Wednesday, September 9, 2009

All You Need Is.....

I woke up this morning, the Beatles were on the front page of the Star Telegram.

I came home to find that the Rangers swept the Indians moving them 1 1/2 games out of the Wild Card playoff race.

I don't think a day can get much better than this.

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say
But you can learn how to play the game.
It's easy.

-- Marla Hooch

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not Gonna Do It....

Whatever happened to Dana Carvey?

After the last “Wayne’s World” movie he disappeared into that same purgatory of oblivion that so many former SNL players go after they leave the show: Larraine Newman? Joe Piscipo? Eddie Murphy (just kidding – or maybe not based on his last few movies).

The reason I bring up Dana I was that I was thinking of his imitation of the first President Bush. One of the oft repeated parts of the impersonation was the phrase “not gonna do it – not gonna go there “(I wish I could find a video clip of that to link here) – anyway – that’s exactly how I was feeling this weekend.

If you remember, the Rangers first opponent this year was the Indians. If you had told me when they faced the Tribe on April 6th that Derek Holland would be starting the game on September 6th and getting lit up - I would not have been surprised. I thought Holland was going to be called up at some point this season, and having a bad game late in the season was an expected part of the learning curve. If you had told me he’d be starting a game on September 6th that meant the difference between being 1 game or 3 games behind in the Wild Card Race – I would have been ecstatic. I still am.

Let the other faux GM’s in the blogosphere moan and groan about stats, missed opportunities, poor game management and whatever else they usually whine about – I’m enjoying every minute watching this team. This season is a gift from the baseball gods – it’s by no means over, but think about it kids – how much this team has improved in just one year? I refuse to be disappointed – “not gonna do it, not gonna go there”

Game report: The Hooch Entourage met up with the inimitable Scott Lucas and his lovely wife Courtney on August 29th for a little AAA Nashville vs. Round Rock baseball at Dell Diamond. It was a festival of former Ranger minor leaguers including the infamous spring phenom Matt Kata, recent Ranger minor leaguer Casey Daigle (isn’t his wife someone famous?) and Brian Esposito (with all his tattoo’s) striking out with the bases loaded. Newest Round Rock team member Jose Vallejo did not play – we suspect he was injured. There was also the often sadly seen minor league specter of “how the mighty have fallen” – JJ Hardy and Corey Patterson were in the starting lineup for Nashville, while Armando Benitez (age 36) pitched for the Express. I don’t remember all the details of the game, other than Scott telling me about the video of Round Rock leadoff hitter Reggie Abercrombie’s desire to be a lifeguard – even though he doesn’t know how to swim. Checking back on the boxscores – the Express lost to the Sounds 5-4. Photo of the fantastic sunset over Dell Diamond is courtesy of Mrs. Schmenge. During the game Scott proved to be a psychic – we discussed the fortunes of Craig Gentry and Thomas Diamond – lo and behold less than a week later their baseball careers took the path that we discussed.

Speaking of 1st Round Draft Choices: With Thomas Diamond moving on to the Cubs, our baseball guru and mentor TR Sullivan noted on his blog that the Rangers do not have any of their first overall draft picks currently playing on their major league roster. (Tommy Hunter and Julio Borbon were supplemental picks – not the first player chosen by the Rangers). To elaborate on that point I scoured the draft pages of Baseball America and in fairness to the Rangers, I’m also including the players who’ve made it to the majors and “hidden” gems from later rounds in those drafts. Without further ado: a listing of the Texas first round draft picks – and where they are now – since 2000:

2000: Catcher Scott Heard (out of baseball)
Also drafted: 4th round - OF Laynce Nix made it to the majors with the Rangers and is now getting regular playing time with the Cincinnati Reds. His Reds teammate 8th round - RHP Nick Masset (5-1, 2.69 ERA) was also member of the 2000 draft class – and part of disastrous trade for the 2003 #1 draft pick.

2001: 1B Mark Teixeria – now most likely the 2009 AL MVP for the New York Yankees

The reality was that the Rangers made Mark a contract offer, he wasn’t going to stay in Texas no matter how much money they threw at him. I can’t complain about the players they received from the Braves in the trade for Tex – most of them are a key part of the Rangers success this season

Also drafted: 5th round - LHP CJ Wilson another integral part of the Rangers 2009 wonderful season – a good guy off the field too.

2002: IF Drew Meyer – now playing in AA for the Houston Astros
Also drafted: this draft is completely forgettable – the only remaining active player is 20th round - RHP Kameron Loe who is pitching in Japan this season

2003: LHP John Danks – now in the starting rotation for the Chicago White Sox
Also drafted: 17th round - 2B Ian Kinsler – ‘nuff said

2004: RHP Thomas Diamond - recently claimed by the Chicago Cubs
Also drafted: 1st round supplemental - RHP Eric Hurley (injured, did not play at all this season) and 4th round - OF Brandon Boggs

2005: OF John Mayberry Jr – now with the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies
Also drafted: 3rd round - C Taylor Teagarden and 13th round - RHP Doug Mathis

2006: LHP Kasey Kiker – AA Frisco and Team USA (let’s say the jury is still out on Kasey – because I am a big fan of his)
Also drafted: 5th Round (my other favorite) - 1B Chris Davis, 10th round - the surprising OF Craig Gentry, 25th round - LHP Derek Holland and special mention to 46th round - LHP Danny Ray Herrera part of the Volquez/Hamilton trade – Danny is pitching for the Reds, I wish he was still with the Rangers – a fun guy to watch on the mound.

It’s too soon to count the 2007 and 2008 draft choices as part of this list – but it is worth noting that 2007’s first round pick out of high school RHP Blake Beavan was promoted to AA this year and held his own against older, more experienced competition. While fellow 2007 draft class members (who are both older and played in major college programs) 1st round supplemental - RHP Tommy Hunter and 1st round supplemental - OF Julio Borbon are currently on the 25 man roster. As for the 2008 1st round pick Justin Smoak, breezed though AA early in 2009, but struggled after being promoted to AAA OKC. I’d like all those pundits who claimed that Smoak was going to be on the 25 man roster by mid season and putting Chris Davis out of the picture to explain what happened?

Finally: From the last blog entry - Mr. or Ms. Anonymous (and I honestly don’t have any idea who it is) posted a question about the cover art for “History: America’s Greatest Hits”. I didn’t know, so I looked it up. The answer demonstrates the Carl Jung theory of synchronicity (which not just an album by The Police): the illustration was done by Dana Carvey’s late, great fellow SNL cast member Phil Hartman – who also starred in referenced “News Radio” from that blog entry. Weird.

"Well, isn't that special" (The Church Lady) – Marla Hooch