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Posts tagged “Texas Rangers

MLB team name origins Vol 6.

Welcome to the final installment of MLB team name origins! I am a huge baseball fan and these names, what and where they went through to get where they are is in my opinion a really interesting subject! The more that I read about these teams and some of the names that they have had, the more that I can’t believe some of them! Well, it’s time for the finale, Vol 6. Hope you enjoy it!

If you’ve just stumbled upon this, here are the other five articles:

MLB team name origins Vol 1.

MLB team name origins Vol 2.

MLB team name origins Vol 3.

MLB team name origins Vol 4.

MLB team name origins Vol 5.

We ended Vol 5. with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as the first expansion team in the American League so we’ll start with the other team that entered the league in 1961:

Texas Rangers– After the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota where an expansion team had been granted, the second version of the Washington Senators was born… The team spent eleven years in Washington D.C. before again leaving the area.  When this second incarnation of the Senators moved to Texas and the Rangers were born for the 1972 season the fans of Washington for a second time in twelve years were livid! The Rangers have played in two World Series, winning none.

Little known fact- The first three managers of the Rangers (after their move to Texas) are all in the Hall of fame. These three managers are Ted Williams, Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin!

Kansas City Royals-In 1969 the Kansas City Royals entered the league as the third expansion franchise in the American League after the Kansas City A’s, who came from Philadelphia, bolted for Oakland for the 1968 season. The Royals have been to two World Series, winning it all in 1985.

Little known fact- George Brett, the Royals most well-known player, is the only player in major league baseball history to win a batting title in three different decades. He won the batting title in 1976, 1980 and 1990.

Seattle Mariners-The Mariners came about as a result of a lawsuit. When the Pilots were purchased and moved to Milwaukee, the state of Washington, the city of Seattle and King county filed suit against MLB for breach of contract and prepared for the team they knew was coming. In 1977 the Mariners opened up their rookie season in Seattle.

Little known fact- The Mariners are the only American League team without an appearance in a World Series.

Toronto Blue Jays– The Blue Jays entered the league in 1977 as the first Canadian team in the American League. They are named after the bird of the same name and are nicknamed the Jays. They have been to two World Series’, winning back to back in 1992 and 1993.

Little known fact- The Blue Jays are the fastest American League expansion team to win a World Series.

Tampa Bay Rays– In 1998 Tampa Bay got a baseball franchise, the Devil Rays. They kept the name Devil Rays until 2008 when they shortened the name to the Rays. The owner of the team described the team name as “a beacon that radiates throughout Tampa Bay and the entire state of Florida”. Pretty neat if you ask me… The Rays have played in one World Series, in 2008.

Little known fact- The San Francisco Giants were a last-minute decision from being sold and moved to Tampa in 1992.

In my opinion, the older teams have a much more interesting name history but either way, another one will be coming at some point…

Who do you think will have the next team name change?

Who do you think will be the next current team to relocate?

Which will be the next city to get an expansion team and do we really need one?!

As you’ve read through this list, and for me as I’ve put it together, you’ve probably thought some names were crazier than others as have I. I am going to make a top ten list of the weirdest baseball names that have been out there for MLB teams so be thinking of yours and make a list and see how if you match up with mine!

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The Curious Case of Josh Hamilton and the predictability of sports fans…

ImageIt’s funny how much of a difference a few months can make for a guy’s likability. I live in Texas and although I’m no Texas Rangers fan, I can admit when a player is good and heck, I can even say nice things about them too. I can respect a person’s core values as well whether or not I care one bit about the team they play for as well.

I found it very interesting when I was stunned with the news that Josh Hamilton had signed a deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. My first thought was to think about some comments I had heard from some fellow Angels fans and what I imagined the next things I’d hear from both sides and it led me to this conclusion, most sports fans are very predictable and regardless of the circumstances that a player leaves under, the new opposing fans won’t be very nice about it.

