Tag Archives: Texas Rangers

The End of a Long National Nightmare

The look on A-Rods face almost makes up for how bad Beckett and Drew sucked this year.

Thank You, Texas.

Wow, I never thought I’d appreciate anything from Texas as much as I do the Rangers this morning.

In case you missed it, the Rangers finally put down the Yankees (like the ugly dog at the shelter who never gets adopted. (Note: I do not mean that the senseless killing of these animals is a good thing, like the Yankees losing, but just that they did it in a similar undeniable fashion.)) last night by finishing them off in game six of the ALCS. Along with being the first time the Rangers have punched a ticket to the World Series in their 49 year history (originally as the second team to bear the name Washington Senators), it frees us from one more week or, god forbid, an entire winter of endless Yankee talk. No A-Douche on Letterman, no talk of Joe Girardi changing his number again (he had 27 last season and after winning the title changed to 28, kind of like Rick Fox wearing number 17 after going to the Lakers because he had been so disappointed to never win Banner 17 for the C’s), no Sports Illustrated special edition commercials about the Yankees. It comes as a relief to us all.

To the Sox, and their fans, this means that we can finally focus on the offseason and plans for 2011. While the Globe and Herald have already run their lists of potential free agent targets and decisions that need to be made by the Sox (mention must be made of the terrific prognostication and reporting done by Gordon Edes in his ESPNBoston.com blog), the fans, such as myself, have been focused on supporting the Twins and Rangers in their hopes to prevent another title by those pinstriped assholes to the south.

In the coming weeks we will have plenty of time to preview what figures to (and had f#$%ing better) be a very busy Hot Stove season for Theo and Co, but for today let’s just enjoy all of the video of the Yanks walking off the field looking dejected and miserable and look forward to what is undoubtedly going to be an amazing matchup in game one of the World Series, Lee at Halladay or Lincecum.

Ridiculous.

Thanks Rangers. Go Sox.

Done.

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Darnell McDonald is My Homeboy.

Spark.

Even Theo was willing to admit before yesterday’s game that the Sox had been playing piss poor baseball so far this season. They had been making errors, failing in the clutch and pretty much doing all of the things that we hoped would not happen in this new era of “run prevention.” They needed something, a spark, a goddamn win, anything to make them enjoy playing baseball for ridiculous amounts of money again.

That spark came last night, with me in the ballpark for the first time all season (you’re welcome), from a 31-year-old, journeyman minor leaguer named Darnell McDonald. I am proud to say that I was one of the few people in Fenway who did not say “Who the f#$% is Darnell McDonald?” when he was announced at bat in the eighth, but I never thought in a million years that this least heralded of our minor leaguers (who was a former first round draft pick) would be the hero.

After Varitek doubled (he’s hitting .429 with three homers for those who are counting), McDonald came up as a pinch hitter for Josh Reddick, with whom he had been called up earlier in the day to replace Cameron and Ellsbury who had gone on the DL, and promptly launched one up into the monster seats to tie the game. His walk off single (which would have been a double had the game not ended) an inning later was just Icing on the cake.

Keep it up.

It was a spark, and a great win, but there were some warts on this one. Wake was just plain bad, giving up six runs in six innings, and Ron Washington must have been a little extra coked up because the Rangers were running like they had to get their stash away from the cops. Nine stolen bases, a Rangers team record, were given up. People are running at will on the Sox, and this is going to be a real problem if the Sox aren’t hitting.

Speaking of not hitting, I am not going to complain about David Ortiz any more. He has at least had a few hits that looked like he knew what he was doing, but this Drew guy who Theo keeps defending has simply sucked. He’s hitting .134 and has no extra base hits. Even in the best of times, Drew shows no emotion on the field, and the way he plays it looks effortless. In times like this it looks to most of us that he doesn’t give a crap that he is awful. With him hitting in the two-hole (hey-o), the guys who are hitting (that doesn’t include Youk, who is currently at .240) don’t have anyone to drive in, and the whole offense looks even more anemic.

