Okay so let’s try that again. Opening Day in North Little Rock was washed out yesterday. The other three games in the Texas League went off without a hitch, and the South Division dominated the action. All three games went the way of the south yesterday, so Frisco comes into Opening Day back a half-game of the other three members in the division. Midland, Corpus Christi and San Antonio all picked up Opening Day victories. Midland and Frisco begin the season on the road while the other two opened up their seasons at home last night.
The rotation is not expected to change today. Cody Buckel will start game one while former big leaguer Ryan Feierabend opposes the Travelers order in game two. Arkansas counters with Jarrett Grube and Mike Piazza. No, not that one.
Keep an eye on the ‘Riders twitter feed for the latest updates on action from North Little Rock, including the starting lineups for game two, but for now, here is the game one lineup. Just the same as yesterday:
2B Odubel Herrera
CF Ryan Strausborger
RF Jared Hoying
1B Brett Nicholas
3B Alex Buchholz
LF Chih-Hsien Chiang
C Zach Zaneski
SS Hanser Alberto
RHP Cody Buckel
CF Travis Witherspoon
LF Matt Long
3B Kaleb Cowart
1B C.J. Cron
DH Robbie Widlansky
RF Randal Grichuk
2B Taylor Lindsey
C Jett Bandy
SS Rolando Gomez
RHP Jarrett Grube
News, notes, thoughts, and links:
- The RoughRiders weren’t alone in having weather issues yesterday. Of the four active minor league teams in the Texas system (Spokane and the Rangers AZL and DSL teams pick up in June), only one of them got their opener in.
- That was Round Rock. The Express topped Omaha 3-1 behind five shut-out innings from soon-to-be Texas Ranger’s 5th starter Nick Tepesch. The former ‘Rider scattered five singles in his five frames and struck out five Stormchasers on the way to the victory in his Triple-A debut.
- Hickory (Class-A) and Myrtle Beach (Class-A Advanced) were both rained out yesterday. Unlike Frisco, they will not make up their games today. Hickory will play a twin bill tomorrow beginning at 4:00 CT. Myrtle Beach won’t make up their postponed game until May 25th.
- An extra long edition of the game notes today, complete with both starting pitchers is available at RidersBaseball.com
- Tonight’s doubleheader can be heard here or if you are on an iPad or iPhone, click here. You can also watch the games with the audio feed simulcast by purchasing a subscription to MiLB.tv.
- Frisco finishes the three game set with Arkansas in a full nine-inning contest tomorrow at 6:10 p.m. before getting back on the bus for the 194-mile trek to Springdale, Ark., home of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The RoughRiders round out the weekend Sunday with the first of a three game series against NW Arkansas at 2:00 p.m.
day two of the season Opening Day! Go ‘Riders!
The rain has stopped, the clouds have parted, and Rangers baseball is back in Arlington! Many people will call in sick from work, pull their kids out early from school, and make the drive to the ballpark to welcome our Rangers back home for the 2013 season. Opening Day is finally here as the Rangers face the LA Angels this afternoon at 1:05.
Today also marks Josh Hamilton’s first return to Rangers Ballpark since leaving for LA. This return has sparked a number of reactions by Rangers fans, especially after remarks made by Hamilton questioning the loyalty of DFW baseball fans.
I am personally on the edge of my seat waiting to know how Josh will be received at today’s game. Will the stadium erupt in boos? Will there be cheers for the once-adored All-Star? Or will he receive the silent treatment, getting little acknowledgement from the fans of his former team?
More than likely, there will be a combination of all three. There are a number of fans who feel Hamilton leaving the Rangers and the way he left was a betrayal, and boos will be heard throughout the stadium. Others will try to look past the hurt feelings and the tension, and cheer. However, the hope for many is that there will be silence, no boos or cheers, proving Rangers fans stand strongly behind their team and can move past the tensions from the last few months.
Regardless of how Hamilton’s reception plays out, the fact is today is the Rangers Home Opener. The day Rangers fans have been looking forward to is finally here. Enjoy it and look forward to many enjoyable days and nights at the ballpark!
Other notes from the week:
-The Rangers began the season this past Sunday on the road in Houston. Despite dropping the first game of the series 2-8 in the Astros’ first game in the American League, the Rangers came back to win the series in back-to-back shutouts.
Yu Darvish was one strike away from pitching a perfect game in Game 2, tallying a career-high 14 strikeouts. Former RoughRider Alexi Ogando also had a career-high 10 strikeouts in Game 3. In total, the Rangers had 43 strikeouts, the most by a major-league team in the first three games of the season, breaking the mark set by the 1966 Cleveland Indians.
