"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Get Your Texas Puns and References Ready

I’ve already called dibs on “One Riot, One Ranger” for if Cliff Lee pitches a complete game win against the Yankees.
The Texas Rangers have the reputation of being a pleasant and likeable clubhouse, which is not particularly helpful when going into a Championship Series — where, generally speaking, searing hatred and blind loathing add a bit of spice to the proceedings. But I’m sure once the games get going and the Rangers commit unspeakable acts like scoring against C.C. Sabathia, we’ll come up with some good material. In the meantime, I’ll continue to eye Texas warily as I try to size them up.
*First of all, I have to say I kind of like the whole claw-and-antler schtick; it’s fun, and endearing, although I suspect I might come to find it irritating sooner rather than later. (After all the Rally Monkey seemed kind of charming at first too, before the vicious flea-ridden miscreation showed its true face).
*I’m just a little wary of the Josh Hamilton Redemption Story, only because – through no fault of his own – it has been turned into the kind of too-neat media narrative that’s hard to take at face value. That said, the footage of his teammates giving him a ginger ale shower (link via HardballTalk) is decidedly heartwarming.
*There are some very good baseball names on these Rangers:
Esteban German
Elvis Andrus
Neftali Feliz
…and my favorite,
Dustin Nippert.
“Win one for the Nippert!,” I would often say, if I were a Rangers fan.
*They do, of course, come equipped with a Molina. Remember what we told you last week? BEWARE OF MOLINAS! I can almost guarantee that Bengie will hurt the Yankees in some unexpected way this series. Last night against Tampa, he stole a damn base. Brace yourselves.
*My feelings towards Vlad Guerrerro have always been, and continue to be, a mixture of admiration and terror.
*Jeff Francoeur! I cannot even think about Jeff Francoeur anymore without laughing, although since I pull for the Mets when they’re not playing the Yankees, it’s sort of a brittle little laugh. Jeff Francoeur is an extremely personable player and a fantastic quote, and is therefore beloved by beat writers… at least when he first arrives in town; eventually, the fact that he is just a terrible, terrible hitter overwhelms the affability. I wish Frenchy a long and happy life, full of joy, but preferably that life can take place far away from the lineups of my favorite teams.
So Francoeur has now outlasted his original team, the Braves, in the playoffs, and gets to play in NY in the postseason, just like he hoped while he was flailing at balls several feet off the plate for the Mets this past summer. (When Mariano Rivera uncharacteristically hit him with a pitch to force in a run towards the end of the season, many of my Mets fan friends marveled at the fact that Francouer had somehow managed not to swing at the ball that hit him.) Now that I’ve written this Frenchy may well end up with the key hit of the Series – but it won’t be my fault. It’ll be the fault of any Yankees pitcher that throws him a fastball within arm’s reach of the strike zone.
What do you guys like, or dislike, about the Rangers so far?

Categories:  Emma Span  Playoffs  Yankees

Tags:  ALCS  Texas Rangers

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1 monkeypants   ~  Oct 13, 2010 7:07 pm

I really like that Nolan Ryan has the balls, authority and conviction to challenge the prevailing pitch count dogma. I don't know if his organizational pitching philosophy will be proven viable or not (I sure hope it is), but I find it thoroughly refreshing.

2 Just Fair   ~  Oct 13, 2010 7:16 pm

[1] agreed.
I was called a fucking asshole at a Rangers game last year because I failed to catch a foul ball 10 feet over my head that hit some lady's girlfriend in the face. So I got that going for me. She didn't like the fact that I ducked and covered when the ball when into the center of the sun. I had it all the way until that point. : )

3 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 13, 2010 7:55 pm

[2] Hhahaha!
I was going to leave nothing but a wry and smart-allecky, "You mean you're not a fucking asshole?"

But reading the rest of the comment just broke me up so all I can do is laugh.

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 13, 2010 7:59 pm

Sliced: [squinting into the sun] I like Cliff Lee. Period. Cue the howling wind, and the rolling tumbleweed o'er the boot hill graves of the 2010 Texas Rangers.
[He clumsily spits a wad of tobacco onto his saddle]

5 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 13, 2010 9:03 pm

I don't particularly like the Rangers, so I have no problem rooting against them.

