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. :)
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.
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!
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.
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..
12-7, 2.83 ERA, 24GS, 5CG, 5SHO, 172IP, 153H, 56R, 54ER, 14HR, 3HB, 34BB, 177K .237AVG, 1.09WHIP
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’. ;)
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?
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. :)
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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? :)
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.
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. :)
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). :)
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!!
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! :)
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.
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:
- Patrick McCullough from rangersfanradio.com
- Joshua McMurray from IrishP1
- Jonathan Collander from NolanWritin.com
- Scott Lucas from The Newberg Report
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!
Am I the only person on the net who doesn’t like this new video going around of some kid crying because Michael Young is being traded? It seems kind of cruel to be honest, and I didn’t find it funny at all.
Not entirely sure what kind of parent would force their children to cry like that, and THEN put it on the Internet for folks to laugh at.
And no, I will NOT be linking to it. Sigh.
I can’t say I’m surprised given how much he’s been pushed around the field lately, now being pushed mostly off of it. It seems inevitable given how much noise about it we’ve heard the last few days.
If he is moved, I’ll write about it a little more then. Just kind of waiting back and seeing what will happen if he is moved.
Rangers fan Josh Rodgers sent me a couple of fun little Rangers videos this morning he made. Check ‘em out:
That’s a bit of a surprise. Saw a minute ago where the Rangers are sending Frank Francisco (and cash) to Toronto for catcher Mike Napoli. Saw it on a Twitter post a few minutes ago.
This is interesting, as might signal that Alexi Ogando might have to stay in the bullpen if we lose Frankie.
We also had catching set – with Torrealba & Treanor sharing duties. If Napoli comes in, I suspect it will bump Treanor to AAA – or off the club. Neither of which I’m sure he’ll be thrilled about. Assuming there isn’t another corresponding move to move one of the catchers out (can we trade Torrealba that quickly? Probably Treanor), it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.
Edit: Should have read the complete Twitter update before I posted this. Rosenthal says it won’t force those two off the roster, it will fulfill that “last bench spot” we tried to fill with Jim Thome. C, 1B, & DH. Other than catcher, that’s what Mike Young was doing. It will be interesting to see how the at bats play out if there’s no injuries along the line.
NOTE: If you’re reading this on an RSS feed, sorry for all the duplicates.
Back in October when I was watching the Rangers in the playoffs, I wrote a little about a scoreboard image that TBS put out. They, like most networks (Fox, mostly) do this thing where they insert their own scoreboards into the stadium – usually during returns from commercials and whatnot. TBS showed the following image, which was a complete fake:
At the end of November, I asked Chuck Greenberg on his Facebook page what was going on with the rumored scoreboard improvements, and he said something was going to be announced shortly, and it was. Little did I know that TBS’ fake image wasn’t too far from what we are going to get in 2011. Look at this:
It was announced on December 2nd (yeah, I’m behind) that several new scoreboards will be installed in the park. The most obvious is the one shown above; the one above Home Run Porch. Here’s some text on the sizes from the official press release:
The current video board on the roof of the Home Run Porch, which is 24 by 36 feet (864 square feet) will be replaced by a new board that measures 42 by 120 feet (5,040 square feet). In addition, a new video board that will be 25 by 29 feet (725 square feet) will replace the Coca-Cola matrix board on top of the office building in centerfield. The old video board used standard definition technology while the new boards will both be high-definition.
The scoreboard that is being replaced now had been there since the place opened in 1994. A few years ago (five or six now – I can’t recall) the video board was replaced from it’s 1994 original to a newer one. But that upgrade was essentially “the same thing”. Meaning, it didn’t go from SD to HD. It was a drop in replacement. It did look nicer than the original board, but it wasn’t a sonic upgrade in quality. It still had the tiny square video board up there, which was microscopic compared to other things around. So while that was nice for a couple of years, it was time for an upgrade. So that fake TBS image got me thinking – why can’t we do that?
I know the physical structure up there keeps us from having a scoreboard the size of Jerry Jones’ behemoth. But given that restriction, I think what’s proposed is the best we can do short of replacing the Home Run Porch, which I think nobody is in favor of. From the two press shots I have above, it looks like the entire board is capable of video, it’ll be one giant video board up there. It will get broken up into “pieces” showing stats, ads, and whatnot. What I’m HOPING is that for video replays we get a full board reply of it, and not just a “square” or “rectangle” portion. I want the entire area to be a video display, like shown in the second one. I also hope these video boards get in on the party for the “Ring of Fire” bit that Chuck introduced a couple of years ago. :) However it’s used, it will be a definite improvement.
