Saturday, December 15, 2007

Newberg Report Release Party

On Friday the 14th, Jamey Newberg had his Newberg Report Bound Edition Release Party. This time his guests were John Whittleman, German Duran, Blake Beavan, Chris Davis, and Doug Mathis. The Release Party is always very fun and is where Jamey releases his new book for the year. This week I will write about the Release Party.

The event was held at the Texas Rangers Dallas Office downtown. It was very rainy and trafficy getting there. The first thing my dad and I did was get the 2008 Bound Edition. The Bound Edition has every report Jamey did from the whole year, plus all the stats of every player in the Rangers organization and awards and articles by Jamey on the Rangers’ top prospects. It’s always a great book to read and the best reference anywhere on the Ranger farm system. This year, Jamey’s daughter, Erica Newberg, wrote Jamey’s biography at the end of the book. She did a very good job. Also, this year’s cover looks great.

After we got the books, I played my dad in the video game they had there (MLB2K7). We played as the Rangers (me) vs. Reds (my dad). I beat him 4-3, but we only played three innings. We’ve been to the Rangers Dallas Office twice now and they always seem to have that video game set up for anyone to play.

They had free food for the event. The food they had was hot dogs, pickles, sugar cookies, and sodas. It was pretty good and it was nice of the Rangers to provide it. While we ate, we got to talk with some of the other fans, Allen Cordrey, and Jamey’s wife, Ginger, who was there with Max and Erica and some of Erica’s friends.

After all the players got there, the five of them signed autographs. To get an autograph you had to buy a book. All the players were really nice about signing. I also got Erica’s autograph (on the bio page she wrote on her dad).

One of my friends from school, Ryan Wolfson, was also there with his parents. Once we got autographs, we played each other in MLB2K7. We replayed the World Series, I was the Red Sox, and he was the Rockies. I beat him 13-3.

The Q&A session started pretty soon after we finished. Here are some of the questions and answers:

Q: John: Did you really predict that you’d hit a homer when your suspended regional semifinal game against the Mustangs resumed? Can you tell us the story?
A: John said that he did. He also mentioned he had predicted that he’d homer on the 1st pitch, which he did. He led off the bottom of the12th when the game resumed and after one pitch, the game was over. He said he was no Babe Ruth and wouldn’t be calling any more shots.

Q: John and German: What was it like playing in the futures game?

A: John said it was unbelievable and that it was playing with the best of the best. German said that it felt like the big leagues, with 10,000 people watching.

Q: German: Why didn’t you sign with the Reds after being drafted in 2003?

A: German said that he wanted to go to school, and that he was a little scared because he was 17.

Q: German: What was the key to your offensive success this year?

A: He said that it was because he had a development plan. He was an aggressive hitter, but then became more selective. He also said that last year he tried to pull the ball every time, but that this year he tried to go with the ball. When he was successful with that, pitchers had to pitch him differently and gave him pitches that he could pull successfully.

Q: Doug: Why did you not sign when you were drafted out of Arizona High School or when you where drafted out of Central Arizona State?

A: Doug said he likes college and that he likes Central Arizona. He also said he ended up going to the Big 12 and that he doesn’t regret it.

Q: Chris: Why did you go to Navarro Junior College instead of staying with UT?

A: He said that he had some off-the-field problems at UT and that he wasn’t focused. He also said he was more at home in Navarro.

Q: Chris: Do you prefer pitching or playing the infield?

A: He misses pitching in some ways, but in other ways he doesn’t. He said he has more fun playing the infield.

Q: Blake: What was it like playing on the USA Junior National Team and going to Cuba?

A: Blake said that it was a good experience and that it was fun. He said it made him appreciate what he has, since there were so many poor people in Cuba.

Q: All: What role do you want to play with the Rangers and what role do you think you’ll play?

A: Everyone said that they didn’t really care what role they play as long as they get to the big leagues. They all said that they wanted to help the team. Doug said that he sees himself realistically as a back of the rotation guy. Chris said he thinks he can be a corner infielder or corner outfielder.

Here’s some information from other questions:
- Blake said that he had no idea where he was going to start the season.
- When asked what goes through their heads when they hear trade rumors, Chris said that you never want to see someone go but that trades do open up the door for other people.
- John was asked what he thinks of Elvis Andrus. He said that Elvis is a good player who can hit and run and is an all-around player. He also said that he speaks really good English.
- When asked about his hitting streak, Chris said that he didn’t even know about it until he was more than 20 games into it.
- Someone asked who everyone looked up to. John said he looked up to Derek Jeter and Manny Ramirez. German said Marcus Giles, Blake said Randy Johnson, Chris said Jim Thome, and Doug said he used to look up to Nolan Ryan, but that now he looks up to Brandon Webb (because he’s the same type of pitcher as Doug).
- When asked who they’ve played against or with that they knew would be great, John said Chris Davis.

After that it was over but we hung out and talked to Jamey, Scott Lucas, Mike Rhyner (from The Ticket), and Eleanor Czajka (and her mom) for a while. Jim Sundberg was also there but we didn’t get to talk to him much.

The night was a lot of fun like always. I would like to thank Jamey for putting it on every year. If you haven’t been before, you should go when he does it next year.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think is the best player in the Rangers' moves this past week?
Milton Bradley – 90%
Chris Shelton – 7%
Freddy Guzman - 3%

Come back next week for the December Transactions Report, including an analysis of this week’s Rangers transactions (Kazuo Fukumori and the Ben Broussard trade).


Landon said...

Thanks for the recap, Grant! We didn't make it out there this year. We went to the Mavs game instead.

Ken Pittman said...

Jamey was right on target when he said that this summary of the Party was "the one that counts." Your perspective is always great, Grant - and thanks for covering the Party so well. Maybe some time I'll be there for the Book Release party, but I'm trying for the Newberg Report night at the game first.

Grant Schiller said...

Hi guys - Thanks for reading and commenting.

Landon - how was the Mavs game? I think CJ Wilson was there too.

Ken - yeah, if you can only go to one, I would go to the Newberg Night game first so that you can see the Rangers play while you're in town. It's good to hear from you.