This time one year ago, all the way through about midway through the season, here in Texas Josh Hamilton was golden (well for the most part). He was on a historic tear through the American League and was virtually uncontainable. Then a curious thing happened, Josh quit caring. Well maybe that wasn’t it, he just lost interest, got bored, went into a horrible slump… Whatever you call it the love affair that was Josh –n- Texas started to lose its appeal, and fast. With the missed catch at the end, the lazy chase after the ball and the random booing which ended being a lot more than random we all kind of saw the writing on the wall for Josh, we just didn’t expect the next stop to be Anaheim!

Before last season started for Josh he had a relapse with his demons and while some people felt for the guy and appreciated his owning up to it others took the opportunity (as lots of people do) to kick him while he was down. I remember seeing people just dogging Josh, I mean really dogging him, and I mean dogging him in a way that almost made me embarrassed that we were breathing the same air. Talking about his relapse with alcohol and just poking fun at the guy and saying things that really shouldn’t be said about other people (regardless of which team they play for). And being an Angels fan trying to defend him? Forget about that… I got cussed out trying to stop that, what a shame, what an embarrassment. Some people have no couth and that’s unfortunately just how it goes sometimes.

So anyways, Josh Hamilton signs with the Angels in December and here’s where the story gets funny… I mentioned that sports fans are predictable, right? Yeah so Josh signed with the Angels and the same people who were saying the things that people should never say about other people, these people wouldn’t let you speak ill of the man now! He’s an Angel now! Leave him alone! I hope he doesn’t have any more relapses. I hope he’s conquered his demons. The EXACT OPPOSITE of the things said by the same people! HYPOCRITES!

Oh yeah, on the other side of the coin, I mentioned that sports fans are predictable, right? Well anyways, now the same fans that were defending Mr. Hamilton and hoping for his well-being sounded like the same people that a few months before had practically prayed for his demise! All because he “quit on the team”, was “a traitor” or whatever other lame excuse they could find. Of course, in the midst of all of this Josh decided to talk about how he felt that the DFW area was more of a football town (when the Cowboys were winning it sure was) and how real fans wouldn’t boo, etc… Now I am sure that Josh understands the predictability of sports fans and knows what will happen when he arrives (when we will see the silent treatment vs. the boo the heck out of the guy square away)

All in all, sometimes I’m embarrassed that a person will allow which sports team a person plays for to define the humanity and caring that we should feel for fellow people in general. The curious case of Josh Hamilton is this, a year ago Angels fans despised him while Rangers fans adored him, and now the opposite is mostly true. It’s funny how things can change so quickly in a few months! We’ll get to see the full aftermath in Texas this Friday when Josh returns as an opposing player, the villain… The predictability of sports fans will rear its ugly head again.


2013 A.L. West Predictions…

So seeing as we are one day into the 2013 MLB campaign, I figure it’s time for me to start getting my season predictions out there. As you look at predictions you tend to notice that there are a few theories that people use when making their predictions. I’m going to address what I believe to be the two most commonly used theories.

First you’ve got the homer theory… This is the theory that many fans subscribe to every year because that’s just what you’re supposed to do! “I don’t see anyone over the Angels”, if you “don’t go in with a positive attitude then what’s the point?” I was told earlier when I posted my A.L. West prediction. Now I totally understand this line of reasoning because that’s part of what a new season brings for every team, a clean slate and hope that this year is the year. Also, in this theory you just rate the teams you hate last just because well, you know, they suck and you hate them!

Second you’ve got the “I don’t wanna eat crow later” theory… This is the theory that, in my opinion, fewer fans subscribe to (unlike myself) because like the homer theory there isn’t the amount of hope involved or so it’s taken that way. It basically is a bit more realistic in a sense as well as being apprehensive at the same time. You don’t want to predict that your team does to well because if they don’t you’ll be hearing about it at the end of the year. Of course the homer theory gets to really revel in glory if they are correct though!

I have a lot of hope that this is the year that the Angels are going to go all the way! They’ve added another former MVP and all-star hitter to the lineup as well as get rid of some of the dead weight and they’ve bolstered up the shakiest part of the team, the bullpen. After watching game one and being thoroughly frustrated with the batting lineup, I walked away with a huge sense of satisfaction in watching the bullpen take care of business inning after inning and walking away with a W in the end! As frustrating as it seemed it was well worth it when Iannetta singled in those runs in the 13th inning!

