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G117: Rangers beat Blue Jays, 5-4

Not much to say about this one. I watched it, but other than the goofy play in the first inning that we got an out on an appeal play, I don’t recall anything particularly noteworthy.
For the record, the Jays hit a line drive that hit off of Colby Lewis and bounced to Hank Blalock for an out. Blalock then threw the ball to first expecting to double off the runner, but it sailed into the stands. Everyone seemed to think that was the end of it, that the Jays runner was awarded third. When play resumed, Buck Showalter appealed the play to second base, and their runner was called out. Apparently, the runner had to return to first base, then be awarded third. Since he didn’t do that, he was called out. Quite a bizarre play.
Arod got another home run. We’re only 3 games behind the Angels from escaping the f’in basement! :)
Game notes are here.

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G116: Rangers lose to Toronto 5-3. I met Pat Benatar.

Two games in a row I botched the recording. I messed up watching this one, and given that I had to leave the house before the game was over, I didn’t watch any of it (I was at a Pat Benatar concert that I had to leave around 5PM to get dinner before first).
Game notes are here.

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G115: Rangers beat Toronto, 5-3

I missed all the fun in this game. I turned on the radio when I was leaving work, and the score was already 5-2. All I got to hear myself was the Delgado HR. I got home and watched the first inning on my TiVo, and after that, it was pretty much pitching, and the Rangers hitting into double plays. :)
This weekend will be odd for me, as my wife and I have a houseguest, so I don’t know much time I’ll have online to update this weekend.
Game notes are here.

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G114: Rangers lose to Yankees, 7-5

No time for a commentary – it’s been a very rough last two days at work. Still, that grand slam did not help us at all. :(
Game notes are here.

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G113: Thaaaaaa Yankees lose, 5-4

I didn’t get to see this game, because I forgot to tell my TiVo to record it. :) Because of that, I only got to see the 9th inning, but I turned it on just as Hank Blalock got a two run single in the top of the 9th to beat Mariano Rivera. A great moment. Not as a great as the Diamondbacks beating him in Game 7 a couple of years ago, but still, a great moment. :)
Cordero also did well in Yankee Stadium against the Yanks in the bottom of the 9th to earn a save. While I can’t comment on specifics due to my not having seen the game, I can say that it was nice to finally come back and win one of these late inning games that we always lost before.
We’re now 4-1 in Yankee Stadium this season. That’s nice to be able to say. Just wish I could say we were 4-1 in Yankee stadium in post season, instead of 1-6 or something like that.
Game notes are here.

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G112: Rangers lose to Yankees 6-2

I thought this game was going to be good when Hank Blalock jacked a home run to right center to take the lead against the Yankees. But that was about it, really. The Yankees bombed us for 6 runs in 3 innings (1,2,5) – all on home runs. We did get another run in the 8th when Hank Blalock doubled, scoring Mike Young.
Not much else to write – the Bronx Bombers bombed us.
Game notes are here.

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G111: Rangers sweep Indians behind 8-5 win

Three more home runs in this game brings our total over the last 25 innings in the three Cleveland games to 13! That powered us to a series sweep against Cleveland. Now it would be more impressive if we swept the Yankees (again, I might add) this year, but I’ll take the sweep to go to 5 in a row. After the first inning when R.A. Dickey gave up three runs and pitched 35 odd pitches, I figured he was done. But surprisingly, he got it together and went a total of 7 innings, giving up 4 runs. Not writing much for two reasons – I am still mostly thinking about Johnny Oates again.
Oh wait – Ramon Nivar finally got his first major league hit, a triple. He was on base twice via errors before that, but it was nice to see a clean hit for his first one.
Hey, guess what? We’re only 5.5 games behind Anaheim to get out of the basement. I think that’s a VERY reachable goal, given the way Anaheim has been playing this season. It would be nice to pass them and not end up in the basement this year.
Game notes are here.

