It was another big week for the Texas Rangers as they continue to validate themselves around the league with a successful homestand against the beasts of the A.L East. Despite a heartbreaking loss to the New York Yankees the week featured an incredible array of performances as the Rangers won three of five games against the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, all highlighted by perhaps one of the greatest all-around performances by a Texas Rangers player in one of the most remarkeable games we've ever witnessed.
's legend grows.
After this weekend's series against the Red Sox, Josh Hamilton has likely locked up the A.L. MVP award. We're only midway through August yet there is little doubt he will run away with the award should the Rangers continue on their current pace.
It's tough to describe the game that Hamilton had on Friday night as he led the Rangers' remarkeable comeback, walk off win against Red Sox. A couple of leaping, incredible catches, another towering home run and perhaps the most astounding feat of hustle I've ever seen on a baseball diamond all highlight Hamilton's night, yet if feels like those words alone barely do his dominating performance justice.
There is no doubt this has been a magical season for Hamilton, who has taken Clint Hurdle's coaching and become the most consistent and dangerous hitter in baseball. Gone are the days of the shows of power we all know Hamilton has possessed, replaced by a patient hitter who can not only work the count but put the ball into any part of the field. That he's finally as healthy as he'll likely ever be (Hamilton will be dealing with tendinitis in his knee his entire career, it seems) has certainly contributed to his incredible season, yet we're also seeing a side of Josh Hamilton that we have seen flashes of in the past but on an everyday, every game basis.
Hamilton was drafted as a player that was "5 tools" guy, one of those special ball players that only come around every so often. His struggles have been well documented and his return to prominence is a story we are familiar with, yet Hamilton's resurgence this year after an incredibly disappointing 2009 season is something I doubt anyone saw coming. All season long he's been a clutch hitter and one of the most exciting and consistent outfielder's in the big leagues; he'll never be considered on the top tier of outfielder's defensively, but his combination of speed, athletic ability and deadly accurate and powerful arm is something rarely found among big hitters at the plate.
Hamilton has put it all together this season, in the field and at the plate and his game on Friday night was the pinnacle of every great we've witnessed so far this season. His speed and hustle in the 8th inning Friday, scoring from second base on a infield single by Vlad Guerrero, was the most exciting single play for the Rangers since perhaps the Delluci Double. Hamilton provided the tying run to cap off a remarkeable comeback by the Rangers, showing speed on the basebaths that seems impossible for such a big player.
One of the my friends who was at the ballpark said of the play that the television cameras failed to capture the magic of watching Hamilton running on that play. His acceleration and seemingly effortless top speed was astounding and while we gasp and cheer for every play made with his bat and glove, it's his baserunning on that singular play that will likely be the defining moment of such an incredible season.
Dallas Stars up next on the auction block.
With the sale of the Texas Rangers complete and Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan officially taking over as the newest owners in Dallas, eyes now turn to the much more private (and quiet) sale of the Dallas Stars. While not in the public eye nearly as much as the Rangers sale -- not having Nolan Ryan involved might do that -- there's no doubt the Stars have been as affected by Hicks' financial woes just as much as the Rangers were, although certainly on a bit smaller scale.
The good news, it seems, for Stars fans is the latest word that News Corp. will not be placing a bid on the Stars. This ends speculation that the company was looking to take control of the team in order to secure future television rights to the local broadcasts, a bid that seemed less likely after News Corp. backed out of the Texas Rangers auction.
We are now down to just two bidders, as far as anyone knows. Calgary oilman Bill Gallacher and Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi will be bidding on the Stars in what appears to be a private auction for the team. The process is supposed to be much quicker and go much more easily than the sale of the Rangers, especially since either prospective owner would be welcomed with open arms by the NHL.
After witnessing the debacle that happened with the Rangers fans of Tom Hicks' other team became wary that such trouble might befall the Stars, especially after reports that the lenders would be targeting Hicks' other assets. Yet word is that the sale is progressing in a timely and smooth manner, likely helped by the NHL's reluctance to get into another mess resembling the ownership issues of the Phoenix Coyotes.
For Stars fans, either Gaglardi or Gallacher will be good for the team and I doubt fans have a preference at this point. Both prospective owners have incredibly deep pockets, both have experience in being successful hockey owners and both are committed to keeping the Stars in Dallas and getting this team back to it's winning ways.
The sale cannot come any sooner, as the Stars are threatening to completely fall off the local radar aside from diehard fans. Two straight seasons without making the playoffs, the loss of franchise and fan favorites and the lack of a true superstar on the team have hurt the team publicly, on top of the appearance of a team that is stuck in stasis and not attempting to improve and move forward.
A new owner may bring a completely new front office, yet one can only hope that Joe Nieuwendyk will get the chance to continue to build his team with actual budget that fits the plan needed to return the Stars to prominence.
Cowboys can't score a touchdown; the season must be doomed.
I have to admit, watching that preseason game against the Oakland Raiders was extremely painful. The first team offense struggled with pass protection and as a result the Cowboys once again was unable to score in the red zone. The sight of seeing Tony Romo taking three sacks on the opening drive was something that sent fans into somewhat of a panic frenzy, and the lack of a single offensive touchdown in two games has brought out a much higher level of doubt than should be present in a supposed Super Bowl contender.
Yet I'm not worried. Not even close to being worried.
I approach these first few preseason games knowing that whatever we see from the offense and defense in the first few quarters should never be seen as sure sign of what to expect in the regular season. I certainly understand that whatever happens with the backups and reserve players should never be expected to be extrapolated into what will come once the games start to count.
For one, Tony Romo is a player that needs a rhythm. He's always put up his biggest numbers after the first quarter as Romo and Jason Garrett prefer to test the defense and then adjust throughout the game to what is being presented against them. In two series in each game this is a rhythm Romo struggles to find and while you certainly want your offense to appear as sharp as possible while on the field, history has shown us that this offense really starts to shine as the game progresses.
Add to that the fact that Garrett apparently refuses to gameplan at all for the opponent in the preseason and seems to take great effort in keeping the offense as vanilla as possible. We've seen a few end arounds, but Romo and the offense have yet to break out the screens and the downfield passing attack that were so effective last season. We also witnessed on Thursday night just how important two tight end sets are to the Cowboys, as with just one true TE on the field at a time the offense looked incredibly ineffective.
I understand that with the Cowboys it's impossible not to pick apart everything the team does on the field.We can only write about what we see and right now we have two games without an offensive touchdown that has set the doubters into a bit of a frenzy. Yet to make determinations on what we'll see this season based on the performances of a Stephen McGee led offense is downright irresponsible; this, however, is what we've been presented with over the weekend.
I also understand that there are some troubling signs with this team that need to be addressed if this is truly a contending team. The depth of the offensive line is dire and will certainly be tested with Marc Colombo out for the preseason, and until the Cowboys score a red zone touchdown -- consistently -- this one shortcoming will be the on monkey on the back of an incredibly promising season.
Perhaps Garrett and the offense should open up against San Diego next week, just to show that they can. I'm sure Romo will be looking to get into a better rhythm this time around as it certainly appeared he was frustrated by the team's performance against Oakland.
Either way, until I see the offense take the field against Washington, I'm reserving my judgment for exactly how this team and this offense will be performing when the games actually matter.