I recently read an article on ESPN written by Josh Hamilton. It was from last year when he was with the Cincinnati Reds and I suspect after last nights home run derby I won’t be the only one who read it nor will I be the only one writing something about a truly remarkable person.
There’s probably no city in the country with a professional sports franchise that holds a coach or manager so close to its heart as Arlington, Texas.
In Atlanta, you can criticize Bobby Cox; in Miami, you could criticize Don Shula; in Boston, even Red Auerbach was questioned. But it’s a crime to say anything against Johnny Oates, who managed the Texas Rangers from 1995 until his resignation 28 games into the 2001 season.
If the Texas Rangers want to have a markedly better chance to end their long playoff drought this season they will ignore the naysayers and focus their efforts on getting Livan Hernandez, the one pitcher that can truly help them.
Ever since the glory days of the late 90’s with Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, and Rusty Greer at the helm, the Texas Rangers have gone south. Their pitching rotation in their division-winning 1998 season wasn’t even that good by today’s standards. Aside from 20-game winner Rick Helling (20-7) and a 19-11 Aaron Sele, the Rangers rotation seemed less than ordinary, with Darren Oliver going 6-7, Esteban Loaiza pitching to the tune of a 3-6 record, and #3 starter John Burkett hitting a 9-13 mark. Ever since then, the Rangers have had poor starting pitching.
Now, those days are gone…as are the faces of the organization. Ivan Rodriguez moved on to Florida; now, he plays in Detroit. Juan Gonzalez is still in the game, but he has all but dropped from the face of the earth. Rusty Greer has retired. John Wetteland (42 saves in ’98) has also retired. Yes, the pitching has gotten progressively worse. 2006 could be the year that all changes.