Saturday, June 14, 2008

Get Out Of Town!

I’ve had a crummy week and it wasn’t helped by the “nattering nabobs of negativism” that have attached themselves like an old barnacle to the Rangers. How bad of a week was it? Well, I’m quoting Spiro T. Agnew in the first line of today’s entry.

I’m going to need the road trip that I’m taking – more about that later.

Thursday morning when I woke up I had a specific idea about what I wanted to write on the blog. By the time I returned to the quiet confines of the Hooch /yoga practice room/library/office and ironing board corner at the end of the day– that idea was long gone and so was my will to write anything.

I try to avoid joining in the commentary on the off the field tempests in teapot that are now a staple of daily reading about the Rangers. What’s been written in the local rags and discussed on sports whine radio I’m not going to dignify by calling sports journalism for stories like this one (and the Sidney Ponson situation). Those who know me have already heard or read my thesis on the dumbing down of sports coverage in all media (print and electronic).

Everything I intended to write last Thursday was drowned out by the incessant speculation, pontification and repetition about the incident involving Milton Bradley. Do I think it’s news worthy story? Yes, it should have been reported. What I am tired of is the interminable discussion -- trust me it’s nowhere near finished -- and that’s the problem with modern sports media. Again, I don’t think the incident should be covered up but I also don’t think it should be discussed beyond its shelf life - which should have ended when Eric Hurley threw the first pitch on Thursday afternoon. I can think of at least fifty more important issues – including sports issues – that ought be topics of discussion by pundits and fans .

Here are a few things that were drowned out by the Milton Bradley white noise last week:

Did you notice: that that last year on June 14th the Rangers were 24-42 and while today they are ten games better at 34-35? ... Or the fact that they may wind up with one their players voted on as a starter on the All-Star starting squad for the first time in several years, and possibly have more than one Ranger in the All-Star game? ... Did you notice that 20-year-old Neftali Feliz (acquired in the Mark Teixeira trade) has struck out 83 batters in 68 1/3 IP given up only 44 Hits, 24 BB and only 1 HR? ... Or that 2007 1st Round Pick Blake Beavan has only allowed 3 BB’s in 46 IP (along with 22 K’s) ... And that Chris Davis has made the adjustment to AAA – hitting .457 in his last 10 games (16 Hits/35 AB’s) with 2 HR, 7 RBI and most importantly – 5BB’s only 3 K’s. ... Or that I may be changing my mind about David Murphy? ... Or that I was right about Eric Hurley and his fly ball tendencies?

Draft leftovers: a few interesting items caught my eye while working on the Newberg Report Draft Page.

  • With their first 20 picks the Rangers chose 10 pitchers (5 LHP and 5 RHP) – six of them were college pitchers. Keep in mind that two of the Rangers college pitching picks from 2007 – Tommy Hunter and Andrew Laughter - are already pitching at AA Frisco only one year after being drafted. I wonder if there's been a slight shift in the Rangers plans since they have a number of young promising arms that will take a while to make it through the system (Feliz, Castillo, Beavan, Kiker and Font) It appears that they've decided to roll the dice with more experienced college pitchers hoping they’ll come up quickly since the major league team appears to be making strides at being a contender and those younger arms will likely not be able to contribute for at least another 2-3 seasons.
  • The Rangers did not draft any player as a third baseman. Yes, I know players change positions, but I thought it was interesting that they did not draft a true 3B (there were 66 3B chosen overall in the draft).
  • Best name in the 2008 Draft Class: RHP Justin Gutsie
  • Most Interesting Pick Who We Won’t Get The Whole Story About: RHP Tanner Roark
  • Best Sounds Like A Famous Name: RHP Kevin Castner
  • Marla’s Most Intriguing Pick: Nate Freiman – a 6’ 8” 225lb 1B from Duke University (hey - didn’t the Rangers just sell the contract of similar player to the Nippon Ham Fighters?) Nate played in the Cape Cod League, was in the top 10 in hits and RBI’s and apparently has played part time at catcher as well – now that I’d like to see.

Finally: On The Road – no not Jack Kerouc – it’s just me heading to Washington DC. I’ll be doing the tourist thing, as well as watching the Rangers play the Nationals on Friday and Saturday nights.

Secret Message to Cousin Chris, Mr. Schmenge and New Mexico Bean – do you think George Perot is still on the air in Detroit and that I could get on his show with my travelogue from DC?

No blog next week since I’ll be out of town –here’s hoping a trip to the National Zoo, the Air and Space Museum as well as the Nationals new park will revive my spirits.

“The best thing about baseball is that you can do something about yesterday tomorrow” – Manny Trillo

-- Marla Hooch