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G110: Johnny Oates inducted into Rangers HOF. Rangers also win 9-7

This day was one I had been looking forward to since the day Johnny Oates was diagnosed with cancer. Johnny Oates returned to the Ballpark as part of the inaugural Rangers Hall of Fame ceremonies. As I’ve said on this site before, Johnny Oates means a lot to me, because when I was a kid growing up in Philadelphia, Johnny Oates was the catcher for the Phillies for what I believe was my first game I attended. After that, I lost track of him, but I had heard his name from time to time. Then when I moved to Texas and he became the Rangers manager, it was a big deal for me emotionally. I loved him as a Rangers manager, and the illness he got after his time as a manager bothered me a lot, since he was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, and the personal connection made it worse for me. When he came out on the field, I was in the stands taking pictures (which will get posted Monday). I teared up like I’m sure most people did, but the tears were down my face – I lost it several times during the ceremony. It was nice to see Nolan Ryan, Sunny, & Charlie Hough too – but for me personally, it was all about Johnny Oates.

Johnny looked better than I thought he would look. I’d seem some pictures of him from time to time where he didn’t look very good, but he did here, given the circumstances. When the inductees came out of their cars, Johnny had to be helped out of the car, but it appeared he wanted to walk to his seat himself. He needed a cane, but he could do it, albeit slowly. There were several times he broke down when folks were talking about him, and an already humble man seemed very humbled by the induction. It was both sad and awesome to see him there being held up by Tom Hicks (much like Tony Gwynn did for Ted Williams in the 99 All Star Game). Tom Grieve said on TV that it seemed great that Johnny’s speech was all from his head, there were no notes, and he didn’t have a bunch of pauses and “Uh… Uh…” in there. I hadn’t thought of that at the time. I loved how he talked about the current Rangers, and spoke highly of Buck Showalter. While I think Buck Showalter is doing a wonderful job as our manager, there’s still a part of me that misses hearing Chuck Morgan announce Johnny Oates’ name as the manager at the start of the game. I really truly will miss Johnny when he passes. In fact, he had some levity about that in his speech saying that he agreed with Tom Hicks’ sentiment that it’s only a matter of time until a World Series game is played at the Ballpark, adding “And Buck, hurry up, because I want to see it!” A nice “funny” moment in his speech. He got numerous standing ovations, and for me was the singular attraction of the night. I would have paid my two bits just to see him, and would had been quite content had there been no game afterwards. One thing I was kind of disappointed in, and I admit up front it’s because I had worked myself up thinking about it is this. I really wish they would have retired Johnny Oates’ uniform number of 26. Since he’s left, no one has gotten it (save for one guy a season ago during spring training). Someone (I forget who) said that they weren’t giving out Johnny Oates’ number during the regular season to anyone. If they don’t intend on retiring it, I don’t know why they are holding it back. Given that I can’t see Johnny’s condition getting BETTER, I don’t see why they did not retire it last night while he was there. It would have been great for him to have been there for a uniform number retirement ceremony. I really don’t want them to retire it after he passes and he wouldn’t be able to see it. If they’re not retiring the number, then give it out to someone else (and I don’t really want that to happen, either). In closing, I really enjoyed the ceremony – I was glad I was there to see it, because I’d be surprised if I ever will see Johnny Oates in person again.

My pictures from this game are online now. You can view them here. This image here means a lot to me, though.

I covered the reasons why these cards mean a lot to me in the first paragraph here, but for some reason I felt kind of silly like I was a 6 year old clutching his baseball cards while his hero was “in the house”. And then I took a picture of myself holding the cards. But still, these two cards in the picture meant a lot to me. It was to be the last time that I ever saw Johnny Oates, as he died about 15 months after this (this paragraph was added in Jun 2007).

Oh yeah, the Rangers won. It was a back and forth game, but I almost didn’t care about the game – I was a bit too emotional from the pre-game ceremonies. Highlights of the game were 6 more home runs from both teams after 9 the night before. One from Arod, Layne Nix, & a 3 run from Raffy.

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G109: Rangers bomb Indians 10-3 on Oates’ return to Texas

Today was a day when I came down to the ballpark for the sole purpose of getting the giveaway. My wife and I collect pins, and they gave out a set of Rangers HOF induction pins for each of the four 2003 inductees (Ryan, Sundberg, Hough, Oates). I ended up getting quite a show between the lines.
The Rangers belted seven home runs (6 in the first 3 innings), tying a club record for HR in a game – and the first time they did it at home. Mike Young led off the game with a home run, and we never looked back, jumping out to a 4 run lead in the first inning. In fact, all 10 of our runs came on the longball. While we’re at it, 2 of the 3 runs that Cleveland scored were on the longball as well. :)
John Thomson looked great – going 8 innings, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits – a great outing, and one we need a lot more of if Arod is going to be happy here. ;)
Game notes are here and here.

