Category Archives: Doug Melvin

Robbers Evidence: Texas Rangers’ Midseason Report – The Best Season Since 1999!

With 81 games played and 81 to go, 2007 has been the best season for the Rangers since 1999.

“What?” you might ask.

Since 1999, the first full season of Tom Hicks’ ownership, the Rangers organization has been out of touch with reality. Every year under Hicks’ ownership and John Hart or Jon Daniels’ general management, the front office has acted as though the team was only one or two players away from returning the organization’s pinnacle era of late 90’s success under Doug Melvin and Johnny Oates. In the process they’ve robbed Rangers fans of having anything worth getting too excited about.

Despite four straight last place finishes followed by three consecutive 3rd place seasons in the least competitive division in baseball over the same time period, the Rangers kept bleeding talent out of the organization through short-sighted trades intended to help the club “win now” (or at least “sell tickets now”). But most rational people could see that the Rangers have been far from one or two players away from contending for, much less winning, a championship for the past seven season (and in reality, they’ve probably never been that close because of the consistent lack of pitching necessary to win in the playoffs – even when they did make the post-season). Continued through last season’s Carlos Lee trade, the delusional management approach – also fueled by Hick’s top priority of making money which has translated into trades to keep fans hopeful and buying tickets later into the season – has turned the Rangers into a joke.

By opening the season getting swept by the Angels and not seeing .500 since April 14th, reality has slapped all of Rangerdom in the face. Despite recent comments (which better just be posturing for trade negotiations) that he likes the way the Rangers are playing right now (which is certainly better but far from the performance of a contender), Tom Hicks and Jon Daniels will have to be “sellers” during this month’s pre-trade-deadline frenzy.

That alone will be a dramatic departure from the team’s approach. I can’t remember the last time the Rangers were heading into July ready to be sellers. Plus, they actually have some assets left that could fetch pieces of the puzzle for building a championship-caliber team.

Mark Teixeira should be traded and should return a ready-to-break-out major-league starting pitcher plus a prospect or two. Gagne, and maybe also Otsuka, are in high demand from talent-laden teams chasing a championship this season. Lofton and maybe Sosa should also return players who can contribute to the Rangers’ rebuilding efforts.

Without a horrible start to the season, Hicks and Daniels would undoubtedly have continued their delusional approach. Instead, maybe they’ll finally get their priorities straight – pitching first, hitting second=winning=excited fans=profits=more winning – and possibly Rangers’ fans best chance to finally have a championship-caliber team for the first time.

Then again, we are talking about Hicks and Daniels, so the odds are they will still find a way to get it wrong.

But in the meantime, here’s to the best Rangers’ season yet this millennium! 

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Robbers Evidence: Breaking Down Tom Hicks’ Interview with Babe Laufenberg – Part 1: So Hicks Suspects (Actually Wishes) Juan Gonzalez Used Steroids (More)

Has Tom Hicks lost touch with reality?  Based on his comments to the European press during Liverpool FC’s run to the UEFA Champions League final, recent interview with Babe Laufenberg, and contract extension to Jon Daniels,  there’s reason to wonder.  Many reasons.  Breaking down the interview shows Hicks may be having a break down.

The entire Laufenberg interview is laden with comments from Hicks that should further infuriate every Texas Rangers fan.  I for one was so infuriated that I put off writing about it.  And I’m going to have to write about one piece at a time. 

Let’s start with Hicks’ comment about Juan Gonzalez since that’s the one that’s making all the news right now.

Babe:  “Of all the decisions you’ve made as owner of the Rangers… firing of Doug Melvin, signing of ARod, Chan Ho Park… which is the one you’d like a mulligan on in golf terms?”

Hicks:  “… (signing) Juan González for $24 million after he came off steroids – probably – uh, we just gave that money away…”.

Well, that became the focus of an Associated Press article yesterday, headlined “Hicks Suspects Gonzalez Used Steroids.”

Where to start?

First, who didn’t suspect that already?  Did you see the difference in Igor between 1989 and 1991?  You can’t add that much mass without some chemistry assistance.

So, Hicks’ “mulligan” wasn’t that he might have signed a player who used steroids, it was that Juan was off them when Hicks signed him in 2002.  If Juan had still been on them, apparently Hicks believes he would have gotten his money’s worth.  So Hicks wishes Juan had stayed on the juice.

Tempted to write off the comment as an errant slip of the tongue – a mistake anyone could make during a TV interview?

Hold that thought.

The interview was on June 10th.  According to the AP story, Hicks made the following statement to the AP via e-mail yesterday, June 20:

“I have no knowledge that Juan used steroids. His number of injuries and early retirement just makes me suspicious,” Hicks wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Wednesday. “In any event, we paid him $24 million for very few games.”

So with 10 days to consider what to say, Hicks just adds the covering-my-butt statements about “no knowledge” and being “suspicious” and then basically reiterates – as much by what he doesn’t say and how he phrases his answer which I assure you was reviewed time and again by his lawyers and PR staff – that his regret is signing a steroid-free Juan whose body fell apart when he stopped juicing.

Notice Hicks doesn’t say: “I regret signing a player who any reasonable person could suspect was or had been using performance-enhancing drugs.”  Nor does he say, “Juan’s age was a risk that didn’t work out.”  He clearly believes that Juan quitting steroids was the problem: “(signing) Juan González … after he came off steroids” is one of three “mulligans” or mistakes Hicks admits to in the interview. 

I – and any Rangers fan, really – could list a whole bunch of other mistakes that Hicks could use a “mulligan” on.  How about starting with one of the biggest:  letting 3 league MVPs leave and not getting squat for talent in return?  Or, merging the front offices of a hockey team with that of baseball team?  Or, knowing the Rangers have always needed quality starting pitching, but never going after and getting it the way you went after and got, then wasted, Alex Rodriguez’s big bat?  Or, how about the one Babe mentioned – firing Doug Melvin?  Or… oh you get the point…

Gotta go barf again…