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Ranger Fans at the State Fair

I’ve done some promotional things with Chevy before. Last year I drove around a Chevy Cruze with antlers on it to do some rah-rah things. I went down with a few other Ranger bloggers in late March to Round Rock for the final exhibition game of this year’s spring training. (Just discovered there’s a video online of the Day 2 Food tour we took – check that out).
However, a week ago, they contacted me again, and this time wanted me to be involved with a new idea. A “Good Luck in the World Series” greeting card. We all were operating under the assumption that the Rangers would actually MAKE it to the Series – good thing they did. Anyway, I got a bunch of signatures from fans young and old. Including a lot of kids, who doodled on this rather large greeting card (really a long piece of paper, but still), and it was cool to see them all be enthusiastic about the team.
Anyway, last week, a matter of hours before the deciding Game 6 of the ALCS, I was down at the Texas State Fair, at the Chevy Town Square for a presentation of the card to the Chevy folks. While I was down there, we got some more signatures on the card, and interviewed several Rangers fans. Was a lot of fun.
The video from this showing the card, people signing, Rangers fans and all that is now online, and can be viewed here. Check it out:

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Is it Wednesday yet?

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Congrats!

The Rangers advanced to the World Series again last night. When the game ended and I stopped watching the post game stuff, I was pretty tired. Wasn’t in the mood to write last night.
I will at some point today, just not now, as I’m watching the toddler, and it’s about time to go outside and play with him.
But I didn’t want to not say SOMETHING.
What a series.

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The ALCS is Rangers / Tigers

The Tigers disposed of the Yankees. In Yankee Stadium. Sent them home. What’s amusing about that is that it was Arod who struck out to end the Yankees 2011 season. He also struck out (against Neftali Feliz) to end the Yankees 2010 season as well. That reminds me of this image:

And this one..

Mentioned this to a friend of mine tonight, and he wrote me back and said, “When the Yankees lose it’s amusing, period.” This is very true. Think it’s time for a happy dance that the Yankees are home.

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The Year of the Napoli!

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Rays Fans and Today’s Game

A check a few minutes ago on Ticketmaster shows you can still buy tickets for the playoff game between the Rangers and the Rays that starts in about six hours. It’s their Home Game 1.
Way to go Rays fans, you don’t deserve a team.

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A few thoughts after Game 162

The 2011 Texas Rangers regular season has been a season like no other for me since I started following this team in 1995. For a couple of reasons.
First off, we were the defending American League Champions. That alone was an interesting thing to deal with. The perception that the Rangers were the team that everyone else was chasing was a weird feeling. But a good feeling just the same.
Second, I only attended four games this season. Two were in Arlington (Games 2 & 157), and two were in Philadelphia (Games 45 & 46). That’s a low for me since I’ve been a Rangers fan. For someone who used to go to about 25 games a year, that was a major adjustment.
Thirdly, my drop in updating the site. I took a huge number of breaks this year, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I dropped cable TV and went to antenna only. I discovered that my being more than a casual fan was really based around the fact that I could watch the games on TV.
Still, it was a great season. The Rangers won the division again for the second year in a row, and the fifth overall. We set a record for wins in a season, as well as a record for home attendance. Both by minimal numbers over the previous records, but still. New records for wins and attendance are great!
CJ Wilson stepped up and pitched like the Number 1 pitcher slot he was put in. He apparently picked up a lot from Cliff Lee when Cliff was here last year. CJ seemed very “Lee-like” in several places this season. I’ll say it again, I was wrong last year in thinking there was no way he’d make the rotation, but he destroyed that.
The Rangers new scoreboard in right is spectacular. Something that should have been done ages ago, but when I saw it for the first time, it actually gave me that “seeing the green in the field as a kid” feeling. I loved the new scoreboard. Shame I only got to go to two games.
The broadcaster stuff is more confusing. We started off the season with John Rhadigan replacing Josh Lewin on TV. He didn’t last too long, and was fired fairly early on in the season. That caused a shuffle of personnel, and we ended up with Dave Barnett replacing Rhadigan on TV, and Steve Busby replacing Barnett on radio. At the time, some noise was made about those moves being temporary for the rest of the season. I certainly hope that’s the case. I never wanted Barnett on TV, he was one of the reasons I stopped listening on radio for the most part. At this point, if things went the way I would like for 2012, I’d bring back Josh Lewin for TV, and have Bryan Dolgin be with Eric on the radio. When Dolgin was on the radio, I liked him. I have nothing against Busby – I like him too. But I’ve read where he’s not interested in doing play by play full time. But Dolgin is younger, and I thought worked well with Nadel.
We’re going to the playoffs starting in a few hours. My Phillies are in too. This will be interesting. Not sure who I’d root for there. :)