6 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 13, 2010 9:13 pm

And, I'm trying not to come off like an asshole, but the whole Josh Hamilton story seems too good to be true because, as we've learned, it *is* too good to be true. He's fallen off the wagon at least once that we're aware of, and that's sort of brushed over because it doesn't fit the media's narrative.

7 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 13, 2010 9:15 pm

Down with Texas, down with the Cowboys & Jerry Jones, down with the Mavs collapsing against the Heat being 2-0 up, down with wanting to be an independent country, down with executions, down with the hottest airport runway I ever stepped on (had to have 175 degrees) and most of all DOWN with the tv show "DALLAS" which my bigger sister insisted on watching even though Reggie was coming to bat..I missed an upper-deck tater..

Nothing bad to say about the Rangers though. I dug watching games on tv at their old park with the huge bleachers..seem to recall a summer game back in the late 80s when the Yanks played them 16 innings or so..

Yanks in 6.

8 mhoward120   ~  Oct 13, 2010 9:25 pm

If W still owned the Rangers, the Yanks would win in 3.

9 RIYank   ~  Oct 13, 2010 9:42 pm

It's not in Dallas. It's not in Fort Worth. What's with that?

Hey, Hughes-y in Game Two. Cool, I like it! Dude can bring it in Texas, and I like Andy at home for Game Three vs. Cliff Lee. That makes me feel like we have a real shot to beat Lee.

10 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Oct 13, 2010 10:49 pm

Cliff Lee's great and all, but nobody on the Rangers has better stuff than Ron (sniff) Washington.

11 monkeypants   ~  Oct 13, 2010 11:21 pm

...and it begins (via lohud):

Girardi said the team had not decided whether Franciso Cervelli would catch Burnett. ”That’s something that we’re going to talk about,” Girardi said.

12 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 13, 2010 11:41 pm

Just about everything about the state of Texas offends me on so many levels. Period.

13 joejoejoe   ~  Oct 14, 2010 12:07 am

Matt Damon plays a Texas Ranger in the Coen Bros. remake of True Grit. So if you hate Matt Damon or the Coen Bros. or even John Wayne maybe that will help stir your juices. If you like any or all of these things google the new True Grit trailer. It's a ton of fun. Jeff Bridges plays the John Wayne role.

14 thelarmis   ~  Oct 14, 2010 12:11 am

i wish Warner Madrigal was still on the rangers. now, that is a *great* name. Diane came up with his anagram: MARGINAL REWARD. that is all kindsa awesome.

best name in team history, has to be: Oddibe McDowell. man, i *loved* that name as a kid collecting baseball cards.

[8] i am all about winning a best of 7 series, with 3 victories. then we'd really be rested for the Serious! ; )

15 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 14, 2010 1:06 am

[11] AJ Burnett. The gift that keeps on giving.

16 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 14, 2010 7:58 am

[12] What? You're one of those Godless Yankees that believes in Evolution????
"Then why aren't monkies still turning into people?"

17 The Hawk   ~  Oct 14, 2010 7:59 am

[6] Well, to be fair, the state he crawled out of was far more severe than anything he's experienced since. And as any addict will tell you, mistakes will be made. I think the narrative is largely intact, as far as I know anyway. Perfection is not the goal, per se, or certainly lack of perfection shouldn't be deemed a failure.

18 Ben   ~  Oct 14, 2010 9:28 am

[17] Here here. Must be hard for someone in recovery to come up against all those media types who want to glorify his story as a redemption tale. Sounds like a recipe for a relapse.

19 monkeypants   ~  Oct 14, 2010 9:33 am

Invoking politics [7, 8] and religion [16] comes perilously close to violating the posting guidelines. Plus, the term Yankee [16] is racist, but then again, stereotyping about all Texans is racist, or something. I'm so confused.

20 monkeypants   ~  Oct 14, 2010 9:35 am

[17] Agreed. In general, it's a nice story, and rather refreshing (in my view) compared to the usual (compelled)-admission-(sort-of)-apology)-(sometimes)-redemption stories we tend to hear about in baseball over the last few years.

