Tag Archive | "MLB"

Opening Day Memories


Opening Day is romantic, rejuvenating, sentimental, fun, and exciting all rolled in one and to me it should be a national holiday. Baseball is a reminder that spring is here and things are starting a new. For many teams it is the only time of year that many teams have a glimmer of hope.

When I was back in the States working I would use a vacation day to take the day off and either attend a game or sit at home and watch baseball all day long. But with all the good memories come some not so great ones as well.

First, let me take a look at some of the better memories.

I can remember several times waking up early in the morning to catch the first pitch of the season coming from somewhere overseas like Japan. In 2008, the Oakland A’s and Boston Red Sox started the season out in Japan and I was up at 3am (or whatever time it was in the US) to watch those games. Some may call me crazy or say that I am hardcore, but I love it.

Several times I was able to attend Opening Day at the Ballpark in Arlington (dubbed the “Temple” by the guys from Sports Radio 1310 in Dallas). Each time I made it the weather was gorgeous, the fans were lively, and the games were great no matter who won. I love seeing pomp and circumstance around the first game. The pagentry of seeing the anthem being sung by a star sometimes (saw Jessica Simpson sing it before I knew who she was), seeing the giant flag out on the field and either jets/bombers flying over the stadium or the bald eagle flying to home plate. With it all wrapped up in one, it makes for such a great experience.

If I couldn’t make it to a game, my routine would be gathering some “baseball” food such as hot dogs, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and a cold beverage to sit down on the couch and watch as many games as possible. ESPN always did a great job of showing multiple games throughout the day. Then the Holy Grail came along in MLB Extra Innings which used to (don’t know if they still do it) give a free preview for a week.

Missing the first pitch of the season is not something I like to do, but sometimes it happens. This year I just arrived back in South Korea and was a little jet lagged still from the 30 hour trip out here. The first game of the year started about 2am here locally, and I was simply unable to stay up and watch it. It was a little frustrating, but it just wasn’t going to happen. It looks like I will miss the Rangers first game as well on Friday because I don’t have internet in my apartment yet. Again, it is a little frustrating but once things get rolling here again I will be able to watch a lot of baseball since the night games back home come on here in the morning before I go to work.

I seem to have little luck in watching my favorite team play on Opening Day, the Atlanta Braves. This year was jet-lag. Last year I was again in South Korea, but I was up and ready to watch the game only to have MLB.tv not work. That was VERY frustrating. I was up early in the morning and the game was not being shown due to technical difficulties. But this wasn’t the only time I had issues. In 2009, I got the chance to go to Atlanta to see the opening game. I couldn’t have been more excited. For the previous 20+ years I had rooted for the Braves good or bad, but it was always from afar. Being able to attend the festivities was going to be amazing for me. The only problem was nobody told mother nature how excited I was.

The game went into a rain delay as it stormed quite hard. The game was halted and my friend and I went home to watch the game on TV only to have the game to go into extra innings. The Braves did win, I did have a good time, but it wasn’t what I had expected for my first Opening Day in Atlanta. I hope to go back one day to see it once again.

Overall, Opening Day is one of the best days for me, but it really is only the beginning of my favorite part of the year – baseball season. After today there is another 182 days of what I like to refer to as “summer greatness”. Then it gets even better with all the greatness that comes with the fall season and the Fall Classic.

So no matter who you root for, today is a day to renew your love of the game, have faith in your team, and have a little hope that your team will see the light of day in October.

I’d love to hear any stories you have of Opening Day’s from the past.

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SABR Day 2011 – Nashville, TN


For years I have thought about joining the Society for American Baseball Research or SABR. But in the end I always talked myself out of it because I don’t consider myself a “stats guy”. I, like many people, had a misconception about what SABR was about.

Sure there are the Sabermetrics guys out there or “stats guys” if you will, but SABR is much more than that. I only wish it didn’t take me this long to find that out.

