Sorry for the delay in getting this post out. I wanted to get something out as soon as we clinched in Oakland but you know how it is. Anyway, that day in Oakland was awesome. It was an amazing feeling – I haven’t felt that way since I was with the Angels in 2002.
I wish everybody in their lives could experience this at least once. There is nothing better than sharing a moment of complete joy with your team — the people who have been working so hard together. It’s so much more satisfying than achieving something individually. It’s hard to put into words, really. You just look at each other in the clubhouse, with the champagne flying everywhere and everyone hugging, and you want almost to burst with emotion. We all did it together. Everyone contributed. Everyone believed.
The only down side was that we didn’t do it at home in front of our fans. That would have made it perfect.
I feel very lucky, needless to say, to have joined this team. One of the best parts, which I couldn’t have expected, is getting to know Matt Treanor. From the outside, maybe, Matt and I should be rivals. We’re sharing the catching position. Each of us, of course, wants to be behind the plate more. We’re both very competitive. We both hate sitting on the sidelines. But Matt and I have become great friends – and so have our wives. They’re already planning an off-season vacation for all of us.
The thing about Matt and me is that we both care about just one thing: Winning. Neither of us cares about individual statistics. We don’t care about personal goals. We both just want to win this thing. So that’s why it works.
So when I’m playing, he’s there between innings helping me with strategy, giving me feedback on this batter or that batter. And I’m there doing the same for him. We watch video of opposing batters together. We meet with the pitchers. We share whatever information we have.
Maybe it’s because we’re both veterans who understand it’s all about the team and winning. As much as baseball seems like an individual sport in a lot of ways – you’re by yourself on the mound or in your position on the field or and at the plate. But all the parts have to work together. Players have to trust each other and pick each other up. And that’s how Matt and I have always played. And as we’ve gotten older, I think, the team concept only becomes more important.
Matt and I both take pride in the fact that our pitching staff has a chance to finish the season with a sub-4.00 ERA for the first time since 1993. I take some satisfaction, too, in learning the Rangers pitchers pretty quickly and learning the American hitters. Matt has helped a lot there, too.
Do I wish my performance at the plate were better? Of course. But it was nice to see bench coach Jackie Moore quoted in a story today saying of Matt and me, “They know they’ll win more games with the way they call pitches than they will with their bats.”
That’s why the Rangers are in the post-season. We know our roles and play as a team.
This team also understands that we can’t slack off just because we have clinched the division. We need to keep the intensity up so when we begin the playoff games, we it the ground running.
Off to the field. Thanks for reading!