Saturday, July 07, 2007

Newberg Night Summary

This week I will write about Newberg Night at the Ballpark (Friday night July 6th).

Newberg Night started at 4:30 in the Legends of the Game Museum with a Q&A session with Will Carroll. Will does a column called ‘Under the Knife’ for Baseball Prospectus (http://www.baseballprospectus.com) where he describes and analyzes different baseball injuries. He has also written a couple of books, including ‘The Juice’. For the last few Newberg Days at the Ballpark, Will has flown to Dallas to do Q&A sessions and is always very interesting.

The year, Will answered questions for about 30 minutes, including these:
Q: Out of all the current Rangers injuries, are there any that might effect the players long-term?
A: Will mentioned Mark Teixeira, just because he’s never been injured before, so we don’t know how he’ll recover. He also mentioned Thomas Diamond, Vicente Padilla, and Brandon McCarthy. He said that Hank Blalock’s injury is common, so he should have an easy comeback.
Q: Are there some teams that are better at preventing injuries than others and if so, what do they do differently?
A: Will said that there is a difference. Some teams are significantly better because they care and put money into it. Some teams don’t care and are injury plagued. He mentioned Tampa Bay and Arizona as two teams that have done it right. He said that Texas is in the middle. Minnesota was an example of a team that has put almost no money into this area.

At 5:00 Jeff and Cindy Kuster did a presentation on the Hello Win Column Fund. Cindy is the daughter of Mark Holtz, who used to broadcast for the Rangers. They have a charity to help people with cancer. They showed some information about what the charity is for and told some stories about some of the people they helped. They then gave away a bunch of prizes to people who had donated money to the fund (you could donate money as you entered the museum). The best prize was having Will Carroll on the phone during your fantasy draft. I got to meet Jeff and Cindy later in the evening and they were both very friendly.

At 5:30, Jon Daniels came to start his Q&A session. Here are some of the highlights.

Q: Who in the Rangers minor league system do you think has the best potential at each position?
A:
P: Eric Hurley (he also mentioned Kasey Kiker)
1B: Jon said that the answer is probably a person who’s not playing first base right now. So he asked me who I thought it should be. I said Nate Gold and he said we’d go with that answer.
2B: German Duran
3B: John Whittleman
SS: Marcus Lemon (he also mentioned Joaquin Arias)
OF: John Mayberry (he also mentioned Jason Botts)
C: Taylor Teagarden (he also mentioned Kevin Richardson)

Q: What is the deepest position in the minor leagues?
A: Catcher or 3rd base

Q: What happened to Omar Beltre and Alexi Ogando?
A: They were paid money by an organized group of Dominican Republic criminals to marry women so that those women could get into the US. The US government found out about it and banned Beltre and Ogando from getting into the US. Jon said that he though the punishment was too much for the crime.

Q: What do you think have been the three best trades you’ve made so far in your career?
A: Jon said that he doesn’t like to grade himself and would leave it up to the fans to decide.

Q: When you’re thinking about making a trade, what are the criteria you consider?
A: You need to know where you are as a club, be comfortable with what you’re losing, and know what you’re getting.

Q: Who do you think are the most likely September call-ups?
A: Botts, Cruz, and Hurley.

Other interesting comments:
- Jon said that Eric Gagne was signed to a short-term deal with hopes for a long-term fit.
- Jason Botts is not in the majors yet because they’re not ready to give him full-time at-bats.
- Eric Hurley might be a September call-up because he’s rule-5 eligible after this year. But after the Q&A session he sent Jamey a correction that Eric is not rule 5 eligible until after next season, so maybe that would change Jon’s answer.
- Trade rumors are almost never true, but they’re usually based on some truth.
- Edinson Volquez has a decent chance of being back in the majors this year.
- When asked about the Danks/McCarthy trade, Jon said that he thought McCarthy was both closer to being ready to be a big major league contributor and also had more upside.
- He said that the media reports about a player rebellion against Ron Washington weren’t true. He seemed irritated by some of the media who reported the problems. He called the reports ‘ridiculous’ and thought there were some irresponsible reports.
- Padilla will make 1 or 2 rehab starts before coming back.
- Blalock won’t be back for 4-6 weeks.
- Teixeira may be back for the first game after the All-Star break.
- Once some people come back from injury, there’s a good change Metcalf will be sent back down so that he can have regular playing time.
- When asked to name some players he’s excited about, Jon mentioned Wilmer Font (rookie league RHP) and Eric Fry (rookie league OF).
- Benoit is responding to Washington’s management style as well as anyone.
- The Rangers considered signing Bonds but fan reaction was part of the consideration when making a decision.
- He sees Kasey Kiker as a starter because he has three pitches.