I am more interested in the history of the game, and that was just what I found when I went to my first SABR meeting on SABR Day last Saturday. Since I live near Nashville, I met up with the Grantland Rice-Fred Russell Chapter for breakfast, and I was glad I did.

What I found was a group of baseball fans that were interested in different aspects of the game which made for an interesting breakfast. Some members were interested in minor leagues while others were interested in how geography affected the game. That was something I never really thought about, but it was interesting to hear someone knowledgeable talk about.

Members of the chapter came from all over the area. There were folks from Birmingham, Chattanooga, Nashville, and even Bowling Green, KY. But we all had one thing in common and that is a love for the game.

I heard a lot of interesting stories. We even got the story on how the Nashville Sounds came to town from their first general manager Farrell Owens. I found that interesting, and it was nice to hear the story from someone who had a great deal in baseball returning to Nashville after a 14-year absence. It’s the behind the scenes history of teams like that which make this game so interesting off the field, and SABR is just the place to find that and much more.

I wasn’t sure how I would be accepted at the meeting having not known anyone prior, but everyone was more than welcoming. They were even interested in hearing about baseball in Korea, which I found a little relieving since I wasn’t sure what else I would talk about. It really couldn’t have been a better first meeting for me, and I owe all of that to the group that was there.

I met some amazing people, who I hope to be in contact with in the future even though I am moving half way around the world. I know I can learn a lot from them about the game I love, and in the end that is why I joined SABR.

All in all it was a great time. To top it off I got to briefly meet Dwight Gooden. The Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association had its yearly banquet the night before at the hotel where we met for breakfast. Their speaker that night was Gooden, and the next morning he was eating breakfast with some of the members of the Association. He was kind enough to take a picture with our small SABR group giving me a memory I will long remember.

So thanks to Skip, Joe, Clarence, Gerald, Peggy, Dan, and Dwight (I hope I am not forgetting anyone) for making my first SABR meeting one to remember. If you aren’t a member and have a love of the game whether it is for stats or the history, I would highly suggest joining and participating in events to meet fellow lovers of the game.

SABR Day 2011
SABR Day 2011 – Nashville, TN

Photo courtesy of Skip Nipper

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Blog Review: John’s Big League Baseball Blog


Today I am going to take a look at another blog I enjoy reading: John’s Big League Baseball Blog.

John Sharp is simply a huge baseball fan. He writes about his favorite players of each team, old school players/teams, and the history of the game. Hailing from Kalamazoo, MI, John tends to write a bit about the Detroit Tigers, and he does it well.

One of the recent posts that got my attention was John’s announcement that he will be awarding the Annual Bill Freehan Award given to the best catcher in each league. Freehan, if you do not know, was a catcher with the Detroit Tigers back in the 60’s and 70’s. He was also the first catcher to win 5 consecutive gold gloves in the AL from 1965-69. But the best part of the award is its not just 1 man’s opinion. John is going to ask readers on a weekly basis to vote for the best catcher. These votes will then be used, along with his own pick, to determine the catcher of the week. I look forward to this next season.

Another thing that I love about John’s blog is his radio show. John’s Big League Radio Show airs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon on BlogTalkRadio.com. John talks a lot about all the Detroit sports teams and Michigan football. He will be integrating on Monday his “Game Balls” that he does during football season,  so drop by and check out his show. You won’t be disappointed.

John is also a contributer to Detroit Tigers Scorecard. He does a lot from roster moves, to opinion pieces. On of my favorites John wrote recently after the Hall of Fame induction announcement. John talks about why Tigers like Jack Morris and Alan Trammel are not in the HOF.

John is a fellow member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA), and does a great job covering different aspects of the game. I enjoy the history of the game, and what better team to talk about the history of baseball with than one of the oldest franchises the Detroit Tigers. Recently I enjoyed learning a bit about one of the greatest Tigers of all-time, Al Kaline. John brings a great perspective

You can find John writing at John’s Big League Baseball Blog, on Twitter @freehan11, or talking baseball 3 days a week on Blog Talk Radio. And don’t forget to add his RSS feed to your reader to keep up to date with each post.

