Sunday, December 19, 2010

To All My Baseball Friends....

May Peace and Plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door.
And Happiness be guided to your home
By the candle of Christmas

-- an Irish Christmas toast

-- Marla Hooch

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In The Words of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards....

"You can't always get what you want
But sometimes you find
You get what you need"

Good luck in Philly Cliff,  thanks for taking the Rangers to Series and so glad you didn't sign with the Yankees.

Now it's time to move on.

I hope Plan B is better than Garza or Greinke - definitely not interested in Matt Garza and not so much in  Zach Grienke either.

-- Marla Hooch

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks to my small but loyal audience for reading this blog, thanks to my baseball friends who make my day every day, thanks to my family for... everything and thanks to the Rangers for the best year of my baseball life.

-- Marla Hooch

P.S. I'll be back in December (which is only few days away) with more baseball ramblings.  Meanwhile - here is one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Game 5: There's No Crying In Baseball

This has been the most incredible, wonderful, thrilling and fufilling season in my baseball life.

I will not complain.

Thank You Rangers -- Marla Hooch

Game 4: There Is Always Tomorrow

Yes, last night was disappointing, but....

It's November 1st and there is one more home game in Arlington left in this marvelous season - and I will be there.

In case you haven't seen it - Chuck Greenberg sent this message to several fan sites including Jamey Newberg's - if this doesn't get you Ranger Fan Heart Beating - nothing will:

"This season has transcended expectations and transformed the psyche and hearts of legions of Rangers fans across Texas and throughout our country and beyond. At the core of the remarkable journey we have shared together is a ballclub and a community who collectively have consigned the conventional wisdom of the past to the dust bins of history, busting myths and charting a new course previously thought to be unattainable.

Can't pitch successfully in Rangers Ballpark. Wrong.

Can't compete successfully late in the season because the heat will break you down. Wrong.

Fans will lose interest when training camp opens. Wrong.

Fans won't come to Rangers Ballpark after the All Star break because its too hot. Wrong.

Rangers can't win a playoff series. Wrong.

Rangers can't win a playoff game at home. Wrong.

Rangers can't beat the Yankees in the playoffs. Wrong.

Rangers can't get to the World Series. Wrong.

Rangers can't captivate the hearts and emotions of fans new and old deep into the fall. Wrong.

And on and on and on....

I can't even begin to count the memorable moments we have shared this year thanks to a very special group of players with hearts and smiles as big as Texas, who always pull together, stand up for one another, and who have changed the sports landscape here in the Metroplex forever.
But here is a simple reality. Monday will be the last game played in Rangers Ballpark this year. We all owe it to ourselves, our players and each other, to celebrate with passion, enthusiasm and indefatigable belief from lineup cards to the final out, loud and proud.

The defining team of my young life was the 1979, "We are Family" Pittsburgh Pirates. I have often remarked how much this Rangers club reminds me of that team, with a confident but friendly swagger and an abundance of character and personality.
Now these two teams have something else in common. Both fell behind 3-1 in the World Series. Kent Tekulve, the great closer from the '79 Pirates, texted me after tonight's game to pass along this story. Before Game 5, Willie Stargell told his teammates:

'We are playing in front of the whole world. We may not win this thing, but before we go, let's show the world how the Pirates really play baseball'.

The Pirates, playing against a team whose colors were black and orange, won Game 5. Then they returned to Baltimore and won Game 6. Then they won Game 7.

I know our players will show everyone how the Rangers play baseball tomorrow. As fans, let's do the same. We have one final opportunity this season to show the world what we have accomplished together and the passion we all hold for our players and our shared dreams.

The World Series is going back to San Francisco. And then there will be one final piece of conventional wisdom to prove wrong....

-- Chuck"

Go Rangers! -- Marla Hooch

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Game 3: Oh What A Night

Yes, I went to Game 3 in Arlington.

You want a game story?  Then read this one by TR Sullivan because it's better than anything I could ever dream about writing.

If I tried to describe everything I saw, heard and felt yesterday - this blog would be long and so incomprehensible - you'd call a pyschologist to check me out (calling Dr. Brad!)

Here are a few impressions:

Our seats were terrific, Section 33, Row 27 directly behind the Rangers dugout.  Thank you again to the Sullivans!

Seeing Pudge catch the first pitch - and according to what I've read - he asked the Rangers if he could come to the game - makes me feel that no matter what uniform he wears - he is still ours.

The next time I have to go into battle - I'm taking Colby Lewis with me - as good as Cliff Lee is - I'm of the opinion that Colby (and Nelson Cruz) have carried the Rangers on their shoulders this off-season.

Cody Ross is beginning to annoy me more than Aaron Boone ever did.

