April 2013

RoughRiders Kids Day

On April 27, Dr Pepper Ballpark held host to RoughRiders Kids Day.  Parents and children came out early Saturday morning, excited to meet players on the ‘Riders roster, got to meet Deuce and Daisy, and participated in fun activities and enjoy a morning at the ballpark.

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Young fans pose with their favorite groundhog Deuce.

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The kids enjoyed running the bases of Dr Pepper Ballpark.

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Wiffle Ball Hitting with with Alex Buchholz and other ‘Riders.

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Kids tested how accurate they could throw, also!

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Fans also jousted their favorite RoughRider.  Here, one young fan battles pitcher Kevin Pucetas.

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The kids also enjoyed other inflatables: Giant Slide, Obstacle Course and Boxing.

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At the end of the morning, the kids enjoyed getting autographs from the 2013 RoughRiders.

-Ryan

‘Riders on the Record: The Bloodied Submariner and special guest Jason Cole

It’s Sunday.

That means it’s time to relax and unwind with “‘Riders on the Record,” the weekly entry of conversations with this year’s Frisco RoughRiders. Today is also a day to make blueberry pie apparently.

Week three brought us a jam packed lineup of guests for our pregame shows. This week’s ‘Riders on the Record includes conversations with Ben Rowen, the ‘Riders submarining reliever. A professed hockey fan, Rowen got to live the dream of the hockey player this week, getting a few stitches after taking a ball off the chin.  The lineup also includes conversations with the manger, hitting coach and pitching coach. Great stuff from Jason Cole as well, who discussed a few of the ‘Riders bigger pitching prospects.

April 21, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Manager Steven Buechele talks about the longest game in ‘Riders history, a 17-inning game in Corpus Christi and the excellent start to the season from Carlos Pimentel. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

April 22, 2013 – Hitting Coach Jason Hart


We hear from hitting coach Jason Hart for the first time this year. He breaks down the approach of some of the ‘Riders best prospects including Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera and also the hot-hitting Ryan Strausborger and Jared Hoying. (w/ Alex)

April 23, 2013 – Jason Cole (of LoneStarDugout and Baseball Prospectus)


Alex had the chance to converse with special guest Jason Cole. Cole covers the Rangers farm system at LoneStarDugout.com and also contributes material for Baseball Prospectus. He breaks down the improvement for Cody Buckel and the origin of his issues in the early season, the emerging prospect status of Randy Henry, and the bounce back of Neil Ramirez. (w/ Alex)

April 24, 2013 – LHP Jimmy Reyes

Jimmy Reyes takes some time before the ‘Riders game in San Antonio to talk to Alex about his journey to Elon University. He discusses his future role in the big leagues and what it is like to be the lonely lefty in the bullpen. (w/ Alex)

April 25, 2013 – Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews


In the first sit down of the year with ‘Riders pitching Coach Jeff Andrews, Alex asks about the stellar bullpen and their heavy workload in the early part of the season. Andrews also allays concerns over Cody Buckel and the mental fortitude this season of Neil Ramirez. (w/ Alex)

April 26, 2013 – RHP Ben Rowen


Submarining right-hander Ben Rowen joined us on the pre game show Friday before the RoughRiders first game of an eight-game home stand. Rowen chronicled the evolution of his throwing mechanics and detailed his unique repertoire. He also talked about facing the Angels Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton in Spring Training. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

April 27, 2013 – Catcher Tomas Telis

RoughRiders catcher Tomas Telis talks about the long road to becoming a professional catcher. A converted infielder, Telis explains what has been challenging about learning the position and who has taught him along the way — including Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. He also sheds some light on how hard it is to catch a knuckleball. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: swing hitter – a batter who holds the bat the bottom of the handle and takes a full cut. 

Share your story!

Think about your all-time favorite story.  Is it a story about your family?  Perhaps it’s a poem or song  that you have treasured throughout your life, or a favorite book you couldn’t put down and have read four, eight, ten times and find something new and still enjoyable each time you read it.  We all have stories to tell and should take the time to share them with people.  Stories are what help define who we are and what we have faced in our life.

Today, April 27, is “National Tell a Story Day” in the United States.  The origin of the day is unknown, it’s a day designated for people to share their stories, read books to a group, sing a song or read a poem they’ve written, and listen to others stories.