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G108: Rangers win again over Bosox, 7-3

When this game started, I figured we didn’t have a hope. Pedro Martinez was pitching against us, and that’s usually enough reason to lose hope. He’s got an ERA at the Ballpark under 2! However, Colby Lewis hung with Pedro, matching him almost in every category along the way which was a nice surprise.
It was a great battle up until the 6th when we got a two run hit from Shane Spencer to put us up, 3-2. It stayed that way until the 9th inning when Cordero came on for the save, and gave up a solo home run to Trot Nixon to tie it. We couldn’t push anything across in the 9th and 10th, but in the 11th, we managed to load the bases against Boston reliever Todd Jones. That set the stage for Arod to come up – and given his frustrations, I was expecting a strikeout, but he got us the first walk off win of the 2003 season – and in style too, with a grand slam over the bullpen in right field. Was a great moment, and a great ending to a great game. Isn’t that great? Can I say Great anymore? Great.
As much as I liked winning, I can’t say I truly enjoyed taking 2 of 3 from Boston, as it helped the Yankees. Helping the Yankees is almost a crime, IMHO.
I do find it odd though that Arod came off the field after getting the traditional gang pile at home plate, and ran up the tunnel – he disappeared almost immediately, while the rest of the team was celebrating on the field. I wonder why he ran out so quickly? That just seemed odd.
Game notes are available here and here.

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G107: Rangers win 9-2 over Red Sox

What an interesting day. First there’s the story about Alex being frustrated with losing (who wouldn’t be?), and then there’s the trade of Doug Glanville to the Cubs, allowing phenom Ramon Nivar to make his major league debut (Nivar did not get Pudge’s vacant uniform number 7, he got 2 instead).
We then go out and show that our youth is probably the way to go, because three of them slammed home runs into the upper deck at the Ballpark. Was a night driven by the home run. Of the 11 runs in the game, a total of 8 of them came on the longball. Fortunately, we got more than they did. Robert Ellis pitched well, going 7 innings, and giving up just two runs. I don’t think he’s a pitcher of the future, but it’s nice to see this from our staff. Ron Mahay pitched well, as did Francisco Cordero (although Cordero did allow a couple of baserunners).
Overall, a good win, and an odd feeling for me seeing the comments from Arod.
Game notes are here and here – the second with more on Arod’s comments.

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G106: Rangers bombed by Red Sox, 14-7

I did not write about the games from July 24th through July 29th as I was out of town most of the weekend, and didn’t get to see or hear hardly any of the Ranger stuff. I did see Monday night’s game, but I spent all of Tuesday catching up at work, and had no time at all for an update.
Well, I wasn’t planning on writing about this game because of my rule about not writing about games we lose when the opponent scores over 10 runs, and I’m mostly sticking to that. However, I can’t ignore Bill Mueller. He hit two grand slams (plus a solo third HR), for a total of 9 RBI’s. He’s the first player in major league history to hit two grand slams in the same game, one from each side of the plate. A masterful performance by him. Kudos to anyone who has him active on their fantasy leagues last night. :)
Game notes are here.

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G100: Rangers win wild one, 12-9

A wild game. A great game to win (Glanville’s turned it around bigtime), but I really don’t have time to write the commentary this game deserves today – got a meeting in an hour.
Game notes are here – including Juando to the DL. Sigh.

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G99: Rangers blown out in Baltimore, 12-6

The only thing worth writing about was Hank Blalock’s home run out onto Eutaw Street behind Camden Yards. I’ve been there, it’s a gorgeous place, and even more impressive when a home run is hit out there. I’m tired of writing about games where we give up over 10 runs and lose.
Game notes are here.

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G98: Rangers lose (3-2). Different opponent, at least.

It’s always nice to see Camden Yards on my television. It’s one of the best ballparks that exists today. My wife and I were there a couple of years ago, and it was positively awesome. Unfortunately, the Texas Ranger teams we’ve been sending there the last couple of years haven’t been as spectacular (neither have the Oriole teams, either).
Overall, I can’t say it was a bad game, as it was generally well pitched, had some great defense – things that generally contribute to a quick, fresh game. However, we came out on the bottom side of this game after it seemed we’d win early on. The best moment was probably the crash between Doug Glanville and Laynce Nix in right center. It looked bad when they crashed into each other, but neither seemed affected by it.
There isn’t one moment that I can pin it to (other than the run the Orioles scored to take the lead) that says “Aha! That’s where we lost”. It just struck me as very “even” game. It’s a shame we lost, as I thought our pitching was pretty good.
Game notes are here.