There’s also a replacement for the “Coke Bottle” dot matrix board in center field. Originally it was a lower tech dot matrix screen, and around the same time of the home run porch upgrade, it was a much higher quality dot matrix board. Now it’s going to be a video board similar to the one in home run porch, according to the press release. That will be quite cool, although given I believe it’s being dropped into the existing Coke bottle frame, it will be a square and not a widescreen board, so I wonder if there will be horizontal bars on it like there are with older TV’s and widescreen footage. :)
Finally the video board in left field, which replaced the old manual scoreboard just two seasons ago will also be replaced with an HD video board. This is good too, because the same “small square” problem that plagued the home run porch video board plagued the video board on the left field wall. On top of it, the screen that protects the board from balls and players running into it gets in the way of being able to see it clearly. I wonder if there will be some other way to protect the screen, or the HD upgrade will help. Either way, that too will be an improvement. Having said that, the 2009-2010 left field board was great for non video information. The way Chuck used the board to display in game stuff, and other information was quite good. Just couldn’t read any text shown on the “video square” due to it being too small, and the screen in front of the videoboard getting in the way. Will have to do a report once the boards are in and I can attend a game and see ‘em in action.
The new stuff doesn’t stop with the seating bowl. All the TVs and displays around the stadium concourses and food stands will be replaced. In the press release, Chuck Greenberg called them (I’m paraphrasing) a testament to 1994 TV technology. I have to agree with that. There were MANY of them which were old, broken down, or worse, would display the entire screen in a yellow tint. They needed to go. The new system will be similar to what’s in Cowboys stadium where all the video boards will be linked together, so their prices and displays can be controlled from a central location. The idea being when there’s one of Chuck’s new “Blue Light Specials”, the prices will be updated everywhere at the same time. It should look and work out pretty cool. But just the mere replacement of the old shabby tube SD TV’s around the park will help.
One thing though – there have been for a few years now advertising boards in the concourse that show nothing but advertisements. These giant video boards cause hell with anyone who is using a portable radio. I know they broadcast the radio signal in the stadium, but if you have all these video boards that cause incredibly LOUD interference when you get anywhere near them, it renders radios useless. I’ve had to stop walking anywhere near them, because the interference in my headphones is so loud it literally hurts.
Finally, they’re upgrading the audio system too. Has this text from the press release:
The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington audio system is receiving a total overhaul with the old speakers being replaced and the additional of technology upgrades and production equipment to compliment the enhanced video product.
Some years ago the audio system was supposedly upgraded too (around the time Chuck Morgan came back from Kansas City if I remember right), and to be honest, it didn’t make a whole lot of difference. Hopefully this upgrade is more successful.
So I’m definitely interested in all these upgrades. Somewhere when this happened, these upgrades were referred to as just one of the ongoing ballpark upgrades to come. There was some talk about replacing all the static boards above the center field offices with one giant video board that ran that entire space. I’m hoping that’s part of the following off season’s video upgrades. Chuck also said something about ballpark changes not changing the overall design of the park, that he’d complement, not change. This would explain why the oft told story of replacing Sections 301-306 with a giant video board out there won’t be happening, either.
I also hope they can remove the Cuervo Club and restore the natural wind balance to the ballpark, but that’s probably just a dream, sadly.
The Rangers have a four and a half minute long video on their site showing these changes via a “virtual flythrough”. Click here to check that out (if MLBAM ever gets off their butts and allows video streaming, I’d have it here).
Sorry for the delay in getting this online. I know it happened about 7 weeks ago, but I kept getting distracted by other stuff, and I wanted to give this the writeup it deserved, not just say “Hey, read the press release”. :)
This week was the Hall of Fame 2011 class induction announcement. I think to nobody’s surprise, there were two player inductees to go with the previously announced Pat Gillick. Bert Blyleven & Robbie Alomar.
Blyleven finally gets in after a zillion years of not getting enough votes. Given the general lack of huge names this time around, it seemed like a lock after he got so close last year. If you’re reading this site, you’ve read the big ticket sites and know his numbers. There was no way I thought he’d go in as a Ranger, I figured he’d go in as a Twin, and I read tonight that this was the case.
