I don’t know what you did yesterday, and I don’t mean to come at ya from an ivory tower or anything, but I sporadic-napped Saturday afternoon while listening to a baseball game on a radio with perfectly working batteries.
In that baseball game Delino DeShields went 0 for 1, just as he did in Friday’s intrasquad mini-game, but he’s off to a great start in camp, if it’s possible to be off to a great start in camp (less viable, really, than getting off to a bad start), because in each of those two games, one of which counts even less than the other one that doesn’t count, he padded the 0 for 1 with two walks, and even if those bases on balls came off Allen Webster and Jose Valdespina and Josh Staumont and Jake Junis, whose combined 28 big league appearances all belong to Webster, it’s not as if DeShields is a finished product or necessarily a lock to break camp with the big club himself, and I might suggest to you respectfully that my run-on sentence game just might be in mid-season form.
I’m even mildly encouraged that DeShields’s two at-bats in which he put the ball in play resulted in a ground ball double play (Friday) and a lineout to center (Saturday), because neither was a strikeout and neither saw him hit the ball in the air (at least with an unacceptably curvy trajectory). My imagination tells me that in order for Team Mikulik’s Jurickson Profar/Michael De Leon/Ronald Guzman to have 6–4–3’d DeShields on Friday, he must have squared up and hit the ball sharply — on the ground.
That’s good, even if I might accept the argument that one at-bat in a five-inning intrasquad contest on the back fields might belong in the “small sample” category.
I’m pretty sure Texas, meaninglessly down by five runs to the Royals after two and a half yesterday, strung together five straight base hits after DeShields’s second walk of the day (Carlos Gomez single, Nomar Mazara single, Mike Napoli single, Rougned Odor double, Jonathan Lucroy double) to tie the score, 5–5, but I also think the Rangers then went 0 for 20 the rest of the way, mixing in two walks (one from Joey Gallo), which I’m pretty sure about even though I nodded off two or seven times, so maybe I dreamed that. I didn’t.
Gallo batted three times and Odor twice, and each was ahead in the count every time, and that’s really good, though maybe I dreamed that that happened. I didn’t.
Teams don’t record wins and losses in intrasquad games, because that would be weird, but they keep track of the ones they schedule and sell tickets for, and now Texas is 0–1. I’m competitive and given the choice would choose that every game gets won, even completely meaningless games, but this one wasn’t, and if it bugs you that Martin Perez wasn’t missing bats and that he retired fewer Royals than he didn’t, please take note and solace in the fact that (1) he didn’t get hurt and (2) the 2016 Cubs went 11–19 in spring training and the 2011 Rangers went 13–16 and the 2010 Rangers went an AL-worst 10–19.
Those two Rangers teams did that poorly with world-class baseball player Josh Hamilton playing regularly. That’s not going to happen this spring. He’s headed to Houston for the second time in a week to have his knee looked at, and this time the beats are suggesting arthroscopic surgery is a possibility.
Yu Darvish is pitching in today’s Rangers-Royals game, which will be broadcast locally on 105.3 The Fan — just as yesterday’s was, when I learned from Matt Hicks and Jared Sandler that the base umpires rotate their posts during spring training games. Maybe I dreamed that I’ve always known that. I did. (Never knew that.)
Darvish’s Texas career is headed towards a separation nine months from now, unless it’s not, which Jeff Wilson (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) believes. Maybe he’ll be a Ranger for four months less than that, or maybe a bunch of years more. Both are long shots to varying degrees, I think, but this is sports and nothing is scripted and it does seem, as Wilson properly notes, that Darvish really likes being here and pitching with “Texas” on his jersey.
Can’t wait to find out what happens at the end of this Darvish contract — but less so than my eagerness to see what he does every time he takes the ball in the meantime.
I think it was in one of those nod-offs Saturday afternoon that I dreamed I wrote something comparing Nelson Cruz to Vic Beasley, even though I never got around to doing that, and that I co-wrote Pudge Rodriguez’s autobiography (I’ll tell that story someday), and because the comfort of radio play-by-play baseball, familiar for life, was accompanying my drifts into sleep and my stirs out of it, there’s probably a good bit that may or may not have happened in Kansas City 7, Texas 5 that I’m not going to make the effort to check up on.
It was baseball, late-February baseball at its meaningless best, and that was one helluva stack of fragmented weekend-afternoon naps, not to mention a bad-ass bottom of the third.