A Beautiful Day At The Ballpark

Sunday was a tremendous day at the ballpark for any Ranger or baseball fan, for that matter. Yes, we saw the Ranger bats explode, Justin Grimm strike out 9 and to top it off, a Nelson Cruz grand slam. The weather was beautiful, the grass was green and the Rangers came to play.

However, that is not exactly what I’m referring to. I’m talking about the guys from BaseballProspectus.com coming to the ballpark to hold a question and answer session with the fans. If you are a baseball fan, and I assume you are, or you wouldn’t be reading this, then next year is a must attend for you.

With the likes of Joe Hamrahi, Jason Cole, Jason Parks, Jamey Newberg and Kendall Rogers (from PerfectGame.org) it was another perfect gathering. From Jason Cole talking about the Rangers prospects to Jason Parks talking about being able to hit at the minor league level to Kendall talking about the amateur draft, it was a amazing just to be able to listen to those gentlemen talk for a few minutes. I could listen to Cole and Parks talk about baseball for hours.

Another perfect touch that BP is able to do, is to get Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels to come and take questions for a few minutes as well. JD, answered an array of questions, with  one from SDI’s own Peter Ellwood. But, the most interesting point to me, was JD talked about the fact that they do not have a “analytics department.” Several MLB teams have a department with a bunch of statheads sitting in a room behind a computer breaking down mounds of information. I find that the Rangers do not have that incredible. What the Rangers do is different in the fact that JD and company have all their front office guys dip into every aspect of the game. Be that scouting, or advanced stats or what have you. They are a well rounded group, and you’ll see the Ranger front office picked over for the next years for GM and Assistant GM positions.

After the Jon Daniels Q & A, “The Coach” Don Welke stepped in unexpectedly and chatted with us for a while. This was my second favorite thing of the day. Don Welke has been in baseball for more years than I’ve been alive, and his knowledge of the game is second to none. The majority of Coach’s talk was about the make up of players, how they carry themselves and their resiliency when it comes to failure. But, the quote that stood out to me, that “a-ha” moment from Welke, was his comments about Adrian Beltre. There have been many, many discussions on Twitter, websites, TV shows and on and on about the so called “Face of the Franchise.” While, I consider the term overused, overvalued and basically just nomenclature more than a real thing in the clubhouse, Welke finally put it to rest with the following comment:

“Adrian Beltre is the leader of this team. He is the straw that stirs the drink.”

DONE. Enough said. Let’s move on.

I could listen to Don Welke talk baseball for hours.

My favorite thing of the day was what occurred over the next 2 hours or about 5 innings of the game. That was Peter Ellwood (@FutureGM), Jeff Johnson (@HoustonHog), @TepidP and myself, sipping on Coca-Colas, eating peanuts and just talking baseball. Yes, Peter, Jeff and myself all “work” for ShutDownInning, but we rarely have the opportunity to just sit back, watch a game in person and talk baseball. Having Tepid be apart of it was great in and of itself, as that man is a Ranger prospect encyclopedia, and one of my favorite people to just hang out with. We talked Nick Williams, Oscar Taveras, would you trade Profar for Joe Maddon?, CJ Edwards and his 8 strike outs in 4 innings, lineup construction, Mitch Moreland, Lance Berkman’s OBP, Justin Grimm’s 12 to 6 curve and so much more. Later Kym Davis Rogers and her son joined us for a few innings as well, and they joined in the debates we were having. We put in the call for home runs, which Peter called the Cruz grand slam. Peter 1, the rest of us 0. It was truly a great experience to get back to the roots of why we do this website everyday. Why we get up early or stay up late to write. Because we love this game. Because we love talking baseball through our words, or in person. Because we love meeting people at the games and chatting Rangers. Because we love beautiful days at the ballpark.

Patrick Despain is the CEO and Co-Founder of ShutDown Inning. He can be reached at Patrick.Despain@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @ShutDownInning
Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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