Monthly Archives: April 2012

Yu Darvish Non-Gameday Workout

Long-time West Texas blog-pal Eric Siegmund somehow got pictures of Yu Darvish’s previously-unpublicized training regimen:

Is that awesome, or is that awesome?

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: That’s the way baseball go. The pounding started early, as in the first pitch of the game. It continued unabated. They tried to turn it into ugly-with-big-boobs there in the 8th at 8-4, with the bases loaded and an Andrus long, loud foul(-by-a-few-feet), but it weren’t to be. Guess who was the pitcher of record at that point? Premier win-vulture, Robby Ross. James Shields of the Debbil Rays, well, he good. Colbra Lewis and his degenerative hip try to stop the bleeding tonight at 7:05 Texas Time.

TO wOBA OR NOT TO wOBA: I thought this article by Geoff Baker was a pretty good look at the use of advanced stats at the major league level by major leaguers, in particular the Seattle Mariners. Then I read the “Jane, you ignorant slut” counterpoint. SABRMan wins this battle of the never-ending War for the Hearts and Minds of Baseball, but it’s mostly because it’s in retrospect, picking apart the party of the first part’s column/post/story. Personally, I’m a stats guy with a pretty bad grasp of the arithmetic, and then I’m also a gut guy. They both have their place in the Great Game. SABRMan will win the War and will come to a long & fruitful peace with GutGuy, if Brainiac can ever decide he can stand being in the same room with the mouth-breathing knuckle-dragger (and vice-versa for that matter — it’s all very jocks vs. nerds, sometimes.) That’s my prediction. Until then, we’ll have these regular off-the-top-turnbuckle takedowns that mean nothing except giving me something to type about pointlessly on a Saturday morning. But it’s glorious baseball I’m typing about, and that’s enough of a reason, ain’t it?

GO RANGERS!

Rangers win series vs. Yanks

They did it last night with just the bullpen.* That’s just showing off. Practically gloating.

[ * Except for Feliz pitching an inning, which he was in the bullpen for his theoretical day off. Why not Ogando? That's between Ron and God, I guess. ]

Robby Ross gets four wins, in six relief appearances, and leads the majors in wins. That’s weird. And very vulture-y. To my untrained eye, the kid appears to be the real deal as a pitcher, too.

Scooter Feldman looked pretty sharp, made a lot of good hitters miss last night.

Mitch Moreland, the suspect first-bagger, had a good hitting night. I would like to see Moreland succeed, mostly because it helps the team, but he is a-strugglin’.

Think about this: how much of your life is wasted by 99% of the commercial entities in the world bugging the shit out of you to like them on Facebook & follow them on Twitter. My position is that my patronage is endorsement enough of your activities. I cry a single tear every time I consider that a vast portion of my professional life apparently was dedicated to enabling Facebook and Twitter.

Speaking of wasting time, what exactly is the point of the Fox Sports Southwest Girls? I get it, they’re cute. Ho hum. Sell their airtime to a beer company who will give us cute girls as well, and do so with imagination. Also — this is Texas, we have scads of cute girls. Put the cameramen to work finding some in the crowd.

FINALLY — don’t forget to like me on the Book of the Face, and follow me on Tweeter.

Comments are always free here at The Fat Guy!

That was a good game to watch

I’ve been up north and out in the country and away from the boob tube for a week. I rolled back into the cradle of Texas liberty yesterday afternoon. And so, I got to sit and watch the entire stRanger game last night, which featured one Yu Darvish starting against the detestable New York Yankees. And I believe I might have been lucky in seeing the game where young Mr. Darvish showed the $100+MM stuff we stRanger fans have been itching to see. From the good Joey Matches, here are the relevant digits:

Eighty-two of his 119 pitches were strikes, with only Justin Verlander and Matt Garza logging more strikes in any given start thus far this season. Of those 82 strikes, 15 were swinging whiffs, with nine of those being of the strike-three variety. After logging just 56.8 percent of his pitches for strikes during his first three starts, Darvish threw at least 61 percent of his pitches for strikes in each of his first eight innings. After hitting 46 pitches after only three innings and finding himself on pace to make it only 6-7 innings, Darvish required just 65 pitches to record his next 15 outs. After Derek Jeter’s two-out double in the fifth inning, the Yankees never made it past second base again. There’s more that needs to be said about this start, but a picture alone is worth a thousand words, and Darvish just painted a masterpiece.