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G97: Rangers lay a stinkbomb, lose 15-4

Well, this game was mass suckage. About the only interesting thing about this one is that Mark Teixeira hit a foul ball into a trash can in the picnic area at Tropicana Field.
Game notes are here.

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G96: Rangers beat DRays again, 7-3

Fairly decent pitching (I say fairly because Benoit did give up 3 in 5 innings) led to a 7-3 win over the Devil Rays. This game was interesting in that four of our batters got hit – which seems like a lot. Our bullpen pitched 4 innings of scoreless relief, we had some nice defense, turning three double plays, some stolen bases, some hitting – pretty much a nice balanced game.
Juan Gonzalez had to leave the game, and was replaced by newcomer Shane Spencer. He had an o-fer, and it really seemed odd seeing him in a Ranger uniform, considering what he did to us back when we were in the playoffs against the Yankees.
Game notes are here.

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G95: Rangers pitch well, lose anyway 2-0

There’s not a whole lot to say about this one. It was a wasted effort by Ismael Valdes, as we got totally shut out, losing 2-0. A shame, as Valdes pitched well. Game notes are here.

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G94: Rangers whip DRays, 12-6

We start off the “second half” with a nice win that actually was more dominating than the 12-6 score would indicate. John Thomson was brilliant through seven innings. He scattered hits, and didn’t give up much until the 8th inning when his total went to 3 runs over 7.2 innings. Still most definitely a “quality start”. As many a Ranger fan has pointed out, his trade value only increases with these performances the last few weeks. I wonder who will want to trade for him. Our old “buddy” Jay Powell gave up three runs in the ninth to allow the DRays to get to 6 runs – far more then they should have gotten. We also came this close to breaking that “no pitcher has gotten 10 strikeouts for the Rangers” thing too, as Thomson had 9.
Offensively, we got some surprises. We got a 4-6 night out of Doug Glanville – we got a home run from Donnie Sadler and one from Marcus Thames, making his Ranger debut. There was also a big 3 run blast by Juan Gonzalez to shut up a guy who was REALLY riding Juan all game, and what’s funny about that is the guy started doing the “We’re not worthy” thing to Juan when he hit the home run. It was quite funny, and both Josh & Tom got a charge out of it.
A nice way to start the second half – plus the entire rest of our division lost, so we picked up ground on everyone! (Woo-hoo, now only 19 out)
Game notes are here.

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All Star Game – AL Wins 7-6 behind Blalock

What a game! After all the hype about “This time it counts” (my wife and I were almost to the point of making a drinking game out of the advertisements for that), and all the shtick about not playing all the players, what do we get? The absolute opposite of last year’s All-Star Game. We got a wonderful game! Forget that Hank Blalock was the hero – and forget any specific single thing – it was just a great game to watch!
We got a bit of everything. Throughout the first four innings or so, we got great pitching on both sides. Loiaza & Schmidt were great in their starting roles, and the pitchers that followed also did great. Then the AL gave up 5 runs in the 5th inning to put the NL up 5-1. We picked up two more runs when Garret Anderson homered to score Arod to make it 5-3. However, Andruw Jones homered to make it 6-3, and you kind of got the feeling that it was over – especially when Dusty Baker changed every position on the field all at once – made for an interesting moment scoring the game at home. :)
Anyway, Jason Giambi came in in the 7th and just absolutely tatooed a home run into right field, to bring us back to within two. However, that this point, the NL was into their trio of closers (Wagner, Gagne, Smoltz), so I figured that was about it. However, the AL had some other ideas. IN the bottom of the 8th, Vernon Wells doubled in Melvin Mora (who was pinch running for MVP Garret Anderson, who had just doubled), and then Hank Blalock came in against Eric Gagne, who had not blown a save all season for the Dodgers. He did now – Blalock smacked a rather no doubter home run into right to give the AL the lead, and the win. I actually stood up in the living room with my hands in the air going “Yes!”. I even teared up a bit at this moment. At that moment, I was ready to say Blalock should get MVP. Anderson deserved it, but the Ranger fan in me wanted it to go to Blalock. Watching Arod in the shots shown of him after Blalock’s home run, it seemed that Arod was more excited than Hank was! The Rangers open on the road after the All-Star break, but I have a ticket to the next home game they play after the All-Star Break. I bet Hank Blalock gets a massive ovation when he’s announced and comes to bat! :)
Overall, a wonderful game. We got great pitching early – we got a lot of home runs, and some nice defense in places, too. One of the better All Star games (as baseball games go, and not the ceremonies around it) in recent memory – a pleasure to watch.
Also, what was with that horrid person singing the national anthem? She wore a shirt that looked three sizes too small for her, and it really made her look awful. Thank god for TiVo, so I could skip it.
Hank Blalock made several web headlines right after the game was over – in most cases overshadowing game MVP Garret Anderson. Here are some screen captures I took:

