I was in Court this morning, and thus am just now getting a chance to peruse the S-T and DMN...
And what do I see, but Jim Reeves putting the wood to Little Tommy Hicks...
And front and center was that Hicks interview that I've referenced a few times, and found so amazing...
Sometimes you can't even believe your own ears.
Anyone tuning in to ESPN/103.3 FM on Friday afternoon probably thought they heard Rangers owner Tom Hicks calling out his two best players during an interview with Chuck Cooperstein.
I listened to the tape three times Monday morning, and, as unbelievable as it sounds, that's exactly what I thought I heard, too.
In case you missed it, here's the transcript of the key question:
Coop: "Tom, do you worry about guys, like Teixeira and Young, who have said, either directly or indirectly, that, 'We need a little bit of help, we need some help?'"
Hicks: "I need them to play up to their ability. That's what I need, and they will."
Hold the phone, Jack. Surely Hicks realizes he's talking about a couple of All-Stars here, two guys whose heart and ability should never be questioned. Right?
Only Hicks says he wasn't talking about Mark Teixeira or Michael Young at all.
"What I meant to say was that it's time for the team to start playing better," Hicks said Monday from the West Coast. "I wasn't in any way talking about Mark or Michael. Absolutely not.
"What I was trying to say was that it's time for the team to stand up and play up to its best potential. It was in no way meant to single out one or two players, it was the whole team."
(Adam's note -- Well, that makes me feel better. Hicks wasn't calling out Teixeira and Young. He was calling out the whole team. Gotcha. Brilliant, Tommy Boy.)
Here's a suggestion I'm positive Hicks will ignore. He needs to call out his front office, not his players.
* * *
Hicks and his front office are already walking on dangerous ground with the players in the clubhouse. And yet, in the radio interview Friday and again with Hansen on Sunday, Hicks saved his sharpest criticism for the Rangers' offense.
That's right. Here the Rangers were, having just lost two games in the last week in which they scored 10 runs, and Hicks was pointing out his team's failures with the bases loaded and how the Rangers just don't score much unless they hit a home run.
Maybe he hadn't noticed that, going into Monday night's game in Baltimore, his starters' ERA in July is 7.63. It's pitching that's killing the Rangers -- as usual -- not a lack of offense.
"We have to grow up as a team and learn to get more timely hitting and be winners," Hicks continued in his interview with Cooperstein. "We have some holes, we know that, and we're trying to fill them, but we're not going to give up our great assets who are going to be an important part of this franchise for years to come for something in short term."
Yep, the same old mantra we've been hearing for longer than we can remember.
So if you're thinking that the Rangers' free fall since the All-Star break has made them "sellers" instead of "buyers," you're probably on the right track.
"I'm not sure I know exactly what that means," Hicks said, which is also troubling. "We're trying to put ourselves in the best position to win, period, if not this year, next year.
"I think the chances of winning this year took a big step backwards last week. Since the break, we've lost eight out of 10. I know we obviously need pitching, so if we can find a way to get pitching this year and beyond, that's a high priority."
In other words, expect nothing to happen.
The problem is that Hicks' and general manager John Hart's emphasis on the future, rather than trying to win in the present, might be doing irreparable damage to their relationship with the players who matter most around here -- Young, Teixeira and third baseman Hank Blalock.
Hicks and Hart can look ahead and see a potentially bright future with Thomas Diamond, John Danks and the other so-called saviors of the farm system. Young, Teixeira and Blalock simply see another season sliding away, with no help in the offing.
Their discouragement is palpable.
"One thing I have been vocal about is our desire to improve," Young said Monday morning from Baltimore. "I've never said we have to do this or make a move for that. All I've said is that we have to get better.
"I don't care how. I'm not into excuses. I'm into improving our team, and that all starts with what we do on the field."
Young still remembers as a rookie walking into a Texas clubhouse that had veterans such as Randy Velarde and the late Ken Caminiti. They only had one question: Can you play?
"The way I was treated was, you go out and show us that you can get it done," Young said. "If I made an error that cost us the game, no one was over at my locker patting me on the back, saying 'That's OK, kid.'
"What I heard was, 'Just go out and get it done.' So don't talk to me about potential."
Great stuff from Revo this morning...
Meanwhile, in the DMN, Evan Grant looks at the trade deadline situation, which includes Tom Hicks standing behind the moves the front office made (or, more accurately, didn't make) this offseason...
The S-T and DMN both seem pessimistic on a Soriano deal going down, apparently because the Rangers are asking for a major leaguer and prospects. No doubt the clubhouse unrest is factoring into the reluctance to deal Soriano for prospects right now, or even someone like Victor Diaz, who could step in right away but isn't considered a proven major leaguer...