Fox Sports Radio 1400/ESPN 94.1 Texarkana interviews SDI’s Chris Connor

Readers: we wanted to post audio here from the interview on Friday, August 25, but the connection wasn’t great. To keep you from fighting through the audio recording, which we’ve archived, we’ve posted a transcript here.

A huge thanks to Chuck Todd, Jason Boston, and everyone at Fox Sports Radio 1400 and 94.1 FM ESPN Texarkana for having me on, and a big thanks for the invite back. Let’s hope we get to do it again in a month as a Rangers playoff preview (or, if not, a recap of a wild season).


Chuck Zack:       Alrighty, welcome back. Twenty nine minutes after 5:00. Leaving the Yard. FOX Sports Radio 1400 94.1 FM ESPN Texarkana. Chuck Zach, Jason Boston, coming at you live this afternoon from the Bud Studios, where we’re halfway through Friday’s show.
Tell you what though, we teased a little bit of Ranger talk last segment. We figure we’ll go all in on Rangers as we head into the weekend. Chris Connor joining us live this afternoon. He is the editor for the website You can check that site out. He wrote a monster on Nolan Ryan that I saw this week, and we welcome you to the show, Chris. How are you today?
Chris Connor:    Hey, Chuck. I’m doing great. How are you guys doing?
Chuck Zack: We’re doing real well. We’re going to hang on with you as long as we can, here. We’ll see if your phone’s going to hang on with us. But, first of all, thanks so much for the time, and second of all, are you buying on the Rangers making the playoffs, now?
Chris Connor: I’m not buying on them making the playoffs. I’m buying on this team being special. You know this is one of those teams that’s fun to watch because you just don’t know what you’re going to get, but, they’re a streaky team. They’re one of those teams that’s going to put together a run like you’ve seen in Anaheim, and then they could go out like they did a couple weeks ago against Chicago, or even in this series against Oakland, and lay an egg.
So, I think they’re going to stay in it. I think they’re going to make September really fun to watch, but with the number of teams still in front of them, I’m not fully in on the fact that this is going to be a playoff team.
But I think it’s really exciting if they get there because once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen, and that’s the really fun part.
Jason Boston:  So, Chris, it sounds like, to me, that the inconsistency that drives us nuts as Rangers fans, on the other hand, is kind of the thing that makes this team so much fun to watch.
Chris Connor: It is. It’s the thing that makes them so relatable. We all go through stuff on a daily basis. We don’t know what the day is going to hold for us. We’ve had teams the last few years, where you kind of felt like all the pieces came together.
And so, when they didn’t do what you wanted in October, they broke your heart, and this team can’t really break our heart because we’ve seen them go through the absolute doldrums and then we’ve seen this bullpen from the start, you know, be a fire starter.
And the hitters are extremely streaky. I mean you got guys like Beltre who is going to be Mr. Consistency. But that’s about it. Everybody else is going to go through hot and cold and you’ve gotta hope they all get hot in September.
Chuck Zack: Alright, Chris. I’m feeling a little guilt here, I’ll be honest with you. Yesterday we were talking about you coming on and I was actually looking at your website and noticed on the masthead that Yu Darvish was still on there. You sent me an email yesterday going, “Oh my God, good catch on that. We gotta fix that.” You fixed it overnight. You guys are on top of your game.
Chris Connor: You’re right, man. We absolutely are. We like to respond to our fans as best we can and once you heard that last time out and thought, “Well we gotta get on that, man.” My web designer (co-owner John Manaloor) and I jumped all on it.
Chuck Zack: You took Yu off and who’d you put on?
Chris Connor: We put on Cole.
Chuck Zack: That’s a good call. It’s probably the right guy.
Chris Connor: Yeah, he feels like the right guy to me.
Chuck Zack: Are you a guy that’s on board with, “Yu should’ve been traded. It was time.”  Or are you like, “Aw, man.”  We’ve had this kind of sitting back fear that these guys actually do get hot long enough to get into the playoffs. They’re really short-armed if they get to that spot where you would’ve wanted to have Darvish.
Chris Connor: I was absolutely on board with them trading Yu.
Chuck Zack: Really?
Chris Connor: On board with them trading Darvish. I was on board with them trading Lucroy. Our guys have, I’ll admit I watched the team in April and May hit bottom, and I thought that the prospect hauls that you might get for a Darvish or, gosh, if he’d been hot, from a Lucroy… There was so much potential for building a team that might still give us a window in the Beltre era, which I think is what every Ranger fan wants. We wanna get that win for Adrian.
And I felt like if they dealt Darvish for new prospects that was the right way to go. Now I know Beltre, for one, and a few of the Rangers, they didn’t really agree with me on that. But yeah, I think then could roll out in the season and turn those guys into something, so I’m fine with what they did. I’m impressed by the fact that they’re hanging in there despite it. It’s impressive to be, I think, 14-8 since that trade. That’s really something. That shows you the heart of the team.
Jason Boston: Chuck and I both talked a lot. We both feel like the Rangers are like an 80 to 83 possibly win team. Tell us why you think we’re underselling the Rangers at 80 to 83 victories this year.
Chris Connor: Well I think … I don’t think you underselling it, actually. I think 80 to 83, I mean 83 is more along the lines of where I’d go. I think where we’re different here is how bad most of the league is. I think you’ve got the potential to be an 83-85 win team and still get in there in that wild card spot against the Yankees. And that’s where things are so unusual is that things are so weak right now that you can get into that one game playoff with an 85-86 win team.
Where you got a guy like Cashner who has really pitched valuably and you’ve got a guy who, up until the last few starts and injury was looking like he might be something, although he’s faded. There’s some guys coming up in minor leagues that have some room to show their potential. Potential the object word there; obviously you’ve seen Ricky Rodriguez the last few days. There’s some guys that are gonna come up in September … And Willie Calhoun who the Rangers traded for Darvish.
