Well, this was the (somewhat) annual Texas Rangers Hall of Fame induction game. I say somewhat, as recently, it’s not a guarantee that everyone will get in. I was there for several of them in the past, and after the second year, I thought “Wow, at this rate, there won’t be any really top notch players left to induct before too long. A couple of years ago, the team recognized this, and scaled it back to a similar deal with the National HOF. You need a percentage of the votes cast (which for the moment does not lie with the fans). So that’s good, because we’d be down to electing Mark Clark.
One of the alumni was Scott Sheldon. When he walked onto the field, Chuck Morgan announced him as “infielder, outfielder, catcher, pitcher Scott Sheldon”, which appeared to prompt Scott to point up in Chuck’s general direction. That made me chuckle. :)
So I watched the ceremony, which is always enjoyable. It’s great to see some of the old timers, and not so old timers come back. Always great to hear Chuck Morgan call Rusty Greeeeeeeeeeeeeer. I had brought a friend who was hoping that Steve Buechele would be there, but alas he was managing in A ball. I did not witness Toby Harrah play, that was before my time as a Ranger fan. Way before my time, considering he came with the team from Washington DC. I have respect for what he did, and his speech was cool, but I don’t have a first hand connection to him as either a player, or his brief tenure as a Rangers manager.
Ruben Sierra I knew, though. While again, I did not witness him play his first go around, I did the second time from 2000-2003. His story when he returned in 2000 was quite impressive, and I know what he did the first time around, so yeah – I was more invested in Ruben Sierra. That the team brought up his son (who is really shockingly a spitting image of Ruben Sr, it’s amazing) from A ball as a surprise guest at the ceremony was quite cool. I do have to confess at being surprised at how broken his English is, all these years later. He was highly emotional, and it was hard to hear him sometimes due to the combination. But it certainly felt sincere.
It was a great ceremony as usual, you can read the official writeup on mlb.com here. The official link also includes video of both Toby Harrah & Ruben Sierra, so you can hear what I mean about Ruben’s speech. You can also check out all the photos I took from the game on my site here.
The actual game played by the 2009 version of the Texas Rangers wasn’t nearly as good as the pre-game. Tommy Hunter came out and pitched like Mark Clark (OK, I’m dropping his name twice in this commentary). Five innings, seven hits, five runs, three walks, one home run. It was fairly ugly. Granted, he gave up a home run to Ken Griffey Jr, which is not a shameful thing, but still. He was all over the place. Really high pitch counts, full counts, just not good. I did really enjoy seeing Ken Griffey Jr. back in the ballpark again.
A shame about Hunter, as I was looking forward to the pitching matchup. Felix Hernandez held up his side of the bargain. Seven innings pitched, six hits, two runs. He did have four walks, and was vulnerable in the first two innings. But we let him off the hook. We had a chance to score in both the first two innings, but couldn’t follow through. I even said that to the friend I was there with to see Buechele. Said if we let him off the hook two innings in a row, forget it, we’re done. We were. We were never in the game.
Nelson Cruz’ home run in the fourth was a bit of excitement. In fact, Cruz had three of the six overall hits the Rangers had. We were pretty much shut down for sure.
There was the entertainment of some guy running onto the field. However, he was stupid. He ran out and just stood there in left. If you’re gonna do that, you’re going to jail anyway, so you might as well run around a bit more than that guy did.
I’m now 1-3 in games I actually attended this season. The one was opening day.