People panicked after a horrible June. People panicked after a wretched July. All those jumped back on the bandwagon after a dominant August and now everyone is panicking again about these last few days. It's like a week ago, the A's were down 10 points with a minute and a half left. They scored the touchdown. They recovered the onside kick. They're now in field goal range and Wash has just iced the kicker with 3 seconds left on the clock. Stumbling into the playoffs is not good. This team is struggling at the plate right now. I still believe in this team and there's a way to get some swagger and mojo back going into Friday nights playoff opener. Block the freaking kick. Be big tonight demp. Be big.
I love that I'm emotionally invested in sports. And maybe too much sometimes but hey it's who I am and nothing's changing that. I could use a few reminders of some things though.
The Rangers could drop three ugly games in a row here and to me they would feel worse than the 11 out of 14 we just won. Don't ask me why though. I guess it's just from the fact I expect W's coming from 1000 Ballpark way nowadays.
But let's look past win-loss records and cant miss prospects for a second and talk about something more important than my desire for the Rangers to go and beat the Rockies tonight.
The bond that I share between the Rangers and my family is something that I have and will cherish forever. Isn't that what sports in general are really about? So Just for a little while let's push aside negative feelings towards Dwayne Wade and the Heat. Let's forget about how much the media wants to put the Yankees and Angels on a pedestal. We should also ignore, however hard it may be, that baseball is on the front burner of the American sports scene before training camp gets rolling, because there's something more important that needs to be addressed right now.
I remember playing little league back in the summer and fall of 2002. My dad was my coach and we were the Cardinals. I remember writing the initials 'DK' to the left of the STL logo on my hat and '57' to the right. I knew that I was supporting a team and a guy but I don't think I really knew what I was doing other than supporting a man who was taken too young and my family has had enough experience with that.
But as my parents and I were watching MLB Network last night before the game got rolling, a 10 minute excerpt from the new Darryl Kile movie was shown. It was tough keeping your eyes dry watching that, especially hearing it all over again now that I'm truly old enough to know what happened. A great man taken from his wife and kids way too soon at the young age of 33. He was born the same year as my dad and that really puts it in perspective. It's now been 10 years and a day since that horrible afternoon in Chicago that a clogged artery took Kile's life, but the pain is still there for some. For others it's a reminder that life is fragile, and some of us could use a reminder once in a while.
The point here is that as much is sports invigorates and enthralls us, it's just a game.
So whatever you're drinking tonight, raise your glass to Darryl Kile and say a prayer for his wife and kids. Make sure when you go home next, to hug your wives, husbands, daughters, sons, and whoever else you may hold dear to your heart because you just never know.
I was lucky enough to get to go home this weekend and that means I don't have to watch the Lastros.
I got to watch all of the Feliz outing today and all of the Darvish outing yesterday and boy let me tell you, was I ever impressed with both.
Maybe the final result wasn't exactly what both wanted, 5-5-3-3-2-3 for Neffy and 5.2-9-2-1-4-4 for Yu, but both had everything working, and every pitch was biting.
We all knew there would be an adjustment period for Darvish, especially with a bigger baseball here in the states, and his first two starts shouldn't even be alarming. He'll take the ball next in Detroit, somewhere the Rangers notoriously play dreadfully, disregarding the 2011 ALCS of course.
Joe Nathan did work today. Wash showed faith by tossing him out there in the ninth and Joe responded with a 9 pitch inning for his third save. Solid.
Elvis Andrus' reported offseason bulk-up showed for the first time today when he roped a triple off the wall over a lunging Clete Thomas scoring Ian Kinsler, Andrus went in standing up to third with the cutoff man having to eat the ball and on the very next pitch, Andrus came across on a Josh Hamilton moonshot, which I called beforehand thank you very much.
So we walk out of Minneapolis with a 3 game sweep and head to the first off day of the season with an 8-2 record. A lot can be said about how this team should be 10-0, the two losses, both charged to Nathan, coming on a blown save with a two run lead in the 9th, and on an Alex Rios homer in the 9th with the game tied at three a piece. This is true but just think of how many times the wins could have gone complete opposite directions, especially considering how many times the Twins had the bases loaded over the weekend.
We sit in position A, with the best record in the AL and second to only the Dodgers in the Majors, who will start losing at a rapid pace if either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier, who have 3/4 of the Dodgers RBI total on the year, reduce their production at all.