Speaking of annoyed - if there was one thing that was a bit of a downer - the famous  North Dallas "cocaine and boob job" set was out in full force for this game.  (For those who don't understand that reference - it's the see and be seen crowd of front runners from Dallas - who only show up for events because that's "the place to be at the moment - they aren't there in July watchng the Mariners/Rangers game in 100 degree heat).  Anyway, they were sitting right in front us:  they spent the entire game: drinking, taking picures of eachother, talking on the phone, the girls were shrieking (one of the saw Ian Kinsler on second and started cheering because she thought he was going to steal 2nd - I'm not kidding) they clapped and cheered when they bought popcorn.  I wondered why someone would spend that much money on tickets and not even pay attention?  I felt sorry for the really faithful Ranger fans who couldn't afford tickets or coudln't get tickets while these idiots were the ones at the game.

However, there were plenty of Ranger faithful - Eric Nadel was standing in the aisle next to our section with his family, and everyone who passed by him hugged him or shook his hand (as I did too).  After calling 30 years of (mostly) bad baseball - he's got to be one of the happiest guys in the ballpark.  I visited with Jamey and Ginger Newberg, tailgated with Devin and Marty before the game,  saw Sister Frances and Sister Maggie (who knew when I saw them in March at Spring Training that the next time we'd see eachother was in October at a playoff game!)

I did take a few pictures, they are mainly from the pre-game - I was too involved take pictures during the game.  Here's the link (or you can access them through the photo album link on the left).

Finally: I am ready for Tommy "Big Game" Hunter tonight - and yes I am going!

This is a baseball dream come true! -- Marla Hooch

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Am I Said

I am not a Yankees fan. I don’t walk around with that arrogant notion that I expect my team in the post-season every year and that on field celebrations are blasé.

I am not a Mets fan, although I can sympathize with the fact that they live in the shadow of a more storied franchise that will always steal the Mets thunder no matter what.

I am not a Mariners, Royals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Orioles or Nationals fan whose seasons were over before the end of June (although I’ve been there before).

I am not a whiny Cubs or Red Sox fan.

I am not a Phillies, Reds, Braves, Twins, or Rays fans still aching from the season that ended just a few days ago.

I am a Texas Rangers fan.

I’ve been through the dark days of Doug Rader and Lee Mazzilli and all of the 1980’s Texas teams. I’ve ridden the roller coaster of the 1990’s teams with the new stadium and the first taste of post-season. I’ve slogged through the dregs of the 2000’s team of Chan Ho, Tom Hicks, and those 3rd and 4th places finishes from 2000-2007.

I am a Texas Rangers fan, and I am not giving up now.

I never thought the Rangers would make the World Series during my lifetime.
I still can’t believe it every time I see Nelson, Michael, CJ, Josh and everyone else on the Fox broadcast – I keep wondering if I’m just watching another game of the week, until I look at the date on the calendar and realize that it’s late October.

I am not going to moan and groan about the first two WS games. I am disappointed, but then I realize there are 13 other AL teams who would gladly change places with 0-2 Rangers today.

There are two more World Series games to be played in Arlington, Texas this weekend and I plan on enjoying every minute of them.

The late Arthur Ashe said: “Success is a journey, not at destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.”

As I wrote last night – there is nothing that can ruin this amazing season for me.

I am a Texas Rangers fan -- Marla Hooch

(P.S. However, it would be nice if they could win at least one game in this World Series)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Game 2: It's Okay

The Rangers are going to lose the World Series, of this I have no doubt anymore.

But I’m not as depressed, disappointed, disillusioned (or whatever down trodden adjective you want to use) as most die hard Ranger faithful.

I have my reasons:

First of all,  the baseball gods have always had it in for the Rangers and their fans. This franchise is cursed. Much like the Greek Myth of Sisyphus, they enjoy making our team work exceptionally hard trying reach their goal and just when it’s in their grasp-well you know what happens - the curse remains - but let's hope it doesn't last as long the Cubs or the Red Sox curses.

But more importantly: there is nothing, and I mean nothing, including losing in the World Series that is going tarnish the glory of this amazing Rangers season. From the day that Khalil Green decided he couldn’t come to Spring Training until that last out of the playoffs is squeezed in some Giant’s fielder’s glove (maybe as early as Sunday night) – this season is like no other I’ve experienced in my lifetime. I’ve loved every wonderful/painful minute of it, and I will hate to see it end no matter what the outcome.

You win some, you lose some... but it's still Ranger baseball and I love it. --  Marla Hooch

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Game 1: That's The Way Baseball Go

After Uribe's long at bat - you just felt the momentum shift away from the Rangers.  Even though Juan struck out - you could feel the Giants saying to themselves: Hey! We can get to Cliff Lee! after that it all fell apart.

It's the baseball gods way of reminding us:  it's still just the Texas Rangers - don't ever buy into the optimism. -- Marla Hooch

Before We Begin....

Is anyone else's day just dragging by as slowly as mine is?

I know the Rangers are the New England Patriots.

