The Morning Nine From Surprise
This will get you started on the first day of the Musikahan Festival…
1. Charley Pride, the legendary country music star, Negro League baseball player and Rangers part-owner, was talking to pitcher Matt Harrison on Monday and asked him if he knew him if he had ever heard of Warren Spahn, the Hall of Fame left-hander.
Harrison, to his great credit, said he had heard of Spahn.
2. Forget Scott Boras, the smartest agents of the off-season? Dave Pepe and Billy Martin Jr. They represent Joe Nathan, the Rangers new closer. They got him signed early in the off-season for two years and $14.75 million with the Rangers. That was well before Francisco Cordero took a one-year $4.5 million deal with the Blue Jays and Ryan Madson accepted a one-year $8.5 million contract with the Reds. Pepe and Martin out-hustled their competition.
3. Ivan Rodriguez , still looking for a job, said to the Associated Press, “It has been a tough market for veterans. There are a lot of guys who have won championships and have playoff experience to offer teams with no jobs. It’s hard to believe.’
4. Interesting that Roy Oswalt has turned down overtures from the Red Sox and the Tigers. He wants to pitch for the Cardinals and the Rangers because they are close to his home in Mississippi, but both teams don’t have a spot in their rotation. The Red Sox and the Tigers had openings and he doesn’t appear interested. That seems to send up a red flag when a pitcher shuns a couple of ideal baseball spots only because he wants to be close to home.
5. Other former Rangers who are still free agents: Vladimir Guerrero, Michael Gonzalez and Doug Davis. Also, presumably, Milton Bradley and Gary Mathews Jr.
6. Left-handed reliever Neal Cotts has signed with the Rangers but does not have an invitation to Spring Training. He still has one distinction that no other player has under Rangers contract. He played for the White Sox when they won the World Series in 2005. No Rangers player in camp has ever played for a team that has won a World Series.
7. On Feb. 21, 1957, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley traded Fort Worth. He traded the city to the Cubs for their rights to Los Angeles. One year later he was on his way to Los Angeles from Brooklyn.
8. Yu Darvish is expected in camp today.
9. All those photographers waiting around for Darvish today should also remember that it was on Feb. 21, 1947 that Edwin Land demonstrated the first “instant camera” at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. That was the iconic Polaroid Land Camera.