21 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 14, 2010 10:08 am

Here's an image. Ron Washington and Josh Hamilton looking longingly at the foul lines.

22 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 14, 2010 10:21 am


ok ... I know I shouldn't laugh at that ... (but I did)

23 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Oct 14, 2010 12:21 pm

All my ex's live in Texas, that's why I live in Tennessee.

When you are a born again, any indiscretion can be forgiven, as long as HE is in your heart. So it is ok to lie; drive drunk; drink and drug; have affairs; trump up charges from unproven intelligence to avenge your daddy and send hundreds of thousands to their death, destabilize the world, and wreck the nation's economy.

It's great to get do-overs in life. There is no shame in Texas.

24 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Oct 14, 2010 12:26 pm

[21] It might be a blast to party with Ron Washington; listen to jazz, sip Courvoisier and talk baseball all night.

Hamilton, not so much.

25 seamus   ~  Oct 14, 2010 12:55 pm

[14] loved Oddibe!

[1] Ryan's comments on pitch counts sounded like wishful thinking from an old grumpy player/grandpa type who doesn't like change much. It worked for him therefore it must work for everybody right? Not so Mr. Ryan.

26 monkeypants   ~  Oct 14, 2010 2:54 pm

[25] Well maybe. It worked for him and basically every MLB pitcher for decades. I hope he can make it work again, at least somewhat. We won't know until a few years have passed and can see if (1) the Rangers follow through with a different organizational philosophy, and (2) it works. Neither is a given.

27 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 14, 2010 2:58 pm

[1] Is that really what he is doing? I ran some numbers and it seems as if the Rangers really haven't done anything too revolutionary in terms of pitch counts. In fact, high pitch count games have been trending up league wide for two years, so perhaps a happy medium is being established (or the lesser offensive environment is taking strain off pitchers)?

28 seamus   ~  Oct 14, 2010 3:08 pm

[26] very true, we'll find out if folks try running up higher pitch counts. I just think that some guys are going to have arms that are going to seem indestructible. Other guys won't be able to do the same thing. The pitch count limit idea is designed that way because you simply don't know who is indestructable and who isn't. The players we tend to remember from history are the ones who tended to not get hurt so I *think* that the impression folks get of pitchers not having issues with pitch counts historically is mostly perception. Though I also think that modern pitchers are facing better hitters and in general are putting more torque on their arms with each pitch then pitchers historically did. But yes, maybe we'll find out down the road that I am wrong on that. Just how I see things.

29 monkeypants   ~  Oct 14, 2010 3:58 pm

[27] Yep, the Rangers were in fact near the bottom of the AL in P/GS for starters. Like I said, we will have to see in a few years if they follow through on an organizational level. I am most intrigued by statements he made---maybe earlier this year, I can't recall---that in the longterm he wants to see starters go longer so that the team does not have to carry as many relievers, because (he said) he wants to have more bench players to provide the manger with more flexibility. Now if they follow through with that plan, it would represent a major shift away from current dogma: despite high pitch totals creeping up a bit, as you note, 12-man pitching staffs are the absolute norm, with 13 and occasionally 14 man staffs not unheard of.

[28] The thing is, pitchers still get hurt, and there has been little evidence to show that they get hurt less or less often. Also, I don't think Ryan or anybody else is talking about guys throwing 300 innings of 40 complete games. But the shift in the late 80s and especially early 90s, with the almost dogmatic adherence the 100-pitch limit, the introduction of the full time "closer" (and now eighth inning guy', and the almost complete disappearance of the CG except for a handful of pitchers, was dramatic, even radical. There has to be, I think, some compromise.

On this issue, I am largely in agreement with Steve Goldman: I am open to Ryan (or anyone) who is willing to challenge baseball dogmatism. Heck, if a club tried to go with a three inning limit for all of their pitchers, throwing three "starters" each game, I would be intrigued if only for the variety. So I am definitely pulling for Ryan and the Rangers to follow through on the plan (if in fact it is a plan).

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