From that perspective. Those guys can come up and if they can contribute just a little bit they might get you a win here, a win there that you wouldn’t otherwise own. I think 86-87 wins, if you stretch that a little bit, you could make the playoffs and get into that one game (Wild Card). And if you give me Cole Hamels for one game … I take that bet, against whomever you want to, more often.
Chuck Zack: Yeah, no doubt. Chris Connor joining us from Tell folks why they should be going to your site.
Chris Connor: Well you know I think the thing that’s great about shutdowninning is that for the most part we write a variety of different things. You can go in there and you can get a lot of deep and all of this. You can go for deep dives and WAR and deep analytical stuff, but I know myself, I’m an emotional writer. I write based on the memories of guys like Nolan Ryan and Pudge Rodriguez, and covering things like Beltre’s 3,000th hit.
We’ve got guys like, my favorite writer on our staff … I don’t know if you’re familiar with him, David Miller, who goes out and covers the Rangers on a daily basis. And when you’ve got guys who come in and they’re from … They’re kind of freelance from far away, but they’re very much passionate about it and they contribute on a monthly basis.
So really what you get from Shutdown Inning that I don’t know that you get from other places is you get a variety of coverage, but you also get a voice that you’re probably gonna be able to relate to from one of these guys.
And they’re so passionate about what they write about and they do so many things. And the guys who run our Twitter feed are up there on the games every day. I feel really honored to sit there and help manage these guys and give them the ability to do their best work. So I feel like we’re kind of a fan’s voice and you can find something out on shutdowninning that you’re gonna relate to on a pretty regular basis and that’s one of the reasons why I joined the site earlier and then took it over earlier this year.
Jason Boston: And that’s kind of the fascinating part. I liked what you said earlier about just like in our daily lives we have that up and down and that inconsistency. Just the nature of baseball having that day in and day out. Do you find that readers or visitors to your site kind of have writers that they kind of gravitate towards or is it kind of across the board?
Chris Connor: No, it’s absolutely that they have writers they gravitate to. I can tell you we’ve got certain people that I know if David comes in and writes something on coverage of the game, if they have an opinion, they’ll say, “No, David this is not a small lead, or they never should have taken that shot in that situation.”
I put a memory up there about Nolan Ryan … I was so impressed because we had a reader named Christopher go out, and he wrote a phenomenal response to my Nolan column. And he gave his memories himself of Nolan and the things that he remembered growing up. And it was amost something I wish I could’ve published.
And I have so much respect for the people that read our site. And they’re people a lot of times who turn out to be writers later on. They read the site, they become fans, and reach out and contact me.
And that’s something that I want to let everyone know. If you’re a Rangers fan—we’re not professional writers. We’re fans. And we all have a unique voice. If you feel like you want to write for the Rangers, you want to cover the team, if you have a point of view and  you just want to get your feet wet … We got a lot of college kids who do this stuff. Shutdown Inning is the place to be. We want to probably be the minor league feeder system, so to speak, for the next generation of writers .
That’s kind of a cool thing for us and we want you to have a voice that you can put out there.
Chuck Zack: Alright, Chris, we gotta let you go. We’re about to hit a hard break here in about 30 seconds or so, but, thank you so much. We’re gonna direct fans over to Shutdown Inning. If you’ve not seen it, you ought to check it out. These guys love to write. They got some long form articles, but it’s a lot of depth and a lot of detail and like Chris says a lot of emotion into the stuff they write. Take a few minutes. It’s a little bit of a read but you gonna get a lot out of it. Chris, we thank you so much for coming on, Buddy.
Chris Connor: Alright, Chuck and Jason. Thank you guys so much. We really appreciate it and thank you, everyone, for reading and coming onto the site.
Chuck Zack: We’ll get you back on if the Rangers make the playoffs. You’ll have to tell me why we were wrong.
Chris Connor: Absolutely. I’ll have to be eating quite a bit of crow myself on that one.
Chuck Zack: Alright, Chris. Appreciate you very much. You have a good weekend, Buddy.
Chris Connor: Thanks, Chuck. You too.
Chuck Zack: Alright. There you go, Chris Connor, the site’s I know we were struggling to hear him a little bit , cell phone issues, but I’m telling you take a look at the site. You’ll probably thank me down the road. You’ll go hey this guy’s not bad. Good staff he’s got working with him. We’re gonna take a break. We’ll come back. Last segment of the week coming up next here on Leaving the Yard. Fox Sports Radio 1400 94.1 FM ESPN Texarkana live from the Bud Studios.
Chris Connor
As a lifelong DFW resident, Chris Connor is a diehard Rangers fan, and worships at the altar of Arlington. Along with John Manaloor, he co-owns Shutdown Inning, and serves as Editor in Chief for SDI.
He holds a Bachelors of Science in Management and an MBA, both from UT-Dallas.
As a writer, he acknowledges that he’s never had a brilliance for brevity, but tries to meander to a meaningful point as he channels Faulkner. He believes the only things more beautiful than Ted Williams’ swing are Yosemite Valley at sunrise and his wife.
He lives with the latter, along with their beloved dog and quite tolerable cat, in Allen, Texas.

One comment

  • So you! You cared enough to transcribe for SDI readers! And Chuck, and Jason I could listen to all night long! Hope a good audio shot awaits! Ya’ll so relate and very good radio!

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