Posts Tagged ‘Texas Rangers’

Good & Bad Shots on Rangers 4 – Astros 1, May 18

May 19, 2012

Fernando Abad warms up in 9th as Carlos Lee and Jose Altuve model their classic “shooting star” Astro threads. As for the game, the Astros pitched well, hit poorly.

I’ve never stopped loving those fine-looking shooting star uniforms of the early Astros history days. With that cool shade of orange fitting far better with the general motif of Minute Maid Park, it is the hope of many Astros fans that we shall again see an explosion of orange-accent in the new uniforms planned for 2013. (Hey! – Look at me! – All of a sudden I’m also a late-in-life uniform fashionisto!)

Minute Maid Park, May 18, 2012, Texas Rangers 4 – Houston Astros 1, Attendance: 34,715 present; 40,981 sold.

It was nice to see the crowd-volume looking more like the ones we’ve become used to during our Bagwell-Biggio-Berkman contention years and less like those lost-in-the-credit union doldrum-days of the Dome back in an earlier empty time. If only the Astros fans cared, or showed it, as much as the tidal wave of Rangers fans that flooded MMP Friday night like a tidal wave. Friday night was like a Rangers home game for the crowd.

Want Rangers Fans? Send in the Clowns.

No real sure what they were, but the two Ranger clown fans spent some of their time celebrating victory by throwing stuff that looked like Mardi Gras beads to the other Rangers fans behind the Teas dugout. Meanwhile, the Rangers fans wore every name and number jersey of every player short of Ted Williams who had ever worn the uniform of the Texas Rangers.

Astros jerseys were harder to find on the backs of fans. Astros fans were too bust searching for the rare and elusive “Texas Tamale” vendors as they made their slow and rare visits into the stands on the concourse level, hey could sell a lot of those babies if they can find a way to make them more easily available, but don’t listen to me. What do I know about marketing. If I were a marketing genius, I would have come up with “Root. Root. Root.” and then cashed the huge check that went to the genius who came up with that incredible line.

A Line Scoreboard to Hate

The Astros have to fix that line score section of the otherwise light-on HD scoreboard. What’s the beef? Simple.

Most of us know that a regulation baseball game is 9 innings long. We don’t need that background shading in large numbers to show us how many innings have been played and how many remain. Having to read the crooked numbers over the running large numbers simply takes away the easy reference pleasure of quick glances at the line score through the game. As it is, the thing is over-kill, defeating the purpose of its eternal value and meaning to long-time fans.

Of course, I’ve only been watching Houston baseball since 1947. – What the heck do I know? Maybe making the line score busy and hard to read is what today’s texting crowd wants. As is, texters have another reason with this feature on the scoreboard to simply double-thumb their friends and ask something like: “Hey! In what inning did we get our run?”

Get there early on Saturday, folks. This is Nolan Ryan Bobble Head giveaway day.

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

October 25, 2011

Is Lance's chance for a World Series ring slipping away?

Let’s go straight to the easy part first. On eighteen separate occasions in the World Series, teams have comeback back from a 3-2 deficit to win the whole thing with victroies in Games Six and Seven. Here’s the legendary list of those who’ve done it, according to MLB.COM:

Year Team Opponent
1924 Senators Giants
1925 Pirates Senators
1926 Cardinals Yankees
1934 Cardinals Tigers
1940 Reds Tigers
1946 Cardinals Red Sox
1952 Yankees Dodgers
1958 Yankees Braves
1968 Tigers Cardinals
1973 A’s Mets
1979 Pirates Orioles
1982 Cardinals Brewers
1985 Royals Cardinals
1986 Mets Red Sox
1987 Twins Cardinals
1991 Twins Braves
2001 D-backs Yankees
2002 Angels Giants

Also according to MLB.COM, we must note that the 2-3-2 home game format yields this further data from past results: In the 28 times that a club has gone home with 3-2 deficit in games won on their shoulders, 12 have rallied to win both Games 6 and 7 to take the World Series. That works out to be a 42.9 per cent success rate.¬†On the other hand, the Texas Rangers have not lost two games in a row to anyone since late August.Now it’s “something’s got to give” time.

One thing that needs to give is how things are communicated from the manager to the bullpen. Either update the technology on the phones or get all the bullpen coach communicators tested on their hearing. It came out after the game that LaRussa had called down to the pen to have Motte ready to pitch to Napoli in the eighth, but that message got heard as “Lynn” and Tony’s choice wasn’t available when the time came. As a result, the Cardinals had to leave the lefty Rzepczynski in there to pitch to Napoli, who, of course, then delivered the two-rbi double that decided the game at 4-2.

How could “Motte” have sounded like “Lynn” over the phone? Was there something wrong with the hand crank on the dugout line? Who was taking the call in the Cardinal pen, Helen Keller? Why don’t they either use high-tech phones or visual HD screens that show the manager’s lips moving as he speaks the names of those he wants or even shows color coded cards for different choices? Hearing “I thought you wanted Lynn” could not have set well with Tony LaRussa once he learned that Jason Motte would not be ready for his rendezvous with destiny.

