Texas Rangers

You Could Use Some ... Baseball?

Approximately 5,000 fans braved freezing temperatures and decades of losing at Saturday's Rangers Fan Fest in Arlington.

I was one of them.

The highlights:

*General manager Jon Daniels says he's recently talked to shortstop third baseman Michael Young and that their relationship is on the mend. "If we have a 15-year marriage with only four bad days in the middle, we'll be doing all right. Everything has worked out in the end."

*Daniels and owner Tom Hicks wined and dined free-agent pitcher Ben Sheets at the exclusive Dallas National Country Club last Wednesday night. No firm offer yet. I hear Sheets' balky right elbow is cause for pause, if not concern. And now - duh Duh DUh DUH - the Yankees are apparently interested. (Insert slumped shoulders.)

*Manager Ron Washington hasn't handed the closer's job to Frankie Francisco, but said he'll enter Spring Training No. 1 clearly ahead of No. 2 C.J. Wilson. "With C.J., we're going to take it slow," Washington said. Of course, Wilson doesn't do anything slow. Should be interesting.

*If Baseball America has a clue, the Rangers will be in the playoffs by 2011. Of the nine team to earn the magazine's No. 1-rated farm system this decade, each made the playoffs within two years.

*For what it's worth, Young was present. Elvis Andrus, however, was still in Venezuela.

*And for the record, it's "AUHN-drooce". At least that's what former pitcher/current Rangers' Spanish-language broadcaster Jose Guzman told me.

*Pitching prospect Blake Beavan may have quieted his cockiness. Or not. One of his teammates told me his Escalade SUV is equipped with a suede interior and the license plate, "K M UP 15."

*When I joked to Ian Kinsler that he'd make a nice 30/30 leadoff hitter, he didn't laugh. He had 18 homers and 26 stolen bases last season. Maybe.

*Loneliest place on Earth Saturday was center field's Shaved Ice hut.