Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill

Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill: a good place to ride out the final days before pitchers and catchers report.Bar_97

* Brad Wilkerson on why Seattle: “Besides having the best opportunity to play regularly, a big factor was getting a chance to contend for the playoffs. That’s always a plus.”

* The Las Vegas odds have the Rangers at 50-1 to win the American League pennant and 100-1 to win the World Series.

* Hal King turns 64 today. Who? The Rangers first catcher. He was their starting catcher on April 15, 1972 against the Angels and Andy Messersmith. He was their first cleanup hitter. And their first baserunner. He walked to lead off the second. He also had their first hit, a single to start the seventh. The Rangers were no-hit for their first six innings of existence. They lost 1-0.

* One more? King had a first-inning throwing error. That’s right, he had their first hit and error. They had to wait the next day before Lenny Randle scored their first run.

* Rangers pitcher Jason Jennings gets an extra $375,000 for reaching 120 innings pitched. He gets another $375,000 each for 130, 140 and 150 innings pitched. Then it goes up to $500,000 for 160, 170, 180, 190 and finally 200 innings pitched. He also gets $100,000 if he is the Cy Young Award winner, MVP of the World Series or Comeback Player of the Year. He gets $150,000 if the Rangers trade him.

* The Rangers equipment truck leaves the Ballpark on Monday for Spring Training.

* Mike Hargrove on being traded by the Rangers after the 1978 World Series: "Anytime you get traded first time is tough. But I’m from Texas. I’m really intensely proud of being from Texas, but I live and die with the Cowboys. Being from Texas getting to live a dream, playing in your home state and in front of people you grew up with; getting traded from here was like being ripped away from your family. It really was. I understood later the reasons for it but I don’t know if I ever got over it."

* Mark Buehrle on Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hitters: "If I had his kind of stuff, I’m not saying it would be easy, but it would be a lot easier than doing it with what I have."

* Johan Santana has a 4.31 ERA against the Rangers, his second highest against an American League team. He has a 4.84 ERA against Toronto.Johan

* The Rangers still won’t miss Santana if he goes to the National League. He struck out 11.76 Rangers batters per nine innings, the most ever by an opponent with at least 50 innings pitched against them. Pedro Martinez is second at 11.50. Randy Johnson is fourth at 10.68 and Nolan Ryan is eighth at 9.96 batters per nine innings.

* Just for the heck of it: Doug Strange.

* Rangers all-time home run leaders by spot in the batting order: 1st Oddibe McDowell 39, 2nd Ivan Rodriguez 83, 3rd Alex Rodriguez 154, 4th Juan Gonzalez 284, 5th Rafael Palmeiro 72, 6th Dean Palmer 78, 7th Lee Stevens 39, 8th Steve Buechele 44, 9th Rod Barajas 29.

* Don’t think Astros owner Drayton McLane wants to give up Nolan Ryan to the Rangers, saying, "We have encouraged him in the past to get more involved and he has said he’s given about as much time as he could. When I do get a chance to sit down with Nolan we’re going to see if he can free up some more time for us."

* Don’t ask where this came from but Julio Franco is the only Ranger to ever be intentionally walked despite starting out 0-2 in the count.

* Tom Grieve holds a Rangers career batting record? You bet. Most career sacrifice bunts by a designated hitter. He had 11, four more than Mickey Rivers.

* Joe Morgan: "Players are funny. They respect guys who make a lot of money, even if they don’t deserve it. The manager is the most important guy on the team and should be treated on a higher level. Coaches should be regarded highly too, but because of their comparatively low salaries, they’re not. I don’t think that’s fair."

* The White Sox and the Giants played to a 3-3 tie on this date in 1914. The game was played in the Egyptian desert, part of a 56-stop world tour.

* Don’t think a Texas Ranger ever played in the Super Bowl. But a former Washington Senator did. Tom Brown was an outfielder for the Senators and a safety for the Green Bay Packers in the first two Super Bowls.

14 Comments

I wanted to compliment TR for the varied items which make Friday’s blog very interesting. Without commenting on most all of them, I would like to point out that it would be nice to have Mike Hargrove as our Manager, but, like a previous TR offering stated, there never has been an opportune time for either the Rangers, or Mike to make the jump to Texas.

Secondly, sounds like Drayton Maclane is now in some bidding war with Liverpool Tom concerning Nolan Ryan’s status. Well, like Barry Zito, Torii Hunter, etc…I pray Liverpool Tom doesn’t take Nolan to his Highland Park digs to woo him; we’ve all seen the success rate when Tom puts the full-court press on when in Dallas. Try Fort Worth-Arlington Tom, much more Nolan’s style.