We're about to run the gauntlet of Boston, Detroit, New York, Tampa Bay, Toronto, which may be the toughest stretch we go through all year. It's time to show these guys what we're worth and we came to play ball.
To steal a line from Jamey Newberg of the Newberg Report...
--Cheyenne T. Bauman
"I always like to see a person stand up to a golf ball as though he were perfectly at home in its presence." - Bobby Jones
Today on the golf course, when my practice session had wound down and I was getting ready to call it a day, my mind wandered towards baseball and 1000 Ballpark Way.
You don't have to tell me how hard it is to win three consecutive AL Pennants. I get it. But what I also get is that this team is special. Special group of guys, special front office, special manager and coaches, special owners.
15 sleeps from now and we have baseball again. 59 sleeps from now and we have opening day.
I can't even begin to describe how ready I am to see Elvis Andrus lead the team out of the dugout in the home whites and red hats with Yu Darvish slowly and demonstratively talking to stroll to the rubber.
No one can predict what will become of this season, but there's no way this team is done making noise yet.
The deadliest twin-killing combo in the majors up the middle. The best hot-corner glove and bat the game has to offer. A kid whose career is just getting rolling at first. A seasoned veteran that found new life here behind the dish. A Japanese phenom standing on the hill. The greatest prospect the game has ever seen in left. NC-17 in right. The fastest guy I've ever seen who still has untapped potential manning center. And Mr. Ranger, bringing more than just a .345 average and 200+ hits a year to the table, who has many more seasons left in him.
Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels made the comment today on The Ben and Skin Show (weekdays 9-12 103.3 FM ESPN) that with Prince Fielder in the ranger lineup it would be "silly". While I don't disagree with him I would like to point out that right now as it sits, our batting order is ridiculous.
I believe that the lineup that Ron Washington went with in the last game of the World Series will not be one he trots out on April 6th against the White Sox.
I guess you could call this a "Season Preview" but since I know this will play over in my head hundreds of more times, lets call it rough draft one.
Let's start from the top.
1) Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elite second baseman and an explosive lead-off hitter. Had his second 30-30 season last year and for the first time in his career, went the whole season without any kind of DL stint. Poised for another All-Star season, I don't think there is a team in baseball that wouldn't want this guy hitting at the top in the first inning.
2) Michael Young, DH
Mr. Ranger himself had a phenomenal season in 2011 and still has a lot left in the tank. Adapted to his super utility role better than expected and as long as he stays healthy like he always has, theres no reason he can't hit .340 again this year.
3) Josh Hamilton, LF
Ahh yes, as if the first two weren't enough to rattle a pitcher's cage we reach the absolute heart of the order where you have to run the gauntlet of 4 straight guys who can absolutely punish the ball. Hamilton will always be a perennial All-Star, but he will always have the injury cloud hanging over his head. He's proven to us that he can play through the pain (re: three torn abductors and pulled groin in the playoffs), but a healthy Hamilton is a deadly Hamilton. Look for him to prove to the front office that passing on Fielder and staying at least partially committed to him for this season was the right call. I'm predicting that the injury bug will lay low this year and Josh will have an MVP quality season with at least 40 homers. Putting Hamilton in left field minimizes the injury possibility at least a little bit, and he still remains a deadly defender.
4) Adrian Beltre, 3B
Protecting Hamilton is Beltre who absoultely earned his paycheck last season. He broke through the "contract year" player hype by being an anchor of an already potent offense in his first year on the job. The veteran leadership as well as his gold glove at third base really pushed this team over the edge last year. If you are lucky enough to get past the first three unscathed watch out because Beltre can surely change that in a hurry. And good luck trying to pitch around him because you've got someone with just as much pop standing in the on-deck circle.
5) Mike Napoli, C
Most people would pencil in Cruz in the five slot but I like Napoli here. I hate to say that Napoli is inferior to Cruz but I think that he'll see more strikes with someone as dangerous as NC-17 standing on deck. Not the very best defensive backstop the game has to offer, but man can this guy mash. Great to have in the clubhouse and even better, we stole him from the angels. Look for Nap to continue the tear he ended on last year, ending the platooning with Yorvit Torrealba, and become this club's catcher for a while, maybe even until Kellin Deglan is ready for his reign to begin.
