Most of this is copied/pasted from my blog, but I thought I'd share my gameday experience at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Apparently, the Rangers like to win on my birthday -- real or belated. As I mentioned, my brother took me to tonight's Rangers and Royals game in KC as my belated birthday gift. They treated me to a 9-4 victory. You might remember they defeated the Twins 1-0 on my REAL birthday. I was in attendance that day too. Maybe I should just pretend it's my birthday all season long. Ha ha. I wouldn't mind, really.
The Rangers started the scoring early when Milton Bradley drove Michael Young in from first with a double in the 1st inning. They added four more in the top of the 3rd on three singles, a sac fly and a Nelson Cruz three-run shot. Cruz was called up after Sunday night's game, and I was pretty excited to see him in the lineup right away today. He certainly made it worth the manager's while too. More about that later. The Rangers scored the rest of their runs in the 8th inning on a Chris Davis homer, singles from Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley and a sac fly by Marlon Byrd.
Overall, the offense was a lot of fun to watch tonight -- EVERYONE HAD A HIT! The only time I cringed was that inning-ending 1-2-3 double play off the bat of Chris Davis in the 5th. Gerald Laird had just reached on a bunt to load the bases with one out and Davis tapped it back to the pitcher who gunned down Hank Blalock trying to score and the catcher turned and got Davis out at 1st. It was just UGLY.
While the offense was doing their thing, Scott Feldman was doing what he's done most of the season -- give the team a solid start. Feldman went seven innings and threw 97 pitches. He gave up three runs (but only two earned) on eight hits. He did not hand out any free passes and managed to strike out three. I was glad to see Feldman get his fifth win of the season, particularly after a discussion I had with a "fan" before the game. She told me she was a newish baseball (and Rangers) fan, so I suppose she gets a pass. But before the game, as we were standing around to get autographs, she told me she didn't think the Rangers could win tonight with Feldman on the mound because "he sucks." I quickly came to Feldman's defense and assured her he did not "suck." (That's one of my biggest pet peeves...when someone says a player "sucks.") I informed her he's only had one or two bad outings, and he's been solid otherwise, especially for a guy who is in his first season as a reliever and has thrown more than triple his usual inning total. I would honestly call Feldman one of our most consistent and highly under appreciated starting pitchers. He has gone six-plus innings in 15 of his 23 starts. He's given up four or less runs on 17 occasions and the Rangers have lost 10 of those outings. Ugh. I just get all upset when people attack my boys, particularly when the criticism is undeserved. Fedlman has pitched his tail off this season, and he's earned more than a little respect.
I'm so thankful my brother took me to this game tonight. Barring some miracle, it's the last one I will attend this season, and I'm glad I got to see a win, and, more importantly, some beautiful baseball. Before the game, I met up with Shirley "The Cookie Lady" Kost, her husband Cal, and their friends Stan and Dorothy. We talked Rangers for quite awhile, and without their nudging, I likely wouldn't have gotten autographs from Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton.
I was disappointed to be snubbed by Chris Davis, David Murphy and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but they didn't stop for anyone, so I guess it wasn't anything personal. But I was still bummed.
A few more thoughts
- Hank Blalock was tested a few times at 1B tonight. There were a few throws to him that pulled him off the bag, and I couldn't decide whether that was on him or the thrower. Time will tell, I guess.
- I was a bit sad to see Eddie Guardado traded to Minnesota. I knew he wouldn't be with the club in '09, but I didn't think the move would be made right now. Best wishes to him. And I'm interested to see how our return, Mark Hamburger, works through the system. At the very least, Josh Lewin will have fun with his name.
- I have MAJOR video board envy after seeing the new one at Kauffman Stadium. It's already one of my favorite MLB venues, but the new video board is a thing to behold. I can't wait to see the completion of their other renovations. KC has definitely become an annual trek for me. It's one of the most beautiful, fan-friendly stadiums I've been to.
Finally, I love, love, love the bullpen rookie backpack tradition. Here's Warner Madrigal modeling this year's selection.
Oh, and you can go here to look at the rest of my photos from this game.