Toby’s Saturday Special: Baseball Smorgasbord

toby-blog2Toby descends from a pack of wild dogs that have roamed the mystical lands of the Transvaal since the beginning of time.  While waiting at home for TR to come back from Spring Training and finally take him for a long walk, Toby’s grabbed Helen’s IPad to bark a few more thoughts before the Rangers 2013 regular season begins.

What they are saying about the Rangers in the other AL Wild West Cities:

The Seattle Times: ” The Rangers should have enough talent to overcome discordant recent events, starting with last fall’s stretch-drive collapse and wild-card-game ouster. ”  (Picked Rangers to finish 2nd the Angels)

The San Francisco Examiner:  “…  the Rangers traded away Michael Young, the clubhouse leader whose role with the team didn’t match his loyalty. He played anywhere management wanted him to as other talented individuals either rose to prominence or were signed. They also let catcher-designated hitter Mike Napoli go via free agency.

The Rangers weren’t very successful in attracting free agents this offseason, with catcher A.J. Pierzynski the only notable pickup.  Analysis: The Angels’ lineup will be too potent and will get enough starting pitching to fend off the A’s and Rangers.”  (Picked Rangers to finish 3rd behind the Angels and A’s)

The Orange County Register:  “The Rangers need health after a fallow off-season and right now they don’t have it.”

The Houston Chronicle:  “The Rangers limped to the finish line in 2012, losing their grip on the AL West to the A’s before they were bounced in the wild-card round. Things got worse in the offseason when Hamilton left for the Angels. The Rangers will find it difficult to overtake the Angels in the AL West race. It’s not unreasonable to expect the Rangers to earn a wild card.”  (Picked Rangers to finish 2nd behind the Angels)

 Toby Barks

— Speaking of Houston, did you know that the Astro’s entire team payroll ($20.4 million) is less than the just the one season – 2013 – salary of the following players: 

  • ARod (who might not even play this season) at $29 million
  • Cliff Lee  $24 million
  • Vernon Wells $24 million
  • Prince Fielder $23 million

— A good example of  the late Dodger Roy Campanella ‘s maxim “You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living. But you gotta have a lot of little boy in you”   is demonstrated by Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels in this video from Yahoo’s Big League Stew. Grandma Hooch's Sports Bar

—Toby’s turning back the clock to 2005 when his best friend TR was still with Star-Telegram and wrote one of  Toby’s favorite column’s:  a magical tale that mixed March Madness and Opening Day (link courtesy of long lost friend Marla Hooch).

Birthdays:  Hall of Famers Born This Week

  • April 1: Knuckleballer Phil Niekro turns 73 (inducted 1997)  
  • April 2: RHP Don Sutton will be 68 (inducted 1998); IF Luke Appling born April 2, 1907 (inducted 1964) and IF Hughie Jennings born April 2, 1869 (inducted 1945)
  • April 4: Fort Worth native CF Tris Speaker born April 4, 1888 (inducted 1937)
  • April 6: RHP and former Ranger Bert Blyleven will be 62 (inducted 2011); Catchers Ernie Lombardi born April 6, 1908 (inducted 1986) and Mickey Cochrane born April 6, 1903 (inducted 1947)

Birthday of the Week: Rangers LHP Martin Pérez will turn 22 on April 4th. Get well really soon Martin, please!

The Final Word:

(From BJ Phillips in Time magazine 1981)

“In the beginning, there was no baseball,

But ever since there have been few beginnings as good the start of a new baseball season.

It is the most splendid time in sports.”

Play Ball Y’all! – Toby

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