In Boston, even though the Patriots won the Super Bowl, the local New England sports fan reaction was – well that’s nice – when does Spring Training start?

It was easy for me to figure that out judging by the local media coverage and fan reaction to a 1-5 football team yesterday while the Rangers are on verge of their first World Series game.

I can live with that.

There will never be another moment in time like this one, and I’m living in the moment. First playoff series victory, first AL Pennant, first trip to the World Series – the Rangers as the lead story on MLB Network, as well as all the online sports websites - there is no way to describe a baseball fan living the dream (especially in a football town).

I’m worried about a couple of things (Vladdy in general and in particular playing RF, Tommy Hunter starting Game 4 after his two previous playoff game starts, maybe a little bit about CJ after his start in NY) – but looking at the big picture – the outcome almost doesn’t matter: the big bad dragon has been slain (the Yankees and their “mystique”) if the Rangers win – great, if they don’t – it’s still great they finally made it to the World Series.

Fianlly: (With apologies to John Fogerty)

"Well I spent my time in old Arlington Stadium, watching it the heat
You know I took some lumps when Juan Gonzalez struck out
So say hey Buddy, tell ol 'Pudge, and Hello Win Column Mark Holtz
Don’t say “it ain’t so” – you know “It’s Time” right now

Put me in Johnny, I’m ready to play today
Put me in Ron, I’m ready to play today
Look at me I am in the World Series"

Rangers in 6 – Marla Hooch

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pass It On

There was a man named John Byczynski, he served as a member of the cavalry in El Paso, Texas during the 1920’s. John played football and baseball while in the Army in Texas; he was always a baseball fan. John had a daughter named Eleanor. Eleanor had a cousin named Antoinette. John, Eleanor and Antoinette shared their love of baseball; Antoinette said that John taught her everything she knows about baseball.

Antoinette and Eleanor were Cleveland Indians fans, they enjoyed the Tribe’s successes as young girls, but as Indians fans they both learned about the long summers of following a losing team too.

When she grew up Antoinette had a daughter she named Eleanor – who eventually became known as “the other Eleanor”. Antoinette and her sister Cathi, who was also a baseball fan, passed their love of the great game onto “the other Eleanor”

John passed away in the 1970’s, his daughter Eleanor remained a Cleveland baseball fan. Her goddaughter – “the other Eleanor” - moved to Texas in 1979 and became a Rangers fan. Antoinette moved to Texas a little later and became a Rangers fan too. Both Eleanors endured some very lean years of baseball in the 1980’s. John’s daughter did experience the Indians renaissance in the 1990’s and their trip to the World Series. “The Other Eleanor’s” Rangers had a very brief moment of glory for a short time in the late 1990’s too – but never a trip to the World Series. Last Friday night that all changed.

Every family has their traditions passed from one generation to the next – my family’s is baseball, and I am so proud of that. Wednesday night Antoinette (my Baseball Mom) and I (“the other Eleanor”) will watch our Rangers play in their first World Series game. Aunt Eleanor (my godmother) will be watching too at her home in Marblehead, Ohio – all because a cavalry soldier who loved baseball passed it on.

Thank You Uncle John.

Go Rangers -- Marla Hooch

P.S. I've read so many terrific articles this week about the Rangers. These four (links) are my favorites: they  made me smile, laugh out loud and even brought a tear to my eye


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Game 6 - The Morning After

I planned at trip to New Orleans with my sister the New Mexico Bean and Dr. Brad (her husband) a long, long time ago.  I'll admit that I never thought the Rangers would get this far in the playoffs - so I didn't worry about the timimng - silly me.

Saw the 8th and 9th inning at a place on Chartres St. last night - and then celebrated!

This morning at Cafe Beignet this is how things looked with my Yankee fan brother in law:

I still can't believe the Rangers are going to the World Series!  I still can't believe I planned a trip in the middle of the ALCS!

The hat stays on all day today.  Can't wait to get home and write some more.

GO RANGERS!!!!!! -- Marla Hooch

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Game 5

To use a quote from Eric Nadel that I've heard several times during the playoffs "nothing is ever easy for these Rangers."

Clinching at home would be great.

I'm going to take a cue from Cliff Lee (see picture) and adapt the "what me worry?" attitude.

In fact, I'm not even going to blog until Sunday - no matter what happens.  Okay, I'm not going to be by a computer until Sunday night.

Keeping the faith that the next time I blog it will be about another 7 game series next week for my team.

Go Rangers!!!! -- Marla Hooch

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Game 4

Dear Yankees,

Please remember: payback is a bitch.

Signed - Very Sincerely - Marla Hooch

P.S. The Magic Number is 1 !!!!

