Results tagged ‘ ron washington ’
As a self-proclaimed “Texas Baseball Fan” I feel it is almost my duty to share some of my thoughts on the auction that concluded early yesterday morning to determine ownership of the Texas Rangers.
Well to be perfectly honest, my first thought was “It’s about time!” Good grief. Could this have been drug out any longer?! Probably, but I was truly tired of hearing about it.
So it falls to Rangers Baseball Express which consists of Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and the one and only Nolan Ryan.
Good. That’s the way it should have been all along.
When I heard the news that television magnate Rupert Murdoch was adding his name to the bidding list I had to chuckle. What else was going to happen? It was starting to seem as if everything was shaping up to keep RBE from acquiring the franchise.
Thank God that didn’t happen!
Technically, it’s still not “official”. The owners still have to approve the sale at the next owner’s meeting which is scheduled for Thursday, August 12, but this appears to be just a formality. What’s funny is at the beginning of the week when there seemed to be multiple potential bidders for the Wednesday auction, I had heard something that may be a rumor but I’m not sure. Apparently there was/is an addendum or caveat to the whole auction. Some entity; MLB, the court, someone held the authority to overturn the final high bid.
Example: Let’s say that the group that included Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban had the highest final bid at auction end. This particular entity could overrule the bid and make the runner-up the new highest bidder.
Of course this led to speculation that this was all a way to keep Mark Cuban out of Major League Baseball. For those that may not know, the MLB “suits” do not particularly care for Mr. Cuban’s ownership style.
Whether any of this is true and factual, we may never know. Though it sure made for some hot sports opinions to be tossed around our neck of the woods in the last week or so.
Another detail that I heard ….
Back when RBE made their initial bid for the Rangers which I believe was in December or January, they were asked to raise this initial bid by another 25 million dollars to compensate for the land and parking lots. They declined. In the months since, the Hicks Sports Group (the previous owners) removed the land and parking lots from the sale, and during the auction RBE upped their bid another 60-65 million and lost the land and parking lots because they wouldn’t agree to pay an additional 25 million.
Again, this could be hearsay, but it sure added an odd dimension to this whole saga.
So where do I stand on this? As I stated earlier, I feel that Nolan Ryan and his group should have had this thing all along. The fact that it drug out as long as it did didn’t help them, the team, the fans, or anyone, but now that it’s just about done they can go about business as usual.
Like signing potential free agents, making plans for ballpark improvements, resigning manager Ron Washington, moving forward with the franchise and putting this whole mess behind them.
Being a fan, I am very excited to see what the remainder of this season has in store as well as next season. We may be in for changes we have never thought of now that we have an ownership team that “knows” baseball and has the franchise and fans in mind over themselves.
Sunday June 27th was a long day. Literally, it was a long day, that’s not a complaint. We left our house at around noon, stopped at a convenience store for water and batteries, and headed to the ballpark. It was a 7:05 start. Why did we leave so early you ask?
Let me explain….
My friend Dirk and I had been talking to a gentleman that is a season ticket holder who mentioned all of the autographs he gets at the games he goes to. At any given moment he can pull a ball out of his bag that has been autographed by a Ranger. You name them, he has their autograph. Naturally, Dirk and I were very intrigued and inquired how he came about them. He then told us that he stands by the parking lot tunnel that the players drive into either before or after games. Some players stop and some don’t, but he says of all the times he’s been out there he has come away with at least one autograph. That settled it, we had to do this.
We had actually made one attempt at getting some autographs prior to this afternoon. Dirk and I went out there after the game on Thurs. 6/10, the only problem was the next day was an away game so all of the players were in a hurry to get to the airport to head to Milwaukee. At least we got a feel of where to go, plus we saw what some of the guys’ rides were.
So that brings us to this day. It was a weekend game as well as a 7:05 start, so we loaded up our daughters to make our first true attempt at getting some Rangers autographs.
Here’s a photo I took of the girls shortly after we arrived at the tunnel….
The area was nothing more than a median, like on a roadway. There are two fairly tall pine trees that offered really good shade, as well as there being a decent breeze to make it even better.
We got there at around 12:30 and there was already about 8-10 other people there who said no one had stopped yet, and only a handful of people had been by so we knew we were in good shape.
