The Best Kind of Hangover

10-13-10

3:30 p.m.

 

            So I’m back home, slumped on my couch, still smiling from last night. I’m also feeling completely beat up, like I’ve been in a 15-round fight. First of all, I hardly ever drink. I’ll have a drink maybe three times in a year. But last night in the clubhouse celebration, I found myself drinking champagne out of the bottle, then having a little bit of beer and then Vladdy handed me a shot of great rum that he had. I was thinking, “Oh my God, where am I?”

 

            We left the park around 1 a.m. and got on the plane home. Some of the guys just passed out, but I was still too excited to sleep. I watched CSI and Without a Trace on my iPad, thinking about what an amazing game we had just played, how happy I was for everyone on the plane, how happy I was for the fans, wondering if any of them would be there to greet us at the airport. When we landed and got off the plane, there must have been about a thousand fans waiting. It was so amazing. They were cheering and holding signs.

 

I wish everyone could experience what all of us players and coaches felt at that moment. You never forget as a ballplayer that you’re playing for more than the other guys wearing the same uniform. You’re playing for an entire community, for all the people who buy tickets to cheer us on and wear T-Shirts with our names on the back, and send all their good thoughts and prayers our way. We don’t always get a chance to feel that connection as directly as we wish we could. So to see those fans up close, right when we landed back home, almost moved me to tears. And it was 4 in the morning! Wow. I can’t thank all of them enough for putting the perfect cap on a perfect day.

 

            I know a lot of people might think the highlight of the game for me was my stolen base, which I will get to in a minute. But the story for me was Cliff Lee. He was amazing – again. He had total command – mixing speeds, making his locations, keeping the ball off the middle of the plate. It’s such a pleasure as a catcher to work with a pitcher of his caliber. He’s unflappable. He’s fearless. And he’s smart.

 

            What I loved about last night’s game was how smart everybody played. We didn’t wait for Tampa Bay to give the game away. We took it. That was our mentality. Look at our base running. We did all the little things. These are very smart baseball players and coaches. They see everything and take advantage of every opening.

 

            Which brings me to my unlikely steal.

 

            I was on first base with Elvis up at bat. First base coach Gary Pettis saw that every time Elvis swung and fouled off, no one covered second. When the count when to 3-2, Pettis mouthed to me, “Go!”

 

” ‘Go’ or ‘No’?” I mouthed back.

 

“Go!”

 

When the ball left the pitcher’s hand, I went. After the first couple of steps, I saw Elvis swing and miss. I was thinking, “Oh my goodness, I’m toast.” But there was no one covering the bag. So the catcher didn’t even make a throw.

 

I looked into the dugout, and everyone was giving me the antlers. It was unbelievable. But that’s what kind of a season this team has had. 

 

I’ve been in the league a long time, so I know how special it is to get this far into the post-season. So I’m trying to soak everything in. I’m thinking about so many things, but one thing I’m not thinking about is pressure. All we can do is work as hard as we can, and the result will be what it will be. That’s why I’m so calm. I believe in this team, and I believe in God. What is supposed to happen will happen.

 

We have today off and will practice tomorrow. Then we open with the Yankees Friday night. Every major league player in October has a body covered with bruises and muscles that are strained and tired. But once the game starts, adrenaline kicks in and you don’t feel anything. You become a warrior out there, with nothing on your mind but winning.

 

Vladdy just stopped by – he lives three hours away. He’s having a bunch of players over to his house for dinner tonight. I’d like to go, but right now I don’t know. I think my body needs to rest. But if I do join them at Vladdy’s house, one thing I know for sure – no rum.

 

See you at the yard on Friday. Thanks for your amazing support of the team. You don’t know how much it means to all us.

20 Comments

In all my years as a Rangers fan (more than I care to remember – let’s just say I left a fair amount of skin in the old ballpark) I have never been as excited as I was the other night. I don’t even have the words to explain it.

I can’t be at the ALCS games but I will be in front of my television, wearing my claw and antler t-shirt and my jersey and yelling to beat the band!

Bengie, you are amazing. It was obvious you were having a blast catching for Lee and that was so much fun to watch. I felt we were going to win when I would see you jump up after each strikeout or swing and miss and head back to the dugout. You two were a masterpiece. Your steal of 2nd while not scoring was still so inspiring and just FUN to watch. Love having you on this team!

