Executing on the reg.

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Sometimes the less prominent moments stick out in your
head.  One of my favorite moments from the
greatness of “Eastbound & Down” was in the next to last episode, when Will
Ferrell’s Ashley Schaeffer character is seen in the background standing all alone
in the midst of a semi-riot at his own car dealership, swinging a bat around in
either a curious act of unnecessary self-defense or an unexpected opportunity to
find someone to tune up. 

 

Last night, the headline performances came from Vicente
Padilla, Chris Davis, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Eddie Guardado, and Josh Hamilton,
but the moment that I’m still thinking about this morning was Elvis Andrus’s second-inning
at-bat. 

 

After Saltalamacchia homered to open the inning and give Texas a 2-0 lead, Travis
Metcalf drew a walk and Andrus stepped in against Jon Garland for his first
at-bat.  Ron Washington started Metcalf with
the pitch, not because he thought he had a chance to steal a base – Metcalf has
no major league stolen bases in 80 games and none whatsoever since his
early-2007 stint with Frisco – but because he has a ninth-place hitter who has
the ability to put the ball in play on the right side, which can be a real
weapon for this offense when you can create RBI opportunities for Ian Kinsler, who’s
capable of doing more damage than most leadoff hitters.

 

Andrus rifled the pitch through the vacated hole at second base,
sending Metcalf to third and helping turn what for past Rangers offenses might
have been a one-run inning after the solo homer into a three-run frame.  Kinsler hit a sac fly to center, scoring
Metcalf.  Andrus stole second with David
Murphy at the plate.  After Murphy
fanned, Hamilton
doubled Andrus home. 

 

Saltalamacchia’s bomb and Hamilton’s double (basically a line drive to
the warning track hit so hard that Chris Young couldn’t get back quickly enough
to grab it) will make the MLB Network highlights, but Andrus’s execution is
what stood out for me.

 

He can do that.

 

Following up on my Sunday report, some clarification on the opt-out
dates for various non-roster candidates, according to T.R. Sullivan of
MLB.com.  Jason Jennings apparently has
an April 1 opt-out, not April 25 as had previously been reported.  Kris Benson’s opt-out date is May 5.  Guardado and Jimmy Gobble have April 3
opt-outs, and Omar Vizquel has an April 2 opt-out.  Brendan Donnelly’s comes up tomorrow, and
Derrick Turnbow’s is Tuesday.

 

Texas optioned Max Ramirez
to Oklahoma City.  He needs at-bats.  Coming off his Venezuelan Winter League Rookie
of the Year effort (.298/.391/.618, leading the league in home runs), he’s
gotten only 15 at-bats this spring, 10 in the World Baseball Classic and five
with the Rangers.

 

Hamilton,
as you’ve doubtlessly read in half a dozen places already, was “disappointed”
the Rangers’ initial long-term contract proposal.  The story is that negotiations are
underway.  The story is not that Hamilton and his agent
turned down the first offer.  Too much is
being made of his comment.  This is a
process.  It always is.

 

Tom Hicks, who owns 95 percent of the Rangers and the Stars,
is considering selling up 44 percent of each franchise to limited partners,
which would not affect his controlling interest in either club.  He reportedly anticipates ultimately owning
between 51 and 60 percent of each club.

 

According to multiple reports, Hicks does not expect former
President George W. Bush to become a minority owner, but he would like for
Nolan Ryan to do so.

 

President Bush has been asked to throw out the first pitch on
Opening Day.  He hasn’t yet confirmed
whether he’ll do so.

 

The third YouTube installment of me and Evan Grant tossing
around spring training issues last week, with Ted Price of Rangers Podcast in Arlington filming in HD, is
now up, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xC-dCdeGRk.
 

 

Karin Morris, Executive Director of the Texas Rangers Baseball
Foundation, asked me to pass along details about the Welcome Home Luncheon,
which will take place on Wednesday, April 8 (the day of the first night game of
the season), starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Arlington Convention Center.  Individual tickets are $50, and a table for
eight costs $500 – and will include a Rangers celebrity at your table.  Ryan, Jon Daniels, Ron Washington, and every
one of the Rangers players are expected to attend the luncheon, net proceeds of
which will benefit the Foundation. 

 

For tickets, call 817-436-5933 or go to

http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/tex/fan_forum/welcome_luncheon.jsp.
  

 

 

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

1 Comment

The fact that too much is being made over Josh Hamilton’s comment is EXACTLY why negotiations should not take place in public. I believe that statement was put out there to send a subtle message to the Rangers. The fans are not negotiating so that message can and easily will be taken wrong. I didn’t see a message from Rangers’ brass saying they made a generous offer to Josh Hamilton and he rejected it. These guys should be smart enough to know that perception, whether right or wrong, plays a huge role in how fans react. I say please negotiate in private and let us know when a deal is done or is not going to be done. MLB has a huge image problem and things like this do not help. You have pointed out that Mr. Hicks is not cutting budget and is willing to spend when necessary. However, the perception has been for years that Mr. Hicks doesn’t care about winning or the fans and he’s just in this to make money. Because of that perception, he is vilified by what’s left of the loyal fan base. In my opinion, the only thing that has prevented a total collapse of that fan base is the hiring of Nolan Ryan. And, Mr. Ryan knows how to communicate his hope and winning attitude to the fans and he has done it well. I believe that attitude has spread to the field and that gives us a lot of hope which we haven’t had around here lately.
Thanks for your work Mr. Newberg. I really enjoy your insight.

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