-Elvis Andrus is in Texas for a while. The 24-year-old shortstop announced Thursday that he signed an eight-year contract extension, securing him at least through 2018 (he has an opt-out in his contract at that point).
Where was Nolan Ryan? At Thursday’s press conference announcing Andrus’ contract extension, Ryan was noticeably absent. This only fueled the curiosities of his future with the Rangers. It was reported later that Nolan attended the Round Rock Express season opener.
What does the future hold for Jurickson Profar? With the Elvis Andrus contract extension, the future for Rangers’ top prospect Profar is up in the air. The former RoughRider, will be in Round Rock this season, but playing the same position as Andrus brings questions regarding the 20-year-old’s future.
Baseball term of the day: Parachute Hitter – another term for a singles hitter
The ‘Riders home opener is less than a week away, coming next Thursday against the Arkansas Travelers at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The gates will open to all the lovely sights, sounds and smells of baseball: the perfectly manicured infield and outfield grass, players flinging the ball in warm-ups, the bustle and chatter of fans and, of course, the smell of ballpark food.
The RoughRiders poured in over $1 million in concessions this off-season into Dr Pepper Ballpark, upgrading and refreshing food and beverage options for the approximately half-a-million fans expected to pass through the gates this season.
Opening Day is upon us! Hot off the press is edition number one of this year’s game notes: click here for game notes (.pdf).
Cody Buckel gets the start for Frisco at Dickey-Stevens Park against the Arkansas Travelers. One of the top right-handed pitching prospects in the Rangers organization, Buckel enters the season as the highest ranked prospect in the Texas system on the RoughRiders Opening Day roster. Baseball America lists him 8th in the Texas system, Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com tabs him 4th (and 87th in all of baseball), Keith Law at ESPN.com puts him 3rd (and 90th overall), John Sickles considers Buckel 4th while Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus has him missing the cut of the top ten prospects in the Rangers organization.
Good morning and happy Opening Day from Little Rock, Arkansas! The team arrived at the hotel at about 8:45 last night, which might be the earliest we get to a hotel all season before a game so the guys should be well rested. A bit of sour news greeted us all here when we woke up, as it has been steadily raining all morning. The good news is that it looks like things should dry up a bit this afternoon and, if the weather cooperates with the forecast, we should be able to play ball tonight at Dickey-Stephens Park. The great news is that we should have completely clear skies for each of the final two nights of this first series. I’ll keep you updated, but in the mean time start practicing your anti-rain dance in case things get a little dodgy later on.
Opening Day sure is exciting, but man Game Two can be entertaining.
We still have tomorrow’s RoughRiders Opening Day against the Travelers to hype (including the 2013 debut of Cody Buckel), but I couldn’t help but be excited for game two already. By then, the dust has settled. The Opening Day jitters have worn off, and yet it’s still baseball. Something amazing and historic can always happen, and strangely, it so often does. Or nearly does.
Frisco’s starting pitcher for game two of the season? Ryan Feierabend. Interestingly enough, the former big leaguer has pitched the same number of times at Minute Maid Park as Darvish–once (back in 2007). Neither allowed a run.
Well…we will see you Friday in North Little Rock. Thursday and Friday (well, and Saturday too I suppose). Yu never know what will happen.
Baseball term of the day: Agate - another term for the baseball.
We’re just a few days away from the start of another baseball season and, even though Tuesday night’s “Future Rangers Showcase” was rained out, everyone here at the RoughRiders is excited to start our 11th season. Over the next five months, you’ll be a seeing a lot of new and interesting stuff in this space as we help you stay up to date with the team and let you get to know the players a little better. I’ll be keeping you up to date with news from the road the best I can, but since I won’t be the only one you’ll hear from, it’s only proper to introduce to you the other members of our blog team for the 2013 season. In addition to contributing here, Nathan Barnett will join me on the radio broadcasts this season while Ryan Garrett will be helping us run things up in the press box. Since they will undoubtedly do a better job writing about themselves than I can (a hiring prerequisite), I’ll turn it over to Nathan and Ryan so that they may introduce themselves in their own words (if you want to read a far less interesting introduction of yours truly, you may do so here, even if it is not recommended).
The ever-present construction and stop-and-go traffic of I-30. The Dallas North Tollway exit from I-35, curving left over the grandstands of Reverchon Ballfield. The northbound Tollway exit at Royal Lane. The most herky-jerky moments during my ride back from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (then simply known as the Ballpark in Arlington) that woke me from my slumber that had become oh-so-routine.