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Going tonight

I’m going to Friday night’s Rangers game. I’ll be setting a new low in number of games attended (that isn’t a zero, I didn’t go to any in 1994 or 1995). This will be my SECOND game of the season.
Extended unemployment really saps your casual spending money big time. :(
Still, there’s a shot they could clinch tonight. I’m hoping Chuck puts on the Angels game on the Jumbotron after the fireworks so we can see them lose and we’d clinch. :)

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I’m behind again

Seems this having to watch/listen to games at real time is affecting me more than I anticipated. I’m missing weeks at a time here.
Will get caught up again soon, hopefully. :)
I miss Fox Sports Southwest!

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Texas Rangers iPod playlist

Hey Texas Rangers fans.. What would you pick for a Texas Rangers specific playlist of songs? My list of iTunes tracks is woefully inadequate for the Rangers, but I’m having problems coming up with more than the three I have.
The three I have are:
Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
Little Texas – God Blessed Texas
Merle Haggard – That’s the Way Baseball Go
Brother Cane – And Fools Shine On
That last one was a song the Rangers used to play a lot during their “take the field” music during the 1998 season.
The only other thing I can think of is the Texas Rangers specific version of “Talkin’ Baseball” by Terry Cashman, but I’ve never been able to find that to purchase online. Tkx for suggestions.
If you have any suggestions, drop me a line. Tkx.

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Cliff Lee vs. Alexi Ogando

While Ogando didn’t directly replace Cliff Lee in the starting rotation, one could make the case that Lee’s spot was taken by Ogando. Given Lee is pitching tonight in Philadelphia, it made me wonder what their stats looked like at this point in the season. While Lee’s are marginally better in some categories, they’re not radically better. Check this out:
Going into action on August 17, 2011, a comparison between Cliff Lee & Alexi Ogando..
Cliff Lee:
12-7, 2.83 ERA, 24GS, 5CG, 5SHO, 172IP, 153H, 56R, 54ER, 14HR, 3HB, 34BB, 177K .237AVG, 1.09WHIP
Alexi Ogando:
12-5, 3.33 ERA, 23GS, 1CG, 1SHO, 140.1IP, 122H, 57R, 52ER, 12HR, 5HB, 36BB, 102K, .231AVG, 1.13WHIP
Cliff Lee Salary: $11 Million for 2011, is an average of $314,285 per start based on avg of 35 starts per season.
Alexi Ogando Salary: $430,150 for 2011, an average of $12,290 per start based on avg of 35 starts per season.
Just sayin’. ;)

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G89: God Bless That Guy

The guy who fell over the rail at Rangers ballpark tonight and went head first into the area behind the scoreboard in left field just died (as I write this). (AAndro story here)
This is the third person who has fallen over the rails at Rangers Ballpark in now the 18th season the park has been open. A woman fell over in year 1 in 1994, and they raised the rails due to that.
Someone fell over last year, and he ended up being OK. Tonight’s guy
There’s video of the guy falling off at this link, although given he’s since died, I’m not sure if they’ll leave that video up or not.
I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot about safety rails in the next few days. When this happened in July of last year, a lot was made about how the height of the rails was above what “code” said they should be. The bigger problem generally is people leaning that far out to get balls, and losing their center of gravity. No amount of rail can stop that unless you screen every one off, and that won’t happen.
Apparently the guy went over throwing a ball up there that Josh threw into the stands at the end of an inning. A tweet by Anthony Andro said “Nolan Ryan on Josh Hamilton: Josh is very distraught over this, as the entire team is.”
God Bless his family. They’ll need it.
UPDATE: It gets worse. If you watch the video footage, there’s a little kid behind the guy who fell over the rail. NBC5 news said that was the guy’s kid.
UPDATE 2: The fan, finally named as Shannon Stone, was laid to rest on July 11th. It sucks. Still. The shock isn’t as hard, but man, this whole thing sucks.
Finally, Derek Holland pitched a fantastic game. He won 6-0. Who cares?

