Pitchers and catchers report…the Past is Prologue

The first 20…

Next year we lap the field…

1989 – Jim Sundberg is catching an unknown left-handed Minor League pitcher in the bullpen, turns to someone and says, “This guy has good stuff. Who is he?” It was Kenny Rogers, in his first big league camp.

1990 – A lockout and a short Spring. Robb Nen arrives throwing 100 miles per hour and gets hurt. Jim Reeves writes the immortal words, “He’s like the Easter bunny. He shows up in the Spring and then you never see him again.”

1991 – Brown and Rogers walk out of camp for one day because their contracts were renewed. Pete Incaviglia was released at 7 a.m. one morning before a long roadtrip to Baseball City. “He just didn’t make the team,” Bush said and the Rangers use the money saved to sign Brian Downing.


Canseco.jpg1992
– Nolan Ryan announces he can’t make a $1,000 appearance at a local luncheon because he’s pitching that day. Scott Chiamparino volunteers to take his place and is told formal attire is required. Chiamparino complies, reports to a hotel on the other side of Port Charlotte and is reminded that it is April 1st.

1993 – Jose Canseco arrives in camp and joins the pitching staff. He throws a simulated game on a side field while, unbeknownst to him, second baseman Billy Ripken is standing him giving away the pitches to the hitters. This is the camp that Mickey Hatcher was Kevin Kennedy’s chauffer. One moment he was leaving the hotel without the manager, or he was getting lost and driving halfway across Florida for a game in Dunedin.

1994 – A nutritionist tries to introduce healthy food to the Rangers Spring Training diet. Billy Ripken rebels and says, “I think Babe Ruth had a doughnut now and then.” Canseco, who blew out his elbow in his infamous pitching appearance the year before, walks into Kevin Kennedy’s office  and says, “Kevin, I’m ready to pitch again.”

1995 – Jackie Davidson. Tommy Hinzo. Luis Martinez. Bruce Dostel. Tony “Five Tools Chance. The Expresso Waiter turned pitcher. The reliever who ran a day care in Las Vegas. A pitcher who brewed his own beer. The catcher who was into sky diving.

The Replacements. Might have been the Rangers best chance to win a World Series. Said Johnny Oates, “I have one eye on the field and one eye looking up to heaven, hoping this will be over soon.”

1996 – Every single Rangers regular is in camp at least one day early. That includes Juan Gonzalez, who is normally late every year for Spring. That clearly sets a tone for the remainder of the season and the Rangers won their first division title.

1997 – John Wetteland joins the Rangers. He makes his first appearance in Arlington in the final exhibition game. He strikes out the side on nine pitchers.

1998 – Hi I’m Tom Hicks. Nice to be here.

1999 – The Rangers make history: Todd Zeile, Jeff Zimmerman, Gregg Zaun, Mike Zywica. They have a chance to be the first team in history to have four players with the last name beginning with the letter Z. Only three make it. Zywica never gets out of the Minor Leagues, missing out on being the last player alphabetically in the Baseball Encyclopedia.

Said Zeile of Zywica, “That’s got to be a double word in scrabble.”


rodd.JPG2000
– Ruben Mateo was the star of Spring Training. Of the Ballpark in Arlington, he said, “She’s my mistress.” He strains a hamstring. Johnny Oates tells Mateo to eat more cookies. Said Oates, “You hear of players pulling muscles, you never hear them pulling fat.”

2001 – Alex Rodriguez holds his first press conference on top of the first base dugout. Then he has to race up to Tampa to explain to Derek Jeter why he insulted him in a national magazine. Sometime after that he apparently started using steroids. The Rangers lead all of baseball in pitching that Spring. Hicks predicts they’ll win the division.

2002 – The Mad Reign of Pitching Coach Oscar Acosta. The Rangers have something like 39 pitchers in camp, a high number. Acosta isn’t worried. In a rare interview, he says, “The wimps will sort themselves out early.”

2003 – Farewell Port Charlotte. Hello Surprise: Outbacks, Applebees and the Streets of New York. Plus F-14s flying over the park all the time getting ready to go to Iraq. Sign on road to ballpark” Watch for snakes. Don’t disturb bees.”