With heavy eyelids and a grumpy moan I woke from my slumber only to realize that waking wasn’t so bad. The cordial narrative coming from the radio, the smooth voice of Eric Nadel, reminded me that baseball was around me. My interrupted slumber caved way to pleasant surprise.
Maybe it was the waning moments of the game: a Jeff Zimmerman punch-out, a heroic whack from Pudge, or a miraculous feat by Rusty Greer or what was left of the Arlington faithful still screaming their voices hoarse.
Perhaps it was a highlight: “that ball is history,” punctuated at least once in the postgame show. If not twice. Or more (as often was the case with those mid 90s Rangers teams). A familiar and comfortable voice reminding me of the great night that was at the Ballpark, retold as if it was happening all over again—like I was there in my seat, when in reality, I was stuck at a red light at Royal Ln and Preston Rd in the back seat of my dad’s sedan.
I didn’t realize it until I was a college senior, slamming down my LSAT Prep book—never to be opened again (it still sits, dusty and somehow lightly stained on my bookshelf at home)—that it was in that thirty-or-so minute car-ride back home, on a school night, when nine innings was almost never in the cards for a young boy of thoughtful parents, that I found a certain romance in calling a baseball game. That feeling of bringing someone the game.
No, more than that: of bringing someone to the game, away from everything else. Away from the bills, and the traffic and stress of everyday life for someone who doesn’t have the time, money or energy to make it to yard themselves. That is what I find so rewarding about what I (somehow) get paid to do.
This business can be crazy. In all the madness that is working in sports—working 100-hour weeks, pushing out 100 sales calls a day, sleeping on floors and even in dining rooms, broadcasting with the flu, calling games cramped two people to a three-foot wide table, staring at a computer on overnight bus trips—everything melts away when that pitcher toes the rubber for the first time and the batter kicks up the chalk of the box in the first.
One of my first mentors in sports once told me “working in sports beats working.” Getting to do the most fun thing I can imagine within sports—well, it is truly indescribable for me.
With this privilege comes obligation: I hope to bring you to the game not just bring you the game.
And here on the blog, I hope we can all bring you closer to the players, the coaches and to us, so that when and if you do tune in to Alex and/or myself on the air this season, the insights and information this forum can provide help attain that goal.
Who knows, maybe we too can feel like the comfortable and familiar voice I heard riding home, with droopy eyes, hearing my role model bring me back to the ballpark.
Or maybe in reading this here, we just get the occasional chuckle out of you. Or tweet. I sure would love that too.
As a kid growing up in Roswell, NM, baseball was the one sport that I enjoyed playing. I was never the fastest runner, the best hitter (though I did hit the lone grand-slam of my 1999 little league team), or never was really competitive or athletic, but I loved the game and I loved spending time with my dad, who served as an assistant coach.
Through the years, especially after moving with my family to the Dallas area in 1998, my lack of athletic talent forced me to realize I was a better fit for watching the games, being an excited fan in the stands or in the comfort of my own home.
I’ve lived the majority of my life in nearby Rockwall, TX, active with school, church and a local boy scout troop. As a 6th grader, music became my passion and I began to play the clarinet. Through high school, I rooted on my Rockwall Yellowjackets as a member of the marching band, and was also the editor of the school newspaper. It was through the high school paper that I found my love for writing and journalism.
I began my first two years of college life in an unusual way, becoming a member of the Corps of Cadets at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell (alma mater to Dallas Cowboys great Roger Staubach). At NMMI, I studied journalism and continued my music career, playing clarinet in Headquarters Troop, Regimental Band.
After graduating from junior college, I followed in the footsteps of my parents, sister and 20-plus other relatives, attending Baylor University, majoring in Journalism & Public Relations. I donned the uniform of the Baylor Golden Wave Band, and proudly had a front-row seat during RG3′s 2011 Heisman season, the 2012 National Champion Lady Bears’ 40-0 season, and a tremendous “Year of the Bear” in Baylor sports.
Through marching band, my love for sports has grown tremendously. I enjoy watching all sports, cheering on my Baylor Bears, Texas Rangers, Houston Texans and Washington Redskins (RG3). I graduated from Baylor this past December, and started work with the RoughRiders as the Media Intern in February. I love the game of baseball, and I look forward to this season with the ‘Riders, writing articles, blog postings and game stories and spending game days at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
In case you missed it yesterday, the ‘Riders announced that this season fans in the Metroplex will be able to watch 20 Frisco home games on television, up from ten games in 2012. 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. He takes scouting trips to see all of the affiliates play during the season, even the lowest level stateside team out in the Arizona League, so very little escapes him when it comes to prospect (and non-prospect) knowledge. Arguably, Jason’s greatest quality is the restraint he shows in not smacking me around after I make a terribly corny joke on the air. We’ll be testing those limits with 20 TV games this year.