Like the country song “State of Mind” by Clint Black says: “ Ain’t it funny how a melody can bring back a memory, take you to another place in time, and completely change your state of mind.”  We all have a song that takes us back to another time and place, taking us away from reality for a while, allowing us to relive a memorable moment from the past.  One such song for me, Garth Brooks’ “The River” and most other songs from his album The Hits takes me back to growing up in Roswell, NM, playing three seasons of little league.  That was one of my favorite CD’s as a kid, so I automatically link those songs with the joy, and the sights and feels of those three little league teams, playing with my friends.  Every time I hear those songs, I revisit my childhood for a bit while I enjoy great music.

So what story do you have to tell?  What fond memories do you have that you want to share?  If you don’t have a favorite, you can always make one up!  Celebrate “National Tell a Story Day” and share something with a friend, your children, your parents or whoever.

Other events for April 27:

April 27 marks Babe Ruth Day.  On this day in 1947, “The Bambino” returned to Yankee Stadium to be honored and recognized.

April 27 is also recognized as “National Prime Rib Day.”  Enjoy!

Game Notes:

The RoughRiders continue their four-game series with the Corpus Christi Hooks this evening at 7 p.m. at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Once again, tonight’s game will be televised locally on KTXD. Tomorrow’s game will be as well.  Jason Cole of Baseball Prospectus and Lone Star Dugout will join Alex Vispoli for the call of both games.  RHP Cody Buckel starts for the ‘Riders. The Hooks counter with the tandem of RHPs Bobby Doran and Nick Tropeano. See the full game notes here.

Baseball term of the day: Salvage Corps – A team’s relief pitchers

- Ryan

Coming back to Frisco: ‘Riders on TV!

Happy Television Day! The RoughRiders begin their new relationship with television partner KTXD tonight, one that brings you the first of nineteen games this season and three this weekend over the DFW airwaves. If you didn’t know the ‘Riders moved to KTXD this season or want to see the complete story, we wrote about it last month.

Some of the highlights from Alex’s post:

You can watch the games on KTXD-TV, the Addison-based station that airs local Texas news and Me-TV programming.  This is great news for ‘Riders fans because basically, if you have a TV and live in North Texas, you’ll be able to watch those games.

According to KTXD’s website, here’s how to find the station based on the different cable providers:

  • AT&T: Channel 47
  • Charter: Channel 22
  • Direct TV: Channel 47
  • DISH: Channel 47 & 8414
  • Grande: Channel 99
  • Time Warner: Channel 24 & 428
  • Verizon: Channels 18 & 518

For most of the games, I’ll be joined on the broadcast by my good friend Jason Cole of Lone Star Dugout and Baseball Prospectus.  Jason does a terrific job covering the entire Rangers farm system from top to bottom and knows the personnel better than anyone outside of Texas’ own front office.

The first television game airs at 7:00 pm Friday night with the Voice of the RoughRiders, Alex Vispoli, and Jason Cole on the mic, on camera. Should be fun. Nathan Barnett will handle the radio broadcast for the weekend, and the subsequent games when Alex is busy looking pretty on TV. The ‘Riders will be on KTXD Saturday night (7 pm) and Sunday afternoon as well (4 pm).

As far as the baseball goes…

A crowded South Division greets the RoughRiders on their arrival back to Dr Pepper Ballpark on Friday. The eight game home stand pits the RoughRiders against their two most recent opponents, the Corpus Christi Hooks and the San Antonio Missions. The former comes in tied with the RoughRiders for second place in the Texas League at 11-9. Both teams trail Midland by one game. The RoughRiders split the first series with the Houston affiliate last week, two game a piece.

Here is a preview of the game information and promotional schedule for the next week:

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Don’t miss fireworks after both Friday games at Dr Pepper Ballpark this home stand.

Friday, April 26   |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros)
TV: 
KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Friday Night Post-game fireworks

Additional Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Free ‘Riders Mini Bats Left Field, next to ‘Riders Team Store
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger
  • Smashburger SMASH inning

Saturday, April 27   |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros)
TV: 
KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Additional Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Uncle Julio’s $10 Gift Card Giveaway and Free Chicken Fajita Sampling – Pregame outside of Homeplate Gate
  • Constellation Wine Sampling – Inside Homeplate Gate
  • Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Free ‘Riders Mini Bats – Left Field, next to ‘Riders Team Store
  • Texas Back Institute Free ‘Riders Seat Cushions – Above Sect. 119 (while supplies last)
  • Budweiser Good Sport