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Returning Soon

Not that there’s been a clamoring of fans at my doorstop demanding me return to my site, but I decided this afternoon that I’ll be coming back shortly. The All-Star game will be my return to writing updates for my site. I’ve had enough of a break due to Duke Nukem Forever coming out, and my loss of TV.
Also, I’ve decided that I might investigate new software for the site. I had to remove comments due to spammers. The main reason I’ve never done this before is a lot of hellacious custom templating for this site I’ve done. I may have thought of a way to do that, and if I can, I’ll be bringing back comments on the new site.
That 15-5 game tonight was fun to watch. Especially since I only get one per week now. That was a good one to have on Friday night. :)

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A longer break than I thought

Looks like I’ll be taking a longer break than I thought.
I wrote a few weeks ago about having to drop cable TV and go to antenna only. That reduced my Rangers game watching to once a week, and I have to say, it’s really cut into my paying attention to the team. Yeah, I know I can get it on mobile devices, my iPhone, my iPad, and good old fashioned radio, but there-in lies the rub.
I can’t time shift those. Oh, I could wait till the game is all the way over and listen to a replay, but that is near impossible in this world of Facebook updates, tweets, and whatnot. So many friends tweet everything that happens, that I would have to stay offline totally until I could see the game.
I decided not to go through all that, and while I’m still looking at box scores, and catching the odd inning here and there, I have to say I hate having to catch a game on it’s actual scheduled time. TiVo has changed me – permanently. I do not like having to do things on a prepared schedule, I want to do it when I’m ready, which usually means after the kids are in bed.
Long time followers of my site know I’ve worked in the videogame industry since 1992, and and the project my former company worked on for 13 years finally came out this past Tuesday. That’s Duke Nukem Forever. I have a part time gig doing contract work for the company that picked up the slack, so I was involved. It was a busy time, and to be honest, there were several Rangers games that I didn’t know the results of until after 24 hours beyond their endtime.
So I’ve decided to take a longer break. I don’t think I’ll break for the whole season, but I am still paying attention to results. I just didn’t realize how much of my being a baseball fan was tied to the television. Now that I don’t have that kind of TV game access anymore, I find myself not as interested, and that’s mostly due to TiVo.
I’ll be back. Been doing it too long to just quit totally. Thanks for visiting.

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Changing Broadcasters

On the team’s off day, they decided to announce a major shakeup of the TV & Radio broadcasters. Here’s a line item summary of the changes, then I’ll talk about them a bit individually.

  • John Rhadigan is removed from TV play by play – returns to FSSW to do pre & post game coverage.

  • Dave Barnett moves from radio to TV to replace Rhadigan.
  • Steve Busby will join Eric Nadel as Barnett’s primary replacement
  • Bryan Dolgin will also handle an undetermined number of games with Nadel.

I have to say this was a bit of a surprise to me. There’s a lot of moving parts to all of this, and the biggest thing is that it’s temporary. It’s supposed to be re-evaluated at the end of the season. Which tells me they felt that shaking everything up would be better than letting Rhadigan ride out the season, and make a change there.
Rhadigan fired: Well, as I said above, this was the biggest surprise. When it was first announced, I thought it was somewhat an odd choice, as he had never done play by play before. John however, was involved with the Rangers for ages through his association with Fox Sports Southwest. He knows the team, he didn’t have to learn the history, he knew it. While his lack of experience was a question mark, I figure his obvious knowledge of the team would allow him to compensate for that. He definitely came across as a newbie in the job. He made mistakes (but then even the big time pros do that from time to time), and had the odd quirk here and there, but overall, I didn’t think he was that bad. However, a portion of the fanbase was quite rabid about how bad he was, and from what Evan Grant said on Twitter, (more) that seems to have contributed. I don’t think that’s particularly fair, as he was only on the job for a matter of six weeks. I felt he deserved a bit more time than that. He WAS a new guy, he WAS rough, yes. But you don’t build a Vin Scully that quickly. I do recognize he was a bit rough around the edges, but that’s the kind of refinement that comes with time. Sadly he wasn’t given the time to refine what he was doing, and was booted. He does get a nice severance, as they paid him for the entire length of his contract, so he won’t be selling pencils. Would have liked to have seen him last at least the first year. Feel bad for the guy, but he will be going back to the pre/post game stuff on Fox Sports Southwest, so that’s at least something positive, I suppose. To close this section, I’m gonna steal this text from Evan Grant:

