Results tagged ‘ all star game ’
As I stated in this entry I have set a goal of snagging a Target Field ball (at least one) when the Twins come to town in August.
Since it’s the All Star break and I have nothing else to do but think of the next game I’m going to, I’ve come up with another goal.
After reading many blogs over the past couple years of ballhawks that snag commemorative balls at the weirdest moments (like snagging a World Series ball the next season at a BP of a team that wasn’t even in the Series the prior season), I began to think of the All Star game ball.
The A.S. game is being held in Anaheim, who’s in the same division as the Rangers. What are the chances that some of those A.S. balls will find their way into the Angels’ batting practice bags/buckets?
It’s possible right? It has to be possible.
So there you have it. My goal is to be at the first game when the Angels come to town next week. They will be in for a four game set from Thursday 7/22 until Sunday 7/25 and I will be at the Thursday tilt with the sole purpose of potentially snagging an All Star game ball.
For those of you that may not know, Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is by far my favorite Ranger, and probably my favorite active player period.
When the Rangers traded pitcher Edison Volquez for him in the offseason prior to the 2008 season it is was an almost instant draw. By the time Spring Training was underway the story of his personal life started to spread, locally and nationally. Before long everyone knew of his trials and struggles with his own personal demons. Eventually, an autobiography (which is a great book by the way) even came out of the whole thing.
Josh was an instant fan favorite, getting thunderous applause every time he came to the plate in Arlington. He would do countless speaking engagements to tell his testimony to children, adults, anyone who would listen actually. I remember after one particular Sunday afternoon game in the spring of ’08 he and his wife Katie stayed and talked to a large crowd that filled the right field seats, just to have an opportunity at a question and answer session with him.
Of course we all remember what he did at the 2008 Home Run Derby at the old Yankee Stadium. That alone opened up the nation’s eyes to not only his background, but also to just how good he really is.
Following the All-Star break of ’08 Josh’s numbers dipped slightly. He didn’t finish the season on the same torrid pace that he started. Few do.
2009 by all accounts was a let down for Hamilton. Amid spending numerous weeks on the disabled list for varying injuries, he only amassed 10 home runs in 89 games played. Whereas in 2008 he had 32 homers in 156 games. Add to this a midsummer escapade in an Arizona bar that had the national media as well as the internet buzzing, 2009 was a season to forget for the Great Hambino (as he’s known around here).
As we approach the midway point of the 2010 season, Hamilton looks very much on his way to a 3rd consecutive All-Star game appearance (and hopefully a 2nd Home Run Derby appearance!). In the month of June he has 17 hits in 39 at bats with 4 home runs, 15 RBI, and 10 runs scored with a .436 average in his last 10 games.
Like the title of this entry states, Hamilton is hitting his stride at just the right time.
For the season he has 71 hits in 231 at bats with 13 home runs, 42 RBI, and 39 runs scored with a .307 average. Pretty good numbers considering the season he had last year.
My outlook on Josh Hamilton is pretty simple. For a man that does not run from the chance to profess his love and admiration to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he is humble. Humble and thankful. And with myself striving to be the best christian that I can be, Hamilton with all of his own setbacks aside, gives me something to shoot for.
I purchased a 2008 Home Run Derby ball off of Ebay with the specific intention of getting Josh to autograph it. I carried it in my backpack for a year and a half and the stars finally aligned for me on Saturday May 8, 2010. If you are interested you can read a full description of the event here.
Here is the finished product….
As of today June 11, 2010 this is my most prized possession. It most likely will stay that way, but you never know what the future holds.
Well that’s it for my little Josh Hamilton appreciation entry. Those of us that get to see Josh in Arlington at any given chance need to take advantage of every possible opportunity, because none of us knows when we won’t have that chance anymore.
Once again the Rangers had a strong showing in the Home Run Derby, and once again they came away with a runner-up finish.
I’m sure we all remember the show that Josh Hamilton put on last year. 28 home runs in the first round, numerous shots over 500′, the entire crowd at Yankee Stadium chanting his name, you couldn’t have asked for a better night. Well, you could have. He could’ve won.
This year, Hamilton chooses to sit out. Numerous weeks on the disabled list, with his most recent return merely a week or two ago, not to mention his team being in the middle of a highly contested pennant race, have left him thinking of more than the self-inflating Home Run Derby.
In his place, steps Nelson Cruz. Cruz came on strong towards the end of last season, posting decent numbers offensively, as well as showing off his cannon of an arm in the outfield.
This year, Cruz has hit 22 Home Runs in the first half to lead the Rangers, while enjoying very consistent playing time. He made the All Star roster due to the Angels’ Torii Hunter’s injury, and the fact that Cruz was the next highest player in the fan vote. The roster spot is his, as well as a spot in the Derby lineup.
With most of the attention in St. Louis going to the homecoming of Ryan Howard, and St. Louis hero Albert Pujols, it came as no surprise that Nelson Cruz seemed to go unnoticed. The national media had little knowledge of Cruz, so did the national crowd. All they knew, was Nelson Cruz plays for the Rangers, and that Josh Hamilton also plays for the Rangers, and everyone knows who Josh Hamilton is.
Now it’s time for the Derby, and who leads off the show? Nelson Cruz. Who ties Prince Fielder for the first round lead? Nelson Cruz. Who hit twice as many home runs in the first round as Albert Pujols did? You guessed it, Nelson Cruz. Who finished second to Prince Fielder? Um, yeah, Nelson Cruz.