Last night was not a cure all for the Sox, no matter how dramatic and exciting it was. It was a spark, one that we can only hope caries into tonight and starts a nice little streak. Just get us back to .500 for the year.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Mike Lowell To Rangers For Max Ramirez: Adios Treebeard.

If all goes as planned in the medical exams this week, Mike Lowell has played his last game as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Last night, Lowell, affectionately known as Treebeard by SMC, was sent to the Rangers for 25 year old catcher Max Ramirez. The trade is the first significant move by the Sox at this year’s winter meetings, and is hopefully a prelude to another big move.

Good Bye Mike, Thanks For Everything.

Before we get to that I want to take a step back and stop to appreciate Mike Lowell, one of the most professional, classiest guys ever to put on a Red Sox uniform. As I’m sure every other person with a keyboard and internet connection is writing today (or did yesterday, when the deal was leaked, but not official), Mike was a salary dump throw in as a part of the Josh Beckett for Hanley Ramirez deal. He never would have come to Boston if not for Theo’s gorilla aided hiatus in the winter of 2005, but for the time he was here, Mike was awesome. 120 RBIs in 2007 and a World Series MVP, and always a non pretentious version of George Clooney, as well as stellar defense made him a guy that Sox fans will never forget. If you are reading this (and I pray to Vishnu that you are) thanks for being one of us, Mike.

Maximilliano Ramirez (yeah, too bad he'll never play for the Sox)

On the flip side of this deal there is Max Ramirez, part of Theo’s army of guys named Ramirez (we even have two Ram-Rams now). He is a power hitting catcher who can’t catch, has wrist problems and looks to be more of a DH or first baseman in the future than a catcher. He has potential to be a truly fearsome hitter and is young enough at 25 to grow into his role as a catcher defensively. After a fractured season due to wrist injuries at Oklahoma (the Rangers AAA team), he was the rookie of the year of the Venezuelan winter league this year (over Pablo Sandoval, who had one hell of a season in San Francisco last year), hitting .298 with 15 HR, 53 RBI, and 42 runs, so he obviously can play the game.

I don’t however, see him as anything more than a trading chip who will never spend any time in a Red Sox uniform. Like Andy Marte after the 2005 season (which was a Theo sponsored deal), who was picked up in the Renteria breakup and then sent to Cleveland for Coco a few days later, Ramirez figures to be a flip guy. The Sox already have two catchers on the Major League roster, and the silence coming out of number 4 Yawkey Way hopefully means they aren’t being lazy, just learned their lesson when they talked too much and things blew up on them last year (that means a gag order for the owner).

In case you haven't noticed, I have a bit of a mancrush on this A-Gon.

What this move hopefully allows the Sox to do is retain one or more of their young pitchers (Buchholz, Kelly, Bard) or other prospects while still being able to convince Jed Hoyer (who may have been the impetus behind this specific deal) to give us Adrian Gonzalez, who is essentially what people hope Ramirez can be. Amazingly, the Sox might just get the clue that trading prospects for young proven veterans is the way to go when you have the money and the roster to start winning sooner than later. This is what the Yankees did in the Granderson deal, and (along with half a billion dollars last year) what will help them improve on the best team in the majors (I actually think that Granderson was a bad move because he is becoming Willy Mays Hayes in the first hour of Major League II, a leadoff hitter who has gotten too dependent on the long ball and forgotten what he is there for).

Now all we can do is sit back and hope there is something going on behind the silence that is coming from the Sox this week. At least bring back Bay soon, and don’t even try to convince us that Adrian Beltre can replace him in the lineup.

Go Sox.

69 Days.

Done.

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Red Sox Just Need To Get It Done.

Sox lose to Royals again. Greinke is good. The division would be nice, but so would a week in the Bahamas with Eliza Dushku and Alyssa Milano. The Rangers lost last night, bringing the magic number to Six. The Wild Card lead is seven, so lets just get that settled before we start thinking about anything else. Remember what happens when the goal is accomplished?

Yeah, it feels that good.

Go Sox.

Done.

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We have been to the ends of the earth…

Looks like Monday at my office too.

