NEWBERG REPORT PLUS — JULY 25, 2007
I gave Mark Teixeira a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning, knowing it might be his last game in Rangers white. The screamer he rifled off of Adrian Beltre’s body probably left a mark, but it was hit with such velocity that Beltre had time to recover and get Teixeira out at first.
I rose to my feet again when, in the top of the eighth, Teixeira leaped and snared Michael Young’s jump throw from the hole and tagged Kenji Johjima out in one motion. It might have been his final highlight play at home as a Rangers defender, fittingly done in tandem with Young, who might be the greatest teammate Teixeira ever has, regardless of where he plays next.
The look on Teixeira’s face as he met Young and Joaquin Benoit and Gerald Laird at the mound after the 27th out was not one of a guy who was thinking about whether it might be his last such moment in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, but rather the look of a player on a team that had just completed a sweep of a team that couldn’t afford to get swept. The look I’m sure he had after a Little League win or one at Mt. St. Joseph’s or Georgia Tech or Team USA or Charlotte or Tulsa.
It was the same look on Kenny Lofton’s face as he strode in to join the celebration, holding onto the ball that he’d squeezed to end the game, yet another one-run win that wouldn’t have been but for his own two-run home run in the third and run-scoring single in the fifth. He had to know, in the back of his mind, that his days as a Ranger might be numbered as well.
The Rangers next play at home on August 6, and it’s entirely possible – maybe even likely – that a couple key components of this team won’t be back here with them.
It’s a thought I can’t quite get my head wrapped around right now, especially in Teixeira’s case, but as my team packs its bags for Kansas City – or maybe somewhere else, in the case of some of the guys – all I can think about right now is buckling in for what could be a critical six days in terms of the long-term prospects of this organization.