Sunday, April 28   |   4:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros)
TV: 
KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Additional Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • 97.5 KLAK Live Remote – Pregame outside of Homeplate Gate
  • Dairy Queen Triple Play
  • Kids Run the Bases
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Monday, April 29   |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Tuesday, April 30   |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Wednesday, May 1  |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Dollar Hot Dog Night

Thursday,  May 2   |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

$1 Dr Pepper Thursdays

Additional Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Texas Back Institute Free ‘Riders Seat Cushions – Above Sect. 104 (while supplies last)
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

COLONY_Carrier_FREE_TUMBLER_RV_2nyv7gm5Friday,  May 3   |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres)
TV: KTXD    
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Friday Night Post-game fireworks

Additional Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • UnitedHealthCare Starting Lineup – Winning kids will get to take the field with the ‘Riders during the starting lineups
  • Free ‘Riders Tumbler, courtesy of Carrier & Colony Air Conditioning 
  • Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Free ‘Riders Mini Bats – Left Field, next to ‘Riders Team Store
  • Friday Night Fireworks presented by JCPenney
  • Smashburger SMASH inning

For information on tickets to see the RoughRiders in 2013, please call (972) 731-9200, email info@ridersbaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: dabber – finesse pitcher

The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Twitter Guide to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas League and the Texas Rangers Farm System: Part One

A couple days ago I wrote a post here with the best resources for keeping up on the Texas Rangers and its minor league teams and prospects, and the entire time while writing it, I kept thinking about how I get as much or more information on Twitter these days.

I still hit the ‘ole feedly reader every day. Sometimes 140 characters just doesn’t really cut it for a topic. Yu know, like Darvish’s outing last night. (For more on that, read this, and this, and this and this. Oh and you have to watch that).

And while that is true, Twitter is still great, especially for breaking news. Want to be the first one to find out that Nelson Cruz’s home run last night actually came with a broken-bat swing? FSSW’s Emily Jones has you covered:

Did you see former RoughRiders pitcher Robbie Erlin got called yetserday? With Twitter, you could find great stuff on who is behind the numbers from excellent Rangers prospect guru Jason Cole:

And, yeah, you might have heard that 17-year-old Rangers prospect Nomar Mazara hit his second home run last night for Class-A Hickory, but how impressive was it? Crawdads’ broadcaster Aaron Cox does a very nice job tweeting in-game. See:

SO, without further ado, here it is: The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Guide to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas League, and the Texas Rangers Farm System.

Why “nearly” complete? Well. 1) this is not necessarily exhaustive. Plenty of people tweet about these topics, but this is a great starting point. And 2) of course we need your input! Let us know who we are missing by commenting below or tweeting at me (@NathanSBarnett) and 3) I am not done with the rest of the parts yet…

And, yes, this is just Part One of The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Twitter Guide (TNCTG). I will have a few entries over the next week or so and also update them, as I find new handles worthy of the all-important “follow” click.

Part One looks at the teams and key employee follows in the Texas League and Rangers system. Future entries will include key journalists, commentators, and bloggers to follow. And players! Yes, the exhaustive list of players as well. Stay tuned!

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TNCTG PART ONE:

Texas League Teams:

South Division:

Frisco RoughRiders: @RidersBaseball

Corpus Christi Hooks: @CCHooks

Midland Rockhounds: @RockHounds

San Antonio Missions: @MissionsMiLB

North Division:

Arkansas Travelers: @ARTravs

Northwest Arkansas Naturals: @NWANaturals

Springfield Cardinals: @Sgf_Cardinals

Tulsa Drillers: @TulsaDrillers

Teams in the Rangers System:

MLB – Texas Rangers: @Rangers

Triple-A – Round Rock Express: @RRExpress

Double-A – Frisco RoughRiders: @RidersBaseball

Advanced-A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans: @PelicanBaseball

Single-A – Hickory Crawdads: @HickoryCrawdads

Short-Season A – Spokane Indians: @SpokaneIndians

Rookie – AZL Rangers: No official Twitter handle, that I am aware of. There is @AZL_Rangers which was created by a fan. Decent follow.

Rookie – DSL Rangers: Ditto. Some do cover this team, however. More to come in future TNCTG entries.

The Voices:

Alex Vispoli, Frisco RoughRiders: @Vispoli 

Bob Hards, Midland Rockhounds: Unknown. 

Michael Coffin, Corpus Christi Hooks: No twitter account (see team Twitter handle) 

Mike Saeger, San Antonio Missions: @SAMissionsRadio

Phil Elson, Arkansas Travelers: @ElsonPhil

Steven Davis, Northwest Arkansas Naturals: Unknown. 

