The Shaving Cream Strikes Twice

**ORIGINAL POSTED DATE 9/03/12**

As you probably know, top Ranger prospect Jurickson Profar made his much anticipated major league debut in Texas’s September 2nd game against the Cleveland Indians. You’re probably also aware that the 19 year old became the first Texas Ranger ever to homer in his first major league at bat. What you may not realize is the similarity this game had to an early season contest in 2009.

In the 2012 version of the game, the Rangers were quietly retired in order to start the game. They threatened by getting two men on in the second, but failed to capitalize. The third inning began with the moment that every Ranger fan with a pulse had been awaiting. Jurickson Profar, the club’s (and baseball’s) top prospect led off the inning. Zach McAllister threw him a 2-1 pitch that Profar deposited about six rows deep into the right field seats.

With that one swing, Profar became the second youngest player ever to homer in his first major league at bat. The only guy to do it at a younger age, Whitey Lockman, did it in 1945. He also became the youngest major leaguer to hit a home run since teammate Adrian Beltre did it with the
Dodgers in 1998. 

Profar also hit an opposite field double down the left field line in the fourth inning, beginning his big league career with a dinger and a two bagger.

Texas went on to win the game 8-3. The victory was fueled by Profar’s home run, along with solo shots form Hamilton, Beltre, and Murphy (who went 3-4 and drove in 3 runs).

After Josh Hamilton put the squeeze on a Jason Donald fly ball to record the final out of the game, Jurickson Profar spoke to John Rhadigan of Fox Sports Southwest during the postgame show. As Rhadigan lobbed up the obligatory softball questions to Profar, Joe Nathan gave him the “keep it going” hand signal. While Profar was speaking, Elvis Andrus snuck up behind him and gave the youngster the ceremonial shaving cream pie to the face.

I knew the pie was coming; I just didn’t know who would deliver it. The fact that it was Elvis was perfect. It delivered a message. The message wasn’t just that the team was happy for Profar’s accomplishment (although that was certainly part of it), but it also was a “Welcome to the family” message. The fact that the pie came from one of the best players (if not the best player) on the team, as well as one of the undisputed leaders, made it particulary impactful. It immediately brought to mind a similar message that was also delivered by way of shaving cream pie.

I wasn’t sure of the date, but I distinctly remembered the moment. A little research led me to April 8, 2009. On that day, the Rangers also faced the Indians. This time, though, it was in Arlington. The Rangers scored 8 runs in that game, too, defeating Cleveland 8-5. Another similarity between the two games was that the Ranger victory was fueled by the long ball. It doesn’t end there, though. Nelson Cruz had two solo homers in the contest. The other long ball came from Elvis Andrus. It was an opposite field shot and was his first major league home run.

After that game, Elvis received the shaving cream pie treatment from none other than Michael Young. This was particularly significant because Young had been moved from shortstop to third base to make room for Elvis prior to the season. If you recall, that was the move that prompted Young’s (first) trade demand. The fact that Young delivered the shaving cream message to the rising star signified that even the guy he had displaced was accepting of the fact that Elvis was there to stay.

To me, that simple act signified a changing of the guard. Even though the change had actually taken place on opening day, it showed that Young had accepted the turn of events that would eventually lead to him being a (poor) utility infielder.

That brings me to the difference in the two events. Profar probably won’t be taking over for Elvis. The only way that will happen is if Andrus leaves the team, which is a possibility. Some have said that Andrus could be traded this offseason, as his value is likely at its peak. I really, really hope that doesn’t happen. As much as I like the 4-5-6 combo of Kinsler, Beltre, Andrus, I like the combo of Profar, Beltre, Andrus just as much. I firmly believe Josh Hamilton will play for a different team in 2013, and Kinsler would be a candidate to fill his spot in the outfield. Assuming Kinsler adapts to the outfield like I imagine he can, Texas would not need to add any pieces to field an elite defense. Kinsler, Gentry, and Cruz would be solid roaming the large part of the park. David Murphy or another fourth outfielder could round out the defense.

What I’m looking to communicate, here, is that Profar is as legit a player as Elvis Andrus was when he broke into the American League. He may or may not contribute down the stretch this year, but I fully believe he will be a major part of the Texas Rangers in 2013. 

Chris Kautz is a Senior Staff Writer for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Chris.Kautz@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @SDIChris.
Chris Kautz

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