So I’ve said all of that to say this, I’ve got two predictions for the A.L. West. I’m going to give my I don’t wanna eat crow theory first because I tend to be more cautious, but I’m also going to give a homer (what I’d wish for theory as well) theory because that’s just what I’d like to see happen for the team I root for!

DON’T WANNA EAT CROW THEORY PREDICTION FOR THE A.L. WEST:

Texas

Anaheim

Seattle

Oakland

Houston

HOMER THEORY PREDICTION FOR THE A.L. WEST:

Anaheim

Houston

Seattle

Oakland

Texas

If you have any comments feel free to tweet me comments, @stepxen or message me… I’m still working on my predictions for the league and other divisions and hope to have them available soon!


The Mike Napoli debaucle…

2011 was declared by Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon to be The Year of the Napoli…

We all remember it well, Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli to the Blue Jays for Vernon Wells… Then within a few days Napoli was wearing Ranger blue. We’ve all heard about how bad  of a trade it turned out to be for the Angels with Wells having a very off-year and Napoli having his season of all seasons, and of course Napoli performed like a beast in the playoffs when it mattered. He was throwing out runners, hitting homer’s, he was doing it all. He was destined to be the World Series MVP had the Rangers pulled it out.

I always enjoyed Mike Napoli as an Angel, I paid little attention to his overall stats, but to  the power that he displayed even with his limited playing time in Anaheim. Over the end of last season and into the playoffs Angels fans continued to see and hear how well he was doing (even against us) and had to wonder why on earth did we get rid of this beast?

Here’s why it didn’t seem so bad at the time…

Mike Napoli had his breakout year in 2011 with the Rangers, he did things that he had never done before. He became more disciplined at the plate with a higher rate of walks and less strikeouts too.  He had more home runs, more doubles, more rbi’s, more hits, hit 82 points higher, walked 16 more times and struck out 52 less times in 84 less at bats.

When we traded him to the Blue Jays we traded a guy with a lifetime batting average of .251, in 2011 he batted .320! Sixty nine points higher than his average… Then you compare his post season stats, in three post seasons with the Angels he had a batting average of .226, in 2011 with Texas he batted .328! One hundred and two points higher!

As far as the myth that he wasn’t a sound catcher, just looking at a couple of things like caught stealing percentage (31% with Angels compared to almost 37% with the Rangers) and a fielding percentage no lower than .986 at any given time shows that he was a competent defensive catcher.

One last thing that I think played a part in all of this was a kind of revenge factor. There were many things said about the fact that Mike Napoli wasn’t a sound defensive catcher and had issues hitting with RISP, so I think Napoli left with a vengeance ready to prove that he was much more than that as a player. He brought it to the Angels in a way that hadn’t been seen since way back in 2010 (yikes!) against the likes of Vladimir Guerrero… And the rest as they say is history!

When you look at but a few of the miscellaneous stats comparing Mike Napoli now, to Napoli then, it doesn’t seem like such a no brainer to include him in that trade. And don’t forget folks, we still had Jeff Mathis! Just kidding, just kidding!

Peace out!


Simmer down now!

One thing that drives me crazy about sports is waiting… Waiting for the season to start, waiting for the game to start, waiting in line for the bathroom or concession stand at the game, waiting in line in your car to exit the stadium parking, waiting for free agents to decide where they want to play, waiting to see what is going to happen in your division before the season starts, waiting for the pitcher to quit waving off the sign! Way too much waiting going on in baseball!

So right now there are two things Angels and Rangers fans are waiting on: one is are the Rangers going to come to an agreement with Yu Darvish, two is if the Rangers do or don’t sign Yu Darvish are they going to sign Prince Fielder? That’s the $200 million question right now amongst fans of both teams.

Living in Texas I have some Rangers fans that I talk to and they just want this deal to be done. They realize that they need pitching more than hitting, they also realize that adding Prince Fielder can make up for a certain lack of pitching. There is nervous tension among real Rangers fans right now and there is also noticeable tension amongst Angels fans too.