Our first autograph would come from the manager, Ron Washington….
The photo on the left is of Dirk, his daughter Kaitlyn, and my daughter Sarah. The one on the right is just Sarah. I took two photos of each autograph so Dirk would have one of his daughter and I would have one of mine. Just a semi-unnecessary explanation of why there’s two pictures of each.
There were periods of inactivity between autographs, and during one of these periods I realized that I was in dire need of a bathroom. I had drank a bottle of Mountain Dew on the way there and was now paying for it. I didn’t want to have to walk anywhere, but I didn’t have a choice. Long story short, I had to walk about a quarter of a mile to a youth ballpark located just outside the Rangers’ ballpark. By the time I returned, the girls had gotten Nelson Cruz’ autograph and just finished getting catcher Matt Treanor’s….
Just for the record, I don’t know the lady that’s in the photo, I just wanted to document what Treanor drove. And in case you’re wondering, we got Washington on a baseball, Cruz signed a hat that Sarah wanted to get a bunch of autos on, and Treanor signed a ball. If I had been there, I would’ve had Cruz sign a ball and Treanor sign the hat, but oh well. We were happy to have them period.
The next one that stopped was hitting coach Clint Hurdle….
The fifth and final autograph for today would come from pitcher Chris Ray….
…. who would also sign Sarah’s hat.
Pretty cool! In all, we were out there for about two hours and came away with 5 autographs. Of course there were guys that drove by and didn’t stop, but that’s understandable. I didn’t expect to get all of the teams’ autos today. We were completely satisfied with what we came away with.
At around 2:30-2:40 we left and headed over to Pappasito’s for a late lunch. Gotta love Mexican food!
After stuffing our faces we headed back over to the ballpark and walked in the gate at around 4 o’clock. There was a pregame concert by Los Tigres del Norte so the gates were opened earlier than usual, but it didn’t matter because when we got out to the left field seats we saw this….
The ballpark hosers. Yes, the cage was up but, I’ll admit, I was still a little scared because we usually don’t see them until after batting practice. After about 5 minutes of uncertainty a guy walked out and set an empty bucket by the screen in centerfield. Yes!
I shouldn’t have doubted that there would be BP, but I haven’t ever been in that early before so it threw me off.
Within the next fifteen minutes the Rangers would come out to stretch and throw….
…. and five minutes after that, they would start to hit and I was forced to stare at these for at least 10 minutes….
…. which, I’m sad to say that I would not get.
I would get on the board though when a kid next to me dropped a toss up into the gap that I would reel up with my device and give to him. He was thrilled, because he thought he was out of luck. When he saw me get it and slowly bring it up, he was ecstatic. I love doing that, because it’s a double win. I get to count it because I reeled it up, plus this kid in particular got his very first Major League baseball. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I came within inches of catching my first BP homer on the fly. I leaned as far over the rail as I could but was still about two inches short and the ball fell into the gap directly underneath me. Unfortunately, there just so happened to be a guy walking by down there that would pick up the ball (before I could tell him not to) and toss it up to someone else. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.
That was it for the rest of batting practice for me. Seriously, for both teams. Now if I wanted to start counting toss up “assists”, I would have cleaned up. I must have pointed to 6-8 different kids at various points of batting practice and every one of them got the ball. I even toyed with the idea of pointing to myself a couple times for fun but thought better of it. The kids would get their ball and run off to show someone what they got. That may have been my problem. If I had not pointed and just let them stay around, maybe I would’ve had more gap-retrieval opportunities. Who knows?
If you’re wondering why Sarah wasn’t by me trying for her own toss ups, it’s because she and Kaitlyn were by the left field foul pole up under an overhang in the shade. It was hot. Very hot.
Once the Astros’ BP concluded I walked a couple sections over to where Dirk was and we noticed a ball in the middle of the visitors’ bullpen. It wasn’t placed there, but hit there during batting practice. I asked the closest security guard if I could swing my device out to knock it closer and he said go for it. It was about 6-8 feet out from the wall so it took a few throws but it worked. I would soon reel it up for our 2nd and final ball of the day. Dirk would end up with 3 of his own (all with his device), and I had to fight off a little disgust at never being able to out-snag him.
