Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill
Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill, where we realize that the NFL can only dream about the Pro Bowl creating the kind of atmosphere and excitement that existed in St. Louis this week.
* The Rangers and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund will hold the finale for the 2009 Baseball Equipment Drive on Friday, July 17, when the Rangers host the Minnesota Twins. Fans may drop off new and gently used baseball equipment at any Rangers Ballpark gate from 4:30 through 7:30 p.m. and will receive a ticket voucher for a future Rangers game with their donation. The equipment will be donated to the Jr. RBI and RBI Programs of Dallas.
* Ron Washington on watching Nelson Cruz in the Home Run Derby: “Of all the guys in the Home Run Derby, he was the only one who looked natural. That’s Cruz. He wasn’t trying to come out of his shoes. Most of his were line drives. He looked the most comfortable. Prince Fielder looked like he was really bending back.”
* Nelson Cruz on the Home Run Derby: “I had a lot of fun, a lot. Josh Hamilton told me to enjoy it and not only be part of the show, but to be the show. It was great. Albert Pujols congratulated me, Joe Mauer came over to say hello and the majority of the guys congratulated me. “
* Marlon Byrd on the Rangers: “If we stay healthy, we’ll be okay. It never hurts to add another piece but you always want it to be the right guy, a character guy whether it’s a starter, reliever or a guy off the bench. The next couple of weeks will really tell.”
* The Rangers 4.34 ERA at the All-Star break is their lowest since a 4.32 ERA in 1993. Kevin Millwood’s 3.46 ERA at the break is the fourth lowest by a Rangers pitcher since the Ballpark opened in 1994. Kenny Rogers had a 2.54 ERA in 2005 and a 3.05 ERA in 1995 and Bob Tewksbury had 3.25 ERA in 1995
* The Rangers had a 5.10 ERA at the break in 2008. That’s down 0.76 runs, the third best improvement of any staff. Pittsburgh is down 0.91 and San Francisco is down 0.78.
* Anybody notice that Hank Blalock was 11-for-26 (.423) with two home runs and four RBI on the last roadtrip after Chris Davis was sent down and he was given the everyday job at first base?
* David Murphy had an extended session with infield coach Dave Anderson on playing first base at the end of Thursday’s workout at the Ballpark.
* Just for the heck of it: Bill Madlock
* Ben Zobrist, in the Houston Chronicle, on Astros outfielder Hunter Pence: “Hunter is one of the most energetic people I’ve ever known. We played against one another when he was at UT-Arlington and I was at Dallas Baptist. I remember the first hit he got in pro ball. It was a line drive that never got more than about 10 feet off the ground and cleared the 420-foot mark in center. Everybody on the bench kind of understood at that point what Hunter was about.”
* Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun on Albert Pujols: “It looks like he is never fooled. He looks like he’s always in control. He has a game plan and sticks to it every time. He finds a way to get the barrel to the ball more consistently than anybody else in baseball. It’s a lot of fun to watch him play. I would say it’s fun competing against him, except most of the time he comes out on top. He’s an amazing player; he really is.”
* Pirates pitcher Babe Adams, in 1914, pitched 21 innings once against the Giants without walking a batter. Still lost 3-1.
* Astros first baseman Lance Berkman’s career slugging percentage was .558 at the All-Star break. So? Right now that’s the highest ever for a switch-hitter. He is one point ahead of Mickey Mantle.
* The Rangers say that attendance is up at the Ballpark by 9.1 percent after 44 home dates over last year. Fifth highest increase in baseball if you are scoring at home.
* Rangers fans are invited to visit the SuperGuarantee tent at the Home Plate Gate on Saturday, July 18, where Superpages.com is collecting children’s books to benefit local Boys and Girls Clubs. Fans will receive a voucher for a free Rangers ticket for a future game for each book donated and may also register to win a Rangers suite for 20 people, including food and beverages. Miniature horses Itty and Bitty, stars of the children’s book series, will also be on hand.