Also, I see Jason Jennings’ contract calls for an extra $100,000 should he win the Cy Young. That’s the best money-saving measure Tom has ever taken! That clause will never kick in. I always wondered, what happened in baseball days of yore. Didn’t players play for the love of the game, and hopefully they could pitch good enough to warrant Cy Young consideration….and hit good enough to average .300 or so? Isn’t there enough incentive in a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract without such “incentives?” Doesn’t the player (or more importantly the Player’s Association) have enough integrity, drive and a little competitiveness to want to produce even without incentives? (I ask rhetorically because I do know the answer).

As I started to take a keen interest in my team, our Heroes, in 1973, players would fill in at catcher, outfield, etc. in a pinch without resorting to filing a grievance with the Player’s Association; they would play without “incentive-laced” contracts because they genuinely loved the game; they would eagerly sign autographs without looking askance at the person wanting an autograph; they would (Heaven-forbid) lay down a bunt or move a runner over to second or third when the situation called for it-thus to help the team. Kudos to Tom Grieve for being an unselfish guy and T-E-A-M guy. Now, players refuse because they were “paid to just hit”, not bunt. I like the old system of players with an individual conscience who would sacrifice for his team. No longer. Oh, well, just some random thoughts all over the board.

Just for the heckuvit: Manny Lee….John Henry Johnson….Willie Montanez….Mike Pagliarulo….Bake McBride.

THE RANGER BANDWAGON HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN! We are going to win the World Series.

(I also believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Hillary.)

Hey TR – where did that stat about Julio Franco being intentionally walked on an 0-2 count come from?

(Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that.)

The reserve clause in baseball contracts bound a player to the team until the team traded or released him. The clause was instrumental in keeping salaries low therefore unfair to the players. However the elimination of the clause by court edict changed the game in many negative ways for the fans.

Was it the love of the game that kept players with a team or was it the reserve clause? Would Ted Williams have stayed with the Red Sox rather than jump to the Yankees and load up on World Series rings (and maybe more ca$h?).

However I would like to think Bingo is right. I do recall Stan Musial signing a blank Cardinals contract and leaving it to the club president to fill in the amount. This was back when $100,000 was an alarming amount in a baseball salary.

Curt Flood should and Marvin Miller should get a percentage of every free agent contract signed by today’s players. Without Flood’s refusal to play for the Phillies after being traded by the Cardinals their never would have been the monumental court case that gave the issue such great attention.

Stan the Man still played under the reserve clause when owners pretty much paid their players what they wanted, so while its great he signed the blank contract, its not as if he had a choice.

Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale tried to force Dodger ownership to pay them what they wanted by holding out but even two of the greatest pitchers of the 60′s could not overcome the owners.

Ted Williams loved himself. He definitely would have taken off for the team with the best shot to win it.

Mark Texieria had no shot of winning here for the near future. Why waste the best years of his career toiling for an owner who so far has refused to make the necessary moves to help this team win? Where is the honor in that?

The best example I’ve seen is Tim Wakefield signing a lifetime $4 million a year contract with the Red Sox. When you see Carlos Silva contract you can tell that’s a bargain. However, it is the Red Sox and not the Royals he signed that deal with so how big of a sacrifice is he really making?

Hey TWIdregod, think you can do anything to help get Omar Poveda or Alexi Ongando state side or do we need to keep those illegals out too?

STATS inc. actually

T.R,

We don’t call him “Hal King” in our family.

As we sat about 50 rows behind the Pirates’ dugout, in a game against the Braves (to see Henry Aaron) my brother, wearing his baseball glove, was looking into the outfield, and was hit in the wrist by a foul ball off the bat of “Hal Sting.”

Interesting history, rwolff. I’ve wondered why and how the salary system can be so different from sport to sport.

I like how the salary cap in basketball forces the money to become one more part of the general manager’s strategizing.

Then one player’s demand for big money would directly impact how much the team could spend on the rest of the players, and therefore the quality of the rest of the team.

And yet I can’t necessarily defend the old system which left only the owners to get rich. It seems arbitrary.

But that would definitely make it easier to boycott (if ticket prices went up, and only one person were getting rich).