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Interview: Minnesota Twins Scout Cary Broder


I am interested in all aspects of the baseball world. One that brings more interest than most is the world of scouting. After meeting the Chicago Cubs scout for Korea, Aaron Tassano, I was introduced to another scout living and working in Taiwan. Cary Broder is the scout for the Minnesota Twins scouting in Asia. Cary took the time to answer some questions for me about scouting. Here is that interview:

Before you started scouting, what was your baseball background?

Just loving the game and being passionate about it, taking in every game I could.  I was into Strat-o-Matic, roto,  reading what I could get my hands on, memorizing stats, baseball cards, all that stuff. Watching games in the dome as a kid with half empty stands and then seeing the Twins evolve and win the series in ’87 and ’91 was a big influence on me.  I used to watch Cubs games on WGN after school when the Braves and Cubs were the only teams on cable the 80’s.  So the game has been a part of my every day life in some form.  Later on, Aaron Tassano (a close friend of mine who scouts for the Cubs) and I co-founded East Windup Chronicle, which opened up some doors for us as well.

What originally brought you to Taiwan?

A combination of things.  I met my wife in the states (she’s Taiwanese) and when she returned to Taiwan I wanted to be with her.  Plus I got a master’s degree in Asian politics and economics and spoke Chinese and Japanese, so it made sense to relocate here.  I figured it would be the most sensible place to try to break into baseball given my background.  I turned out to be right!  Or lucky.  Plus, Asia is an exciting place to live in itself.

Did you do any formal training in the States prior to working in Asia?

I built up the base of qualifications I needed by learning the basics of Chinese and keeping my Japanese up to speed.  Language skills and an understanding of the culture here are just as important as being able to evaluate talent, so that put me in a position to get a job with a team.   Once I got to Taiwan, I found the people involved in MLB out here and made the connections I needed to get foot in the door.  I received solid training from a Pac Rim director based here, and once I was hired by the Twins I was fortunate enough to have an outstanding mentors in our International Director Howard Norsetter and Pac Rim scout David Kim.

Most people in the States have never seen or know little about professional baseball in Taiwan, how would you compare it to say the minors back home?

It’s tough to draw a straight line comparison.  Every player is unique and the range of talent is broad.  There are guys that could compete at higher levels or maybe even MLB in some capacity and there’s guys that wouldn’t get out of the low minors.  It depends on the career trajectory that brought them there in the first place.

The players that sign out of Taiwan, do they come mostly from high school, college, or the professional ranks?

Almost all of them come from High School and College.  Only one player has come out of the CPBL, Ni Fu Te who is in the Tigers system.

Do you cover any other areas of Asia other than Taiwan? If yes, how often do you travel to cover them?

I’m constantly traveling.  I cover Japan, and I’ve covered Australia and the US as well.  Next year there’s probably more territory on the horizon. There’s no set itinerary, it depends on what the organizational needs are from year to year and where the action is.

What is the off-season like for a scout?

What off season?

Are there many other American scouts roaming around Taiwan that you see often?

Not just Americans but scouts from all over the world–Canada, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Korea among others.  Some teams have guys on the ground here (some are locals, some are foreigners) but almost every team is checking in at some point.   But yeah, there’s a regular cast of characters you see around.  It kind of reminds me of Cheers or the bowling league scenes in the Big Lebowski at times.

I am not as familiar with Taiwan as I am Korea, is there a similar mandatory military requirement for every male, and does this effect the signing process?

Yes and yes.

Do you have any recommendations for people like myself who like to see new stadiums on places that need not be missed?

Tien Mu stadium in Taipei has a beautiful view in the outfield, it looks like an old chinese brush and ink painting.  Some of my favorite fields are on the east coast of Taiwan–they’re remote and not the easiest to find but they have a kind of storybook quality to them.

