Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Play Ball

Scott Feldman throws out the first pitch of the 2010 season. Baseball is back, and that is a good thing. I was fortunate enough to attend the 2009 opener. It is hard to top the experience of an opening day game. Several opening day quick hits and then some player analysis.

Opening Day Thoughts
  • First off kids, I found out that Santa is a Rangers fan. He sat 3 rows in front of me and handed out business cards all game long.
  • Opening Day at the ballpark is a celebration of everything Texas. We had Nolan Ryan and Roger Staubach on the mound for the ceremonial first pitch. Staubach still has quite an arm and threw a great first pitch. I can't think of any 2 bigger names that you could put out there except the Lone Ranger. And yes, he was on the jumbotron leading our 9th inning rally. The singing of Deep in the Heart of Texas has much more passion than Take Me Out to the Ballgame. In this picture our goofy recent mascot Rowdy tries to catch the strike from Roger in his mouth.
  • Steak Nachos - YES
  • On the left field wall "Around the League" scoreboard, we kept highlighting the fact that Roy Halladay won his opening day game. That had to be intentional.
  • Before the game started, a former paratrouper with no legs dropped into the stadium. Incredible.
  • I am out of practice on clapping. When the game got wild in the late innings, my hands were beet red.
  • I am pretty sure that if you start drinking hours before a 1 PM game, you might have some issues. Just my opinion.
  • Speaking of which, the most awkward moment of the game belongs to Budweiser. They sponsored a between innings thing where they announced they would put people drinking Bud on the jumbotron. Guess what, they found NOBODY. For 30 seconds to a minute, just an icon on the screen. Jokes were rampant about how "I guess nobody drinks that stuff."
  • 2 of the 9 Rangers come up to plate with Christian intro music. Josh Hamilton has Toby Mac and Chris Davis has Let it Fade by Jeremy Camp.
  • I found a new route to the ballpark that had virtually no traffic. Take the Bush Turnpike (161) south until it ends. Drive over I 30 and take a right on SH 180. Take this over 360 all the way to Stadium drive. I had almost no traffic in and out of the game.
  • The Lexus Club seats in the corners of the stadium are really good. They are priced at $25 for most games, have almost no lines for bathroom and food out back, and on the first base side are shaded from the sun. I will aim for these seats again.

Scouting Report
  • Julio Borbon has a horrible looking swing. I am calling it the Slap Chop. He looks like he is hoping to foul off the pitch.
  • Michael Young is solid. He picked right up where he left off. Solid hits.
  • Josh Hamilton did not have the best day, but his swing looked good and his at bats were good. His arm in left kept a run from coming in.
  • Vlad still has it. That guy has crazy extension. He looks like he is swinging a 12 foot tree or something. He also hit one of the farthest foul balls I have seen to the 3rd deck left of the foul pole. Also, what is his history with the Jays? They threw at his neck on the first pitch he saw.
  • Nelson Cruz is really really good. He hit a 400 foot shot into the wind. He also has good range in the field. He cut off a line drive in the gap that I figured for a double at least and kept the runner at first.
  • Chris Davis did not get any hits, but his at bats looked good. There were no ugly strikeouts.
  • Salty was pretty weak at the plate until the last pitch of the game. He did his job and lifted it over the pulled in outfielders.
  • Andres Blanco looks like he is not ready for the big leagues. Please come back quick Kinsler.
  • Elvis Andrus pulled a good looking double play. His bat was so-so.
  • 2-6 was dangerous in our lineup: Young, Hamilton, Vlad, Cruz, Davis. The rest were gimme outs most of the game.
  • Scott Feldman is hard to judge. He got hit really hard. His box score line looks better than what I saw. A lot of rockets were hit right to people. In fairness, the winds were gusting up to 25 MPH and so that might have affected him. He settled down in the 5th, 6th, and 7th which is a good sign.
  • Neftali Feliz needs a 2nd pitch. He topped out at 97 MPH and hitters were looking fastball all the way. Breaking pitches were automatic takes and most likely balls.
  • Darren Oliver still has it at age 39. He should be valuable this season.
  • Franky was decent in the closer role but made me nervous.
  • Shaun Marcum had a quiet no hitter going at the park. He does not throw that hard (never saw him hit 90) but until the 7th, no one could hit his stuff except straight to a player.
  • Adam Lind is the real deal. He made solid contact throughout the game.
  • Vernon Wells looked like his old self. He crushed one off of Feldman and turned on a Feliz fastball. I am definitely bullish on him.
  • Besides those 2, the Jays looked really really weak. Their lineup will not fare well in the AL East.

Salty about to hit the game winner:
The crowd goes wild!