It has been a long, mostly quiet winter (that is until the last couple of weeks) This is the first time in several, no make that at least 10 years that I've actually been looking forward to a Rangers season with a little additional anticipation. According to the Chinese Zodiac 2009 is the year of the Ox, and fortuitously the sign of the Ox symbolizes " prosperity through fortitude and hard work. Those born under the influence of the Ox or Buffalo are fortunate to be stable and persevering".
At Hooch World Headquarters we've decided in a simlar way to delcare this 2009 Ranger season "The Year of The Answer". No, we are not expecting the Rangers to contend, we'll state that right away. What we are expecting are few answers about "the plan"- the one that has the earmarks of "persevering and stability" . Most of the younger players the Rangers are counting on had the opportunity to get some valuable major league experience last season. That's a direct result of the "the plan" - this season should show us if "the plan" is working, can these players build on that experience and take another step forward? Can the pitching staff keep the ERA under 5.00? Can Nelson Cruz prove me wrong and hit major league pitching consistently over an entire season? Can Brandon McCarthy finally contribute something - anything? (Tood Rundgren reference for Lisa W) Will the Rangers be added to the long list of Baseball America teams that went to post season play after having been crowned the best minor league system in MLB? Who will be the first local columnist to whine about the new scoreboards at the Ballpark (that one is for Chuck Morgan - you know that is going to happen). We are truly looking forward to finding out this and much more in 2009.
The good stuff from Suprise:
- Anthony Andro's videos on the Startlegram blog "Foul Territory"
- T.R. Sullivan blogging, more than once a day, at "Postcards From Elysian Fields" (and throwing the occastional You Tube video too).
- Names on the jerseys for all players including minor leaguers: Thank You Nolan Ryan- for that reason alone - I am so very pleased Mr. Hicks put you in charge
- Four, count 'em four televised games from Spring Training and the exhibition game at the Ballpark on April 4th.
- Weekday exhibition games on 105.3 (The Fan) -we can actually get an FM station on the radio at work - and how nice will it be to have a clear radio signal on weeknights during the regular season (in parts of Arlington KRLD's signal is weak - including around Hooch World HQ)
The not so good stuff:
- No Dallas Morning News contingent - we love Jeff Wilson, Anthony Andro and Mr. Sullivan - but it's never a good thing when the media outlets dwindle down to a small group. Competition brings out the best in everyone, a variety of stories as well as differing commentary are good for readers and for stirring up interest in the team. I fear the day when the only baseball news comes from wire reporters located half way across the country just reading boxscores (kind of like reading Baseball Prospectus). Or when fans have to depend on "news" from bloggers (like me) who write their mostly uninformed opinions as facts.
- No local TV station, except Channel 11, is sending reporters and camera crews to Spring Training this year. Want to bet all four stations send at least 3 reporters and camera crews to California to cover football training camp in July. The local media is truly devoting itself to all Cowboys all the time (sigh)
Finally: There seem to be quite a few celebrities (and use that term as damnation, not praise) admiting wrong doing, and asking for forgiveness lately. As a long suffering product of 16 years in Catholic Schools I certainly believe in power of confession (and by the way pennace too). But I do have a question in contrast to all these nortoriously contrite types: What about doing the right thing in the first place?
Happy 2009 Rangers Season Everyone! -- Marla Hooch