It turns out that the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated:
● T.R. Sullivan's latest mailbag talks about the physical and mental grind that this year's Rangers squad has been subjected to (as an example of that, Adrian Beltre candidly acknowledged that he did not feel as good this September as he did last September when he won the AL Player of the Month honor), and talks about the possibility of Ryan Dempster staying with the Rangers after this season, along with an interesting reference to him being "out" on any proposed Elvis Andrus for Justin Upton deal this off-season.
● Gerry Fraley held forth with some thoughts on the leading American League MVP candidates in slide show form this morning, and criticized Mike Trout for hitting just .275 with an .855 OPS since August 1st, which, in his view, isn't "the stuff of an MVP" -- a remark which has attracted some blogosphere attention already. Sounds like a case of unduely dinging a player because his performance doesn't match the demanded narrative.
● The Rangers will likely hit three million fans this week for the first time in their history, a mark which they nearly hit several times during their late-90s window but never quite managed to pull off. Texas has averaged roughly 42.6 thousand fans per home game this season; five years ago, that figure was a skosh over 24,000.
● Jason Cole has the Rangers' instructional league roster available for your perusal, and the DMN talks about Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin, and Chad Bell joining Licey of the DWL this winter, an assignment which seems to carry additional weight for guys like Olt and Martin who, for one reason or another, didn't amass a full season's worth of plate appearances between the minor and major league levels, and/or who need to keep facing live pitching and continue to refine their offensive skill sets.
● In a rare case of baseball and accounting colliding in the headlines, Robert Wilonsky talks about how one of the former lenders to the Hicks sports empire (GSP Finance LLC) is suing one of the Big 4 auditing firms because they "fraudulently issued a clean audit opinion [to Hicks Sports Group]" upon which GSP relied when they loaned HSG some $60-plus million in 2006. HSG, of course, was doomed, with Hicks loaning his own teams money from his personal funds to keep the teams afloat, and it turns out his lenders didn't like it very much when he defaulted on $500-plus million in loans once the empire came crashing down.