Game 3

With apologies to Annie Savoy:  I believe in the Church of Cliff Lee  -- Marla Hooch

P.S. I actually missed most of the game last night (yes, I know sacrilige). There was an emergency situation - I had to take my neighbor to the hospital - turned out she was having a heart attack.   Thinking of you Joanie, hope you are better soon!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Game 2

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz - oh what a relief it is! -- Marla Hooch

Friday, October 15, 2010

Game 1

The Rangers do what they do: blow a 5-1 lead and lose.

-- Marla Hooch


I drove into work this morning thinking – I have to write something, anything.

The truth is, I don’t know what to write. This whole week has been unreal. Even in my best daydreams, I couldn’t image this happening.

Baseball Mom and were talking about the Monday night game we attended in old Arlington Stadium back in the 1980’s. The Cowboys were on MNF, we went to the Rangers game and literally counted the fans in the stands, yet the front page of today’s paper isn’t about Tony Romo’s hangnail or Dez Bryant’s Discover Card bill or even Mike Modano’s return to Dallas – it’s about the Rangers – unreal. Stopping by Krogers after work the other – they had a entire display of game watching snacks anchored by the Rangers gear (not the football team) – I counted 15 people waiting in line to check out wearing various Rangers garb – unreal.
Looking at the series : the Yankees appear to be a team that “turn it on” whenever they want to (although why they didn’t “turn it on” to win the division – is a bit of a mystery to me) . Maybe they aren’t the steamroller they were in the 1990’s when the Rangers played them in post-season, but they are still very, very good. However, the Rangers are pretty good too and more importantly: resilient. The Yankees haven’t face any adversity in the playoffs – maybe the Rangers will give them some.

I can’t make a prediction, in fact I don’t want to.

This season has been beyond belief in so many ways, however this series ends up doesn’t really matter to me (although a win would be awfully good).

I’m going to the game tonight (Thank You again to the Sullivans) and I’m going to enjoy every minute of the unreality of it all..

Go Rangers!! -- Marla Hooch

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Game 5

(With apologies to Edwin Hawkins)

O Happy Day
O Happy Day
O Happy Day
When Cliff Lee Washed The Rangers Sins Away
O Happy Day

I have never been so happy to be wrong about anything in my entire life!
Rangers! -- Marla Hooch


I’ve been reading Ranger fan websites this morning that are all basically saying the same thing: “Trust Cliff Lee”.

The thing of it is, it’s not a matter of just trusting Cliff Lee - I do – it’s the rest of the team that I don’t trust. Without those other 9 players it doesn’t matter what Cliff Lee does tonight.

Cliff Lee will show and do his best I am sure.


--- Will Michael, Josh, Vlad, whoever is playing 1B and the rest of the OF show up offensively?

--- Will the Rangers batters realize that they are not going to see the same David Price as they did last Wednesday and make the adjustments?

--- Will the Ranger defense concentrate on making the routine plays and not worry about making the spectacular plays that could into spectacularly stupid errors?

--- Will the bullpen find itself and be the bullpen that we could depend on all season long?

--- Will Neftali Feliz be the Neftali Feliz who saved 40 games and not the Neftali Feliz we saw on Saturday?

Finally: I’ve been a fan of this team for a long, long time and the one thing I am sure of is that they are always on the wrong side of history. I love this team and I remain a loyal fan, but I don’t think that this is the day they will  be able to overcome 30+ years of futility.

It’s been great – but the Rangers season ends tonight  --  Marla Hooch

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Game 4: [Deep Sigh]

I'd hate to think that Carl Crawford was right, but after all it is the Texas Rangers - there's an inevitability about it isn't there?

I should have known better: the Texas Rangers always break my heart -- Marla Hooch


I am very, very fortunate to have a ticket to today's game (many thanks to the Sullivan's).

To borrow a phrase from Darren Oliver's post-game comments - I am "finding some good MOJO" and bringing it to the Ballpark today.

Go Rangers! -- Marla Hooch

P.S. Here the link to some more playoff goodness from Jim Reeves on

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Game 3

Plus ça change, Plus c'est la même chose-- Marla Hooch

Friday, October 8, 2010

That Indescribable Feeling

I've been walking around all day with this very strange feeling that I can't exactly describe.  It reminds me of the last couple of weeks of my senior year in college:  a mixture of anticpation, dread and the urge to party my brains out.  Freinds and family have been sending me messages, my co-workers stop by my cubicle to offer a high five and ask me if I'm going to the game on Saturday (I'm not). 

On one hand, I'm elated.  As I mentioned in the post below, I listened to the 9th inning of Game 1 at work on Tuesday with a fellow fan (who is also the Mom of one the 6 Shooters from the Ballpark) when Neftali recorded the final out, we did a playoff dance.  Yesterday I did let out a little whoop (that everyone in the office apparently heard) when Michael Young hit his HR.  I wore my Ranger gear to work today and decorated the cubicle outer wall with the front page of  Thursday and Friday's Startlegram.

