Tag Archive | "Texas Rangers"

Manic Monday – Walk Off Brawl?


I have seen walk off home runs, walk off walks, walk off passed balls, you name it and I have seen it, except this.  In a Memorial Day Single-A game between the Bakersfield Blaze and the Visalia Rawhide, the game erupted in a donnybrook.

With the game tied 1-1 in the 10th inning, Engel Beltre (a Texas Ranger prospect) hits a walk off home run to right field.  This marked the start of a one minute seven second trot around the bases.  As he nears 3rd base, he begins jawing with some of the unhappy Rawhide players.  A full on fight breaks out before he can touch home plate.  It didn’t seem as though Beltre was as interested in scoring as he was in participating in the fight.  The video is below.

Beltre finally finishes his romp around the bases with a one finger salute to the Rawhide team as he touches home.  Beltre was acquired in the Eric Gagne deal from Boston in 2007.  Seven players have been suspended for the altercation, including a 5 game stint for Beltre.

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June 1 Surprises


I was looking at the standings and box scores from June 1st and a few things stood out to me. I can’t really decide what is the most surprising out of all of this too, so I want your help. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

1. Teams in 1st place include Atlanta, Cincinnati, San Diego, Texas and Tampa Bay
or
2. Troy Glaus’ stats .277/9/40/.452 vs. Ryan Howard .280/9/35/.454
or
3. Anything else that has really surprised you. There seem to be quite a few.

On a Braves related note, just how good can Jason Heyward be? He is already in the top 10 in RBI, slugging, OPS, and OBP. He is a star in the making and I am glad there is someone to take over for Chipper when he is gone. The Braves have been lacking that person ever since Chipper started his decline.

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Hello Win Column!


I have been looking into adding some regular posts and figured I would start with a segment I will call, Hello Win Column!  This will be a periodical look at the standings, power rankings, and other things such as great wins.

This week I thought I would take a look at the standings for the first 36 games (22.2% of the season).  So let’s go through division by division and see where the surprises and disappointments are.

AL East

I think here we have one of the biggest surprises so far.  The Tampa Bay Rays are not only in first place, but have the best record in baseball.  Now don’t get me wrong, in no way is them having a good record surprising.  I think everyone felt this team would contend, but I don’t think they thought this team would play this good so far.  The Yankees are right behind the Rays which is not surprising, but the order of the next two teams is.  Toronto, with hot hitting Vernon Wells, is in 3rd while Boston is struggling around .500 in 4th.  The Red Sox are scoring runs, but giving up more.  And with little fanfare the Orioles are in the basement of the East with the worst record in baseball.

AL Central

Before the season I felt this division was wide open.  So far it is a two team race that could come down to the wire.  Right now the Twins lead Detroit by 1.5 games.  This could stay like this for most of the year, but don’t count out Chicago getting back in the race later on in the season.  I wouldn’t put must stock into K.C. or Cleveland as they will vie for the cellar here.

AL West

Another wide open race to begin the year, it is shaping up to be a three team race.  It could be wide open come summer with all four teams looking to take the division, but I don’t see Seattle getting back in it.  Right now the Rangers lead the West by 2 over Oakland.  I look for the Rangers to win this division, but it should be a good race all year long.

NL East

Philly is the class of the division here.  I am not sure what is more surprising, Atlanta in last place or Washington in 2nd.  I don’t think the Braves will end up in the cellar, at least not with the Mets in the division.  Philly is clearly the head of the class here and should have no real issues winning the East.

NL Central

One of the bigger surprises in the NL is Cincinnati.  They trail the Cardinals by only .5 game.  In the long run I think the Cards will take the Central, but it will be a fun summer if the Reds can make it a race in the end.  They are young and exciting to watch.  Mike Leach is on his way to a great season.  I would say ROY if Jason Heyward wasn’t in the race as well.  No big surprise that the Astros, Cubs, Pirates, and Brewers aren’t in the race for now.  Unless there are some changes I don’t see any of them contending.

NL West

The biggest surprise in the NL to me is the Padres leading the West.  I think everyone thought that the Dodgers and Giants would compete for the division here. The Dodgers are on a winning streak, but have lost one of their better players to a broken finger in Andre Ethier.  In the end this division will be wide open.  Look for the Dodgers, Rockies, Padres, and Giants to all contend.  In the end I like the pitching of the Giants, but don’t count anyone out.

I look forward to the next month and a half to see where we are come All-Star break.  I do think we will see some changes in the division leaders by then.  It is shaping up to be a great summer of baseball.

For those of you who didn’t grow up listening to Ranger games, the title of this may not have much meaning.  Mark Holtz was the radio play-by-play announcer from 1982 to 1994, then he moved into the television booth until 1997.  After every Ranger win, Holtz would display his signature phrase, “Hello Win Column!”

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Baseball Salaries vs Values


I was recently sent a story from Forbes about the value of MLB teams, and I started to wonder how that list corresponded to the salary list.  So let’s take a look at the top 10 most valuable MLB franchises according to Forbes.