I love high school baseball and watch many of the big tournaments in Korea. Are there any high school or college tournaments in Taiwan that would be worth watching for a die hard fan like myself?

There are tourneys year round here..  Baseball is a quasi-religion in Taiwan so there’s always something going on to watch.

I also love to follow minor league teams. Is there a minor league system in Taiwan?

There is.  There are only 4 pro teams though, so obviously its not like the U.S. minors.

Do you follow players progress back in the States that you signed? Have you signed anyone that might be fun for fans to follow the progress of?

Of course.  It’s not just a matter of following them passively–since it’s our evaluations that bring them to the states as scouts we are accountable for their performances on and off the field.   It’s in our interest to make sure they’re progressing.  Plus, in the evaluation and signing process you get to know the kids and the families very well and get to know the players as people, not just as players.

Signing a player is a team effort, it’s not just one scout acting on his own.  Last year the Twins signed a pitcher named Chen Hung-yi, a right hander out of high school.   He’s our second sign out of Taiwan, the first being outfielder Lin Wang-wei.  It might be my name on the sign, but the process involved several members of our international department.   And of course, the Twins recently added middle infielder Nishioka Tsuyoshi to the big club, and I’m proud to have been actively involved with that process. He was the MVP of the Japanese league last year and It’s exciting to be a part of bringing our first Japanese pro player to the Twins.

I’d like to thank Cary for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions. It’s always interesting to see a different side of the game from what you see on ESPN. And thanks to people like Cary, who take the time to talk to us about what they do, we can see some interesting angles to the game.

I’d also like to point out that the 1991 World Series was a big influence on my life, except my team was on the loosing end. When will I get over Lonnie Smith’s base running error?

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Movie Review: Road to the Big Leagues


Besides the United States, more big leaguers come from the Dominican Republic than any other country. For many in the poor country, baseball is their life and their only way off the island. This movie is a look inside the the world of baseball in the Dominican Republic.

Kids here learn baseball from an early age. They will play anywhere they can find a stick and something to swing at. In the movie, the game of choice was “vitilla” which was a form of stick ball, except there was no ball. Instead, they used the plastic cap from a water bottle. A “safe” hit was one where the fielder could not pick up the cap before it stopped moving, whereas an “out” was when they could pick it up as it still moved.

The kids would play anywhere they could. Many had practically nothing but lived with the dreams of making the big leagues. A glove or jersey was a prized possession, and a chance to play ball is all they wanted.

The film followed a few players for a while. One was Juan Cabrera. He was a 17-year-old kid who dreamed big. He followed the circuit of tryout camps hoping to get signed. And even though he showed some talent, it took him some time before he was finally signed.

Many of the major leaguers return home during the off-season to live and workout where they grew up. They showed two of these stars as they worked out with kids from their neighborhoods. The first was David Ortiz. He is from Santo Domingo, and he would return home during the winter months to work out. The man who trained him when he was 15 was training Cabrera, so we got to see what Ortiz thought of the young talented player. It was an interesting look at the hunger displayed by someone who is trying to make it, and at the same time the hunger and drive of someone who had made it but wanted to stay at the top of his game.

The movie also showed a bit of the ugly side of baseball in the Dominican as well. There are many players who try to use fake documents to show they are younger than they really are in order to get signed. One of those players was showcased in this film.

The player in question was the cousin of a major league star and was talented in his own right. However, he was caught lying about his age (saying he was 21 instead of 24) after he had signed a contract with the Red Sox. If someone is caught, they are immediately released and banned from the game. So here was this young kid who tried to cheat the system. He was out of baseball, had no job, and was hustling to make it day to day. It’s a sad reality, but one that does exist.

The film also showed life inside the academies of the Dominican. When players are signed, they are assigned to that teams academy. There they are trained as ballplayers. They eat, sleep, and drink baseball. But they also learn another important aspect for many of them, English. Here the players will compete with one another to improve enough to be assigned to a minor league team in the United States. From there they will begin their journey to the big leagues.