Let’s take a quick look at what the Angels have done this off-season so far:

1. Traded Tyler Chatwood for Chris Ianetta (catching help)

2. Traded Jeff Mathis for Brad Mills (minor league guy)

3. Sign LaTroy Hawkins (bullpen depth)

4. Sign Albert Pujols (much-needed bat in the lineup)

5. Sign C.J. Wilson (shoring up the rotation)

6. Re-signed Jerome Williams (shoring up the rotation)

7. Extension for Howie Kendrick

In other words, the Angels have done a lot to improve their ballclub this off-season. Yet even with all that the Angels have done you’ve got fans freaking out because the Rangers might sign Fielder and/or Darvish…

Here is what I think, there is no reason to freak out whatsoever. The Angels kept up with the Rangers until late in the year and still had a shot at the playoffs up until a few games were left. We’ve added all of the above, one of those things that we added just happened to be the ace of the Rangers staff and while they’ve made some moves as well they haven’t made up for the loss of Wilson. If they add Darvish they are adding an unproven pitcher at least at the MLB level. If they add Fielder they are getting one of the best players in the game, a proven clutch hitter that would destroy the Ballpark in Arlington.

Let’s just say the Rangers add Fielder and Darvish, it’s like us adding Pujols and Wilson except for Darvish not being a proven MLB commodity just yet. They’ve kept pace with what we’ve done if they add Fielder, not to mention that they already had a pretty awesome lineup already.

I think we’ve done enough to make the playoffs this season, whether it be by winning the West or getting in on the Wild Card (or two) I think next year we won’t be left in the dust. So quit freaking out and get ready to enjoy the ride! Have some faith in your team and enjoy the ride because the West is going to be wild this year!

No concrete predictions here, just observations…

Peace out…


How the West was won and where it got us…

The St. Louis Cardinals won the 2011 World Series with their star player, Albert Pujols, while a new star was born, David Freese. So in the off season, when the Cardinals had let his free agency actually become a reality, Pujols, as a shock to the entire baseball world ends up signing with The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim! Few if any saw this coming although some say there have been issues brewing (pun intended) with St. Louis for a long time. So this information right here is not news now.

When this happened you knew people from St. Louis to Anaheim would respond, and boy did they! We all process information differently, for every person complaining about having to tell their kids that his favorite player, Pujols, wasn’t a Cardinal anymore there was someone like me that got to pick up their son from school and say “I think you may have a new favorite Angel!” I remember not believing when I saw the first report come across twitter saying Pujols had agreed with the Angels… I had the MLB channel on and they had not said anything, and this was one lone guy, within a few seconds the tweets were coming across and then it flashed across the MLB channel’s screen. I couldn’t believe what I was reading!

Of course the first thing they said next was that obviously the Angels were out on C.J. Wilson… That got quenched quickly as within a few minutes they were announcing not only were they still going after him but that he had agreed to sign with the Angels as well!As a fan I was stoked to say the least!

Now I know once something like this happens, again people respond in different ways, people tend to go overboard immediately with their predictions. I for one am not one to announce glory until glory is attained. I’ve seen many that have not only declared that the Angels are the team to beat but that they will win the West and win the World Series as well. Let me just clarify my stance on this first off, the Rangers are the team to beat. They still have a stellar line up and if they do sign Darvish, he can perform like Wilson during the regular season and Feliz can perform well in the starting rotation, pitching won’t be the issue either.

I am super excited about next season as a fan though. To know that my team went out and spent the money that it took to bring in two of the top free agents on the market, got better at catcher, bullpen, and shored up the starting rotation gives me high expectations going into next season! I totally believe that this team could go all the way! But, we first have to go out and beat the Rangers, they are the team to beat! They are the two time defending A.L. Champions.

Here is an interesting scenario that I have been thinking of and if it happened I have wondered, who would be more vilified?

