Saturday, September 20, 2008

Random Thoughts: Luis, Doug, Michael, Pitching and Todd

Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration. -- Kahlil Gibran

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana -- Groucho Marx

Why does it seem like just a few days ago I was ranting and raving about MLB changing their blog software on the eve of a new season , then furiously moving my semi-frequent rambling to this site.

Apologies to Annie Savoy but it really isn’t a long season.

Don’t be fooled by September Stats: Luis Mendoza – September 2007: 6 games, 16 IP, 2.25 ERA It earned him, rather than Armando Galarraga, a spot on the Ranger roster. Luis Mendoza – September 2008 (so far): 6 games, 6 2/3 IP, 8.10 ERA That is why I refuse to get all excited by Nelson Cruz this September. Let’s remember he has 442 AB’s in the major league through 2007 with a BA of .223

Things that make you say "hmmmm" : Go back to 1996. On September 11, 1996 the Rangers had a 9 game lead in the AL West – they then lost 9 of the next 10 games, their lead dwindled down to just 1 game. Did then GM Doug Melvin fire manager Johnny Oates? No, he kept him and Johnny proceeded to win the only three division titles in the franchise history – which makes Melvin’s firing of Brewers manager Ned Yost appear a bit… inconsistent. Doug even said at the press conference announcing the change that he wasn’t sure that it was the right thing to do – which makes me wonder if Doug Melvin has another meddling owner trying to play GM.

Let’s get our priorities straight: I’ve read quite a bit of whining about Michael Young lately, and frankly I think it’s not looking at the big picture. This team has much, much bigger problems than Michael Young. How about starting with the obvious and the real problem: the Rangers have the worst pitching staff in the AL. Maybe there wouldn’t be so many questions about Michael Young’s defense if the pitching staff wasn’t giving up so many hits 1,574 (so far) which is 82 more than next team on the list. And before I hear anyone start blaming those hits on Michael’s range – keep in mind that this pitching staff has given up the most doubles in the AL (337), is second walks allowed (655) third in HR’s allowed (168) the 13th worst strike out percentage per 9 IP (out of 14 teams) and none of those miserable stats can or should be attributed to Michael Young. The focus needs to be on PITCHNG, PITCHING, PITCHING and more PITCHING, then maybe worry about finding a third baseman who can stay healthy, field his position and produce at least average offense. I love the minor leagues as much as anyone and get excited about players I see in Frisco and OKC, but I’ll be the first one to tell you that Elvis Andrus isn’t anywhere near ready for the major leagues. I'd rather wait to see how a healthy Michael Young performs next season before we start talking about changing positions or running him out of town

Furthermore: The notion that the Rangers are going to be able to “stock” their team with all home grown players from the farm system and go to the playoffs with that kind of team, in my never humble opinion, is unrealistic. There are some nice players in the minors, but the Rangers will never be the Tampa Bay Rays. There was a certain amount of luck, intelligence and patience in the Rays front office putting that team together. Unfortunately the Rangers don’t have that kind of luck, the owner certainly will never have that kind of patience, although I do think the front office is making much more intelligent choices with the current prospects in the farm system, I still wonder if they will ever figure out to draft and develop truly elite pitching prospects which is what this franchise needs more than anything else.

One more thing: Did I mention that the Rangers really need to make pitching their first, second, third and fourth priority – okay, I think I’ve made my point.

A Few More Random Thoughts: My friend Lisa Winston told me during her visit to Frisco last week that she picked the Tampa Bay Rays to win it all before the season started, someone told her that she should’ve gone to Las Vegas and placed a wager on that in March. . . speaking of Vegas – does anyone else find it just a bit ironic, considering their public problems with a certain gambling issue, that the MLB Winter Meetings are in Las Vegas this December?. . . A little self promotion here: my friend Mike Hindman has asked me to participate in a couple of the Armchair GM Roundtable entries on the DMN blog – you can read my ill-informed contibution to these missives here and here . . . I am really looking forward to hearing OKC Redhawks radio voice Jim Byers and Frisco radio play by play man Scott Garner with Eric Nadel during the games this week, kudos to whoever thought up having them on - it's a nice idea.

A Wizard, A True Star: This week only I am changing the name of the music list in honor of Mr. Hindman and his less than enthusiastic comments on one of my favorite artists. Just remember that Todd played in Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band, and wrote some of the music for one of best movies about the 1970’s (“Almost Famous”) With that in mind I present: Todd Rundgren's five best songs (in my estimation) on the:

Todd is god (In Spite Of What Mike Hindman Says) List

1. Hello It’s Me A really good love song (maybe one of my very favorites)

2. Can We Still Be Friends? - The best break-up song - ever

3. Just One Victory – I’ve always thought Chuck Morgan should play the chorus of this song (“give us just one victory and we’ll be all right”) after a Rangers win.

4. A Dream Goes On Forever – Yes it does. The live version of this song is outstanding.

5. Parallel Lines – There aren’t words to describe how and why I love this song

Finally: last season I was privileged to travel to Seattle with Mrs. Schmenge and Baseball Mom for the last game of the Rangers season, this year I’ll just have to settle for taking this Wednesday afternoon off from work and enjoying the last home game.

Looking forward to sitting in Section 13 at the Ballpark one more time – Marla Hooch



Micah said...

I agree with your sentiments on Michael Young. He wasn't outstanding this year, but I think a lot of factors played into that. Ultimately though, like you said, the Rangers have bigger issues to deal with than Young.

Wish I could join you at Wednesday's game. I'll be at work. :-/

Lisa Winston said...

Did we already discuss my Todd is Godd obsession (I've seen him 40 times at least) or is this yet another intersection of our pop culture twindom? (Or parallel lines) ...

Though we only agree on one, maybe two favorite songs ...

In no particular order ...

"Just One Victory" ... the ultimate soul-stirring finale at most of his concerts, including the first time I saw him when I was in ninth grade at Radio City Music Hall.

"All Smiles" from "Deface the Music." It's actually Kasim *sigh* singing this one.

"Love is the Answer" from "Oops! Wrong Planet" ... even with the cheesy cover by England Dan and John Ford Coley it is still amazing. And Todd's "With A Twist" version is also outstanding.

"I Don't Want to Tie You Down" from "Wizard A True Star." When I saw him on the WAT tour at Jaxx in Springfield, they had some "fans/guests" chosen to sit on stage during the tiki hut part of the show and he sang this (the first and only time I've seen him do it live) and I was about two feet away and thought I'd melt like a Mai Tai right then and there.

Hard to pick a fifth. Maybe "Izzat Love." Maybe something from "Ballad" (possibly "Range War" or "Wailing Wall"). Possibly anything from Side One of "Something Anything"

But I think I'll go with "Marlene" from "S/A." I named my cat after that song.