We next went to track down the girls and go sign up to be designated drivers and get our free soda coupons. There’s two different places in the ballpark and if you do both, you get two coupons which is cool because Sarah and I both would get free drinks.
Along the way we saw the Silver Boot trophy which is what the winner of the two Rangers/Astros series receives….
I’ve been told that the boot is a size 13. In case you were wondering…
The four of us didn’t sit together this game. Sarah and I were in the upper deck on the first base side, and Dirk and Kaitlyn were in the bleachers in left-center.
Here’s a picture from our seats….
…. of the second appearance of the day by the Ballpark Hosers.
The camera I was using was given to me just that morning by Dirk, so I had to get the hang of using it. I had grown so used to my wife’s camera from using it for a couple years, that this new one was a whole new animal.
Here’s a shot of where I stood during batting practice….
I know you can’t tell where I’m talking about, but it was above the “g” in the blue Samsung sign in left-centerfield.
Here, let me test out the zoom and show you a closer look….
Come to think of it I was actually across the aisle from the spot above the “g”, but who’s keeping track?
I asked Sarah what she wanted me to take a picture of next and she said the Texas flag, so I obliged….
…. with both “Texas” flags.
The pregame festivities included a tribute to Hispanic heritage….
…. as well as the TCU baseball team, who had just been eliminated from the College World Series the previous day….
I also took a few shots of the Rangers during their pregame warmups….
The photo on the top left intrigued me because it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a catcher throw to a catcher. The photo on the bottom right was taken about 5 seconds too late. That’s Vladimir Guerrero getting stretched by the trainer and Josh Hamilton behind him (or above his head, however you want to describe it). Josh had gone about 10-15 feet away from Vlad and got down on his belly and “army-crawled” all the way to him. When he got there, he did something (I didn’t see what) to scare the he!! out of Vlad. I saw him crawling, looked away to get my camera ready, and looked back to see Vlad and Josh laughing. I wish I had seen what he did, but at least I saw some of it.
I mentioned before that Dirk and his daughter were sitting in the bleachers, well I zoomed in as far as I could and this is where they were sitting….
If you click on the photo you’ll see two red arrows pointing to Dirk and his daughter. I told him to call me around the third or fourth inning to see if there were any empty seats that Sarah and I could have.
Somewhere around the fourth inning he said there were two available in the row behind him, so we headed that way and when we got there I took this photo of Sarah….
…. behind section 53 in left-centerfield.
While sitting in the outfield I took the following two pictures of different angles of the park….
…. and I must admit that I like them both.
As far as the game goes, the Rangers scored early and often accumulating 10 runs by the end of the 6th inning, and that would be all they would need to defeat Roy Oswalt and the Astros. 10-1 was the final. Josh Hamilton hit the second longest home run in the history of the Ballpark in Arlington. It was a 468 foot, two-run mammoth shot to the 2nd deck above the Rangers dugout in right field.
The game was exciting on all fronts and capped off what was an all around great day of baseball.
Time of Game: 2hrs. 38mins.
Next Game: Wed. 7/7 vs. Cleveland
Well, this was going to be the last regular season home game for the Rangers. It was also Fan Appreciation Day, which means every half inning the video board would show a section, row, or specific seat that would win anything from autographed memorabilia to discounts at the gift shops. It’s always fun to wait and see if you win something. This will be my third consecutive year to go on this day, and I have yet to win anything (today included).
I attended this game with my daughter Sarah, my friend Dirk, and his daughter Kaitlyn and son Connor. I had purchased these tickets last weekend at the Angels game, and bought upper deck seats knowing we would be bringing the kids and expecting to be in the shade.
This is what it looked like from our seats….
Looks like I made the right choice!
Here’s our view of the action….
Yes they’re tiny, but we knew what was going on.
I was really hoping to add to our ice cream helmet collection today, being the last game of the season and everything, but today the Rangers decided to do away with using all the MLB teams as they have done recently and use only red Rangers helmets.
We already have some of those, but I noticed something different about these. Here’s a picture that I took later to show what I mean….
I have never seen an ice cream helmet with the MLB logo on it. I thought it was pretty cool, and worthy to be included in this entry.
The game was good. The Rangers jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held it most of the game.
Here’s some more shots from the upper deck….
I love that last one.
And here’s one of the kiddos….