6) Nelson Cruz, RF
The boomstick never fails to bring excitement to the season and last year was no exception. He always seems to go through a rough patch sometime during the season, but that is just the nature of the beast. Quite frankly the most dangerous hitter in the Ranger barrage and HE'S HITTING 6TH. If that isn't ridiculous I don't know what is. When he's in the groove pitchers beware.
7) Mitch Moreland, 1B
Alas we reach the conundrum that is Mitch Moreland. Had a breakout 4 months in 2010 including the playoffs and a solid April, May and June last year before all but disappearing the rest of way down the stretch and in the playoffs. Not that I'm trying to bash him because he's one of my favorites. Let's look for Mitch to put together a solid 2012 campaign and hit more than the anemic .240 he turned in last year. He may get some looks in left field especially if Hamilton goes down or the question mark at center field dosn't pan out.
8) Craig Gentry, CF
Gentry is high on the list in my book. The fastest guy in the majors and just like his outfield counterparts he can throw an absolute rifle from even the outfield wall and he can cover every single inch of center field territory like it's nothing. Hits like a machine in AAA and this is the year it translates into the big leagues. He may have some competition in camp from a healthy Julio Borbon who has torn up the Dominican Winter League and young phenom Leonys Martin, and there are talks of a platoon effort in center with Gentry getting the nod against lefties and Martin righties. I do not think that that would be the smartest thing for the Rangers to do because of the effect on the psyche of the two. All of that said, I think Gentry breaks camp as Opening Day Center fielder with Borbon and Martin ready to go in Round Rock at any hint of Gentry struggling.
9) Elvis Andrus, SS
The Rangers have toyed with Andrus in the nine hole rotating him between there and hitting behind Kinsler and I think this is where Elvis belongs. Don't get me wrong Andrus is a solid hitter but with little power, and few extra base hits, stick him in the nine slot, let him rip line-drive singles all over the yard and then bring up 7 straight guys who can take even the best of pitchers deep. With speed like Andrus has, he can run loosely down at the bottom and a single or walk can instantly become a double or a triple real quick.
Let's go ahead and pencil in Yu Darvish as opening day starter followed by Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison. This is just a thought for now until we see how this whole Roy Oswalt situation pans out and how well Darvish adjusts in camp, but I have complete confidence he will make a smooth transition.
Yeah this team is ridiculous. I'm already gonna make my bold prediction for this season by saying that the Texas Rangers win 100 regular season games and beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALCS and then go on to defeat the NL champion Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series to finally break through to get that ring we've been so close to the last two years.
Obviously I'll have hundreds of more thoughts in the coming months before the first play ball of the year so hang with me.
My bold prediction that Fowler would bust through this week at Farmers isn't looking so hot, but watch the leaderboard across the pond for that guy named Eldrick.
--Cheyenne T. Bauman
"First of all, have no swing thoughts from inside 120 yards. Think of only the target and holing the shot."
So over Christmas break my mom suggested I start a blog to spill out all of my ramblings and thoughts about things happening in the sports world. Shoutout to Jamey Newberg for really getting me interested in this to begin with. Check out his website www.newbergreport.com for all things Texas Rangers. He's an incredibly knowledgeable person and baseball guy. Also a shoutout to my mom for really motivating me to get back into writing since this has always been one of my favorite things.
Not much going on in the sports world right now unless you are a die-hard NBA or NHL fan. Luckily for me the PGA season is getting rolling and my pick to win this week at Farmers is none other than Mr. Oklahoma State, Rickie Fowler. Mark it down, he wil win his first PGA event on American soil this week.
All quiet on the baseball front with the exception of where Roy Oswalt will land and supposedly its narrowed down to the Cardinals and Red Sox with the Rangers lurking and he will announce his decision later this week. (per Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports)
With pitchers and catchers 22 days away the itch I've had since David Freese lined a screamer over Nelson Cruz' head has intensified. One of these days I'm going to make it out to Surprise and bask in the gloriousness that is spring training and the Arizona sun.
I will try and make this a daily thing and come April 4th it will probably be multiple times a day.
Mavs got their rings tonight but unfortunately fell to the T-Wolves.
--Cheyenne T. Bauman
"No matter what happens with any shot you hit, accept it. Acceptance is the last step in a sound routine."