But on the other hand, I'm a 30 year Ranger fan.  I keep thinking this is too good to be true. 90% of the national baseball media "experts" picked the Rays to win the series.  I'm Charlie Brown and the Rangers are Lucy waiting to pull the football away when I go charging towards her.  I can't erase that  nagging doubt and the feeling in the pit of my stomach that it's all going to fall apart rather quickly.

What to do? What to think? How do I feel waiting for Saturday afternoon?

I fear Matt Garza, but I trust Josh Hamilton.  I am thrilled to see Cliff Lee and Michael Young get those "Yankee" calls from the umps - but after all public whining I'm afraid they are going to "give" a few of those same calls to the Rays now?  Has Neftali worked out the anxiety and whatever else was bothering him (did anyone else notice that even after the game ended Bengie Molina was still jawing at Feliz?) Is Evan Longoria really as rusty at the plate as he appeared in the first 2 games (or is he more hurt than we've been lead to believe?)

I want to enjoy this gift from the baseball gods - and make no mistake: every playoff for every team (even the Yankees)  is something special.

Maybe, just for tonight until game time tomorrow, I'll put my doubts aside and not look a gift horse in the mouth.  I'm going to enjoy the moment - that indecscribable feeling?  I think I figured it out:  because of the Rangers I'm walking on sunshine.

Go Rangers!

-- Marla Hooch

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Game 2: Good Things Come To Those Wait

"Let the word go forth.....that the torch has been passed to a new generation of [Rangers]"

Maybe it really is time? -- Marla Hooch

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Game 1: Boomstick

I was listening to the game on my radio at work - one of my co-workers (whose daughter is a 6 Shooter at the Ballpark) came down to my cubicle to listen to the 9th innning.  

We did our playoff win dance.

P.S. I take back all those nasty things I said about Bengie Molina -- Marla Hooch

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We Are Just Happy To Be Here

While surfing around the Rangers web nation, I noticed a trend among the bloggy fans who seem to think that nothing less that a sweep of the Rays is acceptable. My response: Baloney! This isn’t the NHL where they play all season just to eliminate six teams, fortunately baseball is just the opposite: 4 teams, each league that’s it. Getting there is an accomplishment, a big one. Go ahead and ask a Pirates fan (no playoffs since 1992) or a Blue Jays fan (no playoffs since 1993) or a Royals fan (no playoffs since 1985) what they would consider “acceptable” if they were in our shoes. This kind of season for your team, this kind of opportunity doesn’t come along very often. I am one fan who is who will say “Heck yes, I’m just happy to be there”.

While I like reading in depth analysis, I'm don't like writing it. There is so much being written and broadcast about pitching match-up’s, injuries, history and psychology it is almost too much information. I have a few observations, based on, well, based on my “gut feelings” and 30 years of watching Rangers baseball. By the way most of Ron Washington’s “gut feelings” have worked this season – reason enough for me to give it a try:

--- Most, in fact, almost all of the national media outlets are picking the Rays (although it seems our local writers disagree). That’s fine, I think being the underdog is a good thing – less pressure.

--- Speaking of less pressure, while the Rays may actually have a better team than the Yankees (in my never humble opinion) the one they don’t have is that infuriating “mystique” – frankly I think that was a big part of the problem with the 90’s Rangers, it got in their heads and affected their performance (yes, I know they faced three absolutely superb New York teams, but they could have at least given them a little fight) . Although I also wonder what team playing the Yankees in the post season doesn’t run up against that same problem – I can’t think of one.

--- What worries me about the Rangers? Josh Hamilton’s ribs, Vlad Guerrero’s base running, Michael Young’s .258 BA for Sept/Oct of this season, the Rays running game with Bengie Molina behind the plate (remember that game in Boston where the Rangers ran like crazy on Victor Martinez, that is exactly what Tampa is going to do when Bengie is behind the plate) Matt Garza’s sneer, a healthy Evan Longoria.

--- What doesn’t worry about the Rangers: the pitching staff, all of them – I never thought I’d write that about Ranger team – ever. The OF defense and offense: Nelson, Jeff, David, Julio and Josh (as long as his ribs are okay) the ghosts of playoff teams past – these guys weren’t around – and it’s not the Yankees!

I wrote this elsewhere, but I have no problem repeating myself: thanks a lot MLB and TBS for scheduling the first two games at a ridiculous time duruing the day.  I’m sure baseball purists love it, however many of us who have to work for a living don’t. Some of us don’t have the luxury of taking the afternoon off, or calling in sick. TBS and MLB think this match-up only appeals to a limited audience – I buy that. However, you can say that about nearly every other team in the playoffs except for the Yankees, and maybe the Braves. If there is only “regional” interest (hence all the day games) I don’t understand why TBS doesn’t do the same thing Fox does with their Saturday Game of the Week and allow MLB to scheduled 2 games at the same time later in the afternoon and just show them to the viewing audiences that are interested in seeing them. (And for all the whiners who don’t want to see the game shown in their area – there are plenty options: sports bars and online to see the games you want.)

