Monday Morning Manager…Did Phil see his shadow?

"February made me shiver…with each paper I’d deliver…bad news on the doorstep…"

The worst month of the year is officially upon us. Yes, pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks but February is still the most boring sports month of the year, even with Kevin Durant.

That is, unless you love the Pro Bowl although that and the Pro Football Hall of Fame announcement reminds most of us how much better baseball is in so many ways.

So let’s chill out with the last of the off-season questions and think fondly on Julius Cesar, who at least had the foresight to give February just 28 days. He probably thought the Pro Bowl was a real snoozer too.

1. So what is your impression of manager Ron "Take no Prisoners" Washington so far?

2. Juan Gonzalez is talking comeback in the Caribbean. Do you think the once great Rangers outfielder has anything left?

3. Do you think Joaquin Arias has a future in center field or do you think the Rangers should leave him at shortstop?

4. ESPN Classic wants to show an evening of great Rangers games from the past. Which game do you want to see? Or at least TiVo?

5. Commissioner Selig calls you and wants your suggests on how to make the game better. What do you tell Bud?

28 Comments

1. Ron Washington is unlike anything we have had around here for a long time. I am really excited about him. I hope that he is Ozzie Guillen without all of the outrageous stuff. Washington is either going to be the best thing to happen to the Rangers since Melvin/Oates, or he is going to be a flop. I tend to go with the former.

2. Probably. Several years ago, Ruben Sierra made a comeback. I was very skeptical at the time but he turned into a productive bench guy. I don’t think Juando will ever be an MVP again, but he could come back and, with the right amount of hard-work and dedication could give a team 300 at-bats and be productive. And, I hope he does. When he was in his prime, he was so much fun to watch. You hate to see all that talent wasted.

3. Try him in center. Why not? It can’t hurt anything. At this point, his main hope in making the Big Show is to be traded or to turn himself into a serviceable utility guy.

4. I would love to see the Rangers game against Oakland at the end of 2004 where the Rangers swept the A’s when Delucci had the game-winning hit. I would also love to see Kenny Rogers perfect game. I would enjoy Nolan Ryan’s Rangers no-hitters as well as his 5000th strikeout game and 300th win game.

5. First, I would tell Bud to retire and convince the owners to hire a real commish. After that I am not sure. I like the game the way it is, except for the steroids part.

1. He certainly talks a good game. That’s how you get a job. You keep a job by winning, not talking.
2. No. If you read that story closely, it doesn’t sound like he is driving the ball.

3. Let’s see how Blalock does this year.

4. the 1996 ALDS against the Yankees.

5. Get baseball off FOX!

1. Hard to say – the only time I’ve seen him was the interview the day he was hired – he’s not been at any of the events I’ve attended. First impression – down to earth – speak your mind – the polar opposite of the previous manager (that’s kind of refreshing).

2.No — isn’t time to start looking to future?

3. Yes, especially when you consider the lack of real OF prospects (well, any kind of top shelf position player prospects) in the upper levels of the Rangers minor league system – having seen Arias play quite a bit – I think he has the “tools” to be a good major league CF.

4.”Now for ten years we’ve been on our own – and moss grows fat on rollin’ stone” -The first game of the 1996 playoffs – you do remember when the Rangers were a playoff team – over a decade ago.

(Plus I’d I’d kind of like to see the game where Wayne Tolleson barreled into Bobby Grich – 1983? A big brawl ensued and then the lights in old Arlington Stadium went out –obviously I was at that game and found it pretty entertaining.)

5. The single biggest thing that would make the game better – an independent commissioner who would truly act “in the best interests of the game” – rather than the “the best interests of the game – as long as it’s in the best interest of the owners ” – which is the restraint placed on the current commissioner.

1) He reminds me of my Army days.
2) I am sure he can make the Disable List one more time.

3) Never know, Needs to add a little weight though.

4) I want to see all games the Great Will “The Thrill” Clark played.

5) I want to tell him to rearrange the divisions. Make the Rangers in the Central! That way there wouldn’t be that many late games.

1. Anything that provides fun sound bites to keep reporter happy I am in favor of. I am tired of reporters not liking the Rangers Managers and taking it out on the team.