All those ducks left on the pond killed the cardinals in Game Five. And they sure weren’t helped by those two abortive hit and run plays late in the game either. As Tim McCarver kept explaining on TV, ad nauseum, sending Craig from first to second on either a hit and run or steal attempt with Albert Pujols batting was really unnecessary. With Pujols batting, the runner is already in scoring position at first. If the guy runs and is thrown out, that out may kill the rally or end the inning. If he makes it in safely, he simply takes the bat out of Albert’s hands, allowing the other club to walk Pujols and play for a force out.

Add all the 11 ducks left on the pond last night by St. Louis and the whole thing totals up to a deserved loss by the Cardinals. Now it’s back to Missouri to see if one more blink at home cooking makes any difference in Game Six and, hopefully, Game Seven. If not, then it will be the Texas Rangers, not the Houston Astros, that shall be forever remembered as the first club to bring baseball’s biggest prize back to the Lone Star State.

OK, Houston temporary Ranger fans, are you ready for all those Dallas egos blinking at us down here in MLB’s tent city of hope over the next decade or so? Because that’s exactly what’s coming our way from the Metroplex Area, if the Rangers win the World Series. To that possibility, I say, give the Rangers credit for finishing the job as champions. Nolan Ryan and his crew just did a much better job of building their team and getting the job done better than the Astros. If the Rangers win out, what other conclusion could we possibly draw?

If the Rangers win it all, luck and destiny will figure into the final outcome as well. And, as per usual, we will not be able to explain the presence of either. Just be ready for whatever is about to happen. That’s all we can ever do – in baseball in particular – or in life in general.

Handy Reference: Series Team Records

October 19, 2011

UPDATED FOR THIS COLUMN THROUGH THE START OF 2011 WORLD SERIES!

One of my pet peeves is the absence of handy reference material for historic occasions when you need them – and no situation is more irritating in that regard than World Series time when we have a club like the New York Yankees or the St. Louis Cardinals playing and all the blah-blah talk starts about their numerous previous appearances with only oblique or incomplete mention of their earlier records in same.

To remedy that missing feature in 2011, here are the bare bones records of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers in their prior times on the World Series docket through 2010:

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 17 World Series Appearances; 10 World Series Championships.

DATES, FOES, & RESULTS IN GAMES WON & LOST (WITH SERIES WINS IN BOLD TYPE):

1926 vs. New York Yankees, Won, 4-3.

1928 vs. New York Yankees, Lost, 4-0.

1930 vs. Philadelphia Athletics, Lost, 4-2.

1931 vs. Philadelphia Athletics, Won, 4-3.

1934 vs. Detroit Tigers, Won, 4-3.

1942 vs. New York Yankees, Won, 4-1.

1943 vs. New York Yankees, Lost, 4-1.

1944 vs. St. Louis Browns, Won, 4-2.

1946 vs. Boston Red Sox, Won, 4-3.

1964 vs. New York Yankees, Won, 4-3.

1967 vs. Boston Red Sox, Won, 4-3.

1968 vs. Detroit Tigers, Lost, 4-3.

1982 vs. Milwaukee Brewers, Won, 4-3.

1985 vs. Kansas City Royals, Lost, 4-3.

1987 vs. Minnesota Twins, Lost 4-3.

2004 vs. Boston Red Sox, Lost, 4-0.

2006 vs. Detroit Tigers, Won, 4-1.

TEXAS RANGERS: 1 World Series Appearance; 0 World Series Championships.

2010 vs. San Francisco Giants, Lost, 4-1.

2011 represents the 18th World Series appearance by the St. Louis Cardinals and the 2nd by the Texas Rangers. It should be duly noted, as baseball historian Cliff Blau points out in his comment upon this column, that this particular “Cardinal” franchise was known as the Browns during the 19th century and that they were involved in four pre-moder era world championship series as such from 1855 to 1888, winning the first two, although the 1885 victory was disputed. My reporting begins with the Modern Era (1900) and only covers the period of the modern World Series games played between the National and American Leagues, most often annually, from 1903 through the present time.

Historical Note Two: The original St. Louis Browns were members of the American Association from 1883-1891 before moving to the National League in 1892 and continuing their original identity as the Browns through 1897. After two full seasons of play as the St. Louis Perfectos (1898-1899), the franchise changed its name to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1900 and the rest is history. They’ve been the Cardinals ever since.

What about those American League Brown? Easy. When the original Milwaukee Brewers of the new American League moved their franchise into the hands of competitive St. Louis interests in 1902, they also changed their mascot identity to Browns as an act of taunting competition with the National League Cardinals. The Cardinals and Browns were St. Louis competitors from 1902 through 1953 when economics finally won out in favor of the National League red birds. The Browns moved east in 1954, becoming the Baltimore Orioles that they have remained through this day.

As for the 2011 World Series, I say, “Go Cardinals! Go Rangers!” For the next week or so, you two clubs have the undivided attention of our large little baseball world. Please give us a Series that we will hate to say goodbye to when it’s done. The winter is a long time to spend staring out windows and waiting for spring as your first World Series manager, Rogers Hornsby, once described his personal formula for getting through the off-season. The time passes easier when we have a few thrilling plays and performances from a dramatic World Series to reflect upon during the long gray cold days of winter.