The other problem with this scheduling is short term thinking: MLB is more worried about advertising revenue this year than growing their audience for the future. If MLB wants to draw in a younger crowd, then don’t schedule playoff games at noon while your audience is in school. This isn’t 1960 – the teachers aren’t going allow you to listen “on the transistor” radio or skip school/call in sick – as Rays manager Joe Maddon suggested the other day. A 3:00 game will allow MLB/TBS to gain that younger demographic they crave as well as ensure plenty of time to show their beloved Yankees at night.

Finally: some words of inspiration from our owner (how great is it to type that?):

“One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.” – Nolan Ryan

Rangers win in 5 – Marla Hooch

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Friday Night Lights

Friday nights in September in Texas mean one thing: high school football.  It seems like so many Friday nights in the fall, I'd sit at the Ballpark or old Arlington Stadium and it was just me, the team and a very few others who cared, the games were meaningless.

Last night, I went to yet another meaningless Friday night game - in absolutely perfect weather - along with 43,000+ who also cared.  The only reason last night's game was meaningless is that there is Rangers baseball next week, in October, that really counts. 

What a fun season it has been to be a Rangers fan.

Thanks to everyone on the field, in the front office, and throughout the organization that made this season possible - - Marla Hooch

P.S. Click here for more goodness from Jim Reeves at

Monday, September 27, 2010

If, And or But Revisited

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
-- Psalms 30:5

I almost did not watch Friday night’s game; I was in no mood to listen to either set of Rangers announcers. But I made myself watch the game with the sound turned down. I’m glad I did – it made me smile and gave me a soft landing at the end of a terrible day.

Saturday, I went over to Baseball Mom’s to watch the game, she was sure they were going to win, stepadad Neil and I weren’t so sure. When Jorge Cantu hit his home run in the 8th I think our whoops of joy were heard all the way in the Rangers dugout in Oakland, okay maybe not. But they probably woke up anyone in the vicinity who was sleeping (Hi Rob!). We ordered our own celebratory pizza, and enjoyed the clubhouse goofiness.

Back on April 1st I wrote a blog entry titled “If, And, But” detailing my thoughts about what would make the Rangers 2010 season successful… or not.

Let’s take a look at what I said (highlighted in red italics) to see just how much crow I will have to eat this week:


If Josh Hamilton stays healthy – which he did for most the season. During September the Rangers proved they could win without him (albeit it was a struggle)

If Rich Harden stays healthy – the problem really wasn’t health – I’m not sure what it is was – but in spite of Harden’s struggles the pitching staff was very good

If the Rangers (who are truly notorious for their lack of patience) can contain themselves and allow Julio Borbon to experience the slumps, hot streaks, errors and brilliant plays during his first full season in the big leagues:  The Rangers  did (show some patience) and then they didn’t (there were long stretches later in the season when they didn’t). By the way has anyone noticed Borbon’s BA is up in the .270’s ?

If Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Tommy Hunter, Chris Davis, Neftali Feliz, and Derek Holland take a step up, not back, in their development

Here’s the scorecard:

Elvis -  took a small step back (both offensively and a bit defensively)

Matt - was hurt, lost his spot in the rotation, and I don’t have much confidence in him – so it’s a big step back

Tommy - took a huge step forward - and ought to be the 4th starter in the playoff rotation (starting Cliff Lee on short rest is ridiculous)

Chris – don’t care what the stat heads, or front office thinks – he wasn’t given a full season opportunity to work through his struggles.

Neftali – set the record for saves by a rookie close – ‘nuff said

Derek – I’m not going to say he took a step back, I think he was a bit over-hyped in the first place. He’s going to be a nice, average, major league starter – not a star – I actually think he made some progress this season.

If Colby Lewis’s turnaround in Japan translates to success in MLB:   I’d say this one worked out very nicely.

If CJ Wilson can successfully transition from reliever to starter: only CJ, Mike Maddux and Nolan Ryan believed in CJ at the beginning of the spring training, now the rest of us have joined them (except for the DMN).

If Ian Kinsler can stay healthy… he has only played in more than 130 games once (2009) in three full major league seasons – it's starting to become a concern: it’s still a concern, but Andres Blanco did a pretty good job filling in for him.

If Vlad Guerrero isn’t finished (as some suspect) and still has a little something left to terrorize pitchers:  Well he did in the first half of the season, he definitely dropped off quite a bit after the All-Star break and oh that baserunning - (makes me a little wary of picking up his option for next season).

If Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia can -- a) stay healthy then -- b) one of them (don’t care which) assert themselves, take the catching position to at least major league average – including offensively:  What a disaster this position turned out to be (and still is). By the way - what happened to all that catching "depth" the Rangers were touting just a couple of years ago?