2. Juan Done

3. Try him at center unless you plan to entice Minnesota with a premier defensive SS. Keeping him **** in only for trade bait.

4. Nolan Ryan’s No Hitters, 3000th strike out. His games against Roger Clemens. K. Rogers Perfect game. The night Nolan Ryan taught others “Not to Mess with Texas” Burkett’s game against California (which set up the Rangers winning their first division). Fergie Jenkins best game as a Ranger. The Cleveland Indians Nickel Beer night forfeit. The Playoff game where Rangers beat the Yankees. Burroughs best game during the season he won MVP. The Night the fans chanted for Rickey Henderson to run against Pudge. A webgems segment of Mark Texeria, Toby Harrah, Steve Buschele, Pudge and Rusty Greer playing respective positions. The games where O. McDowell, M. Texeria, and any other Ranger I am forgetting hitting for the cycle.

1.His attitude is my single greatest reason for optimism this offseason. He could give the Rangers a swagger like the A’s carry through the last half of every season.

2. He could have a Sosa-like year…

3. For the Rangers’ sake I hope he can. I think Adrian Gonzalez has shown that a stellar position player prospect is going to be worth more as a position player than as a trade piece.

4. September 2004, Rangers v. Athletics, the Dellucci game-winning double to sweep the Zito-Mulder-Hudson trio and keep the Rangers’ playoff hopes alive.

5. Bud needs to step down. I don’t see how he can save his legacy as commissioner. I think Bob Costas would be the best commissioner EVER.

TR you’re on the jazz this morning…what a lot of questions…
1. I like what I’ve seen from Washington so far…I think the most telling mark was his “counseling” of Blylock and the confidence he’s putting in him. I like it.

2. Yopu know what I like about Juan…no rumors that I’ve heard of of “Juice”…He’s always been troubled…amybe he grew out of it.

3. I like Arias in Center…too good to trade or to sit…he hit in limited appearances…give him a shot!

4. The only two that come to mind are the NOlan Ryan no hitter with John Russell behind the plate and the Kenny Rogers no no…Great fielding plays behind both pitchers.

5. I neither need nor want any changes except perhaps that Czar Bud learns to say goodbye.

1. I like Washington. He excites me, and it sounds like he is exciting this team. We have a lot of talent, and I would love to watch a team play like Ron Washington talks about how his team is going to play. We’ll see if his talk translates to performance.

2. No…His swing is too long and slow. Last year he claimed to be in the best shape of his life…yadda yadda yadda. That’s what they all say. He’s done.

3. The Rangers should sign Michael Young to a long-term extension, so yes they should try Arias at Center if that deal gets done. If not, he stays at SS.

4. You have to choose a Nolan Ryan game. Would I choose the no-hitter?…No. I would choose the game Nolan Ryan taught weak little 3basmen like Robin Ventura to not charge the mound…THAT was CLASSIC! All of our playoff series end in dissappointment, so I would have to go with that game. Although, the games in which Juan Gone owned the yankees were fantastic except our bullpen would lose the games :(

5. I tell Bud, to raise the mound 4-6 inches. Use replay on Homeruns, which I think they are doing. Ask why Shawn Merrian, who tested positive for steroids and was suspended 4 games, is in the Pro-bowl? Like, Snow mentioned, I agree with the divisions but not only for the Rangers’ sake, but the league. Why does the NL have 16 teams vs. 14 teams…even it out to 15 NL and 15 AL and put a 5th team in the AL West. Who was the owner of the Brewers when they went back to the National league….hmmm?

1. I think he’s overly eager and I’m tired of him telling anyone who will listen that he is a player’s manager. I don’t want him to be friends with his players. I want him to instill discipline and fundamentals to his team. Things like moving runners over no matter who’s up to bat. Manufacturing runs! He’s so unprepared for this job that he has pretty much said (without coming out and saying it) that Art Howe and Mark Connor will be running the on-field show when it comes to their respective jobs. I think if the Rangers are successful this season, it will be because of what Howe and Connor do.

2. If Juan would have stayed healthy, he would be a sure fire Hall of Famer. I think if he could remain healthy this season, he could help someone.

