Texas Rangers Got Themselves an All-Star Pitcher, a Controversial Hall of Famer, Lots of Draft Picks, a New Hitting Coach and Another Player on Baby Leave. Whew.
|The real deal?|
*Back in spring training we all watched how Neftali Feliz would react to being stretched out as a potential starter. While Feliz wound up back in the bullpen, Alexi Ogando became the team's oh-by-the-way No. 5 starter. And then he became ... dominant. An All-Star. Wow. Last night Ogando pitched into the 8th inning of a 7-3 win over the Tigers, becoming only the fourth pitcher in the last 50 years to go 7-0 in his first 12 career starts. Raise your hand if you saw this coming.
*One of the things I worried about in the Rangers potentially deteriorating into a one-hit wonder was the departure of hitting coach Clint Hurdle. He was affable and knowledgeable, a sounding board for players and the man who suggested dumping the toe-tap in Josh Hamilton's swing, a move that led to him winning an MVP. Hurdle's replacement, Thad Bosley, didn't make it to July because of communication problems and the fact that, among the regulars, only Michael Young and Mitch Moreland are hitting over .300. Scott Coolbaugh is the new hitting coach. Since going to the World Series, the Rangers have fired a hitting coach (Bosley), a TV play-by-play voice (John Rhadigan) and an owner (Chuck Greenberg). In other words, don't mess with Texas ... or Nolan Ryan.
*Kenny Rogers is the best left-handed pitcher in the history of the Rangers. He had 133 wins (second only to Charlie Hough) and that perfect game in Arlington in 1994. He's also one of the biggest assholes I've ever encountered in professional sports. And I think Fox 4 cameraman Larry Rodriguez will agree. I hear that these days Rogers has mellowed into a great guy. Same thing I hear about another former Hall of Fame jerk, former Cowboy Charles Haley. Next time I bump into both of them I'll do it with open arms. I can forgive, if not forget. As long as Rogers isn't inducted into the Human Being Hall of Fame.
*The Rangers selected 51 players in this week's amateur draft, including one who is paralyzed. In a classy move, Texas selected Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor in the 33rd round. He was paralyzed from the waist down on March 6 in an outfield collision with Zach Cone, whom the Rangers selected with the 37th overall pick.
*No doubt the Rangers lead baseball in one stat: Players on paternity leave. After Colby Lewis took a leave in April -- maybe you heard about it -- now it's Ian Kinsler. My thoughts haven't changed on this one bit, and after the Mavericks' season ends I plan a trip to Arlington for a visit with the two players and an ensuing column in the Observer. Start your screaming about "family first!" and all that, but imagine if Dirk Nowitzki held the same opinion ... and his baby was being born tonight at 8. That's what I thought. Family first, unless the game is really important.