Top 10 MLB Team Values

Home Plate at the Ballpark in Arlington

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. New York Mets
  4. Los Angeles Dodgers
  5. Chicago Cubs
  6. Philadelphia Phillies
  7. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  8. St. Louis Cardinals
  9. San Fransisco Giants
  10. Chicago White Sox

The top 5 on the list out distance the rest of the clubs by a long shot.  The Yankees weight in at $1.6 billion with the Red Sox in 2nd at $870 million.  A big drop off is seen after #5.  The Cubs come in at $726 million, but there is nearly a 200 million drop off to #6 in Philadelphia. So how does this translate to salary levels?  Below is the top 10 MLB salaries according to cbssports.com.

Top 10 MLB Team Salaries*

*bold teams on both lists
  1. New York Yankees
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. Chicago Cubs
  4. Philadelphia Phillies
  5. New York Mets
  6. Detroit Tigers
  7. Chicago White Sox
  8. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  9. Seattle Mariners
  10. San Francisco Giants

Only 2 teams valued in the top 10 by Forbes are not on the list of the top 10 salaries for 2010 (Los Angeles Dodgers & St. Louis Cardinals).  The Dodgers come in at #12 on the salary list, while the Cardinals come in at #13.   The Seattle Mariners (#14 on the Forbes list) and the Detroit Tigers (#22 on the Forbes list) are the only teams not in the top 10 of value that are in the top 10 in salary.

So we can see that the majority of the highest valued teams also have the highest payrolls, but it is the same with the lower valued teams?

Bottom 10 MLB Teams in Value according to Forbes

  1. Baltimore Orioles
  2. Detroit Tigers
  3. Milwaukee Brewers
  4. Kansas City Royals
  5. Cincinnati Reds
  6. Toronto Blue Jays
  7. Florida Marlins
  8. Tampa Bay Rays
  9. Oakland Athletics
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates

This really isn’t too surprising a list.  Most of these teams have not won for many years.  Despite a few having new stadiums, more are playing in older parks built at least 15 years ago.  But how does it translate to salaries.

Bottom 10 MLB Teams in Salary*

*bold teams on both lists
  1. Tampa Bay Rays
  2. Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Washington Nationals
  4. Cleveland Indians
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks
  6. Florida Marlins
  7. Texas Rangers
  8. Oakland Atletics
  9. San Diego Padres
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates

Most of the teams down at the bottom of Forbes list in terms of value are on the list of the lowest payrolls.  I find it interesting to see how the two list compare with one another.  For the most part a team with low value has low payroll and vice-versa.  There are however exceptions to the rule.  Detroit is a lower valued team but is spending.  The Texas Rangers are a higher valued team (#12) but are not spending much on payroll.  Of course, they are going through an ownership change that can’t come quick enough.  There will always be exceptions, but as a general rule it looks as though the higher the value team, the more spent on payroll.

Perhaps the most telling sign is the difference between the Yankees at #1 and the Pirates at #30.  The Yankees payroll comes in at just over $206 million, while the Pirates top out at just under $35 million.  When you break it down per player that is $8.2 million to $1.2 million.  There are all sorts of stats that simply blow you away like how the top 4 individual player salaries are all Yankees.  Their salary added up for this year is more than 21 teams.  I really can’t think of how that is good for baseball.

So, does this money spent translate into wins?

The biggest favorites for a World Series title this year come from the teams that are on the list of the higher payrolls.  Looking at possible playoff teams from the lower third of the payroll, you can still find one or two possible playoff teams, but none that you would expect to contend for a World Series title.   This has got me thinking about what teams have won in the playoffs being in the bottom third of league salary levels.  I am going to do some research and get back to you on that.

What are your thoughts on these lists?  I have some more thoughts on salaries, but I will save that for later.

The two lists that I used.

The Forbes.com List of Baseball Team Values

CBSsports.com MLB Salaries List

20. Kansas City Royals $72,267,710 $2,491,990
21. Tampa Bay Rays $71,923,471 $2,663,832
22. Toronto Blue Jays $62,689,357 $2,089,645
23. Washington Nationals $61,425,000 $2,047,500
24. Cleveland Indians $61,203,967 $2,110,482
25. Arizona Diamondbacks $60,718,167 $2,335,314
26. Florida Marlins $55,641,500 $2,060,796
27. Texas Rangers $55,250,545 $1,905,191
28. Oakland Athletics $51,654,900 $1,666,287
29. San Diego Padres $37,799,300 $1,453,819
30. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Opening Day Disappointment


When I first got to South Korea I was very excited to find out that a 7 pm MLB game back home would be a late morning start here.  I thought this was great.  I don’t go to work till 2pm, so that would mean I could catch a game before work.  After doing a little digging, it turns out that South Korea is one of 3 countries where live games on mlb.tv are blacked out until 90 minutes after the game ends.  Okay so that means I just have to stay off the baseball sites during work and watch a game after work.  I am usually up until 3 or 4am anyway.

