Thoughts on the book release party.
This is where I beg off, like I do most years, from writing up a Newberg Report event in much detail, on the theory that if you were there, you don’t need a recap, and if you weren’t, it would be sort of difficult to describe what went down — especially since I’m always on fumes after the week of getting the book back from the printer, packaging a few hundred for shipping, setting up for the party, riding a heavy supply of adrenaline to get through it all (including my real job), and then sitting here in this chair as the evaporation of all that adrenaline has me absolutely wiped out.
Let me share a couple things, though.
Thanks to all of you who were there. We guessed that 400-500 showed (though one person from Sherlock’s suggests to me that I’m light on that estimate), but in any event it’s more than twice the showing that we’ve ever had at a book party. I greatly appreciate the support.
Some people have an ability to say things that you wouldn’t necessarily expect, to give interesting answers without sleepwalking through clichés.
Others have a knack for getting it right. For “getting it.”
Michael Young has both.
It’s his stature as a human being that makes me as big a fan of his baseball career as I am. I couldn’t be more proud that he’s the player my kids consider their baseball hero (or in one case, his hero).
I wrote this a year ago, after the last book release party:
“Forgive me if this borders on sacrilege, but [Chris] Davis reminds me of Tony Romo. He’s confident but not brash, has that self-deprecating sense of humor (‘You might have noticed I have no problem talking ― I’m the guy who everyone tells to shut up before I can get to my point’), and is always smiling. Davis is magnetic, and there’s nothing off-putting about him. He’s a leader.”
Wait a couple years, when Davis is as far into his career as Ian Kinsler. Leader. Leader. Leader.
I also got it straight from the source last night: The creator of “Crush” Davis is apparently typing this sentence.
But back to the important stuff: Ask anyone who was there last night what kind of impression Davis made on them. It’ll be as if they’re all reading from the same script.
Funny thing about Derek Holland. He’s got this “Aw, shucks” manner, and I’m telling you: it’s not humility. That’s not to say that the 22-year-old isn’t humble — he is — but I’ve gotten to know hundreds of players in the last 10 years, and I don’t think there’s anyone who has ever been as . . . how do I say this? . . . .
This kid really has absolutely no idea how big a deal he is. It almost seems confusing to him: he’s out there loving the game, doing his job, working his tail off, and getting (very) good results. But when he saw the cover of the book last night, he probably figured I had about 200 different covers made, one for each Rangers minor leaguer.
One of the night’s Grant Schiller questions during the Q&A was for Holland: “What was the most challenging thing about playing at three different levels in five months?” Holland’s answer: “When I got to Frisco, it was amazing how much better AA hitters are than Class A hitters. How much more patient they are. That was tough.”
Holland gave up three earned runs in 46.2 AA innings (regular season plus playoffs). Three earned runs in seven starts.
Yeah, that was tough.
You know that optical illusion that looks like a duck looking to the left, no, a rabbit looking to the right, no, a duck, no, a rabbit? Taylor Teagarden has this look in his eyes (even in recovery from successful Tuesday LASIK surgery) that you can convince yourself is no-nonsense, all business, totally focused. Or, maybe, as you think about it some more, is actually the look of someone guarding a secret that everyone is in on but you.
It’s hard for to put this into words, but it struck me as exactly the look I want out of my catcher.
And then there’s Jeff Zimmerman.
Zimmerman, who cursed me this summer for bringing all those memories back to him with a column I wrote, those days he’d been trying for years to forget, and who then, giving in, agreed not only to write what I consider the greatest foreword of the 19 written for my 10 books — basically a tribute to Rangers fans and the Metroplex in general — but also to fly in from Vancouver with his family to be at last night’s event.
What more is there to say than has been said since he arrived on the scene 10 years ago? Few have experienced greater highs or greater lows in this organization, but Zimmerman is as even-keeled and humble and self-deprecating and genuine as they come, and just being around him — whether you’re a Rangers fan or, I suspect, a former teammate or a college buddy or a family member — feels like a privilege.
The players, as they always are, were great with all the kids and their parents who came last night. Inspiring.
Thank you to Eleanor Czajka and Devin Pike. The best.
And to Sherlock’s Pub and Grill, particularly Adrianne and Steve and Tabitha and Stacy.
Thanks to Taunee Taylor and Jenny Martin and Kate Jett and Rush Olson from the Rangers. And to the Marines for their presence, and your contribution of five huge boxes of toys, plus two brand new bicycles, toward the Rangers’ Toys for Tots Drive — which continues tonight at the Ballpark. Please consider taking new, unwrapped toys to the Ballpark to help some needy kids in North Texas experience the joy of the holidays.
And thank you to the 41 of you who asked Erica and Max to autograph page 276. (I know the number is accurate because they were keeping a very proud count as the night went along.) That means a lot to Ginger and me.
Soon I’ll have some links with photographs from the event, plus a few blogs and message board threads discussing what went down. Thanks for a great time.
A few more things:
Josh and Katie Hamilton were at the White House this morning to participate in a roundtable meeting on drug use reduction (through prevention, treatment, and enforcement) hosted by President Bush. The Hamiltons were asked to share their story about the challenges of drug addiction and how Josh is overcoming it.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Ben Sheets “had his house in Dallas for sale but took it off the market, perhaps in anticipation of striking a deal with the Rangers.” Melvin believes the Yankees and Rangers are the two teams most squarely in on Sheets — and of course New York, having signed C.C. Sabathia and seeking one more free agent starter, is targeting several others besides Sheets as well.
The Rangers and the organization’s charitable foundation will actively participate in ABC’s latest “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” project, the building of a new home for an amazing Keller, Texas family, Amber and Peter Augustin and their kids.
Victor Rojas is leaving the Rangers’ radio broadcast for a high-profile position with the new MLB Network, which launches January 1. He’ll be a studio host on the live MLB Tonight and Hot Stove programs.
Happy for Victor. Sad for me.
Pittsburgh is zeroing in on a two-year deal with Ramon Vazquez.
Trading a catcher to Florida for outfielder Jeremy Hermida makes no sense to me unless the reason was to flip Hermida right away to a club that has a pitcher we want.
You should have received a Meetings-ending Rule 5 Draft update from Scott Lucas in your mailbox by now. Good day for Texas.
That’s all I’ve got in me today. Thanks again for making last night
Back with more as baseball developments warrant.