Over the course of 162 games, no matter how a team’s season went, multiple memories are going to be created. On the field and off it, the Texas Rangers, all 78-84 of them, had their fare share.
The focus of this occasional series will be on-the-field moments. That means the Hall of Fame induction of Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, while arguably the crowing moment for the Rangers this year, won’t be included.
Except in this intro.
Rodriguez became the 52nd player inducted on his first year on the ballot July 30. No offense to fellow inductees Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Bud Selig and John Schuerholz, but Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star and 13-time Gold Glover, was the weekend’s star.
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A few days before he was inducted, the first moment took place. It’s not first because it was most memorable, but because there’s some timeliness to it all they way in late October.
MLB announced on Monday that Gerry Davis would be the crew chief for the World Series’ seven-man umpiring crew. That name should ring a bell for Rangers fans.
The on-deck circle flap
A lot happened July 26, beginning with the about-to-be-traded Yu Darvish surrendering a career-worst 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings. That was his last hurrah for the Rangers, and led to the first career pitching appearance by backup catcher Brett Nicholas in a 22-10 loss.
And this also happened: Adrian Beltre was ejected in the eighth inning. He wasn’t arguing balls and strikes, or miffed about a missed call on one of the bases.
Nope. He was ejected by Davis because he wasn’t standing in the on-deck circle.
Beltre never stands in the on-deck circle and still doesn’t. No one does. Davis, though, told him in the eighth inning that he needed to be in the on-deck circle, which typically is cluttered to an assortment of hitting accessories and is too slippery to stand on in the first place.
So, Beltre bent over, picked up the on-deck circle, and dragged a about a foot to where he was standing. Next thing he knew, Davis had given him the heave.
Oh, yeah: Beltre was only four his shy of 3,000.
“I wasn’t being funny,” Beltre said. “He told me to stand on the mat, so I pulled the mat where I was. I actually did what he told me. I was listening.”
Davis, the crew chief, was working second base and likely tossed Beltre because he was showing him up and because he wasn’t showing plate ump Pat Hoberg the necessary respect after Hoberg noticed Beltre’s positioning. (Beware Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros hitters: Davis is working second base Tuesday in the opener of the Fall Classic.)
Only days earlier, Davis had worked the plate and said nothing to Beltre about where he was standing.
“I stand there every day and I was standing here when he was umpiring home plate and he didn’t say nothing,” Beltre said. “Everybody stands in the same spot. So I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to get hit [by a foul ball].”
Instead, he was hit by Davis’ right thumb.