Bert was here for the 1976 & 1977 seasons, although 77 was his only full year here, having come over mid season in 76 from the Twins. He compiled a 23-23 record here, with ERA’s of 2.72 & 3.03. While his playing career says he played when I was old enough to remember him, he spent the majority of his time in AL teams. He was only in the NL from 78-80 when he was in Pittsburgh. I don’t remember him much at all, but his numbers are great. Felt he should have been in for awhile.
Robbie Alomar got in, and after getting 90% this year, and I forget what last year on his first year, one thinks it was some sort of penalty for the spitting incident. Still, he was an awesome second baseman, and deserved to be in as well.
I’m a bit surprised that Jeff Bagwell didn’t place higher, and some of the “almosts” (Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Lee Smith), might have a shot next year when the class is even weaker than this year in general. Could be next year it’s just Barry Larkin. We’ll see.
And then there’s the other Ranger players on the ballot this year. The biggest name of them is Rafael Palmeiro. While his finger wagging didn’t help, I believe that he was telling the truth when he did that. Getting in front of Congress and lying is just dumb. Granted, there’s Barry Bonds, but that’s another story completely. Still, if you look at the point where Palmeiro was drawn into all this, he was at the back end of his career at that point. If he started cheating around that time, it didn’t make any sense to me. Why start cheating when you already have the numbers, and are at the tail end of your career? Not to say it’s impossible, but my gut feeling says he didn’t do it. If I had a vote, I would have voted for him. Apparently not a lot of others did, as he just got 11% of the votes (64 of them). Unless some new conclusive evidence shows up, I can’t see that going up at all.
Juan Gonzalez was on the ballot too, and got less coverage than Raffy. Juan was “fingered” by Canseco in his book, and while he denied it, Juan’s general grump attitude will never help him. A lot of noise has been made about various players getting hurt by the press when it comes time to vote, because they didn’t talk to the press, etc… He got 5.2% and 30 votes. Wonder who those guys are, as none of the local DFW guys voted for him that I’m aware of.
The only other former Rangers on there were Harold Baines (4.8% – 28 votes) & Kevin Brown (2.1% – 21 votes). Both Baines and Brown will be dropped after this year, because they’re below 5%. Juando will stay on – barely, but I can’t imagine him going anywhere, he’ll probably get dropped after 2012.
Back to the guys who DID get in. Blyleven joins a crew of players and managers who have suited up for the Rangers, but aren’t in the hall with a Rangers cap. Only Nolan Ryan is in there with a Rangers cap. The rest of the Rangers HOF contigent is below:
Time for one of my catch up posts. I haven’t posted any “words” really since the World Series ended except for one post about free agents. I was somewhat annoyed that we lost the World Series. In fact, within seconds of the final out, I had deleted the game from my TiVo, cancelled all future recordings of Baseball Tonight and MLB Tonight, and deleted all the games except the one we won. I’ll watch that one again at some point, just not now. I was quite cold about it when they lost, my wife was probably a bit surprised.
Anyway, some things have happened since then, and I wanted to get in a few words about what’s transpired since I last talked on the site. But before I get to that, I did want to say a few words about the season that just passed.
2010 Season: It was absolutely the single best season of baseball since I started this site. The season that just ended was my 12th since this site started. The Rangers got to the playoffs in the first year I was doing this site (1999), and not again until this year, although I thought we had a shot in 2004. But this was by far the best season they’ve had in my time with the team (obviously). Even if they didn’t get to the World Series, it was a great run. Even my wife noticed it – during the playoffs she remarked that it seemed like I was more into the season than I’d been the last few years before this. I was at the playoff game in 1998 & 1999. Those sucked. 2010 was something different. I went to one game in each round. I was at Game 3 of the ALDS where we lost rather annoyingly to Tampa Bay. I was at Game 1 of the ALCS where we lost to the Yankees. I saw three playoff losses in three different seasons spanning 12 years – all to the Yankees. But then I got go see a WORLD SERIES game with my own eyes. It was the busiest, the craziest game I’ve ever been to in my life, and I’ve been going to baseball games since about 1975 or so. Again, I have Chris Wilson of Fleishman-Hillard and Donna McLallen of Chevrolet to thank for making that dream of mine come true. Thank you again both of you – there was no way I would have been there without you two. It obviously didn’t end the way any Ranger fan wanted it to, but it was by far the best ride the Rangers have given their fans – ever.
Free Agency Begins: The Rangers, having gone all the way into November while still playing, got started later with movement than other teams, although they oddly DFA’ed Rich Harden during the playoffs, which I thought was an insult. I wrote briefly about the moves, but I’ll repeat ‘em here:
- Jorge Cantu (not coming back)
- Frank Francisco (could go either way)
- Cristian Guzman (is he still here?)
