The Morning Nine from Surprise…Baseball all day long.
The Rangers are going to have one of those 14-hour days in Spring Training: morning workout, afternoon Cactus League games and then Minor League games against the Royals tonight. Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz and Joe Nathan are among those who will be pitching under the lights on the Royals back fields.
In other words, in the words of a former Rangers manager, “Spring Training all day long…just the way we like it.”
1. Major League Baseball 2K12 – That’s the latest version of the popular video game and Rangers players have been known to play it on the road in visiting clubhouses. Neftali Feliz can play against Royals closer Joakim Soria. Feliz loves video games and Soria currently has nothing to do.
2. Hotbox – Do kids still play that? Does anybody remember it? Only need three people. Defenders on two bases and a runner in the middle. Then you try to run him down. You got to stay the man in the middle until someone tagged you out. Be fun watching Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler be the runners in the middle.
3. Strat-O-Matic – The classic dice game. Ron Washington vs. Ned Yost. They play with their current teams but Washington gets to use Nolan Ryan from 1973 and Yost gets George Brett from 1980. Actually the Royals get Steve Busby, Hal McRae and Frank White just to even things out.
4. Old-timers game among the managers and coaches between the Royals and the Rangers. Here is the Rangers starting lineup: CF Gary Pettis, SS Spike Owen, C Jim Sundberg, 3B Steve Buechele, DH Bobby Jones, LF Brant Brown; 1B Jason Hart, RF Brian Dayett; 2B Dave Anderson;
5. 500 – Another one from way back. One guy hits, everybody else in the outfield. You get 100 points for catch a fly ball, 75 for one hop, 50 for two hops and 25 for a grounder. You lose points if you drop or fumble the ball. Every man for himself and no holds barred. My Babe Ruth coach loved this game. Maybe he could play with the Rangers outfielders and Nelson Cruz can flatten his sorry, no-good-for-nothing…
6. Pitchers Hand/Over the Line – You played this when you had just six guys. Right field was closed. You had to hit the ball over a line between third and second. Grounders were an out. Two outfielders and if they threw the ball to the pitcher before you reached first base, you were out.
7. My dice game – I made up my own dice game 40 years ago so we could play games with our baseball cards back on Fort Shafter. It would take too long to explain the rules but if you rolled a one and then an eight, you had a triple. A three and then a four would be a home run. It was all luck but my 1969 Don Drysdale baseball card was very lucky.
8. Stickball – Anybody here in Surprise originally from Brooklyn or Greenwich Village?
9. Home Run Derby – But to make it fair to the Royals, Josh Hamilton has to bat right-handed and Nelson Cruz has to bat left-handed.