I will be posting a short blog this week, as I have spent the last three days playing baseball in a tournament up in Stillwater. My team played very well, and although we lost all four games, they were all close, and we were facing some of the best 16-year-old teams in the country, and my team is only 15. My dad and I drove up to Stillwater Thursday morning for our first game, which was at Guthrie High School, and their field was extremely cool. The center field fence was 702 feet from home plate, as the baseball and football fields were connected there, and right field had a hill going up to the fence, like at old Crosley Field. On Friday, we got to play at Oklahoma State’s field which was awesome, and we even got to hang out in the clubhouse before the game. It was a very fun trip. We even got to eat at Eskimo Joe’s.
I am very excited about the All-Star Game on Tuesday, as the Rangers will have five players in Phoenix (Josh Hamilton, CJ Wilson, Adrian Beltre, Alexi Ogando, and Michael Young), including two starters (Hamilton and Beltre). Beltre was moved into the starting role when A-ROD was removed from the roster due to injury, and Ogando replaced James Shields, who pitched on the Sunday before the All-Star Game, making him ineligible. 5 All-Stars is tied for the second most in franchise history with 2004 when the Rangers had Francisco Cordero, Michael Young, Alfonso Soriano, Kenny Rogers, and Hank Blalock, and is only behind 2010, when they had Cliff Lee, Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Neftali Feliz, and Elvis Andrus. It is also a very fun game to watch, especially when your team has a lot of players in the game. Out of the five Rangers All-Stars this year, Josh Hamilton is probably the least deserving, as he has been injured for a large portion of the season, and has missed too much time to be a deserving All-Star, in my opinion. The two pitchers, CJ Wilson and Alexi Ogando, are both deserving with 9-3 records and very solid ERAs. Obviously Michael Young should be an All-Star, as he has an average well over .300 with plenty of RBIs. The main reason Adrian Beltre is on the roster is because of his power, as he is tied for 8th in the American League in home runs with 18, and is 2nd in RBIs, to go along with a decent .272 average.
Another good thing that has happened recently is how well the Rangers have been doing in the international free agent market. The Rangers have signed OF Nomar Mazara, who is supposed to have incredible power, for $5 million, OF Ronald Guzman, one of the most sought after international players, to $3.5 million, and SP Pedro Payano to $600 thousand. Also, they are close to signing SP Yohander Mendez, a Venzuelan lefty who Baseball America projected to be one of the top 20 international prospects in terms of signing bonuses, to more than $1 million. It is very exciting to see the new ownership group being willing to spend so much money on prospects, and I can’t wait to see these guys in Frisco and, hopefully, in Arlington.
Also, while I was in Stillwater, I was very sad to hear the news about Shannon Stone, the Rangers fan who fell over the left field fence at the ballpark and passed away. This is a terrible thing to have happened, and I hope this kind of thing never happens again.
Come back next week for the third edition of my ballpark rankings.