I’m a believer in the numbers game. If you’re not, and even if you are, you should also consider the good Mike Hindman’s view of the Yu:

Perhaps what was most impressive — and what I want to talk about — was the arrogance. Darvish is a staggeringly arrogant man. And I mean that in the best of ways.

You saw a hint of it here and there over the past month and a half. You’d catch a look on his face and think, this guy knows he’s going to dominate. And last night, he walked out there with that attitude and it never left him.

Aside from one misinterpreted quote in spring training after his Cactus League debut, Darvish has demonstrated solid command of the Crash Davis cliche’ notebook, but he still manages to drop hints that he’s a badass ninja who has come to blow your baseball mind:

“After my last start, I mentioned my command is starting to come together. Stuff-wise, there wasn’t much difference,” Darvish said through his interpreter. “I still like to think that there’s still more in me.”

See what he did there?

Speaking here now as a simple-minded baseball fan who cheers for the Ranger laundry, I simply love the idea of a badass ninja wearing that laundry. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, either, that the last badass ninja that pitched in that laundry is in a position of great power with the team, and is paired with a badass ninja general manager.

If that’s not enough for you, and it shouldn’t be, here’s a professional scout’s opinion of Darvish’s arsenal of pitches now having, possibly, one more:

Not that Darvish needed another pitch to put in his already crowded bag, but the extreme running fastball was an aspect of his game that I either failed to recognize and appreciate early on or had been unsuccessfully executed up to this point. I was fully aware that his fastball had plus-plus movement, but I’ve never seen a fastball with legs like that. From a scouting perspective, that’s easy 80-grade movement, regardless of what you call it.

And that gets me to my big whopping observation from last night — the thing that impressed me the most was the amount of movement on his pitches. It seemed very rare to see a pitch from Darvish that did NOT move. Seemingly everything moved down, up, right or left. That movement, plus I noticed, or thought I did, a good number of first-pitch strikes, which is always a good thing.

All in all, a pretty impressive game, and I’m glad I was tuned in to see it. The cat has the true potential to be an ace, and I got to see what I hope is the game that will be the start of a string of beauties.

A small gloat is in order here…the hated and confusingly-named Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are 7.5 games back from the Rangers in the AL West. Albert Pujols doesn’t have any homers (yet). It would be foolish to think they won’t snap out of this, but I do so love the idea of them being in such a hole and looking up at the Rangers, through two other teams, so early in the season. Suck it, Scioscia.

Secret Service Destroyer Bikini

Returning to a long-unvisited theme of these parts, I present the Official Bikini of the Secret Service:

Directly ripped off from Velociman, who named the picture, too, with which I concur, and who has a counter-offer for the chica.

ALTERNATIVE LONG-UNVISITED THEME TITLE: Check out this nice kayak I found

O, the miracle of birth!

Of a 95-pound Brahma calf, with pulling chains, squeeze chutes, two cowboys, and vats of betadine solution. Life on the farm. I just stayed out of the way, and fetched things as needed. The 2012 Spring Calf tote-board stands at 10.

In other wildlife family news, there are two Canadian (?) geese who have taken up residence on the cattle tank 50 yards from the front door. They’ve produced a bumper crop of five goslings. Mostly, they waddle around, pecking.

OK, then…

Funny how that works

Unbeknownst to me, yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the line I used as a title immediately below. Happy Birthday, Raising Arizona!

There might be funnier movies (I doubt it), but there ain’t none I’ve watched more. Old pard Otis, after walking in on another viewing with Molly & Bill — “Are you drunks watching this movie again?” I had a good dog that I named Nathan, Jr. Hell, I still call my grandsons Nathan, Jr.

