The RBE era begins.

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Friday the
Thirteenth:

Exorcise Yanks
finale,

Massacre Boston

 

And to further commemorate the spirit of the day: Here comes
Chucky.

 

Yesterday morning, every Major League owner approved the
sale of the Rangers to the investment group headed by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan
Ryan and financially backboned by Bob Simpson and Ray Davis.  It was a
welcome moment of unanimity, and finality, completing a lengthy process that
had so little of either. 

 

Tonight’s series opener against Boston will mark the first
official game of the Rangers Baseball Express era, but before that Greenberg
will announce various ballpark initiatives focused on improving the fan
experience, improvements that he and the ownership group were probably ready to
put in place Opening Day. 

 

Fortunately, the atmosphere tonight and this weekend will
feel in some ways like Opening Day, in other ways even better.  The annual
promise of a great season is still there nearly three-quarters of the way
through, and for once the confidence is justified, not ridiculed. 
Attendance is spiking, viewership is breaking local records, and the buzz is
swelling. 

 

I’m sure the team is more resilient and more forgetful than
I am, and was able to erase Wednesday night’s mess from short-term memory on
yesterday’s day off.  A lousy loss is still just a loss, and even the best
teams in baseball lose more than a couple games a week, on average.  I need
to keep reminding myself of that.

 

I looked back this morning on what I’d led off with on
August 13 in past years of doing the Newberg Report:

 

        
1998: Julio Santana’s impressive run of starts for Tampa Bay
and a great Oklahoma start by current RedHawks pitching coach Terry Clark

        
1999: Promotions for Danny Kolb (Texas), Corey Lee (AAA),
and Hank Woodman (AA)

        
2000: Gabe Kapler breaking the franchise hit streak record

        
2001: The awfulness of the (Rob) Bell Curve

        
2002: The Union’s decision not to set a strike date

        
2003: A great Juan Dominguez start (in a game that Texas
lost, dropping the club to 20 games back in the West)

        
2004: Didn’t write (Max was born the next day)

        
2005: Didn’t write (but the day before: “What an awful
baseball week.  You go into Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium and score 26
runs in four games and lose every one of them,” and a reminder that the front
office had preached “managed expectations” over the winter)

        
2006: A recounting of the 1996 Dave Valle clubhouse story

        
2007 (two weeks after the trades of Mark Teixeira, Eric
Gagn, and Kenny Lofton): A photo of John Danks, Chris Young, and Thomas
Diamond from a 2005 Newberg Report event, and how whatever we might have
envisioned then about the 2007 season turned out dead wrong

        
2008: A recap of one of the two of three greatest minor
league games I’d ever seen pitched – a Derek Holland effort for Frisco that
night with a line score that looks in retrospect like a Cliff Lee start (other
than those Holland 97′s that lit up the radar guns)

        
2009: How well the Rangers’ number seven, eight, and 10
starters (Holland, Tommy Hunter, and Dustin Nippert) pitched in the previous
three games

 

A lot of mid-August attempts to distract myself from what
was going on with the big club.  Not necessary this year. 

 

It’s pretty cool that whatever Rangers Baseball Express
rolls out today won’t be gimmicks to try and get people to think about coming
out to the Ballpark, but instead improvements for those who are already filling
the stadium and anyone else ready to jump on board for should be a memorable
stretch run.

 

Speaking of which, Jeff & Cindy Kuster, on behalf of the
Hello Win Column Fund, are making available 128 tickets to upcoming Rangers games
in a fundraising effort to help a local family that has been touched by a
battle with cancer.  They will use the money raised from the sale of these
tickets, along with money raised at Newberg Night last month, to help single
mother Maria Aldana and her four children find a new home.  Maria was
diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2008 and has been undergoing
treatment.  Her present home is in such poor shape that the costs to
repair it would exceed the value of the home. 

 

The Kuster’s are selling the tickets (face value $70) for
$50 each, with the full amount going to the Hello Win Column Fund.  All
the seats are located in the Lexus Club Infield (Sections 222-230).  Here
are the available games:

 

Thursday, August 26 vs. Minnesota at 7:05 PM: 8 Tickets

Friday, August 27 vs. Oakland at 7:05 PM (Postgame
Fireworks): 8 Tickets

Saturday, August 28 vs. Oakland at 7:05 PM (Mercy Me Pregame
Concert): 48 tickets

Tuesday, September 14 vs. Detroit at 7:05 PM: 8 Tickets

Wednesday, September 15 vs. Detroit at 7:05 PM: 8 Tickets

Thursday, September 30 vs. LA Angels at 7:05 PM: 8 Tickets

Friday, October 1 vs. LA Angels at 7:05 PM (Postgame
Fireworks): 24 Tickets

Saturday, October 2 vs. LA Angels at 7:05 PM: 8 Tickets

Sunday, October 3 vs. LA Angels at 2:05 PM: 8 Tickets

 

If you’re interested, email Jeff at Jeff@hellowincolumn.com.  Let
him know what date and how many tickets you would like and he’ll let you know whether
the tickets are still available and details on how to pay.  

 

In the meantime, Jarrod Saltalamacchia comes to town tonight
as the latest member of the Darnell McDonald-Ryan Kalish-Daniel Nava Big Boston
Debut Club, after doubling twice in four at-bats yesterday (he’d entered
Wednesday’s game as a late-inning defensive replacement).  If he gets
tonight’s start, he’ll catch Josh Beckett and face Hunter, who joined the
Rangers organization two weeks before Saltalamacchia did back in July of 2007,
a month of renewed hope for a franchise that’s now turning hope into promise.

 

Tonight will be another symbolic moment in that process, as
Greenberg and Ryan and Simpson and Davis take their seats as official owners of
the team, seats in a building that will be almost fully occupied not because of
anything happening off the field (in fact, despite it), but because of what
this baseball team has proven these last four and a half months that it is, and
just might be.

 

 

===========================================================

 

To join the free Newberg Report mailing list so you can get
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recaps, and frequent Newberg Report News Flashes, go to
www.newbergreport.com
and click the “Mailing List” link on the top menu bar.

 

 

(c) Jamey Newberg

http://www.newbergreport.com

Twitter  @newbergreport

 

1 Comment

Hi Newberg,
I cannot beleive all this hype about Saltalamacchia and why did the Red Sox sign him. He always seemed to be the player with the worst attitude when he was playing for the Rangers. He was only in it for himself and didn’t care that much for our people. So why would the Red Sox sign him?

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