Thoughts on the Rangers

Laura and
I went to our first game of the season last night and watched the Rangers’ 6th
inning rally fall just short of the Devil Rays, giving us a record of 4-5. We’re
only nine games in, but I’m going to put a couple of thoughts and predictions
out there to see how true or false they prove to be.

1. Ditch Brad
Wilkerson

I will
freely admit that I resented him from the start since he was in the trade with Washington when we lost Soriano, but he has
done absolutely nothing to win me (or anyone else) over since he’s been here. He
is the strike-out king of the universe and as The Ranger Rundown points out here, he is also
the 0-2 count king of the universe as well. We went to a game last year and when
Brad came up to the plate at a key moment a guy a few rows back said, “Here
comes a strikeout.” I turned around and we had a chat about how inevitable it
was and what the heck is he still doing in the lineup. Sure enough, Brad
whiffed. At last night’s game, in the top of the 8th I looked up and
realized that if we went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 8th, then the
third hitter due up in the 9th would be none other than Brad
Wilkerson himself. It was a crushing realization…one of those things that you
just sort of “feel” that it is going to happen. Sure enough, 1-2-3 in the eighth and the first two
hitters in the 9th were retired, leaving us one run behind with two
outs in the bottom of the 9th and the game effectively over. After
being gifted a 3-0 count by a closer trying to get Brad to chase bad pitches,
he quickly ran the count up to 3-2. He then grounded out to second to end the
game.

We’ve
already got four other lefties in the lineup, so replacing him with either
Nelson Cruz or Jerry Hairston (both right-handed hitters) doesn’t hurt us.
Pulling Jason Botts (switch hitter) up from AAA Oklahoma City is also an
option.

Prediction:
Wilkerson will lose more and more playing time to Cruz, eventually being
replaced completely on the active roster by Botts. Brad will be the first
Ranger to lose his spot on the active roster, sooner than Sosa, because unlike
Slammin’ Sammy, he doesn’t bring anyone to the Ballpark.

2. Put
Kinsler in the Five (or Two) Spot

Ian
Kinsler is my favorite player on the team right now. I said on April 3rd
of last year
, “Laura and I miss Fonzee (Soriano) already, but hopefully the new
kid will be full of surprises. He wears #5 (mine and Larr’s number back in the
day) so that’s a good sign.” A good sign, indeed. He had a stellar year in ’06 and
is currently leading the team in HR, AVG, OBP and he’s just one behind Young in
RBI…and he’s hitting 9th! I say move him up to five and slide
everybody else down one position, or bat him 2nd and put Catalanotto
in the 5th.

3. “The
Ballpark” is Back

Ameriquest
(a sub-prime, predatory lender)
bought the naming rights in ’04 and The Ballpark in Arlington became Ameriquest Field. Boooo. In
March of this year, the Rangers announced that Ameriquest was giving up the
rights and the park would now be called The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Hooray!
I’ve heard some people say that this is temporary and that as soon as someone
else offers the club a couple million dollars a year to put their name on the
stadium then it’ll happen. As much as my cynicism towards the
over-commercialization of everything tends to believe this is true, I’d much
rather believe the front office when they say that the new (old) name is here
to stay.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Rangers”

  1. I never knew it was Ameriquest Field… of course I probably never went there when it was called that. Just to give you some hope that the front office will keep the name & not go with the big bucks… it was Texas Motor Speedway during Winston Cup & then no change after Nextel took over. I know it really isn’t comparing apples to apples but there may be a small ray of hope there somewheres… :)

  2. I just love going to the ballpark. I’ve never been to any others, so maybe it’s just my big, fat, Texas lovin’ heart that says it’s the cleanest, prettiest ballpark there is. For Larr’s birthday, Mom and Dad actually got him a couple of tickets for a Ranger game of his choice this season, so Larr picked one for the weekend of our anniversary in May when they’re playing the Red Sox! So we’re pretty excited about that. I enjoy watching baseball because, besides basketball, it’s the only other sport in which I actually understand what’s going on. I’ve officially written off football as a lost cause for me. Despite Larr’s best efforts to educate me, I just don’t get it.

  3. I want to go to a game with you Brian. I have always loved to play and watch baseball, but I don’t even know what the heck you are talking about in your post. You make it sound like an intense science!

  4. I’m with you Christi, it is a beautiful park. That’s great that you guys are going to the BoSox and I’m glad to know you’ll be able to follow! 😉 Laura is in the same boat with you on football…I don’t think she’s even going to try to figure it out this season :)
    Richard, yes, let’s go to a game; and yes, not only is baseball a beautiful science, it is also a geometric masterpiece. Scale and proportion, speed and accuracy, momentum and power all combining to create something more than sport.

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