Here’s the full list of RoughRiders broadcasts in 2013:
- Saturday, April 13 (7 p.m.) vs. Arkansas Travelers
- Friday, April 26 (7 p.m.) vs. Corpus Christi Hooks
- Saturday, April 27 (7 p.m.) vs. Corpus Christi Hooks
- Sunday, April 28 (4 p.m.) vs. Corpus Christi Hooks
- Friday, May 3 (7 p.m.) vs. San Antonio Missions
- Saturday, May 18 (7 p.m.) vs. San Antonio Missions
- Sunday, May 19 (4 p.m.) vs. San Antonio Missions
- Saturday, June 1 (7 p.m.) vs. Tulsa Drillers
- Saturday, June 15 (7 p.m.) vs. Corpus Christi Hooks
- Sunday, June 16 (4 p.m.) vs. Midland RockHounds
- Friday, June 21 (7 p.m.) vs. Corpus Christi Hooks
- Saturday, June 22 (7 p.m.) vs. Corpus Christi Hooks
- Friday, July 5 (7 p.m.) vs. Arkansas Travelers
- Saturday July 6 (7 p.m.) vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals
- Sunday, July 14 (6 p.m.) vs. San Antonio Missions
- Friday, August 2 (7 p.m.) vs. San Antonio Missions
- Saturday, August 3 (7 p.m.) vs. San Antonio Missions
- Saturday, August 17 (7 p.m.) vs. Tulsa Drillers
- Saturday, August 24 (7 p.m.) vs. Midland RockHounds
- Friday, August 30 (7 p.m.) vs. Corpus Christi Hooks
Today is a day for minor celebration, not necessarily because it’s “311 Day,” but because we are now exactly one month away from the home opener for the 2013 season at Dr Pepper Ballpark. We are also 22 days from the RoughRiders-Express exhibition game in Frisco and 24 days away from the official start of the regular season in North Little Rock.
All of the Rangers’ minor leaguers (excluding the ones who had big league camp invitations) reported to Surprise one week ago and they will begin their spring training games against other organizations on Thursday. We’ll do our best to get you whatever information we can on those games, though the Double-A team that takes the field against their Royals counterparts on Thursday is guaranteed to look much different than the one that arrives here in the Metroplex come late March. That’s mainly because off all the roster mixing that goes on in the spring, with many players playing a level higher than they will ultimately be on once the season starts.
As for the big club, we are still not at a point of complete resolution with the Nolan Ryan situation, though it looks like we are moving closer to that point. The Rangers released a statement from him yesterday that basically said he’s been meeting with ownership about his role with the team and that those discussions will continue. It’s not much to read into, but I suppose it should be taken as a positive sign that there is a chance that they work this all out and come out a happy family once again.
In other developments, Craig Gentry of all people is hitting home runs, Jurickson Profar’s stint as starting spring training shortstop (I love alliterative phrases) is likely coming to an end as Elvis Andrus’ stay at the World Baseball Classic was a short one, and Derek Holland gets more time to play on the “big” stage.
Ryan will remain CEO for time being, continue to search for understanding of role - Evan Grant gives you the basics of yesterday’s developments with Ryan’s full statement included.
More time on WBC’s big stage can only help Rangers’ “wildcard” Derek Holland (subscribers only) – Tim Cowlishaw thinks the continuing experience for Holland on the US team will be good for him.
Josh Hamilton brought sizzle to Texas, but new Ranger Lance Berkman could offer just as much substance – Highlights from Cowlishaw’s Sunday column on why there might not be so large a dropoff between Hamilton and Berkman. (A major caveat should be added – IF Lance stays healthy.)
(Daily FWST disclaimer: most articles on their site are subscription-only, but you can easily read the articles around the sign-in pop-up)
Positive spin on Ryan staying takes another negative turn – Randy Galloway (who has practically been the writer-of-record on all things Nolan Ryan) says that, in spite of yesterday’s statement, Ryan staying on with the Rangers is no sure thing at all.
Long journey may lead Rangers’ Martin to center field – From a couple of days ago, but a good read from Gil Lebreton nonetheless about Leonys Martin.
Despite Ross’ struggles, Rangers hold on for 7-6 victory over Indians – Robbie Ross says he was not distracted by the ZOOperstars, who performed at yesterday’s game in Goodyear. Thank goodness for that.
Ross struggles for first time this spring – ESPNDallas.com’s Ron Matejko has more reaction from Ross on his tough start (2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB).