There are a lot of success stories from these academies, and this is why they run them. In the film, one of the big prospects at the Mets academy was Carlos Gomez who is now a major leaguer having played 2010 with the Milwaukee Brewers. There are countless stories of kids coming from poor backgrounds to the majors, and this is what motivates and drives these young kids. They see the success stories, and they want to fulfill that dream.

The academies are realistic though. They know not everyone is going to make it, but they are hopeful that they are around the average which is about 5 players in 100 reaching the majors. That’s not a great percentage, but its enough to keep the kids playing hard and the teams looking for more talent.

It’s a never ending cycle it seems but there is a lot of talent to be found. Players coming out of the Dominican Republic are some of the best in the majors. They are aggressive (the other MLB player highlighted might be the most aggressive in Vladimir Guerrero), and as the old saying goes, you can’t walk off the island.

I really enjoyed this movie, and would recommend it to any baseball fan out there. It is only 52 minutes long, so it is not a huge time commitment. I was able to stream it on Netflix, so check that out if you have it. Or you can pick it up on Amazon Road to the Big Leagues (Rumbo A Las Grandes Ligas).

I am going to give it a rating of 3 gloves.  It’s a good film to see, but it just doesn’t go into a whole lot of depth an any one subject which is really the only complaint I have.

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BBA RECOMMENDS ALOMAR, BLYLEVEN FOR HALL OF FAME


Today MLB will announce the newest Hall of Fame class. As apart of the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance), I wanted to share with you who we chose to be inducted.

BBA RECOMMENDS ALOMAR, BLYLEVEN FOR HALL OF FAME

Second baseman Roberto Alomar and starting pitcher Bert Blyleven were named today as the recommended 2011 Hall of Fame class by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

Alomar, who is on the ballot for his second year, and Blyleven, looking at his fourteenth time, both finished just shy of the BBA’s recommendation in 2010 at just a fraction under the 75% threshold.  As was the case last year, both Alomar and Blyleven received the same amount of votes from the BBA membership in 2010, but this time it was enough to push them into the recommended status.

Both players received 117 votes out of the 154 ballots cast, resulting in a 75.97% approval rate.  Again echoing the vote taken at the end of 2009, shortstop Barry Larkin was the third man in the balloting, missing selection by being named on just 70.78% of the ballots.

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance’s vote has no impact on the official vote taken by the Baseball Writers of America and the members of the Hall of Fame.  However, the BBA has been often a predictor of awards granted by the writers, matching their selection in fourteen of the sixteen major awards in the last two postseasons combined.

The final voting results are as follows:

Roberto Alomar, 75.97%
Bert Blyleven, 75.97%
Barry Larkin, 70.78%
Jeff Bagwell, 62.34%
Edgar Martinez, 59.09%
Tim Raines, 54.55%
Mark McGwire, 44.16%
Lee Smith, 38.96%
Alan Trammel, 35.71%
Don Mattingly, 33.12%
Larry Walker, 31.17%
Fred McGriff, 27.27%
Jack Morris, 25.97%
Rafael Palmerio, 20.78%
Dale Murphy, 16.23%
Dave Parker, 12.34%
Harold Baines, 10.39%
Kevin Brown, 9.09%
John Franco, 7.14%
Tino Martinez, 5.19%
John Olerud, 5.19%
Al Leiter, 4.55%
Bret Boone, 3.90%
Juan Gonzalez, 3.90%
Marquis Grissom, 2.60%
Benito Santiago, 1.30%
Bobby Higginson, 0.65%
Charles Johnson, 0.65%
Kirk Rueter, 0.65%
Carlos Baerga, 0.00%
Raul Mondesi, 0.00%
BJ Surhoff, 0.00%

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was established in the fall of 2009 for the purpose of fostering collaboration and communication among bloggers from across baseball.  The BBA has quickly grown to its current membership of 256 blogs, including some of the most prominent blogs on the internet, spanning all major league teams and various other general aspects of the game.