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G93: Rangers lose ugly to Royals again, 8-2

We lost 8-2. Pitching sucked. Blew too many offensive chances. What more do I need to say? Yeah, I know it’s the same commentary as yesterday’s game. :) Game notes are here.

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G92: Rangers lose ugly to Royals, 8-2

We lost 8-2. Pitching sucked. Blew too many offensive chances. What more do I need to say? Game notes are here.

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G91: Rangers lose to Royals 13-3 on busy day

Busy day to be a Ranger fan. We sign first round pick John Danks. We then turn around and trade closer Ugueth Urbina to the Marlins for three very good prospects. Then we get blown out. :)
Actually, the game wasn’t as bad as the score seems. Yes, 13-3 is an ugly score, but it was only 4-3 after 7 innings. Giving up an 8 spot in the 8th inning will never be good. RA Dickey looked serviceable in starting, and Ron Mahay & Jay Powell didn’t give up a thing in their innings. Aaron Fultz (just activated) & Victor Santos – well, that’s a different story. In fact, it could have been a lot worse, as the Royals left the bases loaded in the 8th inning. I was starting to think we’d give up 10 runs in the inning!
Anyway, I think we got good value for Urbina. Some are saying that we didn’t get enough pitching, but I say we got three great players, and you can never go wrong with getting many great players. If you find yourself with a logjam, you can always trade them, too.
Game notes are here and here.

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G90: Rangers sweep Twins behind 9-4 win

There’s something we don’t normally get – a sweep. And it was against a team that’s generally considered to be pretty good (just about two weeks ago they were in first place). We’ve been playing well the last few weeks – very nice to see.
Normally, you say you win games with pitching and defense. Well, tonight it wasn’t exactly defense, as we made a couple of errors (one by Arod), but we did with pitching and offense. Our offense was home run driven – 8 of the nine runs scored by the long ball. Two home runs by Juan, and one each by Mike Young and Mark Teixeira.
Joaquin Benoit looked sharp again. Don’t want to get too excited, because when I do that, someone starts pitching bad – but it was nice to see another good outing from him.
It was also really great to see Josh Lewin rendered totally speechless in the pre-game show when they had actor
Burton Gilliam show up. Burton was in the movie Blazing Saddles, and that’s Josh’s all time favorite movie. Josh didn’t know he was coming, and was rendered mute on two occasions – was a great moment.
I did miss a few minutes of the game here and there, as I had a power blackout, as well as some rain fade on my DirecTV system due to the heavy storms in Garland.
Game notes are here.

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G89: Rangers pitch well again; beat Twinkies 4-1

A wonderfully pitched ballgame. From both sides. It was nice to see old friend Kenny Rogers back here again, and not surprisingly, he picked the blue uniform top for the Twins – something he did all the time in Texas. I still wish he was here, and I bet he does too, despite the public claims to the contrary. That’s twice now Scott Boras screwed him up in his dealings with the Rangers.
Anyway, the game was rare, a low scoring Rangers win. For the longest time it was just 1-0, off Mark Teixeira’s solo HR in the second inning. Benot kept us in the lead until Torii Hunter jacked a mammoth home run to left, going over the seats in left field. That was it for the Twins, though – as our pen (Shouse, Cordero, Urbina) didn’t give up any more runs on the way to Urbina’s 200th career save.
Laynce Nix was called up to replace Kevin Mench on the roster, but didn’t play.
I also got a big laugh out of the Rangers Captain being on TV in the “fake portion” of the hot dog eating contest. :)
Game notes are here.