Saturday, March 30, 2013

PLAY BALL! Let's Go Rangers!

"There are 108 beads on the Catholic Rosary and there are 108 stitches on a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance" - Annie Savoy

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If it has not become evident, while we write about all sports, our hearts are with baseball and to be more specific,Texas Ranger Baseball. Sunday night the Rangers open the season against the Houston Astros, the newest member of the American League West.

Unlike the last few seasons, the Rangers will truly have a new look. Michael Young is a Phillie, Mike Napoli is in Boston, Colby Lewis and Netfali Feliz are still on the shelf and of course, the story of the off-season, Josh Hamilton and his reality tv like career, signed with the Angels.

"Baseball is only a pastime, a sport, an entertainment, a way of blowing off steam. But it is also the national game, with an appeal to Americans of every race, color, creed, sex or political opinion. It unites Americans in the common cause of rooting for the home team." - Jackie Robinson

The beauty of opening day is that last year is forgotten and there are high hopes in every major league city. It is a day to forget about the past and talk about the future. So after six months of finding new ways to insult Hamilton, with an exception here or there, old JDaddy will do his best to move on and look at three key areas for the Rangers in 2013.

Read More after the break

Ron Washington

Washington lost control of the team in 2012. Not in the sense of a Bobby Valentine in Boston, but at key moments in 2012, when the team needed the old "Wash", we got a manager afraid of his key players, who held no one (outside of Derek Holland) accountable. Washington continued to give a powerless DH in Michael Young (8HR - 67 RBI's) at bats. 611 at bats! Roy Oswalt refused to pitch and all Washington could offer up was "go ask Oswalt". Finally after the entire free world knew that Hamilton needed to be dropped in the order, Washington moved him down for all of two games. This lack of control was a key factor in the melt down that was the Rangers at the end of the season. Washington can get it back, but if he refuses to take charge and be the boss, there will be, and should a new face in the dugout next year.


These four positions, even with the loss of Hamilton, collectively have a chance to be better in 2013. Ranger catchers batted .221 and the addition of Pierzynski should be an upgrade there.

Lance Berkman may not produce the power of Hamilton, but his ability to move Kinsler and Andrus around combined with overall quality AB's should off set some of the power loss. Of course this hinges on his staying healthy which was never a problem with Michael Young.

Mitch Moreland may be on the verge of a big year. Injuries in 2012 cost him half his season but his defense remains tremendous and another year playing regularly will help Moreland as much as any player in the lineup.

Another year, another Catcher. But this time the Rangers have AJ. The Rangers have long needed a Catcher who was not afraid the be an "on field" leader. Benji Molina was one, but none of his replacements, including the popular Napoli was a take charge player. That will not be the case with Pierzynski.

We saw a lot of Craig Gentry last year and have heard a lot about Leonys Martin in Center Field. One or both of these guys must up their games. They must get on base and score runs. While the spotlight may be on other better known names in the line-up, the play in Center may be the most pivotal. If they can't measure up, the Rangers may be going for a bat in the Summer.

Which brings us to;

Jon Daniels

It's his team baby! While Nolan Ryan is getting a taste of the Tom Landry treatment, Ranger's brass have obviously made the decision to go with JD.

There have easily been more hits than misses in his tenure. And while continuity has been an important part of Rangers success, bringing in Ryan Dempster and Roy Oswalt last year probably did more harm than good.

He must also re-establish the organization as being at the top of scouting and minor leagues. Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt, the two top minor leaguers again can't crack the opening day lineup. The club had to go out for a catcher and a quality hitter for DH.

But just as importantly, what will Daniels do in mid-season when the Rangers need to one key piece to drive for the post season. Will he be up to the challenge........ We have this sneaky suspicion he will.


The Rangers again should be contenders again for the whole enchilada. You know, Hambone might be right in that Ranger fans have become a little spoiled. But we want a winner! Most of us have suffered through those losing seasons and winning is much better.

Sunday night, I hope the winning starts again. And despite all the controversies, guaranteed contracts, $12 beer, and sports drinks strong enough to make your eyes stick together (one more shot... sorry)... I am reminded of Ray Kinsella when he turned to his wife and said "It's OK honey, I was just talking to the cornfield"............... Let's Go Rangers!


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