I’m not going to harp on the fact that Cruz finished second, and that for two years in a row now, the Texas Rangers have finished second in the Derby. No, I choose to look at the positives. For two years in a row, the Rangers have been in the spotlight at the Home Run Derby. Yes, Josh’s spotlight may have seemed a lot brighter, and maybe it was, but don’t discount Nelson Cruz.
Here’s a guy that wasn’t even originally supposed to be there at all, and he turns around and shows up Albert Pujols in front of his home crowd! That’s not supposed to happen. Pujols was the favorite going into the Derby, he had the advantage. It was his for the taking, and he didn’t do it. Not because of a lack of effort, I believe Pujols works as hard as, if not harder, than anyone in the game.
It just wasn’t his night.
It was Cruz’s night.
Even though he finished second, and even though Prince Fielder hit the shot of the night at 503′, I truly believe this was Nelson Cruz’s coming out party.
From relative obscurity as an outfielder for the Texas Rangers, to a guy who outdid Albert Pujols in his home stadium, and gave Prince Fielder a run for his money on national television, Nelson Cruz is unknown no longer.
Everyone has now seen what he can do. Everyone has now seen the power he has. Everyone has also seen that the Texas Rangers are made up of more than just Josh Hamilton and Michael Young.
And with the Rangers fighting for the division lead coming out of the All Star break, everyone will also see that the Texas Rangers are not the team they used to be. They don’t need to win the Home Run Derby.
“Teams” don’t bask in individual achievements.
“Teams” play for October.
Like I said, another derby, another second, but, the Rangers are winners because they are now one step closer to getting the respect that they deserve.
Well, the 2009 All Star break is upon us, and as I write this, the State Farm Homerun Derby is this evening. Wow! Where did the first half go?
I wanted to stop and take a second to look back on the season so far, to see what stands out to me. Now, as a Texas Rangers fan, my thoughts and views will probably be somewhat biased.
I never would have thought that at the A.S. break, we would see Manny Ramirez have more homeruns than Josh Hamilton, since Manny was suspended 50 games, but it’s true. To date, Manny has 9, and Josh has 6. Now, in Josh’s defense, he’s missed some games due to injuries (which were also unexpected).
Also, where did the homerun stroke from Nelson Cruz come from? 22 HRs so far, after hitting 7 all of last year!? Granted, he has seen a lot more playing time this year, but I don’t think anyone expected this kind of performance from him.
You can also turn to Chris Davis and his unbelievable defense at first base, but as you then look at his offensive numbers, they leave much to be desired. So much so, that Chris finds himself down in the minors. Hopefully it’s only temporary. He’s shown that he can hit major league pitching, though not consistently. The talent’s there, now the mental aspect of the game needs to catch up.
I know there’s more that would come to mind if I kept going (like Ian Kinsler getting snubbed in the voting, Michael Young making his 6th straight A.S. game, Hank Blalock, Andruw Jones, Elvis Andrus, and many more), but I want to know what your thoughts/memories are.
What stands out to you? Who has impressed you? Who has disappointed you?
I’d like to know, and not just about the Rangers, I want to know about all teams.
This post is going to be, I assume, primarily for my fellow Rangers fans out there. Although, I would welcome the opinion of any fan to this entry, just keep it clean!
We’ve now reached the end of June (close enough), and the Rangers have let their 4.5-5 game lead in the division slip away. They have the worst team batting average in the majors for the month of June, and now they have a 5 game losing streak. The only player in the lineup with an average over .300 is Michael Young, who on the flip-side is batting only .218 with runners in scoring position.
The last time that the Rangers had a 5 game losing streak, was back in April when they started 3-0 then lost the next 5 and everyone was writing off the season. You can read what I wrote about that here . Since then, the Rangers have gone on to lead the division most of the way thanks to the Angels dealing with their own injuries and lack of run production. During that time, manager Ron Washington was given a contract extension after some fans wanted him gone in April.
Adding to this sudden quandry is Josh Hamilton. He started off the season slow, and talk began to spread of him over-extending himself last year. Then, he seemed on his way out of whatever “funk” was holding him back, then came the injuries. Groin strain, abdominal tear, hernia scare, multiple stints on the disabled list, now here we are less than three weeks away from the All-Star break, and it doesn’t look too promising that Josh will participate. As of today, 6/24, he has said that he could possibly play in the game, but most likely will pass on the Home Run Derby, the main event that everyone wants to see him in.
Don’t read anything into that. I’m not voicing any opinion there, just stating the facts as I know them at the present moment. Personally, I think Josh should do what is in the best interest of himself and the Texas Rangers, which is probably what will transpire anyway. He can’t afford to take the chance of playing and getting hurt worse, when his team is currently fighting for the division lead and in desperate need of his bat in the lineup.
With all this being said, the Rangers are still ahead of schedule. The mentality of the coaching staff and the front office heading into this season, was they were planning on 2010 being the year of the pennant run. 2009 was a toss up, a crap-shoot, and here they are with the opportunity to head into the All-Star break with either a tie or the lead in the division.
All of you “it’s the same ‘ol Rangers” fans out there that think the worst after one loss, or want Chris Davis gone, stop for a minute and think about the last time we were able to complain about a first place team.
So, I want to hear from you. What do you think?