- Cliff Lee (Uh, that’s five dump trucks full of money please – if he wants ten, give it to him)
- Bengie Molina (I’d take him back if he wants to play)
- Matt Treanor (he’ll come back)
Since I wrote that, there’s been some noise that the Rangers are going to try and sign Victor Martinez. If they sign him, I’d say that’s it for Molina. I’d say Treanor comes back to act as a backup to whomever they sign for #1. Additionally, Doug Mathis, Brandon McCarthy, & Esteban German refused AAA assignments and are now free agents. I’ll guess German comes back on a minor league deal, the other guys are probably gone for good.
Vlad Guerrero’s Option Declined: That was initially a surprise when it was reported, but then some noise came out about the decline being agreed upon when the contract was signed. The idea being the decline buyout was a way to sneak some extra cash in the deal and bypass issues at the time relative to the bankruptcy proceedings. That seems plausible, but it still doesn’t sit right. I even called up XM Radio and relayed that decline concept to the on air talent. They didn’t seem to buy it, and while I do buy it somewhat, my gut says that’s not the whole truth. As I’ve said several times this season, I’ve been following Guerrero since his Montreal days. I even drove down to Houston once to see an Expos game against the Astros in the ‘dome, just so I could see Vlad back then. It was awesome to see him be his old self this season, but he wilted down the stretch. Plus he looked awful in the outfield in the World Series. Despite my past love of him, and how much he worked, I don’t think I’d be too upset if he didn’t come back. This kind of reminds me of the Sosa move a few years ago. Bring him in, see what happens. Only it worked well for most of the season here. I’m not really sure what will happen.
Ron Washington’s Contract Extended: I think a lot of people thought Wash was on thin ice after the cocaine story in spring training. While that may or may not be right, by season’s end, he certainly proved he deserved the job still. You just look at how the team performed this season, he appeared to do his job well, and there were tons of stories about how players responded well to him. I like his attitude with people and whatnot, and he seemed to have fun, despite being the boss. His extension was for the 2011 & 2012 seasons. I would have personally done three, but this is still a good move. Needed to lock him up. Also need to take care of Jon Daniels, while we’re at it.
Scott Feldman has Surgery: After getting a nice contract following the 2009 season, Feldman tanked in 2010. I figured he was easy a 20 game winner in 2010, that was an epic failure on my part in the prediction department. Word is he won’t be ready at the start of camp, and will come in late. That could work to his benefit if he comes on like he was in 09, and not in 10.
Zack Greinke: Also some noise being made about possibly trading with the Royals for Greinke. To get him, we’d have to give up some painful names. While some of our talent pool has been moved out, we still have plenty, and they’re sure to want two star pitching prospects. To get Greinke, you don’t blink at giving up one. Two? Depends on who they ask. But if we can’t resign Lee, I’d expect us to make a move to go get Greinke.
Rangers playing in Round Rock: The last game of spring training will be a game down in Round Rock on March 30th. That will be cool. That’s a Wednesday, so traveling down for that is unlikely, as I have to bloody hope I’m back to work by then. If I’m still unemployed then and can see the game, I’ll be bummed out.
Eric Nadel nomiated for Frick Award: What can I say about that? If you’re reading this, you know what Eric Nadel is to the Rangers. I grew up listening to Harry Kalas in Philly, and I get that same feeling listening to Eric that I did listening to Kalas as a kid. Eric also seems humble about all this, which is cool. I’d love to see him get the award and get in.
Mariners lose their voice: I realize this isn’t a Rangers remark, but since I brought up Nadel, I wanted to mention the loss up in Seattle of their voice Dave Neihaus. I’ve heard a handful of his games, but not enough to form an opinion on him. However, my friends in Seattle who knew him well probably have the same feeling towards Neihaus that I mentioned in the bit above with Nadel & Kalas. I’d be lying if I said I know what that feels like first had. Eric Nadel is still with us, and God willing for a ton of years down the road. Kalas died after I left Pennsylvania, and while I saw all the news stories, and read all the accounts (and several books), I didn’t “live through it” – I didn’t talk to the other fans in my town and all that. So I can only imagine what the Mariner fans are feeling right now. I suppose if Eric Nadel wasn’t there, I’d be in shock, too. There is one thing though. Neihaus was the Mariners ONLY voice (oh I know they have more than a single broadcaster, but you know what I mean). They came into existance in 1977, and he’s been their lead broadcaster all that time. Eric Nadel, while being here for a long time wasn’t an original broadcaster. Same for Kalas in Philly (team existed for about 87 years before Kalas started). Since I can’t give any first hand accounts of Neihaus, I’d like to direct you to this blog post by Terry Melia of Upper Deck. He was kind enough to send me that a few days ago, and I wanted to get it up here for you to read. It’s worth your time, even if you’ve never heard a single Neihaus broadcast ever.