IMO – The salary and contract landscape is just a result of the evolution of the sport. As more money is involved everyone wants their share of the pie. Incentives are just a good management tool. Keep costs down and productivity up, the business thrives and bonus checks are bigger or the share price climbs or both. Happens everywhere, every day. So, conceptually it all makes sense. Something like Schilling’s incentive for a single Cy Young vote are curious anamolies but both sides agreed to it. Check out some of the Formuala 1 driver contracts if you want to see Prima Donna clauses in high gear.

As far as player/team loyalty goes today, Some will stay, most will go to perceived greener pastures. In most of those cases, while the player may get the green, the pasture may not look so hot come the ASB.

“The grass is always greener, where the dogs are s**tting” – Soungraden, “Outshined”.

I wonder if we’ll get a quote from BW later on his chances of playing regularly and winning especially if that Bedard trade falls through. I was not as down on BW as some but geez he had every opportunity to be an everyday starter here. Sounds like lip service to the guys who gave him a gig this season.

Bingo – the Willie Montanez bit is a blast from the past for me. Watching the Phillies as a kid, him standing at the plate flipping that bat around…Makes me wonder if he was the inspiration for the start of the Willie Mays Hayes batting cage scene.

I hope Nolan comes here but I have this suspicion that his interest in that position isn’t all that strong. Something likely has to give in the next few weeks.

One followup to my post above:

The thrust of my post was meant to be a throwback to a time when the players would do whatever for the team (play outfield, catch, etc…in a pinch, for example), rather than like Soriano, to “refuse” to play outfield to help the team. I abhor that in Soriano when he was here, though I love the player he was overall. Before the “big money” hit, with television contracts dictating so much of scheduling, and before the rise of the HATED sports’ agents, baseball was all for the love of the game. No more. And that is sad.

I was not meaning to venture into the world of the Reserve Clause, Curt Flood, etc…I personally detest all that, because, for Joe Fan, not unlike most all of us, the love of the game, how it’s played, means so much more than anything else. Loyalty was destroyed via free agency. Players have a 3 year contract, and simply “move on.” Very sad for the youth (and loyal older fans as well), who get attached for a very short 3 seasons, then it’s bye-bye. Out with the old, and in with the new. Bloggers younger than me might like the change, the turnover, the new faces…..but I like being attached to the players, watching them grow, then blossom, and gel as a team. I view free agency with a very jaded eye, as to what it has done to the loyalty of fans to players, and players to fans. Call me old school, but baseball was much more fun THEN, say without Corporate naming rights, Scott Boras big-headed greed, Manny’s baggy uniform and signage all over the ballparks—-and much more fun to watch with unselfish ballplayers who knew how to bunt and sacrifice, ballparks with great organists (and without oppressing noise and commercials), prices which were family-friendly, double-headers with Farm and Ranch night, and teams with players you could follow all through their careers, and see gel as a team.

I still applaud the Yankees for their “no facial hair” policy, and reigning in the Johnny Damon-types, because it isn’t so much about the player and individuality, as it is about the team. I liked the Cinncinati Reds of old when they were old school witht the mandated black cleats, not the trendy, individualistic ones. Well, enough about this, but I love the game, how it is played, etc….and I don’t fall into the category of believers in the Manny Rodriguez “wild hair” and sloppy uniform looks, because it is his “individuality”. BUNK! How about the team? Give me 25 guys who are team players ANYDAY. (Example: Check any of Bobby Knight’s teams–none have the individual names on the back of their jerseys; it is about 5 players as a team, not the individual. I heartily agree with the sentiment, and the symbolism.)

Now, to sean0126, I remember Willie Montanez for only his half season with the Rangers. He was MISTER FLASHY, no question. As a Ranger, I loved his exaggerated hopping onto the bases on his home run trots around the bases…I would have hated him as an opponent. Very fun to watch, though he was only here for a half-season, if memory serves. Besides Gaylord Perry and Mickey Rivers, I can’t think of any Ranger who was so fun to watch.

(I hope my Willie Montanez comments aren’t perceived as hypocritical, as before I mentioned I liked conformity, T-E-A-M, and playing the game the way it was intended to be played. Montanez was a good teammate, just flashy.)

