There's a quick turnaround between now and the 1 p.m. start, so no full-fledged piece today ... but here's a rather obvious song choice:
- The inconsistency of Major League Baseball on its rainout policy was, sadly, in full effect last night, but the item of greater interest to me today is how the Rangers went about protecting their fans during a major severe-weather event last night, which is something I've written about before at some length. Chuck Morgan cleared the upper deck as a tornadic supercell loomed less than 10 miles to the north, and ultimately the game was stopped down once a second cell began to approach the stadium ... however, from the perspective of somebody watching with great interest at home, things began to take a rather strange turn going into the 9 p.m. hour.
On KDFW Fox 4's 9 p.m. newscast, live cameras out at the Ballpark showed stadium personnel ushering obviously nervous fans from the main concourse down the aisles in the lower seating bowl out onto the field and through the dugouts and into assorted service tunnels around the Ballpark in a downpour ... with a tornadic circulation and hail core reportedly bearing down on the Ballpark area, no less. Minutes later, the cameras caught those same personnel running and waving frantically at people still exposed out in the open to get back into the concourse, owing to either a shortage of remaining shelter space or the fact that there was no more time to spare before the full brunt of the storm arrived.
One report from reader Wes M. during last night's game chat indicated that a number of fans tried to head for the parking lots once the weather deterioriated (a terrible idea), and that most of the red-shirted staff "had no idea what was going on," perhaps in part because Chuck Morgan's announcements couldn't be heard down in the concourse. You're simply not going to be able to move 30,000 people instantaneously during a weather event like this, and I'm certain the Rangers enacted and followed their weather emergency plans to the best of their ability ... it does, however, seem that communication was somewhat lacking among stadium personnel, and given some of the evident disorder and confusion down at ground level during the mass fan evacuation (and lack of time to adequately shelter everyone), I'm curious as to whether the Rangers really moved as quickly on this as they possibly could have.
- In his second game off the disabled list following an fracture that stemmed from an awkward head-first slide in Detroit, Josh Hamilton proceeded to slide head-first three separate times in the bottom of the eighth inning -- once while beating out a grounder at first base, once while swiping second base, and once while advancing to third base on a wild pitch, which these prompted these remarks during the post-game media inquisition:
"I see what you’re saying, but you guys have to have something to write about. If I stop doing that, then I won't be true to myself as a baseball player or true to my teammates or the fans that watch me play the game. I just don't get why you keep harping on it. Just expect it out of me. If I get hurt, we’ll continue to do this thing. It’s ridiculous. I can’t worry about that. I never think about it."
Hamilton's also insistent that he would have been out at first base had he not undertaken the slide. Physics apparently disagree. Hamilton counters by saying he did it because he wants to win. More on this developing clash at 11. In all seriousness, I will say this -- it was already going to be very, very hard to commit game-breaking money to Hamilton in 18-19 months' time for the purpose of preventing him from signing elsewhere, and though it's all well and good that he lives and dies by his aggressive play, these are the kinds of little warning signs that lead you to wonder just how smart of a long-term commitment he can really be. What's the useful life of an inherently injury-prone, risk-taking outfielder?
- Per CBSSports.com's Scott Miller, the Rangers are among several different clubs that have been inquiring about Padres closer Heath Bell recently; San Diego, however, understandably isn't ready to move Bell and remains in "listen-only mode" with what one would certainly presume to be the hope of moving him to the highest bidder in the final week of July for a primo package of prospects. The Rangers, meanwhile, are said to merely be "checking their options" and will re-evaluate as the season progresses.
- Ron Washington says he's not worried about Neftali Feliz not throwing any off-speed pitches because the fastball is his best pitch, and if he has to loose, he'd rather lose using that than using off-speed stuff. Wait, what?
- Good news: Brandon Webb went six innings during an extended spring start yesterday, allowing four runs on six hits, no walks, two HBPs, and six strikeouts. Bad news: Per a report published on Yahoo! Sports, Webb again topped out at 84 mph. Good news: At least he's further along than throwing off flat ground. Bad news: Instead of Webb, the Rangers could have signed Jeff Francis and his 4.23 ERA/3.74 FIP over 61.2 innings.
- Julio Borbon may not be back until next Thursday at the earliest. Endy Chavez won't be ready until this Friday. Mike Harrington won't like this article very much at all. The Athletics hate Bob Geren. Dirk.