In the last couple of days Josh started saying “Nelson Cruz”. Yesterday on the Rangers website they started leading with an article about Nelson Cruz and his mother, for Mother’s Day. They also posted an article about how he’s been in a slump, and is in danger of being sent down. So it almost seems prophetic that Nelson hits a game winning walk-off home run to win today, when we’re at the ballpark for the first time in a few weeks. Thanks to Nelson, we keep our perfect streak alive, having been to four games this year and winning them all. And my sister’s family get to enjoy their first ever ballgame a little more, because I’m not mad and upset driving home after another Rangers loss, but instead I’m happy and so everyone else is.
Kudos to the Rangers for opening the entrance just along from the hotel, we usually have to drive all the way round to get back to those parking spots. I griped about Opening Day when they didn’t open those exits after the game, and everyone was stuck trying to get out the one exit. I am happy that they opened it to drive in and kept it open to leave, and I sure hope they’re not just experimenting but that they listened to the fans and will keep doing it.
It was very hot to start with, 90 degrees on the Convention Center billboard as we walked by. Once again, thunderstorms threatened later but fortunately only gave us a nice cool-down, it was down to the mid-70s as we left with a very light drizzle as we walked to the car. I’m disappointed we were too late for the Mothers Day caps, both my wife and sister should have gotten them but didn’t. Curious that the attendance was only 25,000 but they gave away 10,000 hats to women 14 and older, it doesn’t seem like that would be the ratio expected. In our group there were seven of us, only two who would have gotten hats. To be fair, we came in the 3rd base entrance a little after the game began, if we’d been earlier we might have gotten one, and we even thought about walking down to the home plate entrance to see if they were still there, but it was too hot to walk that far. We ended up walking around the ballpark for quite some time in the early innings, trying out the kids park, buying some stuff, then getting food and heading to our seats in the 5th inning. Josh almost immediately kept saying he wanted to go home, because he didn’t want the fireworks, and I was only semi able to convince him that the loud fireworks we saw last time (on Fireworks Night a few weeks ago, when we had to leave because they were too loud for him) were not going to be back today, that we’d only get one firework if the Rangers hit a home run. It did not help that literally seconds after I finished saying there wouldn’t be fireworks that Brad Wilkerson hit a home run, but funnily enough that seemed to calm Josh, because he saw it was just a quick bang and then it was over. And tonight as I put him to bed and we talked about the day he said that Nelson Cruz hit a home run, and “he only had a little fireworks”, so he was much happier about it then.
I very much enjoyed seeing Gary Matthews getting hit (not as much as seeing A-Rod get hit a week ago though), and the tantrum the Angels threw about being ejected after hitting Kinsler. They did have a valid point, that the umpire hadn’t warned anyone, but it was still fun to see a little life sparked in the game, and to explain a bit of the history of it to my sister. I didn’t even realize until reading the game story tonight that GMJ had hit two home runs already in the game when he was hit, that would have made it a little more fun to know.
The Benoit-Aki-Gagne shut-down was good, too. Three hits and no runs in the last three innings was surely Jon Daniels plan before the season, I wish it had happened a few more times though. And Benoit was fabulous in getting out of the bases loaded no out situation. Run expectancy tables will tell you that the Angels should have scored 2.4 runs from that situation, to keep them scoreless was definitely a turning point. There’s been a few turning points lately, and I keep hoping that one of them will turn into a season turning point, not just for one game.
Michael Young had his sixth error of the season, and it seems like they’ve all come in the last few days, he is definitely in a rut right now. His fielding percentage is at a career low right now, and although of course FP is not the best stat to look at for fielding, it’s the most widely known to the general public. I just know when I look at the box score lately I keep seeing errors, and I keep thinking Michael Young when I see them.
All in all though, it was a good day, both for mine and my sister’s family, and for the Rangers. They were definitely pumped as Cruz walked off. I would love to see them make that a familiar feeling – not the walk-off, because I’d like to see them win earlier in some games, but the winning and everybody being excited and happy to be there, and the buzz in the crowd walking to the parking lots rather than the silence and mutterings that have been heard lately.