Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Welcome to the Bigs, Neftali!

Feliz joined the Rangers Sunday, and as the bullpen rookie, is entrusted to carry the "Dora The Explorer" pink backpack filled with snacks/AP photo.

Fireball pitcher (100 mph on the gun) Neftali Feliz made his much-anticipated debut Monday night for the Texas Rangers, notching four-strikeouts in two no-hit innings against the Oakland A's in Oakland. Feliz relieved Dustin Nippert, who'd thrown five one-hit innings. Feliz came to the Ranger organization a couple of years ago in the Mark Texeria trade from Atlanta, along with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Elvis Andrus. His four-strikeouts in two innings was the most thrown in a big-league debut by a pitcher since around 1962.

Unfortunately, all that good work of Ranger pitching Monday was undone by C.J. Wilson's work in the ninth. Coming in with one out and no one on base, Wilson promplty gave up three hits--and three runs-- as the A's won the heart-breaker, 3-2. The Rangers no drop to 4 games behind the Angles for the AL West lead and 3 games behind Boston for the Wild Card.

I hadn't read Nippert's reaction to Wilson's spoiling his five good innings of work. Feliz might've offered an opinion, but I don't read Spanish, and the Dominican's English is pretty no bueno.

Speaking of Dominicans. . .

Feliz's making the Show came a day after I'd watched the movie "Sugar," a small independent film about a fictional Dominican pitcher and his coming to America as a minor-league prospect for a major-league team. Looking at the rosters of Major League teams, the number of Dominican (and Cuban, Puerto Rican, Panamanian, Venezuelan, Hondouran, Nicarauguan, Mexican and Dutch Antillies) players is truly staggering, but Sugar reminds one that for every young man who makes it to the Show, there are dozens who end up stuck in the minors, in small towns in a country where no one speaks their language. Sugar is their story. Highly recommended. Watch the trailer. And here's a nice review and overview of Dominican's in US farm systems. Flei Bol! And remember: No chicas in the bedroom!

Hitting the Road. . .

I don't think we see enough baseball here in Fort Worth. So, tomorrow we're heading off for a nine-day trip north to see the sights, visit relatives, and (primarily) catch eight teams in action in four stadiums--Kansas City, Chicago Wrigley, Chicago Cellular One, and Busch in St. Louis. We tried to squeeze in a minor-league game in Tulsa as well, but that likely won't work out. . .but we'll make up for it by "having a toss" on the baseball field-in-a-cornfield from "Field Of Dreams" near Dyersville, Iowa.

It won't all be baseball: we'll be making a return trip to the Kansas Cosmosphere museum, and plan on showing the boys how the Mississippi River locks work. And i'm sure there'll be a couple of museums in Chicago (Field? MS&I?) to entertain the boys (and their parents) as well.

Hopefully driving 2200 miles in a car with two yapping, hyper-active, often-at-each-other's-throats will still make the trip worth it. Check back in a week and find out!


Anonymous said...


I'm from South Australia and facinated by your cnage from teh Walla Walla to NSWGR. I was a fan of your previous modelling efforts so I'll be watching to see how you make the trasnition - Verey brave!. I see from your lines here taht you ahev an attraction for Alco's (and what self respecting train enthusiast doesn't ??)In whihc case I thought yuo should make youself aware of soem intersting ALco history in SA. The SAR had a long history of being associate with Alco as we had a Commissioner by the name of W A Webb in the 20's from the US. he had contacts with Alco and with these componants completely overhauled the SAR i that period - much to the anoyance of many of the polotitians who brought him here to do just that !!!! (strange world) Anyway as a starter, I thought I'd put inn here a link to the national railway museum here in Adelaide for you to check out. You wil notice the vey american looking larger locomotives with SP and Pennsy influences, but also have alook at the 900 class loco. Alco heritage with English Electric insides due to the shortage of US dollars at the time. By the way - they sounded great and we miss them heaps. There is also a link to a site with a video clip of one in oeration below as well. Cheers and have fun dojg the Aussie railway thing !

And for the full site just for fun - http://www.johnnyspages.com/index.htm

Mark Wilson
South Australia

Brian said...

You should check out th Steamboat Arabia Museum in KC also if you have time. Very interesting look at the riverboat history along the Missouri River.


Anonymous said...

Hey Blair,

Can I come to see the games with you?

After today's Yankees v Red Sox game our time that went to the 15th inning I am heartbroken at the moment!

Paul Bartle