If 40 year old LHP Darren Oliver can handle the workload “left” behind with CJ Wilson moving to the rotation:  Well he did it - with a late season assist from Michael Kirkman and Clay Rapada


And…Keep in mind the fact that all bullpens are a year-to-year proposition…This year’s bullpen starts out losing CJ Wilson, with (arguably) their most productive reliever from 2009 - Darren O’Day - hurting, most importantly closer Frank Francisco a huge question mark. Frankie’s 2009 was shaky in my estimation and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Neftali Feliz closing games by the All-Star Break. : Darren O’Day was fine, Frankie was not, and Neftali started closing way before the All-Star Break.


But … I do trust the fact the Rangers do have some depth in the minors at most positions in case of injuries and terrible slumps or (God forbid) outright failures: Other than catcher, this was true.

But … I do think the AL West could be the closest division race in all of MLB, with the Angels, Seattle and Texas all finishing within one or two games between them:  Wow, nothing like I expected. Who would have thought the Angels would fade so fast? I bought into the notion the Seattle pitching staff would carry them and the offense would scratch out just enough to win (see the 2010 SF Giants) that was a myth. I didn’t even mention the A’s - if they get any kind of offense this off season they will be a dangerous team next season.

But …The Rangers are a young team that will be fun to watch and in spite of it all my experience with them and my misgivings I remain a loyal, sometimes hopeful, fan: They were, I did and I still am.

I really do hope I am wrong. (I picked the Rangers to finish “a close third” in the division)

I was wrong, and I am really, really glad about that -- Marla Hooch

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Celebrating The 2010 AL Western Division Championship

My close personal friend, Sir Basil, has his claws and antlers ready for the playoffs.

No more therapy needed - thoughts on the weekend in a day or two -- Marla Hooch

Friday, September 24, 2010

Miss Stella

Miss Stella
Unknown date in 1994 to September 24, 2010

The house is a little too quiet, and sad tonight. My lap will be empty while I watch the game.  Thank you for 14 wonderful years, I will miss you very much my lovely girl -- Marla Hooch

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

God Bless You Mark Teahen

There's no way I could put another picture of Ozzie on this blog -- Marla Hooch

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9/21 Post Game Therapy

No need to wait, we all know how this game this season is going to end up.

The more things change...the more the stay the same...especially when you are talking about the Rangers...[deep sigh] --- Marla Hooch

Random, Non-Baseball Post

One my Dickie Thon Fan Club pals posted this link  to the Guerrilla Marching Band in Detroit. (Watch the video too.)

I wish someone in Arlington would start one of these, I'd join in a heartbeat.

And I have no musical ability whatsoever.

Back to the wailing and nashing of teeth over tonight's game -- Marla Hooch (would be drummer)

9/20 Post Game Therapy

Half Empty or Half Full?

Glass Half Full:  Part of me says:  there are 13 games left, if the Rangers win just 4 more games, Oakland can't lose any more than 2 games just to catch the Rangers - that seems like a nearly impossible situation for the A's.

Glass Half Empty:  The Rangers, right now, have the worst record of any of the teams (AL or NL) that are positioned to go into the post season, which means they are the road team.  The Yankess are 41-34 on the road, Tampa Bay 43-31, Minnesota 40-35 meanwhile the Rangers have a 35-40 road record.   Add to that: Texas is 1-3 against sub .500 teams, on the road,  in their own division the past 4 games!

At least Chris Davis had a good night at the plate.

No more magic numbers until it is down to 1 - Marla Hooch

Monday, September 20, 2010

9/19 Post Game Therapy

" I would [have] told [first-base coach Gary Pettis] to throw a rope around him and hold him to first base," Washington said. "

Ron, you should have started doing that in April. -- Marla Hooch

Saturday, September 18, 2010

9/18 Post Game Therapy

Jon Daniels best mid-season ascquisition?  Jeff Francoeur for Joaquin Arias -- Marla Hooch

9/17 Post Game Therapy

"Leave the gun, take the cannoli"

My interpretation:

"Let Bengie Molina leave as a free agent, take the draft pick"

 King Felix is pretty good isn't he? -- Marla Hooch

Thursday, September 16, 2010

9/15 Post Game Therapy

Remember the Arsenio Hall Show? He did a bit called “things that make you say hmmm”. Today’s post game therapy is loosely based on that, I’m calling it “things that make Ranger fans say hmmm and then shake their heads in despair”

Example #1 - Today’s Fort Worth Startlegram: the banner across the top of the front page is … about the Cowboys; not a single word about the Rangers, who drew 34,000 + on a Wednesday night in September. The Rangers instead merit a tiny little article on the upper right hand inside– while the 0-1 team down the street gets nearly the entire front of the Startlegram’s Sports page.

Example #2 – The Dallas Boring News edition in our breakroom at work has the wrong Magic Number (9) listed on their miniscule article (also relegated to a small upper right hand corner spot).