But just like Major League callups, you don’t always get the ideal amount of time to prove yourself.

Dave Barnett to TV: Ugh. Maybe it’s good I lost my Cable TV a couple of weeks ago. I have never been a fan of Dave Barnett. It’s not like he’s exactly awful, he’s not. He’s been doing broadcasts before the Rangers for quite awhile. He’s not as rough as Rhadigan, so in that regard it’ll be an improvement. But when there was a search for the successor to Josh Lewin, I had a few posts saying how much I did NOT want Barnett on TV. There’s no one fact I can give you as to why I don’t like him. It’s just a gut feeling sort of thing. He never gelled with me, and while I never actively campaigned for him to be let go or anything, I never wanted to see him on TV, because I watch more games than I listen to on radio. That miught change now with my TV situation and what Barnett on TV. We’ll see. At least I personally can hang my hat on the fact that it’s been said that the situation will be re-evaluated in the offseason, which means they don’t really want him as the #1 TV Play by play guy either, or they would have anointed him the permanent replacement. They also didn’t offer it to him this past off season, either. My gut says Barnett is out of here after this season, we’ll see.
Busby to Radio: Steve Busby has been involved with Rangers broadcasts for awhile now in some capacity. He’s been on TV before, he’s been on radio before. He was a former player, so he’s no stranger. I like his voice, I like his style. My favorite thing about Busby is something I’ve written about here before. He used to work the official post game call in show with Scott Franzke (who was offered the TV job in front of Rhadigan but declined). There’s always a lot of “no knowledge” fans calling in to these shows, and Busby would never take their crap. He’d call a lot of the callers out, when they’d say dumb stuff like “when are we getting some pitching in here”, or “trade so and so for x”. I LOVED THAT. So I was a bit bummed when I heard that the TV play by play job was offered to him, and he turned it down because he would have only wanted to do it for say 2-3 years, and the Rangers wanted someone for longer than that. That bummed me out. But we will get him on the radio for at least the rest of the season, which is good. HOPEFULLY he can be talked into doing either of them for longer, as I’d like to see Busby stick around permanently. Preferably on TV, but radio’s good, too.
Dolgin on Radio Too: Bryan Dolgin is the pre-post game guy now, and he’s way better than that doofus they had who initially replaced Scott Franzke (Mike Ogulnick). While I still don’t listen a lot to post game, mostly because I can’t stand the lack of baseball intelligence of most callers, I have to say I like Dolgin. He kind of reminds me Franzke. Not that he’s a clone, but I like the slant of his talking, and things of that nature. While I would prefer Busby as a permanent replacement for Barnett, if they went with Dolgin, I think I’d like it too. So however he’s used is good – so long as they don’t stupidly let him go like they did Franzke. Still a bit peeved about that one.
Ultimately, if I had my choice, this is how things would settle out, but I know it won’t happen.
TV: Tom Grieve as color, and Victor Rojas as play by play
Radio: Eric Nadel & Steve Busby
Post Game: Bryan Dolgin
I know there’s no hope of Rojas coming back. I wish they would have given it to him before MLB Network got off the ground. That was a good promotion for him, but when he left that, they didn’t make a run at him, which bummed me out.
Oh, and finally, I should point out my broadcasters history page here on my site. Not one I pay a lot of mind to, but it is kept up to date, and with this news, it seems like a good time to mention it. It doesn’t go back into the DC years of the franchise, I don’t have that info. One quirk though – for quite awhile there were different broadcast teams on TV if the game was on regular TV vs Cable. That’s why there are columns that say that in the descriptions. It hasn’t been used that way in awhile now, but I never got around to reformatting the page. :)
Let’s see how the new TV team goes, as tonight is the one night out of the week I get a game on free antenna TV. I’ll probably have something to say about it in the recap for tonight’s game.

