THE NEWBERG REPORT — AUGUST 14, 2007

Thirty-one.

It’s the number of home runs Chris Davis has this year.

Seven in his first 13 Frisco games, after 24 Bakersfield bombs in less than four months.

The 21-year-old is in his first full pro season and is headed toward becoming the organization’s minor league player of the year. Davis was leading the California League in home runs and in RBI (93) and hitting .298/.340/.573 when he was promoted at the end of July. He’s a .386/.462/.932 hitter in 44 AA at-bats.

Nobody in the minor leagues has more than Davis’s 109 RBI, and only Alex Rodriguez (114) has more professionally. And Davis is drawing walks at three times a greater rate in Frisco than he walked in Bakersfield.

Thirty-one is also the age over which you were demonstrably over the hill if you attended last night’s Guitar Hero charity tournament at the House of Blues, hosted by C.J. Wilson, featuring Jason Botts and Wes Littleton, and benefiting Camp Ailihpomeh, the Texas Hemophilia Summer Camp. I had to buy a beer just to fend off the urge to fix myself a nice tall glass of Metamucil.

It’s also the answer to 26 plus 5, an equation that signifies the Rangers’ number of signed selections from June’s draft and the number of key unsigned picks. It’s the eleventh hour for Texas to come to terms with righthander Blake Beavan (first round), center fielder Julio Borbon (supplemental first), righthander Neil Ramirez (supplemental first), center fielder Garrett Nash, and lefthander John Gast.

The signing deadline is tomorrow night at 11 p.m., but the Rangers have already said that they won’t agree to terms with a player who hasn’t submitted to a physical, and so the clock is ticking.

Of the remaining unsigned picks, the ones whose names were the most intriguing to me on draft day — and understand that this is based only on what I’ve read, not at all on any sort of firsthand scouting assessment — were Austin high school outfielder Kevin Keyes, California high school righthander Kyle O’Campo, and New Jersey high school righthander Anthony Ranaudo.

Thirty-one is probably about how many Stuckey’s convenience stores (do they still exist?) righthander Michael Main passed on his road trip from Surprise to Spokane, having been promoted from the Arizona League to the Northwest League after 12.2 innings of work (two runs on nine hits and six walks, with 16 strikeouts). He’s well ahead of Beavan on the developmental track by virtue of having signed quickly.

And 31 still means ice cream, of course, and I’m betting we’ll celebrate Max’s third birthday tonight with a bunch of it, followed by some wiffle ball — I’m Ian Kinsler, albeit on the mound, and he’s, of course, Michael Young — and a little Rangers-Royals before we call it a night.

When I was eight years old I used to love turning groundball double plays in the yard or on the fields with my friends. Campy to Bump to Hargrove.

When Max turns eight, I’m thinking Chris Davis will be on the receiving end of his sandlot double plays.

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

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