Rangers 26, Red Sox 11: My Top 10 Observer-ations
9. Most impressive of Texas' 11 dingers was the shot by Nelson Cruz that reached the upper deck in right field in yesterday's seventh inning. Cruz, who had some of us worried by hitting only one homer in 62 spring training at-bats, was likely helped by a jet-stream wind of around 30 mph that blew in from the south and then out to right. He became only the second right-handed hitter to reach the upper tier in right, with an estimated distance of 424 feet. The other: Chad Curtis in 2000. What the what?!
8. If the Rangers did miss someone from 2010 it was Josh Lewin. New TV play-by-play voice John Rhadigan was underwhelming in his first series, sounding about as exciting and colorful as a vanilla shake in white Dixie cup, sans crazy straw. Rhadigan wasn't bad, it's just going to take some getting used to home run calls of "It's over the wall!" Ball game, anyone?
7. Manager Ron Washington looks like a friggin' genius for moving Ian Kinsler to lead-off. His thinking: Ian can bunt, steal a base, hit one in the gap or give you a 1-0 lead with one swing of the bat. Touche, Skip.
6. The new video board in right field is nice and bright and clear and ... big? I know it's supposed to be about 2/3 the size of JumboJerry down the street, but against the sky it just doesn't seem as imposing. An upgrade? You betcha.
5. One way to mask a sketchy pitching staff is to score almost nine runs per game. And all this talk of having an experienced closer? Smallest margin of any game in the series was four runs. Still, curious as to why manager Ron Washington would use Neftali Feliz twice in the ninth innings of blowout wins. (And, yes, I am nitpicking.)
4. Perhaps those doomsday calls for the Rangers to be a one-hit wonder were premature. Perhaps. Meanwhile, the Anaheim Angels somehow lost three of four in Kansas City. Delicious. Said team prez Nolan Ryan, "I think this weekend probably sent a message to the rest of the league that the Rangers are a legitimate team." No doubt the supersonic sweep raised eyebrows around the league.
3. Most surprising development from Sunday's 5-1 win was Matt Harrison's fastball reaching 97 mph. Or was it the four homers off Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, who allowed only nine all of last season?
2. Any time we read something that includes "first time in the history of baseball" it makes our ears perk up. They've been playing lots of games for lots of years in this sport, which makes what Cruz and Kinsler accomplished even more amazing. For the first time in the history of baseball two teammates have hit homers in each of their teams' first three games. "A page from baseball's present," huh Eric Nadel?
1. Guess I should've expected it in this area, the personification of bandwagon sports fans, but the sudden baseball fever is refreshing. Everywhere I went this weekend there were people in Rangers gear, glued to televisions. And a record 144,000 showed up for the opening three-game series in Arlington, drowning out the so-called Red Sox Nation (which is licking its wounds this morning). The pregame tailgating in the parking lots had a college football atmosphere and buzz to it. Nice. Hard to imagine a better opening weekend for the Rangers.