Baseball Jesus Speaks: An Interview with Mike Rhyner (Part 1)


I recently contacted the The Ticket’s (1310 AM in Dallas) longtime co-host of The Hardline, Mike Rhyner and asked if he would be willing to do an interview for SDI. He politely agreed without hesitation. Most, if not all sports fans in DFW know who Mike is, and also know that he is a huge baseball fan and a very knowledgable one at that. Any chance to pick the brain of The Old Grey Wolf is a great one. So Mike, thank you for doing this for the masses.

Here it is!

ShutDownInning: What are your thoughts on Yu Darvish from what you’ve seen thus far this season?

Mike Rhyner:  I’ve been quite surprised by him in every way, from what he’s delivered on the mound to the poise he’s showed off it.. I don’t think any of us statesiders can really get our heads around what making the adjustment to this great land of ours is like for these guys. We see what happens when they’re at the ballpark but what’s their life like away from it? Yu seems able to handle whatever his is like. In the room, from what we see and hear, he seems to fit in fine. And on the mound, he’s been far better than I thought. The walk numbers are a little on the high side but he’s made a lot of really great offensive players look silly up there and wowed all of us with his amazing repertoire, feel for pitching, and his adjustment to how the game is played in the major leagues. I’m always leary of the asian pitcher but we were told the Rangers did their due diligence on this, and they obviously did. They knew what they were getting and I doubt that they’re too surprised by any of it.

SDI:  Do you, or don’t you give Hamilton a contract? If so, how much and how
long are you willing to go?

MR: I’d make him an offer: 3 years, $75 million. I wouldn’t go longer and I think $25/yr is strong market value right now. His age and my belief that he’s going to be a fast fade is a factor and everyone knows that keeping him on the field is difficult; and as spectacular as he is, months like this last one are maddening. I’d rather the team go longer for consistency than the sometimes otherwordly/sometimes completely unproductive all-or-nothing results we’ve seen ever since he’s been here. It’s not that I don’t like him; I certainly do and I’m as astounded by what he’s capable of as anyone. And I’m willing to make him one of the big-dollar players in the game for a short period of time. Do I think this would get a deal done? No. I’m now convinced that this will be driven by the wife as he tries to make up for all the times he’s wronged her. And she will be all about biggest-dollar/most years, wherever that may come from, so they can have more to give away to their various causes (skeptical of all that). Will that come from the Rangers? I doubt it.. Will it be out there somewhere? Very likely.

SDI: Have the past two seasons been your most fulfilling as a Ranger fan?
If not what years were those?

MR: These last two seasons have been unlike any other, no question. The end of last year was excruciating but you have to look big-picture. The Rangers–THE RANGERS!!!–HAVE GONE TO THE WORLD SERIES TWO YEARS IN A ROW! True, they’ve not won one; true, there is work still to be done; true, it’s a killer to lose like they did last year. But what’s better–that or the futility of the past? Only one team goes home happy at the end of the year and that comes about as the result of two teams playing while everyone else watches. The Rangers have been that other team and I’m one of those guys who subscribes to the idea that there is something to be said for getting there. There have been numerous other Ranger teams I’ve really liked–1974, 1977, the first half of 1983, 1986, the post-season teams of the ’90’s, even though this was ground zero for the steroid scene, 2004. But this is the golden era. This bunch has that certain indefinable something that none of those others had.

SDI: Michael Young is having a sub par year so far. If you are Wash, can
you pull the plug on him everyday?

MR: That is the stickiest of sticky wickets. Michael is not having a standard offensive year for him and it’s a disaster waiting to happen whenever they have to play him defensively. He eats up a lot of money and general hard drive space in this thing and they’re not getting what they once got out of him. So what to do about it? Nothing that I can see. He’s untradeable; I guess you could just cut him–but no. But above and beyond any of that, though, is this: he’s still Michael. He’s still the guy who probably holds at the very least as much sway in the room as anybody. And he’s still a part of the chemistry of this thing. There are very limited options here and the best, as I see it is this: sometimes in this game it’s more about the ‘when’ than the ‘how much’ or the ‘what’. Keep running Michael out there and maybe the ‘when’ will be big–that is, he’ll do something big when it most matter…flimsy? Yeah…but I have yet to hear any better ideas. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.

Patrick Despain is the Editor for He can be reached at 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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