Andrew Buchbinder, Springfield Cardinals: Unknown. 

Dennis Higgins, Tulsa Drillers: Unknown. 

Eric Nadel, #1 MLB – Texas Rangers: @NadelEr

Matt Hicks, #2 MLB – Texas Rangers: @RadioHicksie

Mike Capps, Triple-A – Round Rock Express: @RRExpressRadio

Travis Lucian, Advanced-A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans: @TravisLucian

Aaron Cox, Class-A – Hickory Crawdads: @TheAaronCox

Mike Boyle, Short-A – Spokane Indians: @MrMBoyle

Other good employees and team-related follows:

Frisco RoughRiders:

Nathan Barnett, Media Relations & Broadcasting Assistant: @NathanSBarnett

Ryan Garrett, Media Relations Intern: @Garrett_RM

Corpus Christi Hooks:

Chris Blake, Media Relations Coordinator: @ChrisCBlake

Midland Rockhounds:

Greg Bergman, Assistant GM / Media Relations & Advertising: @GregBergman

Tulsa Drillers:

Brian Carroll, Director of Media / Public Relations: @BKC001 

Texas Rangers:

John Blake, Executive Vice President of Communications: @RangerBlake

Updates on Rangers Ballpark: Parking, Traffic, Valet, Gate Openings, Weather & Events: @RangersInfo

In-game Rangers Twitter handle: @theRangersGame

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For those of you out there wanting to keep up with every with a Twitter “list” — I have made one with most of these handles on there. Feel free to subscribe, I plan to keep it up to date this season.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: wand – baseball bat

Day Trip to SeaWorld

Today a few members of the RoughRiders and I took advantage of an incredible opportunity while staying in San Antonio.  One of the three SeaWorld theme parks in the USA is located just a few Joey Gallo home runs away from our team hotel in San Antonio.  Thanks to a connection provided by team trainer Carlos Olivas, we got a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the park and spent some up-close time with a few of the incredible animals.  In addition to Carlos and me, the others who came along were Cody Buckel, Ben Rowen, Ryan Rodebaugh, Kevin Pucetas, Ryan Feierabend, Jake Brigham, Brett Nicholas, Jimmy Reyes, Tyler Tufts, strength & condition coach Eric McMahon and bus driver Paul Watkins.  Dave Yordi, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Animal Care, was kind enough to take our group of 13 around the park and here are some of the sights of an awesome morning.

(click on the pictures to see bigger photos)

- Alex

Our tour started at the killer whale pools. They have five Icelandic killer whales at SeaWorld.

Our tour started at the killer whale pools. They have five Icelandic killer whales at SeaWorld.

Some of the players watching the whales and listening to the trainers.

Some of the players watching the whales and listening to the trainers.

Cody Buckel snaps a photo of a trainer giving the biggest killer whale a rubdown.

Cody Buckel snaps a photo of a trainer giving the biggest killer whale a rubdown.

SeaWorld buys the fish it feeds its whales from the same supplier that Red Lobster uses.

SeaWorld buys the fish it feeds its whales from the same supplier that Red Lobster uses.

It was in the upper-40s and windy, so everyone was bundled up walking around the park.

It was in the upper-40s and windy, so everyone was bundled up walking around the park.

A SeaWorld employee feeds a little otter.

A SeaWorld employee feeds a little otter.

The players loved those little guys

The players loved those little guys

Brett Nicholas poses with Dylan the sea lion in an area the public doesn't get to visit.

Brett Nicholas poses with Dylan the sea lion in an area the public doesn’t get to visit.

Trainer Carlos Olivas makes Dylan yell. One of the sea lions here was used as the "voice" of the T-Rex in the Jurassic Park movies.

Trainer Carlos Olivas makes Dylan yell. One of the sea lions here was used as the “voice” of the T-Rex in the Jurassic Park movies.

Cody Buckel dancing with Dylan.  Not sure where Cody learned that move.

Cody Buckel dancing with Dylan. Not sure where Cody learned that move.

An up-close look at the enormous male walrus.

An up-close look at the enormous male walrus.

They keep the two walruses in this pool.

They keep the two walruses in this pool.

A bit later, we hung out with the dolphins. Here, Kevin Pucetas gets his picture taken with "Brady."

A bit later, we hung out with the dolphins. Here, Kevin Pucetas gets his picture taken with “Brady.”

There was quite a line for the players to get their photos taken with the dolphins.

There was quite a line for the players to get their photos taken with the dolphins.