Congratulations, Bengie! What a game you and Cliff Lee collaborated on! As a Giants fan, I still root for “Big Money” Molina and hope to see you in the World Series in SF!

Thanks to you Benjie, and all the Rangers for giving my family a wonderful year of baseball. Congrats on a great series against the Rays!

Bengie, what *happened* tonight? :( Must have been pitchers who couldn’t execute, not you… Keep going, you’re suppose to be taking long looks at your replacement’s right side in November… :)

Hey Bengie! Love your blog. Long time giants fan pulling for you and wishing you the best in Texas! Watching your game right now… See you in the Series!

Hey Bengie! Love you blog, you r honesty and your hard play! I have been a Ranger fan since I was 11 in 1972, My Little League team won our city championship and our reward was to o watch the Rangers play the Yanks! The thrill of my life! It is always exciting every year watching the different pieces of the puzzle filter in, wondering which one’s would make a difference and which one’s would make but a brief stay! This year all the pieces have fallen in to place and the puzzle is almost done…….the Texas Rangers being the 2010 World Series Champions!!!! And hopefully many of the important pieces will be “glued down in place” to a long term commitment to one day make the Yankee Dynasties of the past dim in comparison to what the Rangers will one day be! Our family has always tried to go there in person to cheer you guy’s on any time we could. And if we couldn’t we have alway’s been glued to the tv cheering for you guy’s s if you could hear us through the tv screen. It was alway’s my dream to pitch to those hated New york Yankees in the 7th game of the World Series on ly to beat them and bring that pennant back to Arlington. My step-son is a catcher like you. He too dreams of playing in the show. A few short year’s ago he was found to have a heart condition known as Long QT Syndrome. Also my wife, sister in law and nephew have this conditioin. My nephew, Braxtan’s dreams of playing baseball or any other sport is just that now, a dream. My Step son is continuing to be able to follow his dream as of now. He is a catcher on his High School’s Junior Varsity team and hopefully maybe the Varsity this next season. It would mean so much to us to meet you, shake your hand, talk to you and let them see that anything is possible for them. To hear your story of how you got to the show for a lifetime of inspiration!!!! I want to wish you and the rest of the player’s and staff the best enroute to beating the Yankees and then handling either the Phillies or Giants to bring the great fans of the Rangers their first World Series Title and Trophy for us all to see! We all want to thank the Greenberg/Ryan group for all they have done to “Our Texas Rangers” to make them all they can be. And for the future. As we all know they will do what it takes to keep you guy’s on top!!!!!
Best of luck!
Allen

Hey Bengie! Love you blog, your honesty and your hard play! I have been a Ranger fan since I was 11 in 1972, My Little League team won our city championship and our reward was to o watch the Rangers play the Yanks! The thrill of my life! It is always exciting every year watching the different pieces of the puzzle filter in, wondering which one’s would make a difference and which one’s would make but a brief stay! This year all the pieces have fallen in to place and the puzzle is almost done…….the Texas Rangers being the 2010 World Series Champions!!!! And hopefully many of the important pieces will be “glued down in place” to a long term commitment to one day make the Yankee Dynasties of the past dim in comparison to what the Rangers will one day be! Our family has always tried to go there in person to cheer you guy’s on any time we could. And if we couldn’t we have alway’s been glued to the tv cheering for you guy’s s if you could hear us through the tv screen. It was alway’s my dream to pitch to those hated New york Yankees in the 7th game of the World Series on ly to beat them and bring that pennant back to Arlington. My step-son is a catcher like you. He too dreams of playing in the show. A few short year’s ago he was found to have a heart condition known as Long QT Syndrome. Also my wife, sister in law and nephew have this conditioin. My nephew, Braxtan’s dreams of playing baseball or any other sport is just that now, a dream. My Step son is continuing to be able to follow his dream as of now. He is a catcher on his High School’s Junior Varsity team and hopefully maybe the Varsity this next season. He turn’s 16 on his birthday this year, Halloween. I feel quite confidant you all will still be playing on his birthday to make that another enjoyable first for him. It would mean so much to us to meet you, shake your hand, talk to you and let them see that anything is possible for them. To hear your story of how you got to the show for a lifetime of inspiration!!!! I want to wish you and the rest of the player’s and staff the best enroute to beating the Yankees and then handling either the Phillies or Giants to bring the great fans of the Rangers their first World Series Title and Trophy for us all to see! We all want to thank the Greenberg/Ryan group for all they have done to “Our Texas Rangers” to make them all they can be. And for the future. As we all know they will do what it takes to keep you guy’s on top!!!!!
Best of luck!
Allen