If Daniels can make statements about Law Enforcement then turn about is fair game. “Beltre and Ogando are basically having their careers taken away with a lifetime ban.” Citizens of foreign countries are not entitled to careers in the United States! Those entitlements are to the citizens or at least to those who can get a work visa. “What i don’t like is the real criminals behind this, not only haven’t been caught, they’re not being pursued or prosecuted.” Hey Daniels, this isn’t going to endear you to the Department of Homeland Security or the State Department. Obviously the “masterminds” can’t play Baseball. And another thing the definition of a real criminal is someone who partakes in an offense and then confesses to their participation. I guess that would make Beltre and Ogando “real criminals”, due to their participation and confession. I find that a conviction often also helps me define a “real criminal.” Stick to your strenghts and don’t make comments about our immigration policy. I told you before, those guys are not getting in, they would have been better off not confessing, hiring a lawyer and bargaining it away. 911 and the Department of Homeland Security, the Felon Alien Program is being watched, these guys won’t be let in, they can’t be. So cut your losses and let them go to Japan. Now on to the blog, Wilkerson “chance to contend”. How does he now? Expos, Nationals, Rangers, Cellar Dwellers all. Hargrove is being mentioned a lot here recently, is he our next manager? Hopefully so. The hand of Hart, i like it. Looks like Vegas has got it right again, 50:1 and 100:1. Reality my people, i love it. Even after all of Daniels moves. Wow! And last but not least: The Rangers representatives are talking to Kevin Mench’s representatives in hopes of bringing Shrek back. I told you. This organization is so freaking predictable that even an “idiot” as i am often referred to can get it right. Ha Ha. Say goodbye to Cruz. Now they can justify getting rid of him by saying, hey we got Mench back and he was really the key guy that we dealt.

Which leads to these questions. Were Beltre and Ogando Rangers property when the offense went down? If they were, why didn’t they consult with the Rangers? Daniels stop crying about Beltre/Ogando, besides if they did come here, they instantaneously get traded! At least that has been the mantra for the last couple of years. What a quandry they must be in, our two best prospects can’t get off the island. Sounds like a good premise for a tv show and/or movie. I guess Beltre and Ogando should have invested in an education as supposed to spending all that time learning to play a game. I love the Rangers website and academy where they are training all these young Dominicans to be Baseball players. How many of them actually do make it? It kind of boggles the mind on why they aren’t doing the same things in the inner cities of Dallas and Ft. Worth. Don’t we have poor people here? Now someone is going to say they are. Are they really expending the same, investing the same amount of resources in the inner cities as they are in the Dominican and/or Latin America. It is laughable to even think they are on the same level. That is what is wrong with this country. We need to start investing in our products, in our people, in our country. Beltre and Ogando need to migrate to Mexico, become Mexican citizens, change their names then and only then could they get in. Scratch that, convicted felons, get fingerprinted and that is out. It is personally reprehensible that the GM of the Texas Rangers has so little understanding about Immigration. Here are the facts: On 911 a certain amount of illegal aliens mostly of Arabian Descent, hijacked 4 airlines and flew 3 of them into 3 separate buildings. Immigration is what is responsible for that act or the failure to enforce existing laws was completely responsible. The criminal felon alien program arose out of those attacks. Even though Beltre and Ogando aren’t of Arabian Descent, they fall into the Felon Alien Program. The U.S. Embassy won’t be able to let those guys in. It is something that is bigger than them, it concerns a whole country. While it definitely isn’t fair, that is life. So off to Japan with you.

And rumor has it that Beltre and Ogando participated in some sort of marriage scheme. Who would ever have thought up that Marriage would bring anyone any type of freedom? Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.

Hallelujah its on to college basketball’s Final Four and Spring training….the most exciting time of the year!

The only chance that the Rangers have in getting Beltre/Ogando is to have their convictions overturned. Which is going to cost some major $$$$$. Something that they have been unwilling to spend. So good luck!

Daniels got 5 players for Texiera, not necessarily a steal. He got LHP Harrison, 21 years of age, C Saltalamacchia, 22, LHP Beau Jones,19, Neftali Feliz, 19, SS Elvis Andrus, 19. How many 19 year olds not named Robin Yount or Dwight Gooden have made an impact. How far off as in years is Andrus away? Let say 4 years, that makes him 23. In 4 years Daniels won’t be around to see what a great deal he made. I like getting these young players, but you just don’t know if they will develop. ARIAS comes to mind immediately. Andrus and Arias are the same player, we heard the same thing. Now you don’t hear too much about ARIAS becuase he got hurt. A lot of factors play a role in a players development. Some things they have control over others they don’t. So the moral to the story is wait 5 years, something that Daniels wanted and needed. If he had made any more bad deals like Gonzalez and Soriano then he would be gone, as he should be.

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