Let’s say that October 2012 rolls around and the World Series features The St. Louis Cardinals vs. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim?! Could a crazier scenario be drawn out? Just think of the ramifications… If St. Louis wins the series, wow… Their fans would be on fire, their reaction would be so bad against Pujols that it would last the next full off season… The media would blow it even further out of the water in two ways, one would be how they Cardinals had good vision and knew what they truly did and didn’t need, the other would be about how the Angels had overspent but still saw good results. But, what if the Angels won the World Series? What if they beat St. Louis, the team that had lost out on Pujols in free agency? What would the reaction of the St. Louis fans be at that point? I can only imagine the hatred that would be spewed out by them toward Pujols but the media would rip the Cardinals to shreds for letting him go and the accolades would pour down on Arte Moreno and the deal of a lifetime that paid off. Of course the fans in Anaheim would be going ballistic! Even the fans that had come out of retirement when the Angels signed Pujols (bandwagon fans) would be satisfied and probably stay out of retirement for another year!

I believe that the answer to my scenario is the Angels, they went out and did whatever it took to land the best player in the game, period. They also went out and landed the best starting pitcher on the free agent market.

As I stated earlier, the West as well as the American League belongs to the Rangers and for the Angels to take it they will have to go through them, but can’t a guy daydream a little bit!?

Peace out!


For the love of the game…

I’ve been thinking about writing my history of being a fan and I realize that I have truly loved two baseball teams in my life… When I was young it was the Texas Rangers, for 10 years running it’s been the Anaheim Angels.

I grew up in Arlington, TX, so of course I grew up going to Rangers games and being a fan of them… Not just a fan but a huge fan ( I cried when they fired Don Zimmer!). I used to lay in bed and listen to the Rangers games on AM radio (back when every game wasn’t on TV). My family moved to a small Texas town (Grandview) from Arlington and I kind of lost that interest in them. I guess we just didn’t go to games and for whatever reasons I just kind of lost interest.

As I hit my 20’s, I started going to games in Arlington occasionally… I don’t think it was so I could support the Rangers but so I could just attend an MLB game. As the years went by I usually watched the playoffs and the world series. In the mid 90’s I started getting interested in the Yankees because I guess they were just interesting with a group of players with no real star. As I watched the playoffs through those late 90’s it got me into baseball a little more and more…

In 2002 the Angels changed their logo so I bought a new logo’d Anaheim Angels cap, I liked the new look and decided to just follow them (I know it’s odd but hey, everyone has something that draws them)… So the playoffs came, they made it, played the Yankees in the playoffs and for the first time I cheered against the Yanks. The Angels ended up going to and winning the World Series that year, it made me deciding to follow them starting that year a good call and easy to stay as well! Over the years I casually followed them and went to games in Arlington to see them play. It isn’t easy to follow a team from out of state and really get into supporting them when you can’t watch many games, at least that’s my opinion.

Fast forward to 2009, I had been priming my son to be an Angels fan… I had bought him a few Angels hats and wanted to take him to see the Angels play. So I took him to see the Angels play the Rangers… I don’t remember if this was the very first Angels/Rangers game he attended with me but it was the first one where he knew why he was there etc…He was 5 years old and we were having a good time, in the 9th inning, with two outs and two on and the Angels trailing 4-7, Juan Rivera hit a 3 run homer and we went crazy! Then, after all the elation, Justin Speier gave up a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 9th to Hank Blalock with two outs to ruin it for us! At that point my son said he wanted to root for the Rangers. I wasn’t happy but it’s not gonna kill me so I took him to the team shop and bought him a Rangers hat and ball.

Now it’s October, the Angels are playing the Red Sox, their playoff Goliath for many years. My son and I watched them sweep the Sox and we were just overjoyed!During that series my son decided he wanted to just be an Angels fan. He even gave his Rangers hat away to someone! Of course we then watched them get beat by the Yankees in 6 which was horrible but since then my son has always loved the Angels with me.

In 2010 I took the plunge and purchased the MLB package for us and wow, it gave us the opportunity to watch Angels games on pretty much a daily basis. We were able to keep up and feel connected with the players and I was really able to start to have a love for a team again. I purchased the MLB package again in 2011 but even better than that, my son and I (thanks to a bonus from my job) were able to attend opening day at the big A in Anaheim! We went to the first two games and then during the summer we went to Disneyland for vacation and got to attend two more games as well! It was so great! On top of that I found a page called Halo Space on Facebook and have been able to talk baseball with Angels fans while getting more in depth info and it has helped my fandom so much!

This offseason has earned its own blog so I won’t say anything about that just yet!

Peace out!