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No more Rangers Games for awhile

(This was originally posted May 17th, bumping it while I play catch up so people can know why I’m behind).
I’m having to check out for a little while here… Not from my site, I plan on keeping that going. But from watching Rangers games. You see, yesterday I had to disconnect Time Warner Cable. It wasn’t a decision I really WANTED to do, I was kind of forced into that due to my life circumstances.
While I try not to go on about it, if you’ve been reading my site at all the last couple of years you know I’m unemployed. I sadly still am. I do have a part time gig which helps, but it’s not enough to live off of properly. As we’ve gotten to a tipping point in my situation, I’ve had to make some rather drastic cuts. I’ve been making cuts all along, but this round is by far the hardest one to make, as it cuts into things I always figured, “Well, I can make do and not have to deal with that bill”. Well, no mas. By turning off Time Warner Cable, I’m gonna save about $70 a month.
I’ve gone back to plain old rabbit ears. I would prefer to install a good antenna on the roof, but I don’t have the cash to pay for the antenna & the installer to put it up there (doing it myself is NOT an option). So I’m back to a pair of $8 rabbit ears. I did a ton of research on antennas, and actually chose a different one than this – a $50 powered really nice looking one. Didn’t get all the channels I wanted. Then I tried the $8 one, and it actually got more channels than the powered $50 antenna. I was shocked. Packed up and returned the $50 one to Amazon, and went to Best Buy and got another of that $8 rabbit ears. That’s what I’m using now. It works great for the TV stations I care about. There’s a ton of stations here in D/FW, but a lot of them are Spanish Soap Opera kind of stuff on UHF. I get all the 2-13 channels well enough, and the UHF ones I care about (21, 27, 33) I get fine. I also get a few others, too, so for eight bucks? It worked out great.
Unfortunately, there’s a couple of MASSIVE downsides to this being a Rangers fan.
First off, I just disconnected MLB Network. That’s quite painful, as it was probably my most watched single cable channel – by far. There’s tons of stuff there I’ll miss for sure. Second, though is Fox Sports Southwest. This means that I’ve just lost my ability to watch every Rangers game unless it’s on Friday night – where I can get it on the free OTA channel 21.
Before you say “Just listen on the radio, then”.. Try having two kids whose bedtimes are during non west coast games. it doesn’t work. I relied on the TiVo and FSS to timeshift the games until after the kids were asleep. You can’t do that with radio. You have to listen when it happens, or you don’t listen. There’s always the possibility of waiting till the entire game is over and listening to the radio via MLB Gameday Audio reply, but the chances of me not knowing the score that long for that many games is unrealistic.
MLB.TV isn’t an option. I am retaining internet at home, but I can’t use MLB.TV because Rangers games are blacked out in this area. No love there.
So basically, I’m cut off from watching Rangers games again until I can get myself employed at a full time level. I haven’t decided if I was going to stop doing my updates based on just the MLB recaps or not. That gets old after awhile.
It will stink if this is still going come October and playoffs, as the bulk of the playoffs are on TNT, which I can’t see now. So the next time you’re watching the Rangers and complaining that you don’t like Rhadigan, or whatever else you want to complain about, remember – you’re watching it.
One positive. I won’t have to hear about anyone sending up baked goods to the booth for a while. Perhaps there is a silver lining in all this.
P.S. If you’re ever in need of information for antennas, I cannot recommend TV Fool high enough. The amount of detail they give you on all the channels in your area is astounding. You even get asked serious detail like how high up your antenna is, several variables to account for (trees, buildings, etc). There are overlaid Google Maps maps showing how strong a stations’ signal is in your area. Plus they have a good help forum. I cannot recommend them highly enough. AntennaWeb is far more known, and there’s nothing WRONG with them, but TV Fool has a lot more detail.