3. If his defense is as great as it’s supposed to be, he should be left at shortstop. Move Young back to second and Kinsler to the outfield. The real question is, will he hit enough to make it in the Majors?

4. How about a playoff victory!

5. I tell him to eliminate the divisions and keep the DH. Every team plays by the same rules and every team plays each other an equal number of times. That way there is no unfair schedule perks. The top eight teams make the playoffs and are seeded by record. That way, the best eight teams make the playoffs instead of poor teams getting in because they are in weak divisions.

1. I like his approach so far. I like the fact that he went to visit most of the players so they could meet and get to know each other better.
2. He’s tried to come back quite a few times already. As I recall, he’s tried it with the Indians and Royals. And if you can’t do it with the Royals, I don’t think you can do it with anybody else.

3. It’s all a matter of whether or not they can re-sign Michael Young.

4. Nolan Ryan’s no-hitters.

5. Have you considered the incredible benefits of retirement, Bud?

(1) I like his enthusiasm and the fact he is so positive. Whether that translates into being a good manager, we’ll have to wait and see.
(2) If he’s healthy and has his head screwed on straight, yes. But if Juan had had his head screwed on right, he would have been a Hall of Famer. Greatest run producer in Rangers history.

(3) Yes, try Arias in center. Never hurts to be able to play more than one position.

(4) Rangers’ first game ever in Arlington in 1972.

(5) First off, I’d tell him to get a 24-hour television channel like the NFL and NBA already have.

1. Good hire.
2. No.

3. Arias is a plus defender who can’t hit enough to justify being an everday middle infielder. Moving him to center won’t turn him into a viable offensive threat.

4. Several people have brought up games in which fights happened. In keeping with that theme I’d like to suggest Kevin Reimer Vs. Chris Bosio circa 1991.

5. Making the allstar game “count” was a poor overreaction to the **** poor way he handled that extra inning debacle a few years back. Don’t let an exhibition effect how a legitimate series in going to be played.

1) So far, it is all talk, BUT I’m willing to give this very positive guy all the benefit of any doubt I might have–and I have plenty. He is likable, and certainly self-assured, as was Bobby V. I like that he’s never managed and can manage by his gut, and not the “book”. This should make him innovative, and take a little risk at times-something new for the home team. But with all the optimism he evokes, the reality is we still are considering B.W. to start in the outfield, so that lessens my hope. (just kidding-a bit)

2)Loved Juan-do as a Ranger the first time through, but both times he’s attempted any comebacks, either with the Rangers on his second tour, or the Royals or the Indians, his back has given out on him. I took a flyer on Sammy, because I think he’s in better shape, but I’m not going to advocate taking Juan back, as much as I like him.

3) Leave Arias at shortstop! Why switch him when it is likely he could team with Ian Kinsler at the keystone for many seasons to come–because I fear Michael Young will not be re-signing with us unless we win. Now. Tex, too. I’m certainly hopeful, but not counting my World Series’ seats at Ameriquest for this year. I HOPE I’m wrong.

4)The game clinching our first ever division title in 1996. Second on the list is a toss-up between the 1981 game where we scored I think 14 or 15 runs against the A’s in one inning–TIED WITH–Nolan Ryan’s last no-hitter.

5)To break the back or crack the barrier around the all and too-powerful player’s association. People before free agency had a real attachment to their “stars”, and the players were so closely identified with their teams. Now they just pull up stakes and leave every year or two, going where the money is higher or the private suites are plusher. No loyalty in my estimation removes the fan’s attachment from the team as a whole. Exceptions can be made, but in the main, free agency has hurt everyone. The players are free only as long as some stupid, greedy owner is willing to pony up and pay them what the agent’s demands are. Wormy agents have worked to kill the game. No one living is worth $252 million. No one. Hear that Mr. Hicks? Mr. Selig? Once the horses are out of the barn, it’s hard to go back to the old system, but much more loyalty from fan to player and player to fan happened because the players stayed with their teams and fans got to know them and love them. Oh well, my two cents Mr. Selig. (Oh, enforce raising the strike zone to the top of the armpit, and raise the pitching mound to make the pitcher more effective.)