Bengie,
Dodger fan here. I love that you keep updating the blog, especially during the playoff. I’ve read about the good food that Vladdy’s wife cooks.
Congratulations! Lee was amazing.
Buena suerte el resto del camino.
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

Hey Benji! I’ve been reading your blog while watching the game! YOU HAVE HAD SUCH A GREAT GAME!!!!!!!
Soooo glad you are a Ranger! :)
Pamela

Hey Bengie,

So happy for you and the homer you hit tonight (10/19). Happy for the Rangers and their first time to go this far and that if you had to leave us you got to go someplace where you could enjoy it and play meaningful games.

Sorry this is out of context w/your blog, but didn’t know how else to leave good wishes for you _and_ your team. And I do mean both, really, all you other fans here.

Beat NYY and hopefully we SF Giants faithful will get to see you again this season at our place for the best of dreams for all of us. And, oh yeah, Bengie – congrats on the antlers a few nights ago!

Bengie,
Great job so far this postseason. I’m glad to see you doing well in Texas after leaving the Giants. I still enjoy reading your blog even though you’re on a new team. Your insight and perspective are always interesting. What are your thoughts on potentially facing your former team the same year you left? How will you use your inside knowledge on them to your advantage? Do players acquired after you left make that knowledge less useful? Good luck. Take care!

Hey Bengie,

Your 3 run jack tonight v the yanks was so awesome! We are still watching and rooting for you. I can’t wait for a Giants- Rangers world series. We and you have a bit more work to do before that can happen though. But I am really looking forward to seeing you back here in SF. I’m most looking forward to watching you get the ovation you deserve from all of your fans in SF. (Hopefully I am not jinxing anything here!) I am sad that you won’t be behind the dish for us, but I don’t think that we would have made it this far without letting Posey fully do what he can do. I think the trade worked out for everyone. Go get one more from those yankies and we hope to see you soon!

-Lori Phillips

Big Money,

Way to go hitting the HR against the evil Yankees. I’m always happy to see when you do well, you were one of my favorites as a Giant, and will always have my best wishes. And I loved your post-game quote tweaking your fat kid image- we still won’t watch ESPN for baseball coverage because of how they mocked you.

I’m glad to read you are happy in Texas, and I hope you continue to be blessed.

Courtney

Big Money,

I knew you would be amazing in playoffs. You’re proving to all my fellow Giants fans why you’re still my favorite player.

You are the heart of the game.

You’ll always be the reason I became a baseball fan and you’ll always be my favorite baseball player of all time.

Big Money,

I knew you would be amazing in playoffs. You’re proving to all my fellow Giants fans why you’re still my favorite player.

You are the heart of the game.

You’ll always be the reason I became a baseball fan and you’ll always be my favorite baseball player of all time.

Congrats Bengie!! See you in the World Series back at ATT park (once the gigantes get the job done tomorrow hopefully!)

Congrats Bengie and all the Ranger’s !!! I am with you all the way and have been a fan for years. I think my favorite part of the play offs will be you running those bases after that HR, and the way you hit across your chest. I sat a little straighter and now hit my chest, not as hard as you of course, when you come up. My husband gets a big laugh out of this, he is a Tampa fan. I am at home screaming, praying, and cheering watching every game. Yall stay safe.
P.S. Cheaters never win~~~but please do not get thrown out of the game.

Dear Benji,

I hope you didn’t have too much of a hangover on Saturday morning after becoming the AL Champions on Friday night. What a great and exciting series against the Yankees!!! WOW!!!!

I can’t even put into words how excited I am for you guys that the Rangers finally made it!

Now go get those Giants and bring us back the World Series Championship and Trophy!

GO RANGERS !!!

ddunkin
Longview, Texas

Bengie – what an awesome year you are having! I am still cheering you on…all the way from North Carolina!!! So glad to see the Rangers knock the Yankees out of the playoffs….now go get those Giants and bring that trophy home to Texas where it belongs!

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