At the end of the 7th inning we moved down to the third base side to try one last time for a foul ball, but got nothing. This was our view though….
The Rangers lead 5-0 until the top of the 8th when the Rays cut that lead down to 5-3. Marlon Byrd added a solo homer in the bottom of the inning, which brought out Frank Francisco to save the game in top of the 9th. Sounds easy enough right?
He allowed the tying run to score before Ron Washington pulled him with the bases still loaded and only one out. Rookie Neftali Feliz came in a got a ground-out, but the go ahead run scored on the play. The Rangers would go 3 up, 3 down in the bottom of the 9th and lose 7-6.
That one hurt.
It should have been a sweep, but instead they fell another game behind the Angels in the west.
Here’s a picture of a helmet I found after the game that I have absolutely no idea what it was used for, but I thought it was cool so I kept it….
Time of game: 3 hrs. 3 mins.
Next game: Playoffs? Or April 5, 2010. Opening Day vs. the Blue Jays
Since the last two games that I attended were minor league games, I was WAY overdo for some Major League Baseball.
We arrived at the gate at around 4:40 or so, and waited as patiently as we could for 5:00 to get here. When it finally did, we raced to the LF stands just in time to see this….
The Mariners were just coming out to stretch.
So, that gave Dirk and I time to check the gaps and stands for balls, which we found none. The Rangers must not have come out for BP today. Oh well, they’ve done that before.
Once the Mariners started hitting, we weren’t sure how it was going to go for us. We had been to a BP earlier in the year where the M’s hardly hit anything into the LF seats. Griffey and Ichiro have no problem supplying the people in the RF seats with balls, but we were skeptical of the righties on the team. After the first 10 minutes or so, that skepticism would soon fade away.
Dirk and I positioned ourselves on the railing, one section over from the visitors’ bullpen. Like I mentioned, there wasn’t much action for the first 10-15 minutes, but after that we had some shots at balls. At one point we were as close as 2-3 feet apart, and at that point some high school-aged kid thought that would be a perfect place for him to stand.
“Do you REALLY think you have ANY shot at a ball, standing between two adults with gloves?” That’s what I thought, not said.
I usually let a lot of things go, mainly to avoid any potential confrontations, but this kid was making it especially difficult for me to keep my mouth shut. All that came out of his mouth was negative. Some examples:
“Hey how ’bout a ball?” And when they would throw the ball in to the bucket, “Oh nice, real good. Way to appreciate the fans.”
Or when a player would go to retrieve a ball on the warning track, “I got jipped out of a ball earlier.”
Not to mention, he was responsible for Dirk and I both dropping a homerun ball. He bumped into Dirk and the ball fell in the gap, but Dirk was able to get it anyway. He bumped into me, and the ball skipped off the end of my glove and into the glove of a guy behind me.
First, don’t force your way into a space you shouldn’t be in, and then act like a (insert your own word here) while you’re there.
Second, no one gets jipped out of a ball. You either snag it, or you don’t. Plain and simple. Yes, I hold him responsible for missing a HR ball, but I blame myself also. I could’ve been more assertive, but that’s not who I am. I also don’t think that “entitles” me to whine to the players on the field like they owe me a ball.
Sorry for that rant, that guy just really got on my nerves.
Back to batting practice….
As I mentioned earlier, the skepticism in the M’s righties was short-lived. There were a lot more balls hit into the LF seats than we expected. Of course, there was a fairly decent crowd on hand, I guess because of it being cap night. So, our range was limited, leaving us to helplessly watch numerous balls fall into the gloves/hands of others.
At one point, a ball fell in the gap and Dirk gave me the heads up to go and get it. We take turns with gap balls, it’s kind of a routine between the two of us. So without any hesitation, I was on it.
I got to the spot where I figured the ball would be, looked down and scanned the area, and noticed the ball was in an odd spot. Here’s a photo I took a little while later to show the ball’s position….
This angle is actually looking down and to my left. The point of the arrow is in the exact spot that the ball was in.
The first plan of action was to get the ball out of that spot and into a position more directly underneath me. To do that, I had to lower my device (I decided to lower the device instead of my glove because it’s smaller, and I thought it would fit in that small space better) and swing it left to right approximately 6 feet. It was a little awkward at first, so it took me a few tries, and on the third or fourth swing I was interrupted by this guy….