Jake Brigham pets one of the dolphins .

Jake Brigham pets one of the dolphins .

Brady "fin-walks" at the prompt of his trainer.

Brady “fin-walks” at the prompt of his trainer.

Our last destination was the stingray tank.

Our last destination was the stingray tank.

We all got the chance to feed the stingrays some shrimp.

We all got the chance to feed the stingrays some shrimp.

Here's the other half of the group feeding the stingrays.

Here’s the other half of the group feeding the stingrays.

Left side, from left to right: (standing) Paul Watkins, Jake Brigham, Carlos Olivas, Eric McMahon; (squatting) Jimmy Reyes & Ryan Feierabend. On the right, from left to right: (standing) Ryan Rodebaugh, Ben Rowen, Tyler Tufts and a partially obstructed Kevin Pucetas; (squatting) Cody Buckel, Alex Vispoli and Brett Nicholas.

Left side, from left to right: (standing) Paul Watkins, Jake Brigham, Carlos Olivas, Eric McMahon; (squatting) Jimmy Reyes & Ryan Feierabend. On the right, from left to right: (standing) Ryan Rodebaugh, Ben Rowen, Tyler Tufts and a partially obstructed Kevin Pucetas; (squatting) Cody Buckel, Alex Vispoli and Brett Nicholas.

The spirit of kindness

A week ago today, the small town of West, Texas was hit by tragedy when a fertilizer plant exploded and engulfed a large portion of the small Central Texas town in flames.  This explosion came just two days after the terror attack in Boston, making for an extremely tense and sad week in news.  In both Boston and West, the spirit of kindness shined through the destruction as complete strangers stepped in to lend a helping hand and a prayerful heart to those in need.

During the three-game weekend series with Seattle, the Texas Rangers collected tens of thousands of essential items for the West victims and residents that filled two large meeting areas at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as well as thousands of dollars in gift cards. In addition, some $40,000 in cash donations went to the citizens of West from Texas Rangers fans and employees and the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.  Players’ wives, Rangers employees and former Rangers outfield Kevin Mench, who has family in West, loaded the boxes of toiletries, food and supplies were loaded into a truck to take to West yesterday morning.  The Fox Sports Southwest Fan Express accompanied the equipment truck to West, and delivered the items to the West Fairgrounds.

Along with the collection of supplies for West, the Rangers teamed with Carter BloodCare and reported that 80 donors were processed during the blood drive at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington prior to Sunday’s game against the Mariners. The number of units of blood drawn equates to over 200 lives saved.

“Texas Rangers fans demonstrated overwhelming generosity for the team’s relief initiatives for the devastating explosion and fires in West, Texas last week,” said the Rangers in a press release yesterday.

The Rangers’ efforts to help the town of West were one of many in Texas and around the country. Lines at blood banks stretched far outside the doors in Waco and the DFW area in the days following the explosion.  Students at Baylor, UNT and other nearby colleges held drives for food, toiletries, school supplies and other necessities to aid the families in West.  Companies and organizations all over Texas held similar drives, encouraging people to give as much as they could for those whose lives have been shaken.  Nearby school districts donated desks, chairs and even a few buildings for the school that was destroyed by the fire.  All these efforts brought to light how, in the midst of tragedy and destruction, people will come together to help one another.

The next few weeks and months will be difficult for those affected by the tragedies in West and Boston; please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers as they begin the rebuilding process.

Tomorrow (Thursday, April 25), a public memorial will be held at 2 p.m. inside Baylor University’s Ferrell Center for the firefighters and first responders who lost their lives in the explosion.

WestDrive

Items collected by the Rangers and Rangers fans for the West disaster loaded onto a truck on Tuesday, April 23. (Photo Credit STAR-TELEGRAM/JOYCE MARSHALL)

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RoughRiders Game Notes:

Tonight, the RoughRiders continue their series against the Missions in San Antonio.  Kevin Pucetas looks to bounce back from a defeat his last time out against San Antonio’s Matt Andriese.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 tonight.  Read the game notes here.