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I’m behind

Just realized I was eight games behind in updating. Didn’t realize I had gotten that far behind. Will probably take a pass on some of them, but will try and catch up over the weekend.

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Rangers & Round Rock

This is the first year the Rangers have had Round Rock as one of their minor league affiliates. Officially, the Round Rock Express are the AAA affiliate for the Texas Rangers. I know that.
However, every time I’ve seen “recalled from AAA Round Rock”, it just looks wrong. In my mind, mentally, I see “Round Rock”, and I still think Double A Houston. It’s been a few years since Round Rock was even a AA affiliate for the Astros, they’ve been AAA for awhile.
Anyone else see this? :)

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Former Rangers Exec Happenings

On Monday, we got a couple of interesting stories about former Rangers team executives.
The first story was that former Rangers owner Tom Schieffer was named by Bud Selig to be the MLB overseer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Schieffer, if I remember right, was essentially forced out by Tom Hicks after he took over the team, forcing out what was the then popular team president over an idea to merge the Stars & Rangers front offices. Yeah, that worked out. Scheiffer had a big hand in building our ballpark, and it’s nice to see him get a gig in baseball. From what I’ve read about it nationally, it seems to be a pretty well received move. Except for those I suppose in the Dodgers organization, who probably don’t want the intrusion. One remark I saw said Tom is a good choice, as he wouldn’t have aspirations to be involved with the team once the interim tag is removed. That’s probably good for the Dodgers, or more importantly whoever ends up owning the team. That situation has the potential to be a colossal nightmare. If you click through to this link over at mlb.com about the situation, there’s a short video there with Peter Gammons. Peter obviously doesn’t like Tom Hicks, as he gave a lot of credit to Scheiffer & Dubya for rebuilding the franchise, and getting the park built, and then goes on to say “except for when it was screwed up for awhile by Tom Hicks”. Ouch.
The other news is a story I saw on Monday morning about the ouster of Chuck Greenberg as Rangers’ president. It’s very much a dirty laundry story for sure. But to be honest, I don’t think anyone really believed the cover story given at the time. Everyone kind of figured there was some kind of backdoor mess that forced Chuck out. This story gets into some of that. While one can never really know what story is 100% gospel, this has a big long look inside the situation, and while I’d be surprised if this 100% the truth, I’d say it’s probably pretty much in the ballpark (har har har). Most DEFINITELY worth a read.

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Chevy Line Drive to Round Rock

This past March, I went on a trip down to Round Rock to see the Texas Rangers play their AAA affiliate, the Round Rock Express in the final exhibition game of Spring Training. It was cool, as I got to ride down with Patrick McCollough, and we had a great time talking baseball, and a ton of other things. We were sponsored by Chevy, and as such, a video trailer of our trip made it onto the Chevy website this week under the name of our outing, “Chevy Line Drive to Round Rock“. Check out the trailer below, and the website, which also includes some pictures, and a 15 minute or so interview with the four of us that went there on our thoughts leading into the season.
As a side note, the video shot of Patrick in the car, and the shot of driving down the road was filmed by me using a Flipcam. :)

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Comments are Off

While I’ve never had a huge following of people who leave comments on my reports, there have been a few. I wanted to tell you guys that I’ve had to turn comments off on the site for the time being.
The problem is that I’ve been carpet bombed by spammers attempting to well, spam the heck out of my site. The problem is that they’re so overloaded my site with attempts that it’s swamping the entire server. The physical server that this site resides on also has a few other sites, all of which are being trashed by this move.
I’ve temporarily removed the file that allows for comments until I can figure out a way to better protect the site from that kind of thing. Sorry about that to the three of you who seem to comment (and Kurt). :)

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A Red Sox Fan, a Yankees Fan, and a Rangers Fan

A Rangers fan, a Yankees fan & a Red Sox fan are climbing a mountain & arguing about who loves his team more. The Red Sox fan insists he is the most loyal. “This is for the Sox!”, he yells, & jumps off the mountain. Not to be outdone, the Rangers fan is next to profess his love for his team. He yells “This is for Texas!” & pushes the Yankee fan off the mountain. GO RANGERS!!