Yu-pocalypse has come and gone, still 158 to go

You could hardly call that a great debut.

After giving up four runs while throwing 42 pitches in the first inning, then allowing another run in the second, Darvish (1-0) settled down and later retired 10 in a row while pitching into the sixth.

No big deal in the grand scheme of a long season, probably. I have to say that, the main thing that jumps out at me after watching, for a guy who has been lauded for his control, it sure seemed like Nap-O-Li was spending a lot of time digging in the dirt. There were flashes of goodness, however, and I expect that getting the first-MLB-start-with-200-media-types-watching jitters out of his system, all will be well. I do recommend, though, losing that Breck-girl home dye job he has — that can’t be the real color of his hair, can it? Kids these days…

In other Ranger news, most of the big sticks are awake, and I loved Nellie’s crush to LF last night. I await Nap-O-Li’s first homer. What a stout line-up Wash can roll out there. I cringe every time Hamilton dives in center field, though.

In still other Rangers news, Ian Kinsler has a shiny new 5/75 contract. He’s going to be pretty old (36) when that runs out, but I can picture him in a Micheal Young, super-utility/DH kind of role. Well, no I can’t, not without squinting…he’s been a bit fragile. Anyhoo, that potential distraction (that you probably weren’t aware of) is off the table now.

In last Ranger news, I might be more excited to see Neftali Feliz’ start tonight. I think he’s pretty raw, kinda pitcher-crazy in the cabeza, and the closer-conversion doesn’t feel like it would be an easy one. But man, can he bring the heat!

Good Afternoon, Ladies

A regular scene from last week:

Good rainfall and global warming have made for awesome bermuda hay conditions, as you can see. Predictions are for up to five round bales per acre. Proper planning could see me on a tractor raking and/or baling, too. I could use some tractor time being productive.

Also, this dude was in the road most every morning:

He did not care for me getting out of the truck to take a snap at all.

HEALTH NOTE: All I got done at the docs was a blood test, which was “fine.” So, 5-6 weeks and then PET & CT scans.

Tom Landry Stand-Up???

OK, you have to be really deeply wandering around YouTube to find this kind of zaniness. Check out the first 30 seconds of this. I found it by searching for Eric Scortia, a jazz organist from Dallas, because I was listening to Time Is Tight by Booker T and the MGs. I’m probably the only guy you know who has Scorch’s CD Vital Organ on his iPod. Anyhoo, some teevee dude talked Cowboy Tom into doing a fake commercial for Johnny Reno, and it’s hilarious.

Did you know the Clash did a cover of Time Is Tight? I did not. You can hear Strummer and the guys just on the verge of boiling over and going total punk-rock on this, but they don’t, and that’s a testament to their greatness, too.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love music?

Your Easter Gift From Me Is Good Music

New Ray Wylie Hubbard:

There’s actually only one other guy that I know who loves Ray Wylie as much as I do, and I already informed him via email.

Ray Wylie is, to my mind, an intensely spiritual man. Here’s some wisdom of his’n, on this day celebrating Christ’s resurrection: “Some get spiritual cause they see the light, and some ’cause they feel the heat.” That speaks to me, and leads me down a path of over-thinking that ends at the unknowability of my own mind & soul. I used to know something, and now I know that I don’t know nothing at all. This is where the theologians tell me that faith takes over. And that’s a good thing, faith is. It’s the best thing, really.

Well, that last paragraph’s a lot of metaphysical hooie from an unlettered hobo that I wasn’t expecting to wander out.

Opening Day Is Finally Here!

I’m aware that there have been some Oh-fishul baseball games played by other teams, but none of that matters. It’s Rangers Opening Day!

Can we make it to a third World Serious in a row? Can we win this one? Can Yu Darvish win the Cy Young? To all these, I say YES! It’s Opening Day, after all, and confidence reigns.

I’ve read more than a few comments about not wanting to deal with “the grind” of 162 games again. That puzzles me…”the grind” is a vital part of what defines baseball. Without it, you have something different, something less than baseball, something not The Great Game. Bring the grind…let’s see who’s got It.