Friday, July 22, 2005

Rangers... Nevermind

Dear Tom Hicks,

Please disregard my last post, as your team has obviously opted for the other Ranger tradition - letting the wheels fall off mid-summer. What an unravalling. Yep - this is the Rangers team I know and love! Why? I have no idea!

d

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Texas Rangers & Pitching

For YEARS - since I was a kid - the Rangers have needed starting pitching. They always need a better #1 or #2 man in the rotation. So, as the MLB trade deadline looms, it's time for the annual Rangers fan disappointment as the team fails to go out and get what they need to make the playoffs.

As in most years, there's debate in Arlington whether the Rangers are one move away from contention. And debate about what they need most - another bat, help in the pen or a starter. Based on the current standings in the AL West and the wildcard, the Rangers should absolutely try to make a run this year. And, after 25 years as a Rangers fan, I can tell Tom Hicks and crew that the answer is simple - GET A DANG STARTER!

The Rangers say they won't deal their top pitching prospects, of which they have several that, packaged properly, could bring them a proven major league pitching stud. So, why won't the Rangers make such a move? Because the Rangers are paralized by a chronic inability to admit one simpe truth: they have NEVER been able to develop starting pitchers - and it's NOT the Ballpark's fault.

Their best pitching prospects have always either flopped in the bigs or gone on to flourish somewhere else (both those who came up through the Rangers organization or were acquired at a relatively young age) - Esteban Loaiza, Kevin Brown, John Thomson, Doug Davis, Jamie Moyer have all worn Rangers uniforms and then gone on to better seasons elsewhere. Only Rick Helling and Kenny Rogers stand out as minor exceptions. And yet, the Rangers still refuse to admit this organizational weakness even with more evidence this season when they waived their Opening Day starter - Ryan Drese - who was promptly picked up by the Nats. and has since gone 3-2 with a 3.44 ERA!

Yet, somehow, the Rangers have a pretty good track record for evaluating/acquiring and even developing relief pitchers - especially closers. Proof that it's not the Ballpark.

Because of the Rangers' and the Ballpark's reputation, the team can't attract top free agent pitchers in the offseason. They embarrasingly struck out swinging at past free agents like Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson.

So, why in the world aren't the Rangers in discussions for the likes of A.J. Burnett or Jason Schmidt? Or any servicable starter for that matter? Why not grab a great arm in a trade and negotiate a contract extension as part of the deal? This may well be the only method by which the Rangers could actually piece together the rotation of a contender.

With Kenny Rogers having a career year, Chan Ho Park actually winning more than losing and Chris Young looking like he might be an exception to the Rangers' development woes (time will tell), one great top-of-the-rotation arm like Schmidt or Burnett could easily ease the pressure on the bullpen and combine with a pounding offense to take the Rangers to the next level.

But, no doubt, I write in vain. Surely, the Rangers will stay true to form - at best picking up one spare arm or maybe a mediocre bat-for-hire and finish just short of the playoffs. The only difference this October will be a legitimate "what if" debate, because with one more stud starter, Rogers and Park/Young plus Benoit, Wasdin and Cordero in the bullpen and this offense - the Rangers could actually do something in the playoffs this year.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Bush Supreme Court Nomination: Let the Stupidity Begin

In about 21 minutes, President Bush will address the nation to tell us he's nominating John G. Roberts Jr. to fill Justice O'Conner's vacant spot on the Supreme Court. And now, the stupidity of our current political climate will kick into high gear. Oh boy - what a great use of our tax dollars.

The left will try to paint Roberts as an overly conservative threat to free speech, freedom of religion and Roe v Wade. They might even say that his appointment could end the freedom to breathe to push their agenda - which is to keep the court as liberal and activist as possible, because their power has eroded in the executive and legislative branches at the federal and state levels acros the country. Meanwhile, the right will have to counter with a campaign that Roberts is a bastion of solid opinions.

Early word from those who know him - he's a DC insider but a fair judge who rules according to the law, not in order to legislate from the bench. But instead of deciding whether his appointment is or is not in the nation's best interest, our hyper-polarized political operatives and their media cronies will instead spar over their personal and party politics.

Bush promised he'd try to change the climate in Washington, but hasn't found willing partners from "across the aisle" or even in his own party. I hope someone will come along who can bring the two parties back to focusing on what's best for us citizens!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

LANCE!

Just finished watching the 15th "Queen" stage of the 2005 Tour de Lance. Called that because it's the toughest stage route of this year's tour, with multiple climbs and crazy descents. Wow. Amazing athletes - and Lance Armstrong is just so much better than anyone else. Each time a competitor attacked, Lance just jumped the gap to stay with or pass them. I can't imagine his current record ever being broken - much less if he wins his 7th tour in a row, which is looking very likely at this point. And to think he had testicular, stomach, lung and brain cancer just a few years ago! Livestrong!