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Fox Sports Postgame & HD

Something that’s always bugged me is the fact that the pre and post game shows on Fox Sports Southwest are in SD, yet the games themselves are in HD. A week ago or so, I got a press email from someone at FSSW telling me what the upcoming TV schedule was for the season. So I asked them more or less what the deal with this situation was:

I never understood why the cameras out there in that left field “studio” show reports during the game in HD, but as soon as you go to post game, it’s back to SD – from the same cameras.

He responded back with this.

Thanks for your interest in Rangers Live pre/postgame shows. We hope to begin distributing those shows in high-definition sometime this season as we complete conversion on our Dallas studio from standard-def to high-def. The reason shows have been in standard-definition is because they are run through our Dallas studio, which we’re targeting to be fully-functional for high-definition programming later this season. Hope that addresses your concern. Let me know if there’s anything else you need.

It’s been that way for a couple of years now, and the HD switchover happened what, two years ago now? Bit late to the party there. I want my Mark McLemore at the desk in HD, darnit! :)

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God Bless Opening Day!

Well, here we are. Opening Day for the Texas Rangers. In the 50 year history of the franchise, it’s the first time ever we go into a season with “Defending American League Champions” on our necks. It’s a good sign to be wearing. Yeah, all the talk about not sneaking up on people, and they’ll be gunning for you applies, but man. It still feels good to wear that sign.
The 25 man roster was set while I was down in Round Rock the other night, I wanted to say a few words about the roster before today’s game actually happens, as my thoughts might be clouded by an actual game if I write afterwards.
Our pitching staff:

Dave Bush, Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis, Mark Lowe, Darren O’Day, Alexi Ogando, Pedro Strop, Mason Tobin, Matt Harrison, Darren Oliver, C.J. Wilson, Arthur Rhodes, Derek Holland.

