Texas Rangers

Rangers 12, Mariners 2: My Top 10 Observations

10. Josh Hamilton may never return to the 2008 form in which he already had 17 homers and 67 RBI through 59 games, but all the sudden he's a pretty dang good hitter. The drop to fifth in the order and the loss of the toe-tap timing mechanism have done wonders. Hamilton roped a homer into the Rangers' bullpen during last night's 12-2 walloping of the Seattle Mariners. He has 12 homers, two more than he hit all of last season.

9. Old people are funny. And I'm not talking about my 70-year-old dad, with whom I watched Wednesday night's game from behind home plate. During a tour of Cowboys Stadium earlier in the day, an elderly woman looked up at the Cowboys-Eagles highlights being shown on the JumboJerry video screen and asked our guide a serious question: "Now, is this is a live game? Who are we playing tonight?" Swear. At the Rangers game another even elderlier(?) woman - in the grand tradition of Zonk - stood up before almost every single Rangers' at-bat and banged a drum to the familiar beat of boom ... boom ... boomBoomBOOM

8. The Burleson High School choir performed a rousing and moving rendition of The National Anthem, but I'm suspicious that it had nothing to do with its over-animated director. He was gesturing and moving and gyrating and flailing his arms and contorting his face into seemingly more dramatic effort than anyone this side of ESPN's frownsmiley reporter Rachel Nichols. All the while the choir merely sang, in no way keeping cadence with his machinations. 'Twas a good show, though.

7. Seriously? We're still applauding Nolan Ryan's headlock bludgeoning of Robin Ventura from 1993? The Rangers play the famed clip during its "Baba O'Riley"-backed video intro, and more than a couple folks around me bellowed "Yeah, get 'em Big Tex."

6. Seriously? We're still doing the "wave"? Geez.

5. This just in: Girls like attention. There were a variety of "look at me, dammit!" outfits on display at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. But the real reminder came any time a song with any remote hint of a beat played. While guys munched dollar dogs and drank beer and told stories, girls danced - some even standing up in the aisles to shake their groove thangs. When that "girl I'm gonna break break break break break your heart" song came on the scenery was quite entertaining.

4. Don't look now but Julio Borbon has a pulse. Last night the center fielder/No. 9 hitter got two more hits, including a liner down the right-field line - off a lefty, no less - that rattled in the corner for a triple. The three-bagger is still one of the most exciting plays in sports.

3. I think I understand about keeping your closer sharp, but someone explain manager Ron Washington using Neftali Feliz. In a 10-run game - biggest blowout win of the season - he came into the game and threw 18 pitches to get the final two outs. Weird.

2. Ever once in a while you realize how much real estate there is between outfielders. Then you see the Rangers get five or six reach-out-and-bloop-it hits that fall in and dorks like me wonder why baseball managers are so stubborn. Other than the fact that every player except the catcher has to be in fair territory, there are no constraints on where to position defenders. Why don't more teams play five infielders, four outfielders or something different? Football has its Wishbone and Run-n-Shoot. Basketball has its zone and full-court press. Baseball has its ... baseball.

1. Vladimir Guerrero is one of the few athletes in our midst that I'd pay to see play. He lumbers up to the batter's box, wrapped in pads and bandages and age. He steps into the box, seemingly unconcerned with exactly where his feet are in relation to home plate. He sees the ball, estimates where it will cross his zone and takes a cut so mighty you're convinced it will be his last. Last night he connected for three more hits, including one of the hardest-hit doubles you ever did see. Standing. Clapping. Bravo.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt