Another day, another few random comments from me about recent stories:
Josh Hamilton Quits Again: There was a story in the DMN on Monday about Josh giving up chewing tobacco at the request of his kids. I can’t say I have a problem with that. The stuff is fairly disgusting, IMO. I’ve become a big fan of his. I have started passing his book around my church so people will know his story. Especially those that aren’t big baseball fans. Might pull some of ‘em in. :) Anyway, this line from the article was particularly effective at getting the point across:
“You know it’s bad when your 3-year-old holds up a water bottle, and asks if daddy spit in this before she drinks out of it,” said Hamilton, referring to his daughter Sierra. “That’s when you know it’s a problem.”
What’s more encouraging about that is Josh said he broke the habit by asking the elders of his church to lay hands on him and pray. That’s great that he came to God to rid himself of a vice like that. God is Good!
Justin Smoak: You know, even if you do no research at all on the Rangers’ minor leagues, you can’t help but pick up on the guys who are going to be a big deal. By osmosis. Just being in the same town as Jamey Newberg, you just know the guys to watch out for even if you never saw or heard or read anything about them. That’s the feeling I get about Smoak from Jamey. DMN had an article about him today. It had some seriously high praise for him, saying:
Special adviser Mel Didier, who has been in baseball more than 50 years, said Smoak is a more complete switch-hitter than Mickey Mantle and Mark Teixeira were at this stage.
Michael Young Fourth: The intrasquad games played on Monday contained a surprise. Michael Young batting fourth. It’s an interesting proposition, and something that I’ve always wondered about. When I was young and growing up, the thinking was that you put your best hitter fourth. That’s why it’s called “cleanup”. The idea is that the first three guys would be on the bases, and the fourth, the guy MOST LIKELY to drive them in was the cleanup batter. Generally that’s a big home run guy (for me it was Mike Schmidt), or at least it used to be. Generally fourth is still a power guy, but the cleanup slot has lost its prestige to the third slot. Somewhere along the line, it became the way things are done to put your best hitter third. Which is where Michael Young has been a lot the last few years. But he was fourth here. Granted, it’s the first spring intrasquad game, so it’s not a major deal here, but it’s an intriguing proposition. With Bradley gone, we do need protection for Hamilton, I’ll be curious to see if Michael young doesn’t end up behind Hamilton once the real games get started.
Vernon Wells: Joey M over at BBtiA has a nice article about what might have happened had Vernon Wells decided to sign here a couple of years ago when he was a free agent. At the time it was WIDELY expected he would, being a local boy, and a friend of Michael Young’s, but he stayed in Toronto. If he had signed here, I’d say we probably wouldn’t have Josh Hamilton at this point.
Spring Video: The Ft Worth Star Telegram Baseball Blog (“Foul Territory“) has been posting a lot of cool video of batting practice, impromptu interviews and the like. I’m not going to list them all, but there’s some good stuff there. If you’re reading this, then you probably know about it already, but just in case you didn’t.. There you go.
Nelson Cruz: A lot of fans (myself included) seem to think that Cruz may have finally broken the AAAA label he had, and had the lightbulb go off. One hopes that it will stick with him. Rangers history is littered with guys who have great August and Septembers, but when it comes time for next season, stink up the joint. Cruz hit a grand slam in the intrasquad opener, which is a good sign, and is just one hit obviously, but it’s a nice “oh please let that be real” moment. :)
Mailbag Stuff: The mailbag segment with TR Sullivan and the official site is back. While the usual moronic questions of “trade x for y” (without any thought given to the question) are at a minimum, I do have to say I was a bit disturbed by the thought that mlb.com thought it wasn’t needed and had actually taken it away. With Even Grant’s newsletter gone now, this is the only regular one like that Yeah, Jamey has started doing that, but his is less frequent. I wonder if the FTST will start doing this.
Two days to go until the first game on the radio! :)