Joey is out of pocket this morning and, for better or worse, he asked me to pitch in. As the semi-retired old guy around here, I'll take my cue from Blackie and throw some random thoughts around to see what sticks.
Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Jose Texidor.
If you were born in the 1960's this might make sense to you: These last few days have felt a lot like the days in the aftermath of the 1980 Miracle on Ice. The greatest US Olympic Hockey team ever still had one more round to go after slaying the Big Red Bear. On one hand, it felt like fait accomplit that they would beat Finland for the gold medal and on the other, it sort of didn't matter. Taking down the ostensibly indominable USSR felt more important than winning the gold medal, and maybe it was. When we think back on this season years from now, will the World Series championship seem like a post-script to the manhandling of the Yankees in the ALCS?
As I listened to Jon Daniels on the podium after the ALCS giving all of the credit to his scouting and development staff, I thought back to an interview I did with him for the DMN two years ago:
MJH: Is there a GM -- past or present other than the guy who brought you along, John Hart -- who you see as your role model and if so, what have you learned from him and how has that influenced you in this job?
JD: I can think of four guys right away: Pat Gillick, Doug Melvin, Mark Shapiro and Theo [Epstein]. With Pat, obviously you have to admire the way he builds an organization. He's a big proponent of continuity. He knows his people. Pat's a guy who knows where all of his scouts are on any given day. He knows their wives first names. He knows their kids. He makes sure that everyone in the organization knows that they are valuable and that's been a key to his success wherever he goes.
For my money, Pat Gillick is the gold standard among GM's over the past generation and to know that Daniels is literally following the Gillick organizational blueprint should be very comforting to Rangers fans.
I had no trouble getting tickets to games 3, 4 and 5 in Philly last year. I had no chance to get tickets to game 3, 4 or 5 this year. Suddenly, I really, really miss my press pass.
You know what I don't want to read about or listen to this week? Nitpicking of Ron Washington's bullpen management. Just leave it alone. Just this week.
Evan Grant used to tell me that one of the things that used to leave Buck Showalter's Rangers clubhouses so beaten down was his obsessive focus on what players could not do. Ron Washington is the opposite in that he stubbornly believes that his guys can do things that statisticians are virtually certain they can't do.
Jon Daniels repeatedly describes this characteristic of his manager by saying that if something happened to the big club and you told Washington he had to take on the Angels with the Bakersfield roster, he'd post up and expect to win.
Does this sort of thinking backfire on Washington from time to time? You bet. But in the end, that optimism inspires confidence among the players and has as much to do with where the Rangers find themselves right now as anything else.
Finally, a note about your new owner. On Saturday afternoon, I sent Chuck Greenberg the following e-mail:
Chuck:First off, congratulations and thanks for everything you've done for Rangers fans.I point this out not to complain, but because I know you want to know about such things. I was working downtown on Saturday afternoon and stopped by the Uptown Rangers store to pick up AL Champions t-shirts for my kids. There were probably 40 other people in the store at the time and we were all looking for the same thing. When I asked the clerk where they were, she said "we never got our shipment in today."I told our mutual friend Jamey Newberg that it felt like the last vestiges of the Hicks era: sloppy, disorganized, no attention to details. And and I know that is not something that RBE will tolerate.Best regards and thanks again for everything you've done for Rangers fans.
Greenberg, less than 24 hours after winning a pennant, replied immediately to say he'd have someone get back to me on this issue. An hour later, I received this e-mail from Stephen Moore, the Rangers Director of Merchandise.
It has been brought to my attention that you visited our Dallas Team shop on Saturday looking for AL Championship shirts. I apologize that they had not received them when you visited the store. We were scheduled to receive the shirts from Majestic at 8am Saturday morning which would have given us the ability to have them in both and by the time the stores opened. Unfortunately the truck did not arrive at the ballpark until after 1pm which did not allow us to get them to our outside stores until that afternoon.
I apologize again that we did not have the Championship shirts that you expected to be there. It was never our intention to leave them out of any of our stores and disappointment our great fans. Please send me a list of the sizes that you need and I will be happy to ship them to you.
Notwithstanding the error that prompted this exchange, I would suggest to you that this sort of response serves as further evidence that Rangers fans are going to be treated to a first-class organization in every way for years to come.
The time for anyalsis is over. Watch, cheer, laugh, cry and soak it all up.