Is there still time to get Nolan Ryan to stay? - Richard Durrett gives his thoughts on the latest developments with Ryan.
Tepesch still auditioning for role – Ron Washington and Mike Maddux talk about 2012 RoughRiders pitcher Nick Tepesch and his odds on winning the fifth spot in the Rangers’ rotation.
We interrupt today’s edition of “Nolan Ryan Talk” to bring you the latest development involving the guys who are actually on the field: last night the Rangers announced the signing of veteran pitcher Derek Lowe to a minor league deal. Lowe split last year between the rotation and bullpen for the Indians and Yankees, going 9-11 with a 5.11 ERA and one save in 38 games, 21 starts. The big sinkerballer has bounced around the last few seasons, but is best known for being one of the chief “idiots” on the 2004 World Series-winning Boston Red Sox, earning the clinching win in all three series that post-season.
While he’s not on the Rangers’ 40-man roster at the moment, you would have to think he’s a at least a decent bet to make the club out of spring training given his versatility, the team’s lack of experienced middle relievers, and the fact that the Rangers were facing the prospects of going into a season without a pitcher named “Lowe” for the first time in four years (Mark signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers last month).
As someone who grew up in the Boston area and remembers when Dan Duquette pulled off one of the greatest heists in big league history – trading Heathcliff Slocumb for Lowe and some guy named Jason Varitek – I have a special place in my heart for the Michigan native. I watched him go back-and-forth from the starting rotation to the closer spot and have success in both positions, pitch a no-hitter in 2002 against the Devil Rays, and put a lot of Boston nightclub owners’ kids through college.
It’s a smart, low-risk move for the Rangers, who could benefit tremendously if Lowe can locate his sinker and be effective for a couple innings at a time when called upon (or even fill in as a starter). If he doesn’t work out, he didn’t cost you much to begin with so there’s no obligation to keep him. He should be a strong clubhouse presence as a player who has succeeded on the biggest stages and is known to be a good teammate. And, at the very least, his acquisition has slowed down some of the Ryan talk that has become a distraction for the organization.
The Rangers won a 3-2 decision over the Cubs in Surprise yesterday and got some strong pitching from Robbie Ross (4 IP, 4 H, 1 R) and Alexi Ogando (3 IP, 6 K, 1 R). Lance Berkman also homered as the team won its second straight Cactus League contest.
Jon Daniels has the power; Nolan Ryan has the love – (Note: read around the “sign in” bubble to take in the article) Before we get to the on-the-field items, this Randy Galloway column is a must-read for fans interested in the Nolan Ryan story (i.e., pretty much all Rangers fans). Galloway has been all over this story from the start and says that Daniels was actually offered the full CEO job that belonged to Ryan, in addition to the president title, back in November but turned it down. More interesting stuff to chew on.
Berkman confident about health as Opening Day approaches - Jeff Wilson has the Big Puma feeling good about his ability to be ready to go come March 31.
Rapid Reaction from Texas win – Ron Matejko’s fast facts on yesterday’s victory.
Robbie Ross continues to impress – With Perez out until May, the former RoughRiders lefty may have cast himself as the new favorite to take the fifth starter spot after yesterday’s outing.
Alexi Ogando rewards Ron Washington’s faith – Given the way his first two spring outings went, Ogando’s strong performance was maybe the most encouraging thing about yesterday’s game.
Derek Lowe gives club versatility – Richard Durrett gives his thoughts on the Lowe acquisition.
Astros should woo Nolan Ryan – ESPN.com’s Johnette Howard argues that Jim Crane should be pulling out all the stops to swipe away the Rangers’ CEO.
Angels’ Hamilton primed for monster year — but holds no grudges – Some interesting nuggets on CBS.com’s Jon Heyman’s interview with former Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, including Hamilton saying that Nolan Ryan wished that Texas hadn’t dragged its feet in the negotiations.
Rangers don’t plan to return Alexi Ogando – and maybe Robbie Ross – to bullpen (subscription only) – Gerry Fraley thinks that the starting rotation is the final destination for both Ogando and Ross.
Ogando, Ross giving Rangers confidence in rotation – T.R. Sullivan’s report on the two pitchers impressing Ron Washington yesterday.
Rangers press on despite Ryan’s uncertainty – Sullivan has plenty of quotes from Daniels on the Ryan story.
Olt, Martin pulled out of Rangers’ lineup – Sullivan’s notes column has injury updates on Mike Olt (tooth pain, not the Rory McIlroy type), Leonys Martin (hamstring), Kyle McClellan (shoulder), Tanner Scheppers (hamstring) and Yoshinori Tateyama (back).