Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Last 2008 Game Report: There’s No Place Like Home

Do you remember one of the last scenes in "Bull Durham" after Nuke’s been called up and Crash has been released: it’s rainy, Annie Savoy walks slowly back to her home. I felt like Annie looked on Wednesday afternoon as I walked by myself to the car after going to the last Ranger home game - except that the sun was shining, it was 90 degrees, it’s Texas, I don’t look even remotely as fabulous as Susan Sarandon and the only thing waiting for me at home was a porch full of leaves and an ornery cat – but you get the idea – it’s that melancholy mixture being tired after a long season, yet being frustrated because you know you won’t be seeing another baseball game at the Ballpark until April.

The game: There’s no need for me to recap the game (it was a good one). Here are the game reports from the Startlegram, DMN and Rangers website for the full description of the baseball side of the day.

The highlights away from the game: My Wednesday Rangers experience meant wishing some baseball pals a nice off-season: hugging my parking attendant – and reserving my spot for next year’s opener. I’ve parked in the same place (not a Ranger lot) for several years. Our parking attendant is a wonderful lady who always saves me a “good” spot when she knows I’m coming out to the game. Stopping by to talk with the lovely Anna – the attendant who is the keeper of the gate by the stairs, and Vic the usher by the Gold Club (who is retiring from the usher business and is going to be a regular fan in the stands like rest of us). Finally taking my seat in Section 13 where Scott has been the usher in that section forever, or at least since the Ballpark opened. I enjoyed a dollar hot dog, the dot race, and loved it when Ron Washington had Marlon Byrd, Gerald Laird, Hank Blalock, Michael Young and Josh Hamilton leave the field to appreciative applause from the crowd.

Feeling All Warm and Fuzzy: There will be plenty of time this off season to analyze, debate and pontificate on what went right, what went wrong, and what we all think Nolan and JD need to do for this team. But tonight I’d rather think about the things that made me feel good about this Rangers season and give me hope for next year too: I like what I saw from Matt Harrison and Dustin Nippert – I’d like to see them have more opportunities to learn and get better. Vincente Padilla is always an enigma but he does win games. I liked the way Kameron Loe was pitching before he got dinged, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Chris Davis and Taylor Teagarden belong in the major leagues. I was sorry David Murphy got hurt, I’ve almost changed my mind about him – disappointed that Ian Kinsler’s amazing season was cut short too. Can’t help but admire how Michael Young played through injuries, Marlon Byrd proved to me that he’s not just a one year wonder and loved the way that Frankie Francisco stepped and took control of the closer position. Where would this team be without Josh Hamilton’s amazing season?

Wait till next year?: I like what Evan Grant wrote in response to one of the questions on his newsletter this week:

Q: Give us something positive to think about for next year. (I know this may take you awhile.)
Doug, Uncertain, Texas

GRANT: Easy. I'll give you a half dozen (in alphabetical order): Marlon Byrd, Chris Davis, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Taylor Teagarden, Michael Young. And, as a bonus, here's a seventh item: The promise that the farm system is only going to produce more of the kind of players listed above.

Only 193 days until the home opener at the Ballpark on April 6, 2009 – Marla Hooch


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