Looks like Monday at my office too.

In an attempt to get as far away from the Red Sox as possible, the Ballpark has been on the road only to return and find the aging and ailing (Editors Note: This originally was spelled as Aleing, which is what we were doing all weekend, hence the monday post which screams hangover) Red Sox a 1/2 a game back behind the freaking Texas Rangers. I mean it’s good to be home but this is ridiculous. It’s hard times when the only redeeming thing about Boston Sports is that the Patriots won a pre season game.

There’s more to come today on both topics, the suckbag senior citizens that have become the Boston Red Sox and a look at last Thursday’s Pats pre season win over Philly. (And isn’t the irony just worth mentioning… Vick signs with a team named after an animal… awesome.)

Happy Effing Monday.

StartMattCassel

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You Can’t Bullshit a Bullshiter.

Alex Rodriguez struggled to find the right words at points in todays press conference.

Alex Rodriguez struggled to find the right words at points in today's press conference.

I looked at my phone yesterday at 2:07pm. I had just finished a lunchtime workout and was going over some calculations in my head in preparation for a god awful 3 hours of micro economics this evening. I was thinking about efficiency regarding utils of labor resources put into making a product verses the actual production, which seems to be unsolvable when it comes to steroid’s actual effect on baseball… but I digest.

I had three texts, from my dad, cousin and roommate, about what a douchebag A-Rod is so I realized the press conference was on and rolling. I flipped on the TV, ESPN of course although several other news stations were covering the story as well, and I saw 100’s of people out for more public crucifixion of Alex Rodriguez. Though A-Rod has pretty much gone about this the right way from a PR standpoint (after a lifetime of bonehead PR moves), there is a whole lot of pent up anger for a guy who, will albeit become the next HR King*, hasn’t done much (or anything) by way of championships and clutch play. He’s not a scary opposition, talented as he may be.

Pete Rose... doesnt seem so bad anymore... but this picture should keep him banned from baseball.

Pete Rose... doesn't seem so bad anymore... but this picture should keep him banned from baseball.

I think the baseball fan’s intuition towards sniffing out a liar or a phony is stronger than one may think, and the sense has been heightened and bittered by Pete Rose and the last 3 years of baseball “cleaning itself up.” And let me tell you, from this Baseball Fan to another, A-Rod is still full of shit.

At times, I found Mr. Rod’s remarks to be thoughtful and unscripted. He held off tears at times and fumbled a few catch phrases… He blames only himself and is the only major athlete of his stature to ever address performance enhancing drugs (and taking them) as an active player. But in general, it is clear that he knows more than he’s telling us and his contradictions speak volumes.

1st of all, the Gene Orza timeline and actions contradict one another from the Gammons interview to yesterday’s press conference. To Gams, Rodriguez had no contact or conversation regarding the testing and being tipped off. Yesterday we were told differently and that makes me think he’s not telling the whole truth about Orza’s involvement. Minute as this detail may be, it is a lie.

Secondly, to Gams, A-Rod skirted the issue of procurement ENTIRELY, and he got off the hook for it. (Gammons should have gone after him more on this issue but it wasn’t that kind of interview and Gammons is too respectful to be that kind of interviewer… which is how ESPN scored the first exclusive response and A-Rod’s camp agreed to it). Just in the nick of time, A-Rod now has a response to this: He got it from his “stupid… and ignorant” cousin in the Dominican where Alex would go to train and play off-season ball. This was a very popular move at the time, explained Buster Olney on ESPN after the conference; the players that went to the DR to train, of which there were many, were known to have a clear edge over other players because you could get many banned and illegal substances over the counter. I’d love to know the incentives Cousin Rod is getting out of this. He’s probably moved into the same gated community as Ty Law’s Cousin, right next to the “friend” Michael Irvin found his crack pipe with.

Bud Selig is set for his upcoming debut on Tool Academy.

Bud Selig is set for his upcoming debut on Tool Academy.

