Tag Archives: Texas

Rangers: A.L. Champs

Hamilton with an epic jumping Claw.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a long time, about how I’d cleverly celebrate the Rangers winning the pennant, what obscure former player references I’d drop to add credibility to my fandom (Mike Pagliarulo anyone?) and how I’d predict they’d fare in their first ever World Series.

But all that’s out the window now. I can’t do it justice and I don’t even want to. I’m just completely content with this baseball team, a feeling I’ve never really had about the Rangers. These guys are a bunch of fun-loving bad asses and it’s a joy to watch them. And even though I didn’t watch the game (I was holed up in a pressbox in Converse, Texas) following it on Twitter and then watching on the highlights have been just as pleasing. I just wish I could have been at the Ballpark.

And besides, Jim Reeves wrote the column that I wanted to write. And the longtime Star-Telegram-er and my sports writing idol hit it out of the park:

Enjoy and go Rangers.

 

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Texas Rangers: 2010 AL West Champs

I'd let Darren Oliver pour champagne on me.

I’d be remiss not to comment on this achievement. It’s been 11 long years since the Rangers were in the playoffs.

I was 11 then.

Things have changed a lot since then. We started a new war. We elected a black president. We learned that a pitching staff headed by Ryan Drese is a terrible idea.

None of that seems to matter right now. We’ve made it back. I’m sure a lot of people in traditional baseball towns like New York or Boston made fun of the Rangers for going crazy in the clubhouse after clinching the division, citing the act-like-you’ve-been-there-before corollary in the Book of Baseball.

But that’s the thing: The Rangers haven’t really been there before. Just three postseason trips and a whopping one playoff win in their 38-year history–or 49 years if you include their time spent as the Washington Senators.

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Today is Bengie Molina Day

Bengie "Freight Train" Molina.

True baseball history occurred last night. Bengie Molina, the self-described “slowest man on earth,” hit for the cycle AND had a grand slam to carry the Rangers to an 8-4 win over Boston. While I didn’t get to see the game after the rain delay, I take some sort of karmic responsibility for spurring on this amazing feat. Just look at the text message exchange I had with Austin Talbert as history was being made:

AT (6:23)- My name is Vlad Guerrero and I am the worst base runner ever. (After Vlad was thrown out trying to take third).

Me (6:40)- Hello my name is Bengie Molina and I’m the slowest human being alive. (After Bengie barely made it to third).

AT (8:59)- Bengie!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me (9:00)- What happened?

AT (9:00)- Grandslam

Me (9:00)- That’s impossible. We’re talking about Bengie Molina.

AT (9:03)- Don’t look now. But he’s a triple shy of the cycle.

Me (9:03)- OK now that’s impossible.

AT (9:54)- Triple. No joke.

Me (12:11)- I take sole responsibility for this miracle.

AT (12:12)- You had nothing to do with it.

Let’s agree to disagree. Regardless, the call by Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve may be my favorite call of all time. “Pigs have flown in Boston, Massachusetts!” Simply brilliant.

Again, sorry for doubting you Bengie. Now keep it up.

So go celebrate Bengie Molina Day appropriately: eat six cheese enchiladas and then run the bases four times.

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All-Time Obscure Rangers: Middle Infielders

From 1989 on he was known as Billy "Fuck Face" Ripken.

Bleh. That’s how I feel about the Rangers going into the All-Star break. I was at the first game of the four-game sweepage at the hands of the mighty Baltimore Orioles. It was frustrating.

What isn’t so frustrating is naming the guys who’ll man the middle of the All-Time Obscure Ranger team. These guys would work together like a poorly-oiled, dysfunctional, patchwork double-play tandem. Or maybe not, considering who’s at shortstop…

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Cliff Lee is a Texas Ranger

Wow, didn’t expect to be writing that kind of a headline this year. I honestly didn’t think the Rangers would put up the prospects and risk needed to do it. BUT, J.D. did just that and now the Rangers have a bona fide ace for the first time since…Nolan Ryan? I mean, they’ve had Kenny Rogers, John Burkett, Aaron Sele and Rick Helling, but they were all No. 2 starters at best.

Sure will be nice seeing him in a Ranger jersey, but at a risk.

So it’s no wonder Texas fans don’t know how to react to this. Just read the up-in-arms comments over at Lone Star Ball. You’d think we traded away Elvis for Brian Moehler and some pine tar.

True, it does hurt to see Justin Smoak and Blake Beaven go (the other guys are more middling prospects). Smoak was perceived to be the next Teixeira, except with a higher on-base percentage. But, the fact is, he’s not there yet. The Rangers, though, could be. They’ll be at least a few games up in the division at the All-Star Break with the most realistic shot at the playoffs and beyond since 1999. This move means one thing: The Rangers want to win. Now. Not five years down the road. Now. After all, the stupid team slogan is “It’s Time.” They’re putting their money where their mouths are.

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All-Time Obscure Rangers: First Base

That's one large feline...I wonder how it relates to Blake's obscure first baseman pick...

Now that all that Le-Drama is over, it’s time to get back to business here at the Locker. A couple of days ago I named the All-Time Obscure catcher, and today we’ll delve into first base.

This one may be the skimpiest list we’ll run in to. The Rangers have had a long history of solid first basemen (Rafael Palmeiro, Will Clark, Mark Teixeira, Chris Davis…wait, one of those doesn’t fit…). Aside from the past couple of years, Ranger fans have been spoiled at the position.

And without further ado…

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All-Time Obscure Rangers: Catcher

It’s been about a week since my last post. Blame it on a trip to Austin, Sporcle and vacation planning. Also blame it on my desire not to force a post just for the sake of posting. Sure, there’s plenty going on in the sports world–NBA free agency, World Cup, the approaching All-Star game, and so on. But I really don’t have anything groundbreaking to say on those topics at the moment.

And that’s how we find ourselves at this juncture. What do I fall back on when current events just aren’t doing it for me? The 1990s Rangers, of course.

Bengie Molina moves up to No. 2 on my "Favorite Bengie/ji's to play for the Rangers" behind the immortal Benji Gil.

I’ve always been a sucker for transactions, particularly in baseball. I love it when players change teams, if only to see how they look in a different uniform. When the Rangers acquired catcher/sloth Bengie Molina last week, I was eager to catch a game just to see what he looked like in the red and blue.

Call me weird, call me whatever, but these kind of things lead to a list like this. Over the next few days I’ll be unveiling my list of all-time favorite obscure Rangers that will make you think “Oh yeah! I completely forgot about Ben Broussard!”

Today, we start with catcher:

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