Baseball Term of the Day: Cowhide Joyride: a home run

-Ryan

The 10 best ways to keep up on the Rangers and the farm system

In my digging to learn everything I can about the Rangers farm system, I have come across a number of great websites and writers that cover this system extremely well. The Rangers fanbase is blessed by its coverage, especially since DFW is not a baseball town. There are a number of very talented folks out there working hard to give you tidbits and insight on the big league team and the youngsters on the way.  I was hard pressed, but here is the list of the 10 Rangers minor league/major league must reads:

Top 10 Rangers major league and minor league resources

1. LoneStarDugout

A definitive source to the Rangers minor league system, especially at the lower levels. Jason Cole has a tremendous reach and connections within the organization and in the scouting circles  His work with Baseball Prospectus takes him away from his work with this site at times, but it is incredible stuff. Outside of the national scouts covering Rangers prospects on the rare occasion, you won’t find better scouting information on Rangers farmhands. He does a good minor league recap on a more-or-less-daily basis of all the affiliates, and I absolutely love his player Q&A’s. He talks to players in the system that no one else does. While everyone else is going gaga over Profar, Olt and Alfaro, Jason shows us why we need to pay attention to Nick Williams, Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo. For you Rangers minor league junkies, this is a must read. Unfortunately some content is behind a pay-wall, but if you are a die-hard, it is worth the cost.

2. Baseball Time in Arlington (BBTiA)

Run by Joey Matschulat and Mike Hindman, BBTiA is a fun mish-mosh of Rangers coverage. Joey “Matches,” as he is known in the Rangers community, is the more prolific of the authors (they do have others that contribute sometimes as well), but Hindman’s posts are often longer, a bit more creative and on the opining side. Either that, or he is telling some good war stories. Matschulat’s puts up some great sabermetrics-y posts on occasion for the number-crunchers of you out there, which is the highlight of the site for me. Jason Parks used to write for this publication before he joined Baseball Prospectus, so you know they are doing the right thing over there.

3. The Newberg Report

Emotional, stream-of-conscious driven, passionate, yet also analytic and well-written and absolutely optimistic, the Newberg Report is one of the longer-standing Rangers blogs. Well, really it began as an e-mail list, which you can still sign up for. Jamey Newberg was ahead of his time, covering the Rangers farm system inside-and-out beginning in 1998, well before many saw the hunger of baseball fans for this kind of coverage. His brand has really exploded in recent years, as he has expanded to his own website and MLB-recognized blog, not to mention a brief stint making Rangers farm system videos that played at Rangers Ballpark during games a few years back. Since the team has turned things around at the big league level, Newberg writes more about the major league team now than he used to, but he still provides some juicy tidbits on the up-and-comers. I think Newberg is at his best when has the chance to go down to Spring Training and Fall Instructs. Newberg does an excellent job of painting the picture of the minor leaguers as people, not just baseball “tools.” He has a great eye for the intangibles. He wrote this about Elvis Andrus in 2007, just after the Mark Teixeira trade, and now we all know how spot-on he was:

For some players, the ball just sounds different coming off their bat.  Some can spin a breaking ball in such a way that you know the hitter has no chance before the pitch is halfway to the plate.  There are others . . . who you can tell are different simply by how they carry themselves.  

 I’m struggling as to how to explain it.  It’s not really a swagger that [he] has.  It’s more of a comfortable magnetism.  He reminds me of a feature tailback, or a really good cover corner, with that smile that says he knows he’s going to beat you more often than not.  He’s going to be a leader.

Another great component of the Newberg Report is the Rangers Farm Report, authored by Scott Lucas, who writes a daily recap of the Rangers action at all the minor league levels. It’s a convienent way to keep on the affiliates, especially since if you simply subscribe, it comes straight to your e-mail inbox.

4. Lone Star Ball

This is actually Adam Morris' twitter image. So you know he can't be boring.

This is actually Adam Morris’ twitter avatar, so you know he can’t be boring.

A very diverse set of commentary and quips, Lone Star Ball (LSB) is without a doubt one of my favorite Rangers reads, especially since there is so much Rangers content out there. LSB is unique. Adam Morris is the guru behind it, who I was first introduced to by Ted Price’s Rangers Podcast in Arlington. Morris can come off as surly at times, but that is an enjoying changeup in a pretty optimistic market. It makes for a great follow on twitter too (@LoneStarBall). Everything from newspaper-ish rundown of the day’s Ranger game to simply embedding offensive numbers from a Rangers affiliate from baseball reference to one of the more entertaining posts I’ve read this season, Lone Star Ball has a little something for everyone. 

5. Express Tracks

The blog of the Rangers Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express, Express Tracks is a fun way to be in touch with the Round Rock community. Good especially for those living in the surrounding areas, they do some fun interactive things with the fans through their blog. Like us here at the Riders ‘Insider Blog, they are committed to covering their team as well with some nice analysis and feature stories on the guys on the farm.

