Friday, April 25, 2008

The Progressive Blog

Many years ago when I lived and worked in North Dallas about once a month my group of friends would have a "progressive" dinner night. We'd start at one friend's house for appetizers and, um, adult beverages, then drive to another's for the first course - well, you get the idea -there were breaks in between each course. That is the basis for today's blog - we had our usual mid-week April storm, that means my internet service is once again offline at Hooch World Headquarters (in spite of Time Warner's assurances they were going to replace the offending piece of equipment as soon as possible). Rather than wait around for repairs - today's entry is going to appear thought by thought as I move through day - which is a euphemism for "I'm trying blog in during down times while I'm at work".

I went to a minor league baseball game Tuesday night and I actually like Ranger baseball again!

Main Course:
Monster Max and the Craig Gentry Show:
Tuesday night I “rolled up” to Frisco for a game between Frisco Rough Riders and San Antonio Missions (Padres). I had the pleasure of sitting with the lovely Erin Hindman (and her dad Michael) and equally lovely Kate Schiller (and her brother Grant and dad Michael) - pictured on the left. If you want a detailed report on the game you can go to Mike Hindman’s Rangers Farm Report – he’s writing daily updates again which is great news for minor league fans.

All I have are few first impressions: Max Ramirez can hit – flat out hit – I saw Travis Hafner as a Ranger prospect and I’d say that Max Ramirez is the closest I’ve seen to Haf in pure hitting ability. I’d like to see a few more games behind the plate before I can assess his catching skills – but after just one game I think that the notion that he’s another Piazza type catcher (barely adequate) is a little harsh. And frankly, Ranger fans are spoiled since we are used to highly skilled defensive catchers who can also hit well (sometimes) like Jim Sundberg, Pudge Rodriguez and Gerald Laird circa 2006.

Watching Chris Davis I wonder if other teams think that because of his high K rate in Bakersfield that is he is a Dave Kingman type “hacker” – he isn’t. While Chris doesn’t have the quite the same strike zone judgment of the aforementioned Hafner, Davis isn’t swinging away at everything – as evidenced by his increasing BB totals since his promotion to Frisco.

As pointed out by Mike Hindman – Craig Gentry’s first couple of weeks in AA have been an eye-opener. His box score line read 3 for 4– what it didn’t tell you was this about Gentry’s night: after hitting a single he moved and I mean moved fast - to second on passed ball. Then in the 3rd another single – and then flew to second on a passed ball – his 3rd hit was a bunt single – when the pitcher tried to beat the fleet Gentry to first – his throw went over the first baseman and Craig wound up at second, again. Gentry is fast, he’s fearless, he’s fun to watch – let’s see if he can keep it up.

Last few notes on the game: the San Antonio IF’s must idolize the Rangers IF – because their fielding was just as bad…this was the first time I’ve seen Elvis Andrus – he didn’t do much at the plate – but watching him in the field – I’d say that Michael Young needs to consider a position change or waiving his no-trade clause – this kid is the defensive SS of the future and if he keeps making progress it’ll be sooner than later…Rangers GM Jon Daniels sat with Minor League Director Scott Servais for most of the game ( that’s the night the Rangers lost 8-1 to Detroit probably a wise choice to skip the major league game).... The Missions Manager (whose name escapes me) was thrown out of the game and made the longest exit in history screaming at the umps…in April…in a AA game…. and the entertainment value was not even as good as a Lou Pinella blow up.

Seriously, if you want to enjoy a baseball game take the drive up the Tollway - the Riders have some exciting young players who are fun to watch and who knows - could be wearing a big league uniform soon (remember that German Duran was at AA Frisco this time last season).

Random Thoughts (baseball and otherwise):

Sing A Long: if you are going to the big league game on (4/25) – everybody’s favorite former usher Eddie will be singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. In case you haven't been to the Ballpark yet this season - MLB is celebrating the 100th anniversary of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" - the Rangers have fans leading the song every night - and I believe there is a "tryout" booth located on the concourse along the 1st Base Side.

Secret Message to Jean The New Mexico Bean: Did you know "Was (Not Was)" just released their first new album in 15 years?

The Future is Now: In case you didn’t get the newsflash from Jamey Newberg – 2007 first round draft pick Blake Beavan will make his professional debut with the Class A Clinton Lumberkings this weekend. And in a bit of serendipity our friend Grant Schiller has an interview with Blake on his Texas Rangers Trades blog.