Seattle pitcher David Aardsma.
He walked over and picked the ball up, and my first thought was “Cool, this guy’s gonna save me the trouble and just toss it to me!”
Turns out I was wrong.
Mr. Aardsma proceded to walk back up the stairs that lead into the visitors’ bullpen and throw the ball as hard as he could back toward the bucket.
There were so many thoughts going through my head at that point, that I didn’t say a word. What could I say? He didn’t have to give it to me. I had no legal right to that ball. To say I was mad though would be an understatement.
Partly for the fact that I was wearing a Mariners hat!
Oh well, there’s nothing left for me to say, except….
You have now been given a Zack Hample-esque “Powell Jinx”.
Consider this your official notification.
As numb as I was by this point, and as disinterested in BP as I became, I still managed to get 1 ball out of the gap. It helped, but there was still some pent up bitterness inside.
This ball turned out to be my 6th of the season, and 10th lifetime.
Batting practice ended with no more balls and no more incidents to report. It honestly couldn’t end fast enough.
We went and got our free drink vouchers after signing up to be designated drivers, cashed them in, and then got food. I had my usual cheese fries and Dr. Pepper, and felt much better!
We got to our seats with our food just in time for starting lineups and the national anthem. This was the awesome view I had from my seat….
I really can’t complain since Dirk bought my ticket, but still, how about a little “obstructed view” notice or something? Come on, Rangers!
The view of the game wasn’t really that bad, especially since the Rangers hit two homers on either side of us while we were out there.
We stayed in those seats until the top of the 5th, when we decided to go for ice cream.
A little back-story….
The last time I was at a Rangers game, I made my own ice cream helmet sundae in a roundabout way, and I fully intended to do the same thing this time, until we walked up to the ice cream booth and saw an amazing sight. They were using these….
I had no idea that a little piece of plastic could change my whole attitude!
After getting our ice cream, the next mission was to find a spot to eat it. Well, we found one. Section 15, on the lower level third base side, just past the infield. Here’s the view…
One odd thing that happened while we there….
A foul ball was hit about one section over to our left, and a guy in an aisle seat stood up and put his glove up, and let the ball bounce right off of his palm. Nothing special, right? It happens all of the time. Well, just keep reading….
A little while later, with a different pitcher on the mound and a different batter at the plate, another foul ball found its way to the exact same guy, and once again he muffed it! It hit off of his palm just like the first one did, and someone else got it just like the first one.
How weird is that? I heard about a guy in Oakland that had a similar experience in 2006, but he had a better turnout.
I thought that was worth sharing.
As the game wound down, instead of going behind homeplate like we usually do, I wanted to go over by the visitors’ bullpen to try and get a ball from the bullpen catcher. When we got over there, we saw this….
See the two pink backpacks? One is on the left end of the bench, and the other one is on the ground behind the white chair. That is “Seattle Mariner Rookie Initiation” at its finest.
I also saw this….
You see the ledge next to Phillips #62? Just in front of him, to the right? Knight helmets. I have no idea what those are for. More initiations? Maybe Mr. Todd Cook will leave a comment on this. He’s the biggest M’s fan that I know of. I’m curious to know what’s up with those.
The game was exciting from a Rangers fan point of view. Derek Holland pitched a perfect game into the 5th inning when he gave up the only Mariner hit until the top of the 9th.
Michael Young hit two homeruns, and Hank Blalock, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Marlon Byrd each hit one out to give the Rangers a 7-0 lead.
Holland retired the first two batters in the top of the 9th, then walked one and gave up his second hit of the game. Rangers manager Ron Washington made a pitching change with 2 outs in the 9th.
Warner Madrigal came in, walked one to load the bases, gave up an RBI single, then finally got the 3rd out.
Holland struckout 10 batters on the night. Rangers win 7-1.
Here’s a photo of the ball I got, and also one of some tickets I found after the game….
Next game: Mon. 8/17 vs. the Twins
And for the record – I didn’t get a ball from the Mariners’ bullpen catcher like I had hoped.
One parting shot of the Mariners’ bullpen guys walking off the field. Sorry for the blur, but I zoomed in as far as I could….
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?