THE NEWBERG REPORT — JULY 13, 2006

Even a member of the national media paying just enough attention to the Rangers could tell you that Texas has a terrific shot to win the West if the following four realistic things happen with the offense:

1. Mark Teixeira has a better second half.
2. Brad Wilkerson has a better second half.
3. Gary Matthews Jr. proves his first half was no fluke.
4. Mark DeRosa proves his first half was no fluke.

Tonight:

1. Teixeira hit three home runs (nearly four) and drove in seven. Think those three days off with Leigh and Jack, followed by a trip to his hometown to kick off the second half, were exactly what he needed?
2. Wilkerson homered, doubled, drew two walks, and drove in four. Think that cortisone shot helped?
3. Matthews singled, reached on a hit-by-pitch, and scored twice, but his main contribution to the 15-1 rout was more spectacular defense in center field.
4. DeRosa reached bases in all six trips to the plate, hitting his fifth homer and three singles and adding two walks. He drove in three runs and scored three times.

It’s just one game.

And a helluva good way to pick up where this club left off on Sunday, when Teixeira and Matthews keyed a win over Johan Santana and the Twins.

This is probably a good time to issue a reminder, which I’ll lead into by first sharing with you something that Dallas Morning News beat writer Evan Grant wrote in his weekly “Inside the Rangers” feature yesterday:

“When you become a journalist, you stop being a fan. It doesn’t impact your enjoyment of the game, but it does affect your rooting interests. I’m there to cover the Rangers, good and bad. I can’t let myself get so caught up in the team that it makes me lose perspective of what I’m supposed to do.”

As for me, I will not stop being a fan. Whether I’m “covering” the Rangers is hard to say. I get caught up in pulling for this team, and I don’t think it makes me lose perspective, because what I’m “supposed to do” is not to remain objective, or to respect the inverted pyramid, or to be guided by journalistic canons.

I’m not a journalist. Never have been. I’m the most insane Rangers fan you know, and it’s always been a privilege that I don’t take for granted that I have this opportunity to clobber you with the excitement and the dejection that a baseball season always delivers and, unmistakably, the overreaction that I can’t help but engage in on both ends of that spectrum.

As I prepare to send this email, Oakland and Boston are knotted up at 3-3 in the 10th inning. When that game ends, the Rangers will share the division lead with the A’s or will be up on Oakland by a game. But because of the way the Rangers played baseball in Baltimore tonight, it feels better than that.

A return to form by Teixeira and Wilkerson, not to mention a possible pitching boost from Adam Eaton or Josh Rupe or Kameron Loe or C.J. Wilson or Frankie Francisco or a few of them, could provide the kind of impact that a trade deadline deal or two are counted on to provide.

And you can bet Jon Daniels will still make a deal.

A few days ago, as we headed into the All-Star Break with the defeat of Santana, I suggested we all relax for a few days, then buckle up.

Now floor it.

Melodramatically yours,
Jamey

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

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