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!