Of this crew, Bush, Tobin, & Rhodes are new guys. A couple others are making their first opening day roster. A few remarks:
Dave Bush – I’m not sure what to expect here. A middle of the road starter when he was in Milwaukee, he’ll be in our pen. I don’t think we’re getting a spectacular performance out of him here, but he’ll probably be just “OK”.
Feliz: Lots of talk about back and forth between rotation & pen. Late it was decided he was going to remain the closer. I suspect that will stay that way all season unless we fall out so bad, they start looking towards next year. So long as we’re winning or in the race, he’ll stay there, then they’ll move him to the rotation next year, and bring in someone else.
Lewis & Wilson: With Lee gone, these guys will be expected to carry the load. I think Lewis is probably better suited to repeat 2010′s performance, based on his longer time being a starter. A lot is made out of Wilson’s prep work, so that could be a factor, too. Hard to tell what will happen here.
Harrison & Holland: These guys need to grow into their roles as starters. The tag of young starter I think has worn off, and if they don’t deliver, they’ll get passed by with other people going forward. I think at least one of them will rise to the challenge this year. If we get both? Wow, we’ll be in good shape if the guys up top hold up their end of the rotation, too.
Darren O’Day: Ugh. Horrible spring training. Hope he can turn it on now that the bell has rung, but man, I’m not comfortable with him now.
Oliver & Rhodes: I see them as mostly the same thing. Older guys who can still pitch well. Probably should be solid numbers from both, but not spectacular.
Mark Lowe: Not sure what to think here.
Mason Tobin: He’s had a great spring, but as a Rule 5 guy, you wonder at what point do we have to make the decision of “do we let him ride it out”, as he’s not likely to be able to stay if we need to send him down.
Pedro Strop: Fantastic spring. I really hope he keeps going, as the up/down/up/down from last year really devalued him in my eyes, and I suspect messed with him. Be nice to see him stay here for awhile.
Alexi Ogando: Nice that he’s getting a shot to start in place of Tommy Hunter. Bad for Tommy, of course. But if Ogando can grab a hold of that and not let go, man, we’ll be even more better off. We’ll see how it goes in his first start.
Napoli & Torrealba: Yorbit will probably be fine, but I can’t see him being any better than Pudge is at this point in Pudge’s career. Can we have Pudge back, please? Napoli has more power, and probably will I think work out better numbers wise. Behind the plate? Hard to tell, dont’ know enough about either of them as a catcher for that.
Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, & David Murphy: I’m lumping all these guys together as I expect the same thing from all of them. Which is “more of the same”. Not expecting surprises here, assuming they all stay healthy.
Andres Blanco: Good bench guy. Valuable 25th man on the roster for sure.
Adrian Beltre: I suspect he’ll disprove the contract year talk. I’m figuring on a big year by him, assuming he stays on the field.
Julio Borbon: By all accounts, he’s improved his offense, which in the past was his weak point. Now his defense is suspect, which is exactly backwards of how he’s been in the past. Not sure how this will play out. If his defence remains a question mark too long into the season, I see him being moved out of the lineup pretty quickly.
Mitch Moreland: Gut feeling, but I figure on a huge season for him. Can’t tell you why, just a “gut” thing.
I also expect “just missed” guys like Michael Kirkman & Chris Davis to be up here before too long. Davis first, once the 13th pitcher idea is done away with. I’ve got this vibe about Chris Davis. Kind of like when Nelson Cruz was sent out on waivers, and nobody claimed him. He kid of shook the 4A player label that Davis kind of has now. Rakes in the minors, bring him up, not so much. If Davis can shake that, I suspect he’ll get traded for some big chip, as I don’t see him here long term – he’s blocked in too many places (at the moment Beltre & Moreland). Granted, the last time we had a hot first base prospect who was blocked, he was moved, and we ended up probably needing him. This is of course Adrian Gonzalez, who was blocked at the time by Mark Teixeira.
Then there’s also the story of Michael Young’s 10-5 rights. While a lot of happy talk is being made because he’s on the opening day roster, I suspect the trade talk will start up again soon. Not actual “talks” per se, but the fan/sports writer talk once his 10-5 date gets closer (what is that date, actually)?
This is the last thing I’ll write before the game, which starts in about four hours from now. It’ll be fun. While I am still mildly irritated that I’m not going (this is the first home opener I haven’t gone to since the one in 1996), we have some friends coming over from our church to watch. We’ll still have fun, just not the SAME fun.
So thanks be to God for this day, thanks be to God for my life, and the blessings bestowed upon all of us this day. May everyone at the game get there safe, get home safe, and know that they’re loved. Thanks to God for my friends, and thanks for my being able to be in a position in life where I can have a house, and have the means to be able to enjoy these things, despite my continued involuntary unemployment situation.
Amen.
Play Ball!

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Going to Round Rock

Some of you may remember my noodling around town in a Chevy Cruze that was dooded up with Rangers stickers and some antlers around the time of the World Series last year. That was a cool thing, and I ended up going to a World Series game for the first time in my life due to that promotion.
Well, the folks behind that promotion are at it again. They’re sending me, along with a couple of other Rangers bloggers down to Round Rock on Wednesday as part of a group roundtable.
The promotion is called “The Chevrolet Line Drive to Round Rock”.
Basically myself and three other guys are going to be headed down to Round Rock on Wednesday, and we’re gonna take in the game. We’ll be in Section 121, Rows 3 & 4. You can come by and say hi during the game. Or, you can meet up with us after the game, where we’ll be doing a round table discussion with other Rangers fans to talk about the upcoming season, how the spring went, how jazzed you are for the new scoreboard, or whatever! It’ll be cool.
Anyway, the guys I’ll be going down there with are:

It’ll all be a blast, and we’re all looking forward to it. Hope some of you who are going to be in Round Rock can come by and say hi!
Oh, and this past Thursday night, the four of us appeared on the latest episode of Rangers Fan Radio (02×08 – “To Start or Not to Start”). You can listen to that now by heading over to rangersfanradio.com, or visit the page for the podcast in iTunes, and subscribe there.
Also looking forward to checking out The Salt Lick, a great Austin BBQ joint that opened a new location RIGHT NEXT TO THE DELL DIAMOND!