1. Love hire- he is gonna be a great. I think in 2 seasons we will be in the WS.
2.Juando is Gonzo- he never could hit the curve ball what makes you think he can now-maybe a deal from the nationals.

3. I dont care – he cant hit worth anything so who cares.

4.1st ever division title!

5.Cap the mlb! see my article on protrade- member ID is TexasTrader!

I don’t know if Don McLean agreed with T.S. Eliot before Buddy Holly died, but “April is the cruelest month… mixing memory and desire…”

and I BLAME Julius (and Augustus) Caesar for February being cold so regularly. If they hadn’t added July and August, after themselves, then neither nature’s nor sports’ seasons would line up with any particular months, and no month would get such a bad rap.

Oh, baseball?

1. Good. Real. Joyful.

2. Juan = Sammy, but whether they have anything left is almost beside the point even if the answer is yes.

3. Yes: CF, (SS) 3b and 2b in order to apply for super Utility IF role, and to get more AB’s in case he can develop as a hitter and we end up needing him for any of the above jobs as a full-timer in ’09.

4. The night we got 2 homers by Raffy– one to tie in the 9th, one to win in the 11th– in front of Pres. Bush (Sr.) after most fans had already left disappointed that the Rangers were down (by 5?) and Nolan Ryan (already out of the game)wouldn’t be getting his 300th win that night.

Check me on the details, but it was magical. I arrived there (the old stadium) from work in the 8th to meet my folks, and talked them into staying…

5. Ditto Bingo’s #5.

1. Colorful. Does that equate to WINS?

2. Back to the future – Sign Gonzo and trade for Rubin. That will give us Sammy in LF, Gonzo in CF and Rubin in RF, just like 1988 in the Rangers minors. Nostalgic, but little else.

3. I don’t get a good feeling about keeping MY long term. Keep Arias at SS.

4. Kenny Rogers’ perfect game or any of Nolan’s no-hitters.

5. I’ve come 180 degrees on this topic. Kill the DH. It’s inflating the cost of pitching and driving up salaries by keeping old stars pass their prime. A business decision only.

Eightgleasons,
The game when Ryan was knocked out early in an effort to win his 300th and then we tied it in the ninth — it was against the Yankees — and it was Inky who hit the game-tying homer with two out in the ninth. Don’t remember exactly how we won it in the 11th.

Those who are saying that Arias can’t hit … remember this — Pudge was a weak-hitting defensive catcher in the minors, had never played above Double-A, when recalled in June 1991. The question about him was whether he’d hit enough in the majors. Let’s not count Arias out as a hitter quite yet.

Hondo,
Check me on this, but I don’t think Inky & Ryan were ever on the same Ranger team.

The night I have in mind it was Palmeiro. That part I know. He may have even called the shot for Bush senior in the 11th.

p.s. Regarding Joaquin, good call. Besides, didn’t T.R. have a fun tidbit out on Arias, saying he is currently tied for the highest season batting average IN MLB HISTORY for batters w/ at least 11 at bats?

The nay-sayers of little faith…

p.p.s

Whether our new SUPER-utility man be Jerry Hairston, Matt Kata or, now, ARIAS…

by serving as back-up to CF (and 2B, SS, & 3B) , and by having CAT able to move from DH to ANY infield spot in a pinch (on a day when Arias filled in for Lofton, and an infielder got hurt)…

Arias’ learning how to play CF could save us a roster spot.

Then we’d only need to carry 12 hitters and could take on a 13th pitcher.

“Commissioner Selig calls you and wants your suggests on how to make the game better. What do you tell Bud?”

The idea of having all teams in league without divisions play each other an equal number of games (as posted elsewhere) is good except 14 and 16 teams in a league are too many. In the AL, for example, in a 161 game schedule that means 12 games against each opposing team if you totally eliminate intra-league play (no way that should happen). In the NL the number per opposing team is only 10 games.

A better arrangment if a totally balanced schedule is desired would be to add two teams and divide MLB into four leagues of eight teams. Reduce the interleague schedule to 154 games and have each team play 22 games against each opposing team. This change would permit the four league CHAMPIONS to compete in playoff series to determine the winner of the World Series rather than resorting to an NBA type playoff (idea posted elsewhere) that in my opinion would diminish MLB.