More information about the BBA can be found at their website, www.baseballbloggersalliance.com, or by contacting the founder and administrator of the organization, Daniel Shoptaw, at founder@baseballbloggersalliance.com.

This is an official press release from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

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Thoughts on Cliff Lee


I, like many Rangers fans, were quietly hoping for Cliff Lee to be the opening day starter for the Rangers come next season. But in the end, I am glad he isn’t.  Why would I not one of the best pitchers in baseball not on the team? Let me tell you.

The Rangers typically have to overpay for pitching to get the high quality arms to come pitch in what is simply a hitter’s paradise. As the temperature heats up in Arlington, baseball start to fly out of the park.  And it gets hot in Arlington. Having to overpay for the #1 free agent pitcher on the market just doesn’t make sense in the long run.

I would have loved to see the Rangers sign Lee for 5 years, but Lee said it would take a 7 year deal from the Rangers to get it done. Thanks, but no thanks. For a pitcher his age, its just not worth the long term, and very expensive, investment. Especially since there are other options out there. Zach Greinke anyone?

The Rangers have been building their team on young talent with a mix of older veterans. Just the way you should build a team. Overpaying for 1 player that could haunt you after a few years as he weights down your team with a hefty salary and not much production is not good for business. Not to say that Lee would be unproductive in the last years of the contract, but odds are he wouldn’t be the ace he is now.

So what should the Rangers do now? Go after Zach Greinke and/or Matt Garza. The Rangers have a solid foundation for a rotation and with the addition of another solid arm or two, they would once again be on the right track for another playoff run.

Another option I have heard tossed around is to sign a closer and move Neftali Feliz back to a starter. I am not sure what the Rangers actually think of this, but in the long run I think this is the plan. But how do you mess with a young kid who was just dominate as your closer? I hope to see him anchoring the bullpen again next season.

All in all, I am glad Cliff Lee is not a Yankee even though he is not a Ranger. Add on top of that that the Angels did not get Carl Crawford and the Rangers have had a good off-season already. If they can land Greinke or Garza through a trade, it will be a really good off-season.

Now what to do at DH?

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Congratulations San Francisco Giants – World Series Champs!


It was a great year for me and baseball. I got to see a lot of baseball in Korea, the Braves made the playoffs in Bobby’s last year, and the Rangers finally won a postseason series making it to the World Series.  I can’t wait for next year already. I am anxious to see what happens in the off season.  Where will Cliff Lee and all the big name free agents wind up? I think some interesting things will happen.

With all of that said, Congratulations must go out to the Giants and their fans.  They have waited a long time for this, and they deserve it. They were the better team in each round and that is why they are taking home the trophy.

I think things are looking bright for the Braves and Rangers, and that is why I am very excited for next year. Once again I don’t think I will be in the States during the season, but I will watch a lot from here in Korea. I simply love this game and everything that goes along with it whether that is the wins or the bitter defeats.

With that said I will call it a day. I will be back to talk more about the Series and the year that has passed now. But I also want to look toward the future as any baseball fan does.

‘Till Then

TBJM

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World Series: Texas Rangers vs San Francisco Giants


The Texas Rangers will square off with the San Francisco Giants in the World Series this year.  I think it is safe to say that nobody saw this match up earlier this year.  Both teams are relatively big surprises to be in the Series, but on the other hand they aren’t.  They both have what it takes to win in the postseason and that is pitching.

The San Francisco Giants have a dynamic due on the hill of Time Lincecum (16-10/3.43 ERA) and Matt Cain 13-11/3.14 ERA).  Add in Johnathan Sanchez (13-9/3.07 ERA) and you have a formidable rotation for the postseason.  Not to mention perhaps the best reliever in the NL in Brian Wilson (48 saves/1.81 ERA) coming out of the bullpen. The Giants led the NL in ERA and were 4th in WHIP.

