The following account is 100 percent accurate:
The risk of missing a flight is one beat writers knowingly take when trying to get away on getaway day. In my 10 seasons, though, it had never been a problem.
So, as I climbed into the van of an eager driver a little after 6 p.m. Sunday to take me to LaGuardia for my 8 p.m. flight, I didn’t have many worries. The driver, Jairo (not Beras) from the Dominican Republic, said that he would get me to my terminal in 50 minutes.
In an effort to meet his deadline, Jairo thought a route besides the Deegan Expressway would save time, and he cut right instead of staying in the long line forming for the on-ramp.
But when Jairo saw the traffic ahead, he slowed. The driver behind us didn’t see us until it was too late.
I’m not sure if he even hit his brakes before punting us. Jairo and I were both OK, and Jairo wanted to take me to the airport with only minor damage to his van. The other driver wanted the police.
I gave Jairo my name and phone number, he did the same, and I hopped in an SUV with Warren. To Warren’s credit, he attempted to bypass the traffic on the Deegan and the Triborough, the most direct route to LaGuardia.
After about an hour, Warren pulled up to the American Airlines ticket counter at 7:24. Great ... except the very nice woman at the counter wouldn’t check my bag, or let me try to carry it on, or let me fly without it while sending it to Cleveland in the morning.
Alas, I’m on my way to Chicago, with my bag, and with an early-morning flight to Cleveland on Monday. And a story I’d rather forget.
Lesson 1: Go ahead and stay the night in New York next time.
Lesson 2: Just assume that the Rangers are incapable of playing a game in under three hours when considering future getaway-day plans.
Lesson 3: Remember to thank Matt Bush for his willingness to do a quick postgame interview.
He was one of the heroes for the Rangers on Sunday.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 7-6 nail-biting win over the New York Yankees.
1. Bush has become everyone’s favorite Rangers punching bag on the Twitter, replacing Sam Dyson. Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo and Jeff Banister are next in the Twitter Rangers hate rankings.
As expected, fans did some Twitter moaning, panicking and praying when Bush jogged in from the bullpen with a one-run lead, which had been a touchdown lead after four innings.
Bush wasn’t able to save one-run leads in his previous two save chances. Moreover, he had to face the same hitter, Brett Gardner, who homered off him Friday night.
But four batters later, including one as the potential winning run, Bush was shaking hands with catcher Jonathan Lucroy after the Rangers’ sixth consecutive non-losing series (5-0-1).
Bush talked afterward of feeling great physically, which he has all along, and was pleased with how he went after hitters.
“It was about trusting my ability and what worked for me,” Bush said. “I was just trying to stay calm and put things out of my mind — pitching in Yankee Stadium, just blew a save, we had been leading 7-0. If you look outside of the box, yeah, it’s a big save.”
For Bush and the Rangers, any save is a big save. The bullpen woes have left the Rangers in a precarious position in the playoff race and have led to a series of roster moves as they try to put an effective bullpen together.
Next on the horizon could be Connor Sadzeck, the hard-throwing Double A starter now officially working as a reliever to see if he can be of service. Here’s hoping the Rangers don’t give up on him as a starter just yet.
He won’t take away Bush’s job if the struggles continue. Keone Kela would likely get the first crack at that.
But perhaps the save Sunday, on a big stage and against the Yankees’ best hitters when it looked like the Rangers were destined to lose the game, will jump-start Bush. Maybe it’s the one he needed to believe in himself again, to boost his confidence, to learn from his mistakes in his previous two outings.
If so, there will be a new No. 1 on the Twitter Rangers hate rankings.
2. Drew Robinson understands all that can happen to a young player who can be optioned to the minor leagues.
Here today, gone tomorrow.
Still, he was hoping Sunday morning to do something in his first career start to give the Rangers a reason or two to keep him around for the long run.
He certainly gave it his best.
Robinson made two nice defensive plays early on at second base and then collected his first two career hits — a solo homer in the fourth inning and a double to start the seventh.
That’s a pretty good case.
“I can’t put it into words, but a lot of work went into that moment,” Robinson said. “Coming to Yankee Stadium, yesterday and today, it was a special moment for me. It definitely meant a lot.”
Of course, the Rangers are leery of letting a young, inexperienced player take on a utility role, which, barring injury, is the best Robinson can hope for with the current roster configuration.
If the Rangers felt otherwise, Robinson or Jurickson Profar would have never been sent off t he Opening Day roster and Pete Kozma would have never been claimed off waivers.
(Profar, by the way, was the last Rangers player to homer for his first career hit, and he did it in his first career plate appearance in September 2012.)
The Rangers have some roster maneuvering to do this week, beginning Monday to get Cole Hamels back on the active roster. Robinson could be the choice to go back to the minors. So could Nick Martinez, though the Rangers probably need to keep him around until they’re certain Andrew Cashner will start Thursday or Friday and Martin Perez can go Sunday.
Maybe the Rangers buck their trend and stick with the rookie Robinson, though he doesn’t play shortstop nearly as well as Kozma. Sticking with Robinson would lead to designating Kozma for assignment.
Or maybe Robinson and Kozma stay until Gallo shows his right hamstring is healthy enough to return to the lineup. After an exam Sunday in Texas, it appears he won’t be out much longer.
Robinson had been hot at Triple A Round Rock after making an adjustment to his swing that finally allowed him to start hitting his pitches instead of fouling them off. Of his 11 homers this season, 10 have come this month.
He’s a nice player, as he showed in spring training. He needs a chance to show it. It’s just a matter of the Rangers giving him that chance.
3. Hamels is due back from a 50-game absence to start the opener of a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians. Martinez, who allowed four runs in five innings Sunday, was his primary fill-in.
It was his 11th start in place of Hamels, a span of games that has changed the perspective the Rangers and fans have on him. Martinez again looks like he can be a serviceable big-leaguer, albeit at the end of a rotation.
That’s fine. The world needs No. 5 starters, too. With the Rangers looking at potentially needing to replace three starters (Yu Darvish, Tyson Ross, Cashner) next season, Martinez is in a far better place than he was as recently as spring training.
He has found higher ground by using as many as five pitches confidently. In 2016, when he bounced back and forth between Triple A Round Rock and was bounced around by opposing teams, he used only a fastball and a slider.
The fifth inning, when the Yankees mounted their comeback with four two-out runs, doesn’t happen if the breaking ball in the dirt that Aaron Hicks chased hits Lucroy in the chest protector instead of the inner thigh.
The resulting wild pitch led to extending the inning rather than ending it, and the Yankees had four runs in the span of two batters. A bad cutter to Gary Sanchez was the big blow, a three-run homer.
But the first four innings were a better indicator of how well Martinez has been pitching. He might get another start, depending on Cashner and Perez. He might end up back a Triple A Round Rock to continue starting so that he can be ready the next time a starter strains an oblique or slams his non-pitching thumb into a hotel door.
The Rangers’ pitching depth, though, is in a better place because of him.
Bush is in a better place because of his save Sunday.
Hopefully, the Rangers’ buses didn’t get rear-ended as they headed to LaGuardia.
Safe travels, everyone.