Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill
Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill, the perfect stop in between games of a doubleheader.
* Josh Hamilton on Nelson Cruz hitting behind him in the lineup: “We did it in Spring Training and I really liked it. I love Cruz as a player and a teammate. I’ll take anybody behind me because everybody on this team can hit but there’s something about Cruz that feels different. It’s more of a feeling for me but I like the idea of Cruz hitting behind me for a long time.”
* Ian Kinsler on the Rangers offense: “We’re not an easy lineup [to face]. But we’re easier than we should be. We’re giving the pitcher too much to work off. It’s simple when you get scouting reports and they pitch to that and it works. If we want to be a championship team, we’ve got to hit better.”
* The Rangers have already stolen third base 11 times. They swiped it ten times last year and 12 times in 2008. The club record is 24, set in 1977.
* Ian Kinsler stole third base eight times last year. That was second most in club history. Otis Nixon had 13 steals of third in 1995. Elvis Andrus has three this season.
* Eddie Guardado on whether pitchers should be allowed to hit: “Yeah…why not. We’re the best athletes out there. Throw it up there 95 and I’ll go deep.”
* If you were wondering about range factor at shortstop – which is putouts and assists per nine innings – Elvis Andrus is at 5.34 per game. Cesar Izturis is the next best in the Major Leagues at 4.88.
* By the way, highest ever recorded by a Rangers shortstop was Bert Campaneris at 5.27 in 1977. Michael Young’s best was 4.86 in 2006. Highest by a Major League shortstop since 1972 is Garry Templeton, who had a 6.12 range factor for the Cardinals in 1980. Ozzie Smith’s best was 5.87.
* Just for the heck of it: Roy Howell.
* If you were wondering what Jose Valentin, Billy Hatcher and Andre Dawson have in common, they were the three batters that Jose Canseco retired for outs in his one inning that he pitched for the Rangers on May 29, 1993. Canseco faced eight hitters that day, walked three and allowed two hits.
* Said Rangers president Nolan Ryan, who was on that club: “I just remember how he had been politicking to pitch since Spring Training. He threw in the bullpen a few times and for some reason they wanted to get him on the hill. When he got out there, I think he was trying to overthrow. He was out there in front of everybody trying to show off his arm. He wanted to resemble a pitcher rather than do what we needed him to do and that was get us through the game.”
* Never heard of Elmer Stricklett? He threw the first spitball in baseball history apparenty. Introduced it in a game on May 29, 1905 while pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
* Joe Niekro and the Houston Astros beat the Braves, 4-1, on this date in May 29. Joe beat his brother Phil. Also hit his only career home run off him.
* The Rangers have drawn at least 33,000 fans in six straight home games.
* Right now MLB.Com draft guru Jonathan Mayo has the Rangers taking Houston Klein left-hander Matthew Purke.
* Cal Ripken Jr. on length of workout for kids: “When it comes to baseball, is that there is a point of diminishing returns beyond which it is hard to accomplish anything – either for mental or physical reasons…younger players might struggle to focus on a weekday evening practice after a long day of school, high school players might be mentally and physically fatigued by studying for midterms…If your kids are begging to stay on the field, by all means accommodate their wishes, but always keep a watchful eye on their level of physical activity. Even if they want to stay on the field, if they are physically tired you might be risking a serious injury.”