There’s a “hypothetical” about the local media that more than one Ranger fan has told me, which goes something like this: The day the Rangers win the World Series, Dale Hansen will lead off Channel 8’s sports segment with a story about Tony Romo’s hangnail, and then there will be some kind of golf feature, a piece on a high school football game, the last story intro will be “oh by the way The Rangers won the World Series – here’s George Riba”.

Still counting - thank you Kansas City  -- Marla Hooch

P.S.  Jim Reeves is awesome: Read This

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

9/14 Post Game Therapy

The countdown has begun -- Marla Hooch

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stealing Home

I went home for the first time in eleven years last week.

Even though the condo in Arlington (Hooch World Headquarters) has been my residence for 16 years, whether I like it or not, Toledo Ohio will always be home. I lived there in the same house from the day I was born until I left for Texas at age 21 in August of 1979.

This isn’t going to be a travelogue. I suppose the best description is I am giving a voice to what I saw and felt during my four days at home.

As you might have guessed, Toledo has always been a bag of mixed emotions for me.

Part of me is that girl who started plotting her escape in fifth grade. I went to an elementary school that had eight grades. I spent eight years with a small group of neighborhood kids (about 30 of them) that I grew to loathe – it was a bit of a nightmare for me. High School was a non-event. There weren’t any really bad times, and there were a couple of nice things that occurred, but for the most part I don’t remember much of it except for graduation day, knowing I’d soon be heading for Cleveland , was one of the happiest days of my life. But, I will admit I have some very special and warm memories of family, friends, events and the era that I lived in Toledo. It’s in my DNA, it helped shape who I am today and is a part of me I can’t deny.

The idea for the trip was, sadly, born out of regret. My beloved Aunt Mitzi passed away several years ago, and I did not get back in time to see her in the short time before she died. It was my fault. This time I decided I wasn’t going to wait, I wanted to see my family and friends, and enjoy their company, now.

If you are from the “Rust Belt” then you are familiar with the changes that have taken place in cities like Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland and unfortunately Toledo. Those changes have not been good. My mother’s family lived a working class Polish neighborhood in town. As a kid, I loved visiting my Aunt Jo, Aunt Helen and Uncle Max in that neighborhood. To give you a picture – remember the opening of “All In The Family” with the neat row of houses set close together on small lots? That’s the kind of place it was. It isn’t like that anymore. I can’t begin to tell you what a tremendously sad and sick feeling it was driving through that neighborhood and parts of city that are worn down and worn out.

I grew up in what was then called “the sticks” but in reality was probably the fore runner of the suburbs. As we drove through our part of town, I remarked to Baseball Mom that I felt like I was in a foreign county, once in a while a familiar landmark would pop up, but they were few and far between.

However, as depressing as that all sounds, there were some really great parts of the trip that definitely outweighed the sad. I spent  time with George and Glenna Hartman – they’ve been our friends for 40 years (Glenna was my 7th grade teacher – and one of the best educators I’ve had the pleasure of learning from). We drove to Marblehead Ohio, a community on the shores of Lake Erie, to see my godmother/namesake Aunt Eleanor and happily, not much has changed driving to and in Marblehead.

We got see my cousin Elizabeth (and husband Bob’s) beautiful home and her mom my “traveling” Aunt Rita. I was happy to find out that my “old school” (the aforementioned Our Lady of Lourdes grade school) which closed at the end of last school year is going to re-open possibly as a charter school or learning center for Head Start or maybe a school for  mentally challenged kids. Let me clarify: I loved the teachers and the school building, it was a great place to learn– I just didn’t like my classmates. I went to my home church for Mass, and I have to say our old neighborhood does look a little nicer than it did when I was growing up. We visited the Toledo Museum of Art (which puts both the Kimball and DMA to shame) stopped by the new Toledo Mudhens downtown stadium, ate fresh tomatoes, corn on the cob and cucumbers from Strain’s farm as well as a terrific dinner of kapusta, perogi and czarnina at Ski’s Polish restaurant.

As time moves on, a little too quickly for me, I am well aware that change is the only constant. There are so few things that we can rely on to remain the same.I think that was one of the main reasons I haven’t gone back to Toledo often. I know it’s changing, and not for the better. I need Toledo to be the one that is in my memory, it’s my source of comfort, which is something I never, ever,  imagined I feel.

I am glad that I took this trip – I needed it.

"There are places I remember all my life
Though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone, some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I loved them all"

-- John Lennon "In My Life"

-- Marla Hooch aka Eleanor Czajka

P.S. Back to baseball - soon. 
I'll have some pictures from the trip online shortly.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

9/7 Post Game Therapy

God Bless The Seattle Mariners
-- Marla Hooch

Monday, September 6, 2010

9/6 Post Game Therapy

Texas Rangers = San Diego Padres? -- Marla Hooch