Thursday, August 12, 2010
Random Thoughts And A Rant
The Marla Hooch Entourage headed for the Pacific Northwest last week for some Rangers/Mariners baseball and some nice cool R & R. Let’s put ourselves back in a happy place: last week Thursday we were basking in the glow of a 2 game win streak over the M’s then closing the ledger on the bankruptcy fiasco with Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan winning the auction (with the added bonus of eliminating Tom Hicks completely from their ownership group) 70 degree temperatures in Seattle and the Pioneer Square Saloon. Deep sigh - that was short lived.
-- Can someone explain why Cristian Guzman is on this team? So far he hasn’t done anything that Andres Blanco couldn’t do, and Blanco at least gets a hit every once in a while.
-- Bengie Molina appears to be a class act, but I am really worried about the reports I’m reading that the Rangers would like to keep him as a primary catcher for next season – really? Remember that series in Boston where the Rangers stole a record number of bases on Victor Martinez, I think we better get ready to see that same thing happen to us in Tampa Bay next week. Molina may be great in the clubhouse and with the pitchers, but he has absolutely no mobility and his throwing arm just plain terrible. The most important thing to keep in mind: should the Rangers reach the playoffs (and that is NOT a given a this point in my mind) they would most likely face the Rays – just the thought of having Molina behind the plate while Carl Crawford and company run wild gives me a queasy stomach. Much as I like the idea of a “crafty veteran presence” in the clubhouse – keeping Bengie Molina doesn’t fit my ideal for that role.
-- Which leads nicely to my next random thought: since the Rangers have given up on Chris Davis, then maybe that role of “crafty veteran presence” for next season needs to be at 1B. I like Mitch Moreland, but is he really the Rangers cornerstone 1B of the future or just the bat they need at the bottom of the lineup to get through this season? By the way, I firmly believe that Chris Davis may be a “late bloomer” a la Nelson Cruz (but it won’t take until he’s 29 to get there) I hope he winds up with an AL team, and I hope every time gets a big hit against the Rangers or makes a spectacular defensive play that JD and the Front Office visibly flinch.
-- Does anyone see the resemblance between Vlad Guerrero and Sammy Sosa (circa 2007) since the All-Star break? Do we need to tap the brakes on the notion of picking up Vlad’s option for next season?
-- Is anyone else worried about the intermittent offense? I know I am and so is Jim Reeves – his column on that subject from ESPN.com is a must read.
Finally: A Rant
We keep hearing that the Rangers are a different team than the one the Yankees swept in April, that they are different than the teams that the Yankees embarrassed into submission during the playoffs in the late ‘90’s. Frankly, I think that’s a bunch of baloney. As warm and fuzzy as everyone felt about Tuesday’s win, the truth is the Rangers are still 1-4 against the Yanks this season.
The first is the heat – Cliff brought it up in his post game interviews, which is telling. If it really didn’t bother him or play a role – why even bring it up? It’s a factor that, unfortunately, no-one can do anything about right now (but I still see a day when the Rangers move to a downtown Dallas retractable roof stadium – maybe even when their lease is up in Arlington). Maybe JD and company need to spend less time trading pitching away for useless second baseman and over the hill catchers and spend more time developing a Cliff Lee type who is not a three month rental that will leave to escape the heat.
The other, and more important is that elusive “killer instinct”. I think there’s a valid argument that the Rangers team on the field last night was almost equally as talented as the Yanks. Yet the Yanks beat the Rangers because they have patient, unflappable players, they make things happen in tight situations. They never ever let up. They grind their opponents down. As an organization, the Rangers have never ever done that.
During Wednesday’s game Josh Lewin was doing the numbers saying if the Rangers played .500 baseball for the rest of the season the A’s or Angels would have play almost .700 ball to catch them. I think he meant that as an accolade, however, Josh wasn’t here in 1996 when the Rangers had a 9 game division lead on September 1st, then less than 2 weeks later were clinging to a 1 game lead over the Mariners. The Rangers are 4-5 in August, and more importantly 2-3 against teams they need to beat (Oakland and New York). Good teams don’t let up and just play .500 baseball, they put their foot on the gas and keep pouring it on – that’s not the Texas Rangers.
Does anyone remember the 1999 season when they could’ve set a franchise record for wins during the last week of the season instead they were swept by the Angels and then, of course, by the Yankees. The Rangers had leads in two of the games they played in New York earlier this year, and a five run in the 7th inning last night yet the outcome of all those games was inevitable.
In my never humble opinion: the Rangers need to put the “deer antlers” signal on hold until they stop freezing up and looking like a deer caught in headlights every time they play true contender like the Yankees.
Not thinking about “magic” numbers, or saving money for playoff tickets -- Marla Hooch