My other suggestion would be to use the DH in all leagues.

Eightgleasons,
Inky and the Express played together on the Rangers in both the 1989 and ’90 seasons. I know for a fact that one game — Wednesday night, July 25, 1990 at the old Arlington Stadium — Inky homered against the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth to tie a game and then they won 9-7 in extra innings. I was almost positive it was on another HR by Inky, but not sure about that. It was one of the games where Ryan had a chance to win his 300th but had long since departed. He got his 300th next time out at Milwaukee on a Tuesday night.

A great site for all baseball fans is baseballhistory.com … you can check out every team’s yearly results game-by-game and what the starting lineup was for each team most of the time that year.

It’s a great site.

1. So far so good…his first test is how he’ll handle the Sammy circus in Surprise.

2. Juando is a NO GO.

3. He’s going to have to be a utility guy if he stays. With the Rangers planning to sign one of the free agent CF next year he’s not going to be an every day guy.

4. Game 3 of the ’96 ALDS where Juan hit another bomb (Chuck Morgan actually shot fireworks off after he crushed one that went just foul and then Juan hit the next pitch out)…Darren Oliver pitched a gem but gave up 2 in the top of the 9th and the Rangers lost 3-2…**** of a game.

5. Get rid of the idiot black out rules.

1) I like Washington’s style and love the “no prisoners” comment. To me, it says no one is going give the Rangers respect, so you have to go out and earn it. Maybe it will get us a little more focused when playing teams in our division instead of treating it as “just another game”.

2) Juando will come back and then quit when he sees that his jersey doesn’t fit him.

3) Rangers should sign Young to a long term deal, so no chance for Arias to play short. Why not try him at CF? Maybe after we’re done signing old guys like Lofton and Byrd, he can become the everyday CF for a long time. Shudder to think we can have that.

4) Ryan’s no-no’s, 5000K, 300 win, ’96 ALDS and the Oakland game in 2004 w/ Delluchi & the one I caught a foul ball – believe it was against the Blue Jays in ’97.

5) Get rid of the afternoon playoff games and try to fit all of them in the evenings and night, starting at 5pm. It can be done, I know it!

1. So what is your impression of manager Ron “Take no Prisoners” Washington so far?

Ron Washington is very personable and his comment, “Take no Prisoners”, is the same thing the Japanese said during World War II. In case you slept through world history, the Japanese lost the war anyway. Things do have to change with the Rangers, there is no doubt; a great attitude is of utmost importance to the improvement. However, without the pitching improving, how are the Rangers going to back up their run support? The

Rangers have a pitcher that starts out great then cools toward the end of the season, and another that starts slows then warms up at the end of the season. Will the Rangers ever have a pitcher that goes all out for the entire season?

There is no doubt that Ron is a winner! The question is, will the team that JD is putting together be enough for Ron to win with? We are putting speed in the outfield as well as on the bases, but will we use them?

In many sense, the question of what we think of Ron is irrational unless we consider what we think of JD and Tom Hicks and the team Ron has been given. We have traded homerun hitters for contact hitters and base runners. Speed is great, but now what?

2. Juan Gonzalez is talking comeback in the Caribbean. Do you think the once great Rangers outfielder has anything left?

Juan has always played great for a “Hispanic team”, but not so when he was up in the majors. His bat was great but he never legged out a grounder or attacked a soft fly ball. Those lack luster pursuits or mental habits that he adopted as a major league player. If he does not break himself of those habits then he is destined to fail, in my opinion. What is the quest he stated for his comeback? Did he state that he felt he could contribute to a major league team? No he stated, “I want to hit 500 homeruns.” If that is all he is after, then I do not believe he deserves any chance at all back in the majors.

3. Do you think Joaquin Arias has a future in center field or do you think the Rangers should leave him at shortstop?

Joaquin Arias has great speed, but I have never seen him throw for distance. If he has the arm then of course, as a center fielder, he would be a great choice. He will has speed on the base pads again, and it will be up to Ron to send him to second. Let’s make the opposing pitchers think of something else besides a perfect pitch.

