Rangers DFA Neftali Feliz

Tonight's game was ugly after the first inning, but the real gut punch came 45 minutes after the games conclusion. 

The Texas Rangers have DFA'd Neftali Feliz to make room on the 40-man for Matt Harrison. 

After watching Chi Chi flounder with his control tonight,  I assumed the Rangers would DFA Detwiler to make room for Harrison, then send Chi Chi down on Tuesday to get some extra rest around the All Star break, making room on the active roster for Delino DeShields. 

I was wrong. 

I know much of my disappointment comes from the fact that my greatest memory as a Rangers fan is Nefi jumping into Benji Molina's arms after winning the 2010 ALCS, clinching the Rangers first ever World Series appearance. 

As Neftali jumped up and down in front of a sea of red, I did the same at home, attempting to throw up The Claw to any living thing in my presence, eventually grabbing my son out of his crib so he, at four months of age, could be with me to celebrate what I had been waiting 30 years to witness. 

I will never forget that moment, and until the Rangers finally win a World Series, no baseball moment will replace it.  

Thank you, Neftali. 

One of the unfortunate things about the Wash era in Texas was the overuse of young relievers.  Neftali fell victim to this and never recovered (same with Robbie Ross).  In 2010-2011, Neftali made 134 appearances for the Rangers.  That number is insane. 

After Tommy John surgery, Neftali was never the same. 

During the press conference, Feliz stated that he was surprised by the move, but "baseball goes on".

In the words of Ron Washington, "That's how baseball go".

It's a shame that this is the nature of the business.  I wish Neftali success where ever baseball may take him next and that one day he may rediscover his form from 2010. 

Baseball echoes life, where each of us wade through our struggles, clawing for that moment that will last forever. Regardless of his recent decline, Neftali will always have that moment; October 22, 2010, under a full moon in Arlington. 

And thanks to Neftali, so will we. 


One More Strike

According to Terrance Mann, the James Earl Jones played character in Field of Dreams, “baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.”

As accurate as this quote is for the extensive history of the game of baseball, it also rings true for the lives of so many fans. 

I am proud to be one of those fans and excited that the next step with my ever-evolving relationship with the game of baseball will be with One Strike Away and the ESPN SweetSpot Network. 

The game of baseball has always been a huge part of my life, starting with some of the happiest memories of my childhood.  As I moved to a new town in the third grade, I quickly latched on to other boys who traded baseball cards; checking values and making trades as if I was the general manager of a team.  My prized card in the collection?  A 1969 Topps Nolan Ryan card. 

As I began to adjust to small town life, I found that my play on the baseball field helped my social life much more than my growing binder of Ryan cards ever would.  The countless hours spent throwing a baseball at a tire in the backyard while pretending to be Nolan translated into an obsession that opened many doors in my life, with the baseball field providing so many of my greatest memories in both high school and college. 

Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows, a game of mental strength and endurance, and a game of hope.  So many of the events of my life can be carefully marked by coinciding events of the Texas Rangers and either the joy, hope, or sorrow that my team was providing. 

1999 was the year of my high school graduation, but it will always be remembered for the Rangers’ American League West Championship and the playoff drought that would follow. 2001 was my last year of playing competitive baseball, but will forever be further marred by being the year the Rangers sold their souls to Alex Rodriguez.  My son was born in 2010, but whenever I hear anyone reference that year, I immediately think of the World Series. 

Not only has baseball “marked the time” in my life, but every time I watch a game or step on a field, I am clearly reminded of “all that once was good and it could be again”.  I am fortunate enough to have an opportunity to coach high school baseball and help instill the joy, memories, and life lessons that the game has to offer to the next generation of baseball addicts. I hope to give something back to a game that has given me so much and am constantly looking for new avenues to stay involved within baseball. 

One Strike Away is providing me with my newest avenue and I greatly look forward to having the opportunity to make more memories with Texas Rangers baseball. 

My greatest memory as a fan of the Texas Rangers actually came from a loss.  Saturday, July 10, 2010, in a game that I was able to watch due to local Baltimore Orioles coverage here in Virginia, I was able to lean back in a hospital recliner with my son, who was not even a full day old at this point, and watch our first baseball game together.  I remember seeing Cliff Lee take the field in a Rangers uniform for the first time and thinking, “Wow, we’ve got something special and amazing here”, then looking down at my son and knowing the same was true with him. 

Of course I knew my son was special.  After all, I did just name him Nolan.