2004 – Farewell Alex Rodriguez, Hello Alfonso Soriano. Dale Hansen, in a rare Spring appearance, surveys everybody to see if they think the Rangers will lose 100 games. They win 89, their only winning season in the last nine years.

2005 – Hank Blalock is having a nice leisurely drive to the ballpark, eating a Sonic hamburger and fries. A cop pulls him over for going 59 in a 35 mile per hour zone. Blalock starts to argue and is threatened with jail. He later finds his teammates set him up.

2006 – The beginning of the story: http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3423018&cp=1452369.2775249

2007 – He stood in the visiting clubhouse. He folded his hands in prayer, smiled mischieviously and looked up toward heaven. “I made the team,” Sammy Sosa giggled. “Oh thank you Lord I made the team.”

2008 – All Josh Hamilton, all the time. Not since Pete Incaviglia put the hole in the fence in Pompano Beach…

2009 – Pitchers and catchers are in the building…

 

3 Comments

Rangers competition: We have already done this but here goes if all healthy: Pitchers: Padilla, Millwood, Harrison, Feldman, McCarthy, Gabbard, Nippert, Guardado, Rupe, Madrigal, Wilson, and Francisco. Catchers Salty and Tea, 1B Davis, 2B Kinsler, 3B Young, SS Andrus, UI Vizquel, LF Murphy, CF Hamilton, RF Cruz 4th OF Byrd, DH Blalock and Jones. That is 25 players folks, so just where is the competition for “open” jobs or positions? Catalanotto where are you? What a bad signing that was and it cost us a lot of money. Is he going to get cut if Jones is healthy? The only way this changes is if someone gets hurt. I just hope that Washington gets his players ready for the start of the season. He hasn’t done that in spring training the last two years choosing to focus on who is going to be the 25th member of the squad. I like squinty but Nolan asking him to win 8 more games well just ain’t gonna happen, maybe 4 which puts us at 83 and 79 nothing like aiming for a .512 winning percentage. Which leads to this question how does Nolan translate his competitve fire to this pitching staff? Hamilton we can win 90 games???? Maybe if you get some divine intervention. We are pretty much trotting the same starting staff that we had last year with the exception of Harrison. In order for us to win 90 games we are gonna have to have 50 + wins from our starting staff anyone on here think that is gonna happen? I don’t but, if they stay healthy then maybe so. The key is Millwood. If he can put together a good season with Padilla then we may have a chance. Last but not least I LOVE SQUINTY, think he has done and excellent job but he is what he is: The longer he manages the more he proves it up statistically. MLB Record, 324 games managed 154wins and 170 losses 16 games under .500, .475 winning percentage and .524 losing percentage. Minor League Managerial record 276 games managed 123 wins and 153 losses 30 games under .500, .445 winning percentage and .554 losing percentage. Now i say all that to say this. There are no excuses Ron has learned a few things in the past two years and done well with the pitching staff that he has had to deal with. But NOW is the time to prepare this team, start off strong or at least keep it at .500 and don’t be out before the end of April. If he starts slow he is gonna get fired. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that as long as MR. Daniels gets axed along with him. This is Daniels hire and he should suffer if Squinty starts off slow.

I loved the summary of the years! 1992 & 1995 had very funny stories. And you think they would have learned from 1996.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Rogers is a nut, but he hasn’t officially retired. I would not bet against him coming back here. The Rangers have always went lowball, if they can get him on the cheap then why not? The fact that he assaulted a cameraman want amount to a hill of beans. Hicks will get on there and say Kenny has apologized, he loves Texas, wants to pitch close to home…. Anyone want to bet that there are some current Rangers on that list of 103 names? Is A-Rod now like Jesus, he is gonna take the fall for others? Jesus did his willingly but A-Rod didn’t so i guess that is one difference. The other is Jesus knew he was God and A-Rod believed he was too. Ha Ha, how the mighty have fallen. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” So A-Rod luckily you have enough money to buy your own country so you may as well get to it. You won’t be missed. I still believe you are the best SS on your team, but Jeter, well is MR. CLEAN to your well, not so MR. CLEAN. Batting 4th at 3B for the Yankees MR. CLEAN….

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