Michael Young is the Ranger’s short stop. Do not mess with perfection in the making unless he request the change or heavens forbids we trade him.

4. ESPN Classic wants to show an evening of great Rangers games from the past. Which game do you want to see? Or at least TiVo?

I was not there for Kenny Roger’s perfect game. I have seen bits and pieces of the game but not the whole thing. I would like to sit and watch it with multiple camera views instead of what was shown on television.

5. Commissioner Selig calls you and wants your suggests on how to make the game better. What do you tell Bud?

Keep the umpires on the field and let them make human decision. NO INSTANT REPLAY!!

During the off season send all umpires to a mandatory re-education meeting where the high strike call is or will be called consistently. This is a real source of frustration for the batters. Too many times a high strike pitch is called a ball then the next umpire will call it a strike. Consistency is more valuable on the field than any replay would be.

Signed: Netman

Hondo,
Thanks for the possible link (baseballhistory.com) but it comes up dry for me.

With “.ca” instead of “.com” I get a paid site to Canadian baseball history.

Anyway, I’d be happier to know it was Inky, but I’m mystified if it wasn’t Palmeiro.

How many times have I retold of that night falsely?…

pps Is there anyone (qua Super Utility Man) other than Arias, Kata or Hairston who could save us a roster spot by backing up IF and CF? Isn’t that why we wanted to keep DeRo or sign Mark Loretta?

Does anyone out there see that option as more valuable than 2 back-ups (one for CF & one for IF) who may –OR may not– be slightly better hitters?

I want to break in as many potential (’07 or ’08) 5th starters as possible via the bullpen, and lose as few as possible on waivers, trying to get them back down to AAA.

An extra spot for a pitcher looks optimal for ’07. If Arias can provide that, then his value virtually doubles.

First, Hillman should have been hired, but he wanted more money than the Rangers wanted to give, imagine that?A main concern of mine is, if Washington is so great why wasn’t he wanted by Oakland? Secondly, sign Juan Gonzalez, the Country Kitchen misses his all nighters, brawls and business. He is going to be more successful than Sosa and there might be some single ladies that are looking for a husband. What is he up to now 7 or 8 ex-wives? Third, sign Young and move him back to 2B. Let Arias play his natural position. Hopefully, Arias will be a player, so we will at least have something to show for the trades of Soriano and Rodriquez. Please don’t anyone say we have Wilkerson. Fourth, both of Ryan’s no-hitters and a clip of the game where Blyleven shoots the bird to the fans. And last but not least, quit Bud. You never were a commissioner! You are what you are, a used car dealer. My dad always told me to never trust a car dealer. Under your watch we got a cancelled baseball season a tied All-Star game, no World Series and controversy over steriods. As Harry Truman said, “the buck stops here.” It happened on your watch, so you are accountable. You are right again Dad!!!

As Tom Hicks likes to say. dwidregod “crossed the line and got personal!” Wake up Hicks it is the way of the world!Hey if i have the information i am going to put it out there. As Jack Nicholson said, “you can’t handle the truth!” As soon as the RANGERS BRASS starts looking at things honestly and truthfully then the faster things are going to improve. So look in the mirror Hicks, Daniels and Company, make a plan, commit to the plan and forever persevere. Develop the minor leagues with strong scouting and keep a manager around more than 3 to 4 years! P.S. Jerry Jones is the type of owner you should be modeling yourself after Hicks, The guy wants to win, puts his money where his mouth is and pays the price. He hasn’t purchased any soccer teams lately either!

There were several games I’d like to see again. Two that I attended were the first meeting of Clemens and Ryan, won in the late innings by a Palmiero HR off the RF foul pole. The other I’m a little shaky on details. The entire team was hit by a flu bug. Gary Pettis was on the team so it was probably in ’90. Sierra was so sick he had gone home. Half the players on the field were backups. We were behind by one run late in the game. They called back the batter and out came Rueben, who promptly hit a HR to right and we won the game. I remember thinking, this is what makes baseball different from other sports. It’s another great drama every night.

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