If you aren’t watching the Rangers this weekend, (and I can’t blame you if you don’t want to) here are a couple of suggestions:

  • The Frisco Roughriders continue their homestand facing the prospect laden Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston) while the OKC Redhawks are at Bricktown facing Homer Simpson’s favorite team, the Albuquerque Isotopes (Florida). I will be attending the Saturday game in Frisco and making the drive up I-35 on Sunday for the Redhawks. Late Edit: The weather was not "permitting" - a cold rainy morning and forecast for more kept me from going to OKC on Sunday

  • If you really don’t want watch anything Ranger baseball related (and I’m sorry to say there are some who feel that way – and again I can’t blame them) the I suggest you rent “In The Shadow of The Moon” just released on DVD. Ron Howard's excellent documentary focuses on the Apollo astronauts with digitally remastered NASA photography - it will take you out of this world!
After Dinner Drinks:

Marla’s Managerial Etiquette Lesson #1: There is much discussion about Ron Washington and his tenure as Rangers manager. I am on the record as saying I didn’t think he was a good hire in the first place. It appears he will remain as manager – but even after a full year’s experience managing in the major leagues it seems that he is still making many “rookie” mistakes both on the field and off the field. There are many blogs, internet forums and electronic wags/whiners already pontificating on Ron’s managerial abilities – but has anyone offered to actually help him?

I think it’s time to offer some constructive suggestions: Please listen carefully Mr. Washington. There is a certain way to respond to the media – it’s a simple lesson Baseball Mom taught me: “think before you speak”.

Have you learned that the media types -- especially the beat writers -- are going to put everything you say on paper and on the web. Saying the first thing that comes to your mind is probably what you are used to doing – the first thing you really need to think of before you respond to anything – how is what I want to say going to affect my organization, my players and my boss?

It is often pointed out that there seems to be a “disconnect” between what the front office says it wants to do with the direction of the team and what you appear to be doing. Here’s a perfect example: Earlier this week when the Blue Jays released Frank Thomas your boss, Jon Daniels, was asked if the Rangers were interested he said “no”. Yet when you were asked the same question – you said you’d “love” to have Frank Thomas on your team – this is same response you gave when asked about Barry Bonds (when the GM again said “no”.) Think about it Ron: every time you make a statement like that you not only contradict your GM and rile up the fans – but you also put this question to the guys on your team’s roster “why do you want someone else - are we not good enough?”

Now here is how a seasoned manager, in fact the guy managing across the field from you tonight, Twins skipped Ron Gardenhire responded to the same question “ I already have Jason Kubel at DH”. Do you see the difference?

It’s a simple lesson, even a girl who doesn’t know anything about baseball can learn.

Progress complete - or maybe just starting -- Marla Hooch


Micah said...

Enjoy the Riders and RedHawks this weekend. I look forward to your reports. I'd love to see the Riders play, but I don't know if they come close enough to me (and you know what gas prices are like).

Also, I recommend renting "The Final Season." Iowa + baseball = good movie. :)

Jon said...

Excellent entry, EMC.

It's good to hear good stuff about Max Ramirez and Chris Davis - which one do you think is going to get that callup to the bigs first? And also, I've heard people talk about moving MaxRam to LF, because we already have Salty and Teagarden in front of him... how viable do you think that is?

Also, excellent point about Ron Washington. I think myself, he will be fired sooner or later, based on what JD said on Friday, after his meeting with Nolan and Hicks - it's just a matter of when. I just wish they'd get it over with, so we can all move on with the Rangers baseball season.

Trosey said...


You may not know anything about baseball, but I am sure that you are going to learn.

The Boss that hired you will probably be the boss that fires you. The Boss is not always right but they are always the Boss that cares the big stick.

A Boss use to tell me...."Some people live and learn and some people just live." A.W. Souter 1950's

Good take.


Micah said...

I'm so mad about Botts being DFA'd. I hope he goes on to make them regret this move.

hefe300 said...

I'm going to make my first trip to Frisco on June 1 and I couldn't be more excited. I love Redhawks games, the ballpark, and the whole bricktown atmosphere. I've heard wonderful things about the park in Frisco and can't wait to see it as well as Andrus, Davis, Ramirez and the rest of the crew.

hefe300 said...

I'm going to make my first trip to Frisco on June 1 and I couldn't be more excited. I love Redhawks games, the ballpark, and the whole bricktown atmosphere. I've heard wonderful things about the park in Frisco and can't wait to see it as well as Andrus, Davis, Ramirez and the rest of the crew.