The Rangers have their stars on the hill as well.  First of all, everyone knows Cliff Lee and how dominant he has been in the postseason through his career (7-0/1.26 ERA), and this year has been no different.  Following Lee is former closer CJ Wilson (15-8/3.35 ERA) and Colby Lewis (12-13/3.72 ERA). The Rangers have a formidable pen as well with Neftali Feliz (40 saves/2.73 ERA) closing, and the Darren’s to set him up – O’Day and Oliver.

Where I think the Rangers have the advantage is on the offensive side of the ball. The Giants have some solid hitters. Buster Posey (.305/18/67), the likely NL ROY, Aubrey Huff (.290/26/86), and Pat Burrell (.266/18/51).  But the Rangers have potential MVP Josh Hamilton (.359/32/100), Vlad Guerrero (.300/29/115), and Michael Young (.284/21/91).  The Rangers still have power, but they have added speed as well stealing 123 bases to the Giant’s 55.

One thing we know is its gonna be a heck of a series. I don’t think either team sweeps, but I do think the Rangers win in 6. The Rangers are simply riding a franchise high. They have never been to this point in the season, and I think they will help propel them forward. This franchise has never been the talk of the town in Dallas, and now they are the toast of the town. The excitement they have created in Dallas is incredible, and I think the team is feeding off of that excitement the fans are showing. Not to say the Giants and their fans aren’t excited, but they have been there before.  This was the first year the Rangers even won a postseason series, let alone been to the World Series. A lot of people might look at that and see it as a negative, but I see it as a positive motivator that will help the Rangers.  They have a few of their stars that have been there and who know what it takes to win at this level.

So I stand by my prediction – Rangers in 6.

Of course, my last WS prediction of the year didn’t turn out too good, but I have a better feeling about this one.

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Hello Win Column – Texas Rangers Style


I have never been more excited to be a Texas Rangers fan. Then again there has never been a better time to be one.

I remember the days of old — lots of offense and no pitching. Those were some fun times spent at the Ballpark watching what amounted to home run derby. But what the Rangers have been able to put together this year is something magical. I have so many great memories of not only the Ballpark in Arlington, but old Arlington Stadium as well.  All of my childhood memories of going to baseball games are from the old stadium to see the likes of Buddy Bell, Tobby Harrah, Gary Ward, Pete O’Brien, and the great Nolan Ryan.

There may be better times ahead with more memorable moments, but for now and the foreseeable future, Eric Nadel’s call of the final out will be etched into my memory.  The call come courtesy of Jamey Newberg of the Newberg Report and Mike Disen of KRLD Radio.

Rangers/Rays Game 5- Final Out

I really only get goose bumps when I hear one other call from baseball — the 1992 NLCS Game 7 call from Skip Carey.

I was happy for a lot of people after the win.  Josh Hamilton who has fought back after derailing his career with drugs and alcohol.  Manager Ron Washington who earlier this year was put on the hot seat after the report came out that he tested positive for drugs.  Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg who took over control of the team from former owner and perhaps the most hated man in Dallas, Tom Hicks. But there is no doubt that I am happiest for Michael Young.  He is the quintessential professional, and through his career in Arlington he has been through a lot.  He moved to SS when they traded Aroid.  He moved to 3B when the team felt Elvis Andrus could help the team, and through it all he has not only been a professional but one of the best hitters in the game.

I don’t really even know what to say.  I really wish I was still in Dallas so I could go to the airport to greet the team when they come home.  It’s just not the same watching the games here early in the mornings by myself.  I do at least have Twitter (@baseballjourney), and I am able to text some friends from home during the game.  But I would love to be in Dallas soaking up the atmosphere.

Now the Rangers must take on the hated Yankees, and I think this series will be a wild one.  I have to say I have never been more confident of our ability to win a series, and that all comes from the pitching staff.

Game 1 starts Friday.  Get your antlers, claws, and boomsticks ready!

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