Weekend’s With Toby: Voodoo Palace Redux

Toby was thinking about all the problems the Rangers had when they played the Blue Jays at the old Exhibition Stadium.  If memory serves us correctly the late great Mark Holtz called it the House of Horrors and the Voodoo Palace.  Toby’s thinking the one of the Ranger’s media following needs tag Target Field with that kind of nickname. 

Toby’s Crystal Ball: Rangers need to end this Target Field losing streak. The Twins are bringing a B team into this series. The Target Field whammy needs to come to an end.

Adrian Beltre:

One thing you can say about Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre: he plays the game hard.

Three plays worth review from Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Twins

* Fifth inning, Twins have runners on first and second with nobody out. Ben Revere drops a short bunt down the third base line. Beltre busts his tail to get the ball, does a 180 slide and throws to third to get the force play. Few third basemen make the play but Beltre does.

* Top of six, Beltre is on first with one out. Nelson Cruz hits a grounder that Twins third baseman Danny Valencia lets get by him for an error. Belte runs hard and goes first to third. Sets him up to score on Mitch Moreland’s sacrifice fly.

* Bottom of six. Delmon Young hits a grounder up the middle that Derek Holland deflects to shortstop Elvis Andius. Do or die, Andrus tries to make a barehand play and let’s the ball get by him. Young tries for second but Beltre is backing up and throws him out at second.

Toby’s Honor Roll

1. Kipp Fagg – The Rangers director of amateur scouting was the one who recommended the Rangers draft Georgia outfielder Jonathan Taylor in the 33rd round. Taylor was the University of Georgia outfielder who collided with Zach Cone and ended up paralyzed. The Rangers drafted Cone with the 37th overall pick in the draft on Monday. The Rangers added Taylor on Wednesday.

2.  Late Show with David Letterman – Rangers fans might want to watch on Monday. That’s the Rangers day off in New York.

3.  Erik Larson – A favorite author here at Postcards from Elysian Fields. His latest is In the Garden of Beasts, a terrific look at Nazi Germany in the early days of Adolf Hitler.

Toby’s Puppies

A look at the first round picks from the Rangers last 3 drafts:

2010 – 19 year old OF Jake Skole playing at Low A Hickory is hitting .244, his teammate (also 19 years old) and first round pick C Kellin Deglan is hitting .208

2009 – LHP Matt Purke (who did not sign) garnered several national awards in 2010 playing for TCU. However, this season he struggled with sore shoulder  posting a 3.02 ERA. Drafted 96th by the Nationals this week, he has until August 15th to sign, or he could return to the Horned Frogs.

2008 –  IB Justin Smoak to Seattle = Cliff Lee = Rangers first World Series appearance.  (Smoak is hitting .249 with 10 HR and 34 RBI for the Mariners)

Toby’s Random Barks:

— Toby’s wondering why the player who carried the Rangers to their first three playoff appearances, Juan Gonzalez, hasn’t yet been elected to the Rangers HOF? Woof! Woof!

— Toby’s comments on the NBA finals: “to  paraphrase a well known saying:  old age and teamwork will overcome youth youth and ego.”  Dirk’s Game 4 will join the annals of sports lore like Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series Home Run, or Willis Reeds gutty performance in 1971 NBA playoffs.  Go Mavs! Woof! Woof? Woof!

Birthdays:  This week it’s the same name – but not the same guy.   Randy Johnson, not the Big Unit – this is the former Braves 3B turns 55.  John Edwards – not the disgraced politician – he was a catcher for the Reds/Astros/Cards is 73.   

Then there’s Jimmy Stewart, no Harvey, no Academy Award – he was an OF for the Cubs/Reds/Astros turns 72 this week.  The first Frank Thomas (not the White Sox) he played in Chicago – but it was for the Cubs, as well as 6 other teams in a 16 year career celebrates No. 82 this week. 

 How about Ike Davis (not the current Met) this is the shortstop for the Senators/White Sox was born in 1895 on June 15 and finally a familiar name Pete O’Brien – not the former Ranger 1B – this 2B played for the Colts and was born on June 16th 1867.

Birthday of the week:  He joined the major league coaching staff this week:  new Rangers hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh turns 45 on June 13th.

Toby’s Reading List:   What’s going on with the rest of the AL West?

Things are not going well in Anaheim, so Mike Scioscia is shaking things up: http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110608&content_id=20199032&notebook_id=20199148&vkey=notebook_ana&c_id=ana

 He didn’t pitch, or hit – but Bob Geren still took the fall for the A’s struggles: http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110609&content_id=20252928&vkey=news_oak&c_id=oak

 Baseball is fun again in Seattle again: http://gregjohns.mlblogs.com/2011/06/03/larry-bernandez-craze-sweeping-the-nation-kind-of/

Last Call:

“I told him I wasn’t tired. He told me, ‘No, but the outfielders sure are’ ”  

– Rangers reliever Jim Kern quoting manager Pat Corrales when he was taken out of a game in April 1979.

— Toby

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