I don't even know where to begin, so let's start at the beginning. Today the Texas Rangers traded Josh Lindblom and Craig Gentry to the Oakland A's for outfielder/native Texan Michael Choice and infielder Chris Bostick. Objectively speaking, this looks like a solid trade for both teams. Why? I don't know. That's just what the smart people tell me.
But I'm a Craig Gentry fan, and I don't care if this is a "solid" trade. I've always been a Rangers fan and watched as many games as I could, no matter how badly they sucked. But as the Rangers began their surge in 2010, I and many other fans began live-tweeting the games (@tweetgrubes, for those of you that aren't already following me). With a core of people like @sbass1310, @newbergreport, @shutdowninning, and @emilyjonesmccoy among many others, a Rangers community all its own began forming.
Inside jokes were started. Pictures of funny moments were uploaded. Amazing conversations, both serious and goofy (mostly goofy), were had. And one of the catalysts (pun intended) was the emergence of Craig Gentry as a Twitter favorite. While watching the Rangers one evening with Sean Bass, I made an offhand comment to the effect of "Craig Gentry, with his thick beard, looks kind of a like a cat." Sean giggled and agreed. That was all the confirmation I needed to tweet it out, and within minutes Gentry's nickname, Kitten Face, was established.
He wasn't the greatest player in Rangers history, but he quickly became a fan favorite, mostly due to his elite speed and defense but at least a little bit due to the nickname. Any time Gentry did anything in a game, good or bad, everyone tweeted about Kitten Face. It was silly and childish, but the fact that he (reluctantly) embraced it added a personal touch for a lot of fans and made them root for him just a little harder.
I'm excited about this Rangers season, but I can't deny a little of the charm of the last few seasons won't be there.
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I love you, Kitten Face. Even if you're not a Ranger, I will continue to enjoy you running the bases all nimbly bimbly no matter what colors you wear.