All week it's been leading up to this: Yu Darvish's first spring training press conference, held today, wherein we discover what the newest Texas Ranger loves about the U.S. and Nolan Ryan and Greg Maddux. Straight outta Surprise, the Rangers have actually been sending video dispatches all week for those of us not yet able to leave our desks. Which is why, on the other side, you'll find a small film library's worth of footage in which Jon Daniels, Ron Washington and Nolan Ryan first talk about the Darvish and their expectations, from earlier in the week, and then Yu hisself.
And on a very related note: I'm halfway through Jamey Newberg's available-as-of-yesterday eBook JD: Building the Team That Built a Winner, selling for a mere $2.99. But it's toward the end that Jamey writes this concerning the man who thought it a good idea to cough up $117 million for a pitcher who's never thrown in the bigs:
Those responsible for player development won't be accountable for whatever success Darvish has in Texas. That will be on the evaluators and scouts who put in tireless work in Japan and at 1000 Ballpark Way, who collectively gave Daniels the confidence to let C.J. Wilson walk away and to target Darvish, and the conviction to go to ownership and recommend something quite different from what he'd recommended to [Tom] Hicks four and a half years earlier.
But ultimately, of course, it's Daniels who will be accountable. The evaluators and scouts and player development staff are those he has chosen to make up the circle entrusted with the job of separating this franchise from the pack, and from its past. And it's his responsibility alone to gather information and opinions and, in the end, pull the trigger, or not. It takes discretion, timing, long-range thinking, balls.
Now, jump for the talking.
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