Silver Slugger Awards: On Nov 11th, Vlad Guerrero & Josh Hamilton were granted Silver Slugger awards. I don’t think that’s really a surprise to any Rangers fan, given the way they hit. It was Vlad’s eighth such award, and Josh’s second. Josh also lead the league in batting average, something that’s seemingly overlooked. The second time a Ranger has lead the league in batting average in six seasons. In other award news, no Rangers got a Gold Glove. Bah.
Clint Hurdle hired by Pirates: This is a mixed story for me. I really didn’t want Clint Hurdle to leave. After such a long time without a change under Rudy Jaramillo, I wanted some stability, not a third hitting coach in three straight seasons. Still, most Ranger fans probably figured that Hurdle wouldn’t be here for a really long time. He’s too good of a baseball man to have a coach job. He probably should be a manager. So it’s not a surprise that he’s on his way out to be a manager again. But the Pirates are definitely a challenge. Eighteen straight years of losing baseball. I follow the Pirates somewhat. With my wife being from Pittsburgh, I pay attention, although not nearly as much as I do for the Rangers and the Phillies. Still, they have some good talent up there (although not much pitching). It starts with Andrew McCutchen, but they have some other good young kids like Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, and I also like Ryan Doumit. So I wish Hurdle a lot of luck – he’ll need it, but I would love to cheer on the Pirates again – they have in my opinion the single best ballpark in baseball, but such a bad brand on the field. Back home, we need a new hitting coach again. A Rangers story said they’re looking for a hitting coach with “presence”, whatever that means. I just want them to stop farting around and hire Rusty Greer, making Julio Borbon give back the uniform number.
Josh Lewin let go: Not too long after the season was over, it was announced that Josh Lewin was being let go by the Rangers, and the search would be on for a new TV play by play guy. I already wrote about this in some detail, I’ll just refer you back to my old story (please read it). I only bring this up again, since his new gig was announced – he’s a weekday radio host at 105.3 The Fan now where he has a 3 hour a day radio show. I need to listen to that, but I still cannot stand sports talk radio. If they did away with all call ins, I might try, but man, having random sports fans call in is death. 95% of them don’t have a clue. On the whole I liked Lewin, but the bits about him I didn’t care for will probably work better on the radio, so I really should try, see how it is. I will repeat one mantra from my previous Lewin story. Do NOT promote Dave Barnett to TV. I might actually watch less TV for that reason, and go to radio solely.
Neftali Feliz wins AL Rookie of the Year: This story just happened today, and mostly tried to do these in reverse order… Today Neftali Feliz was named the AL Rookie of the Year. Again, this isn’t a surprise to Rangers fans. But despite his being on a milk carton for portions of the playoffs, he was spectacular for us in 2010. Despite not starting the year as the closer – that’s even more amazing. This is the second time a Ranger has won it – the other time being Mike Hargrove in 1974 (which was way before my time as a Rangers fan!). I’m really glad Neffy won this, as he deserved it, and I honestly hope he stays there for a bit. Yeah, CJ Wilson made the move to starter and it worked, but I think I’d be more comfortable with Feliz as closer. Please, Neffy. Stay as the closer.
To sum up, there were a ton of great moments to the season. I won’t summarize them all, but my two favorites were probably seeing the World Series game in person with my own eyes. And oddly enough following Anthony Andro from the courthouse the night of the auction for control of the team. That grand slam in Seattle at the same time? Pretty darned cool moment in Rangers history.
As I write this story, my blog stats counter tells me I’ve written 926,387 total words over 3,324 entries here on the site. That’s a lot. I’ll need roughly 74,000 words written between now and the end of the 2011 season to pass a million words here. It’s probably doable, but I’ll need more entries like this one and less that say just “That sucked!”. I thank you for visiting, and those of you who remember me almost quitting about three years ago.. Boy am I glad I never did that now. :)
Looking forward to next season. A lot. And the new scoreboards. Make it happen. :)
P.S. In the “From Left Field” department, Doctor Who was named the best Sci-Fi show of all time. Like there was any doubt. :)