Well this all started well last night.  After work on Monday, I picked up some dinner and came home to catch the Red Sox/Yankees game.  It was nice to see the opening game and even nicer to see the Yankees lose.  It’s always a good day when the Yankees are in last place, even if it is after only 1 game.  It was a good game too.  The Yankees start of strong but the Red Sox come back late to take game 1.

With many of the games played on Monday during the day, it meant I could catch a game before work on Tuesday since they would finish in time for me to watch the archived game.  I was excited this morning when my alarm went off.  I knew I would soon be watching the Braves game, but that was not to be.  Opening day is a big deal to me.  I am like a kid at Christmas.  I used to take the day off every year so I could either go to the Rangers game, or watch as much as I could on TV.  They should not only get rid of the DH, but they should also make Opening Day a national holiday.

So, I get up this morning ready to watch the Braves start the season off.  This is the best I have felt about the team in years.  I really think they can compete for a playoff spot, and they have the chance to do some damage once they get there.  My excitement was quickly foiled.  MLB.tv is down this morning.  Nobody is able to watch live or archived games.  Meaning thousands of fans overseas and at home cannot watch games like they planned.  Of all the days not to have the site working, Opening Day has to be the worst.

I am still holding off to watch the Braves game till after work tonight.  I broke down and saw the Ranger highlights and that looked like a great game.  The Rangers were no-hit for 6 1/3 innings and then pulled off a 9th inning comeback to win the game with a bases loaded walk off single from Salty.  That’s a great way to start the year off.  I hope they continue winning and make their way into the playoffs for the first time since in over a decade.

Get your act together MLB.tv.  I am really going to be hot if I get home from work in 9+ hours and still can’t watch the Braves game.  The hardest part will be going the 9+ hours without seeing the score.

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Spring is in the Air and So is Baseball


So the other day I am looking over some stories from MLB Spring Training, and I am getting excited about the new additions to my two favorite teams the Braves and Rangers.  The Braves have fallen on hard times after 14 straight division titles, and the Rangers have struggled for some time to make the playoffs.  Will this be the year they get back to the promised land?

This winter the Braves made a few changes with some notable additions and one notable subtraction.  Gone in a trade with the Yankees is Javier Vasquez.  In return the Braves picked up Melky Cabrera and a few pitching prospects.  Most notable is Arodys Vizcaino a top pitching prospect in the Yankees farm system.  The Braves had an arm to spare with Hudson returning to action.  Vazquez had a great season last year, but with one more arm than needed the Braves had wiggle room to make a deal.  The rotation still looks solid with Lowe, Hudson, Jurrjens, Hanson, and Medlen/Kawakami battling it out for the 5th spot. 

What the Braves needed last year was offense and power to be specific.  Hopefully with the additions of Glaus, Cabrera, and Hinske the Braves will have a little bit more power.  Cabrera has the potential to put up around 20 HRs.  If Glaus can stay healthy and get back near his old form, he will provide the much needed protection to Chipper in the cleanup hole.  The addition of Hinske shouldn’t be overlooked either.  He is a solid role player who can fill in at different positions and provide some power off the bench.  Add in a young Heyward who might make the team out of spring training and this could be an exciting season.

I am really excited about the prospects for the Braves this year.  Some of our key players are getting a bit old though and need to stay healthy.  A nice rebound year for Chipper is a key as well and if he can get someone hitting behind hime again, I think that is exactly what we will see.

The Rangers made some interesting moves in the AL as well.  Adding the biggest Ranger killer of them all over the past decade in Vladimir Guerrero  was a good start.  He is relegated to DH duty now with bad knees but he can still hit and will provide some protection in the middle of the order.  With Marlon Byrd now a Cub, the Rangers are still looking at a crowded outfield.  With the speedy Borbon in CF, Hamilton in LF, and Cruz in RF the Rangers look like they have a solid foundation.  Add in a nice lefty in Murphy and Ron Washingon will have plenty of players to spread ABs to.  Offensively I am confident in the Rangers.  Michael Young is coming off one of his best seasons.  Kinsler looks to rebound and won’t be saddled with hitting leadoff the entire season.  Elvis Andrus is only going to get better, and Hamilton now has some protection behind him in Bad Vlad.  There are still some questions with health in Hamilton, and a question of how will Chris Davis rebound from last season.  If Davis can continue to hit like he did after his call up late last year, he will be a solid addtion to the bottom of the order. 

The pitching staff is another question all together.  I like where they are headed, but I am not sure they are where they need to be just yet.  How will Feldman hold up under the preasure of being the Ace?  And how will everyone else fall in behind him?

I was really looking forward to watching some games online via MLB.com, but I was really disappointed when I found out that South Korea is one of only a few countries that live games are blackedout in.  I can still watch them as archived games, but not sure I can go 12 hours and not know the scores.  I’ll have to see what other alternatives I have to watching games.

Less than 3 weeks till opening day in Korea, and 4 weeks till the first pitch in the MLB.  Spring is in the air and it’s almost time to hear those 2 little words that mean so much, “Play Ball!” 

‘Till next time,

The Baseball Journeyman

TBJM

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There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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