6. Texas Rangers Report (ESPNDallas.com)

With an excellent team of reporters, ESPNDallas has put their full weight behind the Rangers since signing the Rangers broadcast to their radio lineup before the 2011 season. Richard Durrett, Todd Wills and Sahadev Sharma (among others) write multiple posts every day covering the Rangers. Probably the most exhaustive source out there, following the site on an RSS reader can be overwhelming, but they do a fantastic job. This is also home to my favorite weekly read on the Rangers, Wash’s Wisdom, which is now authored by Todd Wills.

7. Foul Territory (part of Star-Telegram.com)

Foul Territory is the Star-Telegram’s Rangers beat. Jeff Wilson and Drew Davison do a nice job and occasionally cover the minor league teams as well. Drew has made it out to a game here at Dr Pepper Ballpark this year and comes periodically to ‘Riders games. Good daily coverage for all things Rangers. Similar to ESPNDallas’ coverage and also to SportsDayDFW.

Awesome photo from Tepesch's debut this season (Kelley Gavin, Letters from Elysian Fields, 2013)

Awesome photo from Tepesch’s MLB debut this season (Kelly Gavin, Letters from Elysian Fields, 2013)

8. SportsDayDFW (powered by the Dallas Morning News)

Evan Grant. Enough said. Well, okay, I’m long-winded, so I won’t stop there. Grant is arguably the most respected Rangers beat-writer in the market and for good reason. The Dallas Morning News was smart to keep their Rangers coverage alive and get Evan Grant back on board after his brief stint with D Magazine’s Insider Corner blog. His work alone make this site worth a look, but the contributors are all solid. Like ESPN Dallas and Foul Territory, the DMN’s coverage will hit every issue and topic with the team. Reading all three can be repetitive, so find the writers you like the most.

9. The Sports Page Weekly

Home of a weekly piece on the RoughRiders, The Sports Page Weekly is your home to some exclusive content for your favorite DFW sports teams. They do some nice off-the-beaten path stories and their style is a refreshingly more in-your-face alternative in a pretty calm media market. Plus they even PRINT IT, which you know, is pretty rare these days, so bravo to the bastions of paper and ink!

10. Postcards from Elysian Fields

The blog of T.R. Sullivan. I think most of you know to go to TexasRangers.com to get news, so I didn’t include it. Sullivan is a writer for MLB.com covering the Rangers, and when he posts here, the blog has some good stuff. Plus it is my favorite named blog on the list, so it earned a spot. There are some incredible photos from Rangers’ photographer Kelly Gavin here as well…an enjoyable weekly scroll at the very least because of that.

Honorable Mention

Sweet Spot in Baseball – unique photos and commentary from Kaylan Eastepp, the Rangers Director of Interactive & Social Media. She has exclusive access to the Rangers players in non-baseball situations. Want to see Tanner Scheppers feeding birds or Elvis Andrus answering FSSW’s Emily Jones’ cell phone? This is the place for you.

Pitcher Josh Lindbloom feeding a chicken, not too many places have this kind of access (Courtesy of

Pitcher Josh Lindbloom feeding a chicken, not too many places have this kind of access (Kaylan Eastepp, Sweet Spot in Baseball, 2013)

DallasSportsNetwork – Home of the RoughRiders Roundtable, Ted Price puts together some of the most unique content of Dallas sports conversation out there. From the excellent Rangers Podcast in Arlington to the TCU “Frogs O’ War,” if its DFW sports, Ted has you covered, bringing a long-form discussion to the teams you love the most with the people qualified to talk about them. Great stuff for the morning commute.

Spokesman-Review – Indians Coverage – Just a local paper in Spokane, Washington. But they do a really nice job covering the Rangers Short-Season A team, the Spokane Indians. The Indians start their season in June.

MLB Trade Rumors – Texas Rangers Feed – A MUST read for any Rangers fan around the trading deadline and in the winter at the very least. This is not a Rangers-specific site, so I didn’t include it on the list, but they are THE source for trade rumors, many of which, of course, include some of our favorite RoughRiders and former ‘Riders, so it’s relevant stuff. I remember reading or hearing somewhere that many GMs even use this site to keep up on news because they are so good at what they do. I can’t find where I heard that though, so I might just be making that up. Even still, it could be true.

Minor League Ball – Another more general baseball site but a great follow for the minor-league aficionado. John Sickel’s “Minor League Ball Gameday” posts are great. Basically it points out the best minor league story lines from yesterday and what to look out for today. Some occasional college-ball content as well, which is nice if you miss the metal bat every now and then.