At about 6:45, after the interviews, we went to our suites to watch the game. I was in the same suite as Scott Lucas and his wife Courtney, Jamey Newberg, Will Carroll, and Eleanor Czajka. I enjoyed talking to all of them and they were all really nice. It was really good to meet Scott in person and we talked for a long time.

During the middle of the game, I was on TV, thanks to Jamey. Jim Knox was going to interview Jamey and asked him what the best question was from the Daniels Q&A. Jamey pointed at me and said that I had the best question and that they should get me on. So Jim agreed and I was on TV. I read my question about who had the best potential in the minor leagues at each position and Jim asked me to give the answer for pitcher (Eric Hurley and Kasey Kiker).

It was a close game and great for the Rangers. In the bottom of the 3rd Metcalf doubled and later got moved over to 3rd. Then Ramon Vazquez got a sac fly and the Rangers took a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the sixth Marlon Byrd walked with two outs. The next batter, Brad Wilkerson homered into the home run porch, so the Rangers took a 3-0 lead. In the top of the 7th the Orioles had two runs of there own. Going into the top of the 9th the Rangers had a 3-2 lead. Then Gagne got his 1st blown save of the year and it went to extras, tied at 3. In the bottom of the 10th Travis Metcalf got a single to start the inning. Jerry Hairston then bunted him over. Ramon Vazquez would then walk, bringing up Michael Young. Then, on the 1st pitch of the at-bat Michael Young singled past the 3rd baseman for a walk-off single.

My best friend Reid Stovall has started a blog mainly about sports and just interviewed me. You can check it out at http://reidreport123.blogspot.com.

Last week’s poll results:
Who do you think should be the Rangers MVP?
Michael Young – 38%
Marlon Byrd – 23%
Sammy Sosa – 14%
Kenny Lofton – 5%
Mark Teixeira – 5%
Other – 5%
Jerry Hairston – 2%
Ian Kinsler -2%
Gerald Laird – 2%
Ramon Vazquez -2%
Brad Wilkerson – 2%
Frank Catalanotto – 0%
Victor Diaz – 0%
Chris Stewart -0%

Come back next week for part 1 of a series analyzing all of Doug Melvin’s trades unless the Rangers make a trade that I need to analyze.

5 comments:

Lynn said...

Hey Grant,
I wish I could have caught you on T.V. I bet you did a great job! I went over and read Reid's blog. He did a really good job interviewing you. My favorite answer is where you said the best thing about Spring Training was spending time with family. It is super that in the midst of all those famous players that you realize how important family is. Players will come and go, but your family will always be with you.
Hope you have a great summer!

hefe300 said...

Kevin Richardson? Isn't he about a year and a half older than Chris Stewart with no AAA experience?

Congrats on your TV appearance. This is my first comment but I've been enjoying your blog for a while now.

grantlovesbaseball said...

Hi Ms. Lynn and hefe,

Thanks for leaving comments on my blog. Reid did do a really good job. I'm not sure about Kevin's age, but I don't think he has AAA experience.

Grant

Ken Pittman said...

Grant-
Great blog as always. This has to be one of your best all-around blogs - although most of your interview blogs are hard to beat.

I saw the interview on Youtube - good job with that. And I also read Reid's blog - you did just as well on the "other" side of a Q&A as you do asking the questions.

Ken

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