bartlett stole second, then stole third, and finally scored on what was called a wild pitch by Wright, but looked like a passed ball to my eyes. One amusing thing in the field was due to Michael Young coming out of the game, we had to stick Gerald Lard out at third for the last few innings of the game. My guess is this is why Saltamacchia did not attempt to throw to third when Bartlett was stealing third.
Offensively, the Rangers didn’t do a ton against Andy Sonnanstine. He went only five innings, giving up just two runs. The Rangers managed just nine hits overall, and scattered four runs. However, the bottom of the ninth was the most interesting. Down two, we had Josh Hamilton come up with the bases loaded and got a run in on a fielder’s choice. The Milton Bradley came up, and had one of those really weird plays you never want to see. Bradley shot a ball up the middle, which looked off the bat based on fielder positioning would be a single up the middle to tie the game. However, it pinballed off the pitcher, went to Iwamura the second baseman who threw to first to end the game. Darned frustrating way to lose the game there.
But in all, one of those losses you don’t mind losing, because it wasn’t like 14-3, or your guys do something monumentally dumb. Yeah, we lost, but it was’t for a lack of a fight – that’s what I end up caring about. Did we fight? Did we seem to try? If so, than yeah, I don’t mind losing as much. It’s the 14-3 ones where we have seemingly given up that I don’t usually want to write about.
Also, when leaving, the new road that the Rangers installed between home plate and third base exits was blocked off. There was a motorcycle stunt exhibition going on out there. What was funny about it is I heard NOTHING about it announced inside the stadium during the game. You’d think with something like that, it would be announced. I didn’t stay and watch – I figured that given the way the Rangers have screwed up parking in 2008, the people who stayed and watched that were less people in front of me with their brake lights on.