B3: Big, Bald and Beautiful – Jonanthan Mayo is a senior writer for MLB.com and is very respected in the baseball world. This is his prospect blog. He doesn’t write too often, but when he does, he usually focuses on the top prospects in the game. A good, simple, straightforward read. And he doesn’t write too much, which is nice because it’s never an overwhelming addition to your list.

MiLB.com’s PROSPECTive Blog – Similar to the last one but they post a bit more often. Plus they have pretty pictures. Some good stuff on Profar the last month or so on this site.

And a blog I wish would come back:

Beachbound & Down – Run by former Myrtle Beach Pelicans broadcaster Joel Godett, who is now the voice of Ball State men’s basketball and football, I am told this might be down for good. Hopefully we see something out of the Pelican’s blogosphere soon; I doubt the name will be this great though.

How do I keep track of all of this?

feedlyWell, if you don’t already have an RSS reader you use, I would recommend getting one. It makes life easier in the expansive interwebs. Google Reader is my favorite: the simplest and the most popular…but is also getting canned in July. Instead of waiting for the death-date, I ripped off the band-aid and moved on over to Feedly. I am a fan. A pretty big fan actually. But, don’t take my word for it, there are plenty of options out there. Happy Reading!

HEY!!! You forgot my favorite Rangers news source! 

Did I? Well, let us know! We are always looking for more resources, and your fellow readers are as well. Post a comment with other sources of Rangers news!

Oh, and game notes are here for tonight’s game! Broadcast hits the airwaves at 6:40 for the 7:05 start for Nelson W. Wolff Municipal in San Antonio.

- Nathan

Baseball Term of the day: huckleberry – a rookie

A career first

Former RoughRider Leonys Martin hit his first major league home run in the Rangers’ 11-3 win over the Seattle Mariners Sunday, April 21, giving the Rangers the sweep.  Martin’s homer tied the game at 1-1, and was the first of many by the Rangers batters, including a grand slam by Nelson Cruz.

Martin2011

Leonys Martin as a RoughRider, 2011

RoughRiders Game Notes:

The Frisco RoughRiders (10-6) begin a four-game road series tonight in San Antonio against the Missions (7-9).  Click here for the game notes.

Baseball Term of the Day: Bullhead: An umpire who favors the visiting club.

-Ryan

‘Riders on the Record: Part Deuce

Welcome back to ‘Riders on the Record, your chance to catch up on the week’s pre-game interviews.

Frisco plays an early one today, 1:05 p.m. at Whataburger field in Corpus Christi. The Sunday sitdown with Steve Buechele will air a little after 12:45 today if  you want to tune in before the game gets going at www.RidersBaseball.com .

If you missed last week’s ‘Riders on the Record, you can find it here. Some good stuff this week–hope you enjoy!

April 14, 2013 – Steve Buechele


Manager Steven Buechele discusses the state of the team one week in and the solid second start of Neil Ramirez. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

April 15, 2013 – OF Ryan Strausborger


Coming off a big few games, Ryan talks about his game at the plate. He breaks down how he chooses to run and when. He wants to be more aggressive on the base paths the season as well. Off the diamond, Ryan enjoys golf, and tells us that the links are competitive with teammates as well, even if it is one of the ways they relax. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

April 16, 2013 – OF Jared Hoying


Jared made a big change to swing this offseason. He explains exactly what has changed and why he made the switch. He talks about playing more center field this season and his #3 spot in the ‘Riders lineup. (w/ Nathan)

April 18, 2013 – 3B Alex Buchholz


Alex explains his hot start this season. He notes that he came in with some extra motivation this season and is focused in his second season of Double-A ball. With a chance to play everyday at third base, Alex talks about the honor it is to be able to be able to wear the uniform on a daily basis. (w/ Alex)

April 19, 2013 – RHP Ryan Rodebaugh


After a four-inning outing in the longest game in ‘Riders history, Ryan sits down with Alex to discuss the night to remember. They talk about Ryan’s history pitching multiple innings and about Ryan’s start to the year. (w/ Alex)

April 20, 2013 – Rangers Field Coordinator Jayce Tingler


Alex had the chance to sit down with Jayce Tingler, the Rangers field coordinator in Corpus Christi. Tingler, a Missouri grad, discusses the Tigers in the Texas farm system Tingler talks about his role, where he looks to learn more in the business of baseball and the construction of the RoughRiders. (w/ Alex)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the Day: blazer – a fastball

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