The game can fire you
up, and punch you in the gut.  It can forge your belief in the strength of
numbers, and just as easily blindside you with something you could never have

Like Erik Bedard, staked
to an early 5-0 lead, failing to hold it and falling to 0-1, 5.79 against
Texas in three
2008 starts – after coming into the season as a lifetime 4-1, 2.42 pitcher
against the Rangers.  The dramatic transformation in the Rangers’ approach
against Bedard, forcing him regularly into high pitch counts, is every bit as
big as the impact that the unconventional infield shift the club employs against
Vlad Guerrero.

Like Cha Seung Baek
continuing to deal against this team: he’s now 4-0, 3.38 against Texas in his big league
career, and 6-9, 5.44 against everyone else.

Like Josh Hamilton and
Milton Bradley, in the space of four pitches, hitting two of them a combined 857

Like Doug Mathis, a day
after getting an unexpected call to the big leagues, calmly throwing nine
pitches and emerging from the dugout to join the home plate scrum with a major
league victory to his credit.

The game, if you let it,
can bring out the worst in you, and the best.  It’s inspiring and depressing and
relentless and good.

And in the end, it
rewards you for hanging in there.

From the May 9 Newberg

chose Mark DeRosa as the utility infielder on my all-time Rangers team in this
week’s column, but Ramon Vazquez is in the conversation.  That guy can
play on my team any day.  He’s not an everyday player, but there’s not one facet
of the game that he embarrasses himself in.”

Sure am glad he was
playing on my team tonight.


You can read more from Jamey Newberg at

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