My Thoughts by Rick Stephens

No Joy in Arlington?

Posted in Baseball by Rick on the September 27th, 2013

Most who know me know that I am a faithful Rangers Fan.  I watch every game that I can, and go to games often to support the team. Out of the 162 games the Rangers played this year, I guess I watched 150 or more of them.  So to say I am disappointed in Ron Washington’s comment the other day is an understatement.

Texas Ranger Logo

In an interview with Hardball Talk, Wash said, “I don’t see a lot of joy in Arlington.”  What?  Are you kidding me Ron?!   On August 23rd, the Rangers had a 3 ½ game Division lead over the Oakland A’s.  Since that time the Rangers have lost 18 games and won only 9.  During that time, the Rangers handed their best pitcher, Yu Darvish, 2 losses because they could not score a single run.  This made Darvish the first pitcher in the MLB to have a season high of 4, 0-1 losses in a single year.  The Rangers have not only lost the 2nd division title in as many years because of a September melt down, they have no control now over even getting a wild card spot.  We need for Cleveland and/or Tampa to lose before we have a chance.   And let’s not even go back to the stunning loss to St. Louis that took our first chance for a World Series Title away from us.

On Tuesday, when I was at the game, there were over 43,000 fans still supporting the Rangers in the stands.  This is the second year in Ranger history that attendance has exceed the 3 million mark, and even though the  odds are seriously against the Rangers at this point I would venture to say that we still love our team.  If we have no joy in Arlington, then who is to blame for that?  It certainly is not the fans.  In contrast, Tampa is almost a sure thing for the Wild card spot, and their attendance was less than 20,000 on Tuesday.  What do you expect from us Ron?

I can tell you what we expect?  Respect, that we are still on your side.

To Your Success,

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Reflections on the 2012 Year in Baseball

Posted in Baseball by Rick on the October 8th, 2012

Well Texas Ranger fans, the 2012 season is over, and those of us who had the hopes and expectations of re-visiting the World Series a third time have been left with the single question, “What happened?”

The Ball Park in Arlington - Texas Rangers

Yes it was a very disappointing year for us especially when you consider that everyone thought it would be a battle between the Angels and the Rangers for the division.  Instead, from out of the blue, the A’s swept in and snatched the Division title from the Rangers on the very last day of the season.

But in the aftermath of a disappointing end to the season, I just wanted to say that it was still a magnificent baseball year.  There is much to think back on and say, “Wow!”

Consider this; there were 3 perfect games this year.  There have only been 23 in all of baseball history and there has never been 3 in a single season. We saw Josh Hamilton hit 4 home runs in a single game.  This has only happened 15 other times in baseball history; the last time was in 2003.

And congratulations to Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers for winning the coveted Triple Crown, baseball’s highest batting honor.  Only 15 others in Baseball history have won this award, the last one being Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

If that was not enough to get you excited about the 2012 year, take a look at the Rookies that came to the “Show” this year.  We saw Bryce Harper, 19 years old, get intentionally hit by a pitch from Cole Hamels, who said he was simply welcoming him to the big leagues, and then Harper, as if to mock Hamels, stole home, becoming the 1st teenager to do that since 1964.  He had 2 multi-home run games during this Rookie year, was named Rookie of the month twice, and became the youngest Rookie position player in history to be named to the All Star team.  Harper finished the year with a .270 avg, .340 On Base Percentage, and a .477 Slugging percentage, 22 Home Runs, 18 Stolen Bases, 59 RBIs, and 98 runs scored, not bad for a 19 year old Rookie!

Then there was Mike Trout.  Many believe Trout was the life line for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, bridging the gap during the time Albert Pujols was struggling to adjust to his new league and team.  Although he first appeared in the “Show” during the 2011 season, his full rookie year began on April 28, 2012 and from there began to take the American league by storm.  Mike Trout also made the All Star team and many think he could become the Rookie of the year for 2012 as well as the American League MVP, ending the 2012 season with a .326 Avg, an On Base Percentage of .379, a Slugging Percentage of .532, 30 Home Runs, 83 RBIs and an incredible 49 Stolen Bases, quite an accomplishment for a Rookie.

But the 2012 Rookie list doesn’t stop there.  The Texas Rangers added Yu Darvish, the highly regarded Japanese pitcher ending his rookie season with 191 innings pitched, an ERA of 3.90, a WHIP of 1.28, logging 221 Strike outs and recording 16 wins against only 9 losses. Another Ranger Rookie was Jurickson Profar, a 19 year old who homered against Cleveland during his very 1st major league at bat.  Profar is destined to become a future superstar and certainly someone to watch.

Another Notable rookie this year was Yoenis Cespedes, a Cuban National joining the Oakland A’s who hit .292 with 23 Home Runs, 82 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.  Rookie Pitchers included, Wade Miley with the Diamondbacks, Scott Diamond with the Twins, and of course Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook, rookies who led the Oakland Athletics to an unexpected and unbelievable Division title over the Texas Rangers.  I hope you are collecting the baseball cards for this year, because I’m willing to bet they will have some interesting value in about 15 to 20 years when these rookies begin to retire and move on to the Hall of Fame.

If you like baseball, you have to admit, this 2012 season will be a memorable one to say the least, and the Post Season has started out to be even better.

Yes, as a Ranger fan, I was disappointed in the way the season ended for the Texas Rangers, but I am certainly not disappointed that I was able to witness one of the finest years in baseball history, in my humble opinion, of course.  There’s a reason why baseball is called America’s National Pastime, and as the winter months begin to creep in and the off season trades and adjustments are being negotiated, I will sit by and wait eagerly for the 2013 season when, once again, I will hear the playing of our National Anthem and the umpires shout “Play Ball!”

To Your Success,

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