Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Newberg Report Book Release Party - 2008

Just a few thoughts from last night's absolutely tremendous event at Sherlock's in Arlington:

It's a good sign from the organization that they have players who do care about the fans - this was not a Ranger "sanctioned" event - all of the players who came out last night did so because they wanted to - no other reason, including alumni Jeff Zimmerman who must have a soft spot in heart for the NMLR because he flew in from Canada to attend last night – Jeff is still one of the nicest, most humble and gracious players I’ve ever met. Taylor Teagarden is always a class act. Last night was the first time I met Derek Holland – he’s quite a character – and I mean that in good way. Chris Davis is the new mainstay of the Newberg events, great with the fans and always provides a highlight worthy answer during the Q&A. By the way – if the baseball thing doesn’t work out- Holland and Davis might be able to carve out a career as a comedy team. What can I say about Michael and Cristina Young? I get very frustrated reading Ranger bloggers and national pundits who only look at age and stats when talking about Michael Young. If baseball were just a game of numbers it would be played on a computer – but thank God it isn’t, it’s played by terrific guys like Michael Young – who add so much more on and off the field that it can’t be counted by any stat head’s numbers.

And speaking of those fans - I hope Ranger management is aware that they have a very loyal and appreciative fan base in spite of the rough road we've traveled since 1999. I know those of us who work with Jamey on the Newberg report truly appreciate all of your support and we are humbled by it. We are very glad that we're able to host events like this for Ranger fans.

A special personal thanks to Baseball Mom and Mrs. Schmenge who helped out the book table with me (I’ll have Mrs. Schmenge’s pictures online – soon!) and to Mike and Grant Schiller who also helped out at the book table – they are truly team players . As always - thanks to Jamey for letting me ride along - it's been a great 10 years!

The book release party is always a good finish to the season - and this was one of better finishes to an encouraging season across the entire organization. Let me close with one of those tired cliche's, after last night I keep thinking: "the future's so bright I gotta wear shades"

116 days until Opening Day -- Marla Hooch

Monday, December 8, 2008

Finally! Something To Write About

Since the end of the World Series there’s been nothing “hot stove” about this Rangers off-season, it’s been the “big snore” off-season. Sorry, but I just can’t get excited about coaching changes – as I wrote on the Monday Morning Manager – a pitching coach is only as good as the pitchers he’s given to work with. It will be interesting to see if Mike Maddux is a miracle worker or if coaching one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball will simply tarnish his reputation. As a Ranger fan I’m sad to see both Rick Adair and John Wetteland leave the organization – I wish them well in the Pacific Northwest (in spite of the Mariners, Seattle is one of my favorite cities).

I didn’t read about the Gerald Laird trade until this morning. My immediate thought is: there’s a fine line between trading to build for the future and dumping salary for younger cheaper minor league players. I can’t comment on Moscoso’s potential. I am simply reminded that all of Jon Daniel’s off season trades for pitching, so far, have been unmitigated disasters – let’s hope this one turns that around.

Other Matters:

Penny wise, pound foolish: It seems that Rangers ownership has become enamored of the Tampa Bay economic model – the difference is that Tampa Bay drafted and traded for talent players who succeeded not the Drew Myer and Brandon McCarthy types. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t subscribe to the Galloway/Colinshaw theory of throwing money at free agents. However, there is a difference between spending wisely and turning into a miserly Calvin Griffith/Ebenezer Scrooge type organization. It looks like Mr. Hicks is tending towards the latter, which is not good news if fans hope to see players like Josh Hamilton on this team past their arbitration eligible years. We’ll see….

Where is Lee Iacocca when you need him? I grew up just south of Detroit – the joke in my hometown was when Detroit sneezes Toledo catches cold. I am appalled at the arrogance of both the executives and UAW approach to the auto industry’s plight, and frankly I have little sympathy for either. I’m just glad that the auto executives took Scott Simon’s advice on how they should approach Congress the second time they went to Washington to ask for a handout.

Circle Me Bert: It is encouraging to know that baseball fans are so passionate about their Hall of Fame – judging from the responses TR Sullivan received on his excellent HOF blog entry on Postcards From Elysian fields – he’d better be careful walking the streets of Minneapolis this season

Finally: from Frank Deford on the fans of the World Series champions: “If Red Sox fans are a nation and Cubs fans a support group, then Phillies fans are a pandemic”

See you Wednesday at the Newberg Report Book Release Party at Sherlock’s in Arlington – Marla Hooch