This was not an uncommon way to get steroids. And A-Rod reinforced to Gammons about 4 times that the culture was very “Lossy-Goosey.” Yet yesterday he was ADAMANT that he NEVER saw or heard of any other ball player …on a team entrenched in steroid abuse and culture, the Texas Rangers… using steroids. Players during Alex’s tenure alone include Rafael Palmeiro, John Rocker, Juan Gonzalez and Pudge Rodriguez. (Gabe Kapler was there too… but no matter what he did, he’s cool.)

I am familiar with lies. We have all told them, big and small, and if there is anything that we can all agree on about a lie is that it is about a million times harder to explain than the truth. Each lie that A-Rod tells (even though he IS giving us a lot of truths by lacing them into the lies) must be supported by a network of more obscure lies.

The True Home Run King

The True HR King

Alex Rodriguez is full of shit and the people hate him for it. He’s getting backlogged anger for not ever producing in the clutch, never winning a ring and making bazillions of dollars. He is a douchebag. Yet, he held us hostage as fans because everyone thought that Bonds was a bigger douchebag and A-Rod was supposed to be the guy that cleaned up the records. And here we are again… back to Conseco being right… again, and Selig being an absolute wuss about the whole mess. Unfortunately, the only person that seems to be aggressively pursuing the truth is Jose Effing Canseco!

We can argue about this later… but while Canseco may not deserve to be IN the Hall of Fame… one could make the argument that no person has changed the game more.

The Home Run King is Hank Aaron and I want Griffey to be clean in the worst way.

StartMattCassel

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Winter Meetings: Satan’s Playground

header

This is the reality of the situation: Nobody knows how this whole offseason will shake out, but, starting tonight when MLB GMs arrive in Vegas for the Annual Winter Meetings, the whole process will be accelerated. The deadline to accept or reject arbitration is tonight (most players, such as Varitek, will reject it), and from there on the spending spree will begin. Teixeira, Sabathia, Burnett, Lowe, some schmuck who used to play left field here and many other free agents will be on hand as will Satan and other blood sucking agents. They will all be hustling between hotel suites and restaurants hoping to make the best deal for themselves, while dreading the fact that the AL MVP just left money on the table to play in a town here he loves to play.  The Boston Red Sox first priority is catching, and since the Captain is going to (or by the time you read this will already have) reject the $10 million or so he would get in arbitration, they’ll probably have more than a few conversations (with Satan, the Rangers and others) about that as they also explore Teixeira and other ways to beef up their lineup and rotation. As always: Trust in Theo. 

Harold, we all miss your for both your on field insight and your off field inappropriate hugs

Harold, we all miss your for both your on field insight and your off field inappropriate hugs

Those who do this professionally have it broken down better and with prettier illustrations than we here at the Ballpark could ever come up with (or have the budget for) so here they are:

Jayson Stark: Ready to roll the dice in Las Vegas

Tony Massarotti:Be wary of illusions on this stage. He also has a great point here about what the Sox did when they signed Our Boy Junichi

Jon Heyman: Answering Big Questions as the Winter Meetings prepare to Start

Of course, this is also a great week because we can avoid the cold and pretend it is summer for an hour each day. Why? At five PM, on ESPN2, there will be an all new, action packed episode of the greatest show on TV: Baseball Tonight. Watch, enjoy, and bask in the knowledge from Gammons, Phillips, Kruk, and all of the other guys whose jobs I want. 

The Man.

The Man.

One Last note before I go to bed dreaming of the eight years and $168 million dollars that Theo is going to spread out before Teixeira and Boras this week: Greg Maddux, one of the greatest pitchers that I have ever had the privilege of watching, will be announcing his retirement tomorrow at the meetings, which are near his offseason home. He was never the guy with the blazing fastball, or the gaudy strikeout numbers, but he was the best at what he did, won four Cy Youngs and a buttload of Gold Gloves, and most impressive of all, 355 games (one more than Clemens). Mad Dog, it was a honor to be able to watch you perform, and know that you made pitching into an art form. Thanks for everything and we’ll see you in Cooperstown in about five years. 

67 Days. 

Done.

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