Saturday, September 6, 2014

My Favorite Wash Moment

It's hot in Texas and 2008 was no outlier.  Sports talk always broke away to football sometime around the All-Star break, which signaled the beginning of Training Camp for the more popular Dallas Cowboys.  Following a dismal 2007 with lackluster performance and the trading of one of the team's best players, the second season of Ron Washington's tenure as manager of the Texas Rangers started fairly well.  Michael Young was doing Michael Young things --Mr. Reliable.  Ian Kinsler was in the second season of his blossoming career, newcomer Josh Hamilton was lighting up the air above The Ballpark with monstrous homeruns, not to mention the All-Star Game Homerun Derby that would've made Babe Ruth smile, and Milton Bradley, not the board game, had a very solid All-Star year.  Sometime after the All-Star break, however, it started to unravel.  Kevin Millwood tried his best to be an ace, but it just wasn't to be.  Vicente Padilla, bless him, was partially retired from his Beanball incidents (but would later return to full form with another club), and neither was he the pitching savior the Rangers needed.

CJ Wilson was drafted in 2001 out of California, his home state, as an amateur pitcher.  In 2005 he made his Major League debut, made 6 starts and appeared in 24 games.  From 2006 through the 2009 season, CJ was exclusively a relief pitcher.  One of those seasons, 2008, ended abruptly for him, however.  On August 6, 2008 CJ came into a game against the Yankees and promptly loaded the bases and surrendered a grand slam.  Now, I can understand being mad, I would be, too.  But there are things that you can't do, and CJ tried to do one of those things when Washington came to the mound to make a pitching change.  Before Wash got to the mound, CJ tossed him the ball.  To the layman, it may seem like a simple exchange.  That's not the case.  In this situation, the manager will extend his arm, and the pitcher should hand him the ball.  Washington, in only his second season, having not endeared himself to the fans just yet, and definitely not the press, made a move.

CJ, having just tossed the ball to Wash, began to walk off the mound and past his manager.  Washington grabbed him by the arm and allowed him another chance to do the right thing.

Wash didn't have time to plan his move.  Instincts told Wash to stop CJ in his tracks.  It became a teachable moment for CJ, and became the reason I love Ron Washington.  A lot of Texas Rangers fans do not remember that, because, let's face it, their fandom doesn't predate the 2010 Playoffs.  CJ's year ended that night because he went onto the Disabled List and had to have elbow surgery to remove bone spurs.

Following the 2009 season CJ convinced Rangers management to allow him to train and compete for a starting job.  He bet on himself, it paid off, and for that I respect him.  He can be a bit mouthy, but so can I.  Washington went on to have multiple years of success with the Rangers and is beloved by the fan base and some of the media.  

It wasn't the times he tried to propel runners around third with his running motions from the dugout, it wasn't his "Wash-isms," and it wasn't his superior ability to teach fielding to young players.  It was when he taught "Ceej" to show a little respect.  I am really sad that Wash won't be the manager of my team anymore.

As the great Fall Out Boy once sang, "Thx fr th Mmrs."

Friday, August 22, 2014

No Other Words

"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."
-M. Ghandi

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You Have Options

If you have stumbled upon this and are dealing with depression, please seek help.  Do not let it control you.  At the bottom of the page are information to help you cope and take control of what you are dealing with.  Contact me personally if you would like someone to talk to.


Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. -Psalm 42:11

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Funny Thing

Sometimes people you don't know, never met, and may never have the chance to meet, make an impact on your life.  Let's call it a flash in the pan type impact.

I remember when Nick Adenhart died in 2009.  You've most likely never heard of him.  I knew who he was for a few reasons: Because he played baseball, because he played for my team's rival, and because, as my wife says, I'm a "baseball encyclopedia."  His death was tragic.  A very young man just making his way into "The Show" and life was taken from him.  It was also taken from his family who wouldn't have the chance to see him become the man he was destined to be, nor would they have the chance to say goodbye.  After his death was reported, I spent quite a while dwelling on it because I hated to see something like that happen and I really do "keep them in your thoughts and prayers" as many people often say they will.  Someone who was close to me wanted to know why it mattered to me at all.  "It's not a big deal, it's not like you knew him."  Well, sure... But just as there's a fine line between love and hate, I feel that there's often times a fine line between life and death.  We can't escape it and, even worse, we can't predict it.

Tony Gwynn died Monday.  I spent a majority of the day reflecting on him, his accomplishments, his lasting legacy, and his impact on other people.  But mostly I thought about his family.  His son Tony Jr., or as his dad called him, Anthony, plays for the Phillies.  I hate that Tony will not have the chance to watch Anthony play another game.  Or that Anthony's kids will not have a grandfather who was worth looking up to.

Last night another person I never met died.  Richard Durrett covered the Texas Rangers and anything else in the sports world that needed reporting.  I always thought he was a great person to listen to on the radio because I could feel the cheeriness of who he really was coming out.  "The thing I liked about him was he never tried to get vicious. He told the story that should have been told the way it should have been told. He cared about people," said Ron Washington.  I'm blown away by the outpouring of love from his colleagues who are hurt by Richard's passing.  I'm even more blown away by the athletes, as they generally despise the media.  

According to everyone who knew him, Durrett was a faithful man.  He was faithful to TCU, where he was an alum.  He was faithful to his wife Kelly, whom he met while attending TCU.  And he was faithful to his kids, Owen (6) and Alice (3), plus one on the way.  And he was faithful to God.  It's a terrible thing to think that Durrett was such a great guy and wonderful father, and his kids will not get to grow up with his guidance.

Things like this shouldn't affect me.  As someone infamously once told me, "People die every day, and you don't grieve for them."  But I do.  And I don't really like talk about it.  Maybe no one will read this, that's okay.  As a matter of fact, it's more than okay.  I wrote this for me to remember how I felt on this day.  I know it's difficult, and it may sound weird, but I think it's good for perspective to remember the emotionally hard times as much as the good times.

Death is a funny thing.  It takes good guys when there are people on earth who need them here.  Much more than the Rangers need a beat writer, Owen and Alice need their dad and Kelly needs her husband.

As tough as it may be, the bible verse below trumps all that I previously wrote.  Richard is with Jesus, and that is his reward for being the kind of man he was.  Kelly and Owen and Alice can take delight in knowing that he is with the Lord tonight.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. -John 14:1-2