The Texas Summer has arrived. The dog days of summer, especially August, can be brutal, but Nolan Ryan and company are attempting to educate the local media types in home-field-advantage.
The Rangers play in a hot, dry environment that most all of the players are acclimated to. It’s the visiting team that the hot arid climate conditions affect the most. Nolan Ryan said today that management worries about the fans being uncomfortable more than the players. The new ownership group will be looking for any type of new inovations to make the “Fan Experience” at the Ball Park more pleasant, but Ryan said the heat shouldn’t stop them from signing free-agents if they are inclined to try to do so.
At the beginning of the year when I was blogging regularly (health issues have slowed me to a crawl, but I am better now), we were all speculating about who would win the AL West. My take, of course, leaned toward the Rangers, but I felt it would be a dog fight to the end, which may still happen even though a couple of the Cowboys reporters have stated that the race is over.
I did predict that Seattle would implode because of club house chemistry reasons irregardless of GM Jack Z’s supposedly winning off-season, and more occurred in that realm than even I predicted. I thought the Angels had lost way too much in the last two off seasons to be serious contenders for ever, but injuries have slowed them more than age. It does look like ex-CF Torii Hunter is slowing down sooner than later and I am glad he shunned Texas now. The A’s are my surprise in the AL West because I felt like their youth would keep them from competing, but their pitching is awesome. In any case, the division is there for the Rangers to take, and GM John Daniels is no longer handcuffed financially if he needs to make a move. Oh, and there is still that strong minor-league contingent waiting to be called on.
Will Cliff Lee stay after this year? I get the feeling he is an East Coast guy now and he doesn’t prescribe to Ryan’s take on the heat even though he is from Arkansas. I hope I am wrong, because he could be the ace here for at least another four or five years. Regardless, I trust JD is positioned either way Lee decides.
Good times in Texas even if we don’t win it all this year. Expectations are high and no one’s expectations are higher than Michael Young’s.
Favorable schedule for a month, momentum, leading the AL West Division by two games, about to get the whole offensive package together today for the first time all year, Andrus, Young, Hamilton, Vlad, Kinsler, Cruz, Smaok in that order (awesome), and pitching and defense have been great (with four pitching beasts sitting at AAA in Beltre, Ogando, Scheppers, and Hunter) makes for a really good feeling for this team now and the future.
With Bud Selig about to unleash a new ownership group with money soon, the Texas Rangers’ future looks really bright for a long, long time.