Progressive Field and Globe Life Park both opened in 1994, and both have undergone face-lifts the past few years for updates and to try to make them more fan-friendly.
New to the Cleveland Indians’ ballpark is a giant videoboard in left field, running across the top of the left-field bleachers, and a corner bar in right field where the visiting bullpen used to be. There are also party terraces in the upper deck in right field, which some locals have taken to calling trailer homes.
The bar has been packed the past two nights. A tornado apparently has swept through the vacant trailer park. The overall crowds this season have better than Oakland and Tampa Bay with the exception of the 10,428 on hand Tuesday.
The group that watched saw more quality work from the Texas Rangers’ starting rotation and more production from catcher Bryan Holaday and second baseman Jurickson Profar, who both homered and singled and scored ahead of Ian Desmond’s two-run double in the eighth.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 7-3 victory.
1. Much of the pregame talk with manager Jeff Banister had to do with what to do with Profar, technically not a prospect anymore but again generating the buzz he once did as a prospect.
Not the kind of buzz like in 2012 and 2013, but a lot as he comes back from two missed seasons because of a shoulder injury. Judging by the Twitter, a large chunk of the people want Profar to remain with the team once Rougned Odor comes back and see Hanser Alberto sent to Triple A.
Banister then teased those people by saying that the Rangers have looked at keeping both Profar and Alberto.
I’m still in the camp that Profar needs to go to Triple A, even though he had a homer and a single Tuesday. He’s not going to play every day if he stays. He’ll be the utility man. He might get two games a week, if for some reason the Rangers want to sit Elvis Andrus and Odor once a week.
Maybe Prince Fielder would get a day off and Profar could DH or he could play an infield spot while someone else gets a DH day.
Profar hasn’t forgotten how that super-utility role played out in 2013. It was a disaster.
But at this point, the main thing Alberto appears to have going for him is that he can play third base, where Profar hasn’t played since before his shoulder woes. Ryan Rua, though, played 203 games at third base in the minors, so maybe he becomes Adrian Beltre’s backup.
Alberto is a better defensive player, too, but he’s been mostly ineffective at the plate when he does get to play. That’s been only once a week, so it’s not like he’s killing the Rangers.
We’ll all know soon enough what they decide to do with Profar.
2. Fielder is a .194 batter after going 0 for 4 Tuesday, snapping a mini four-game hitting streak. He had decent at-bats, just empty results aside from the eighth-inning productive out that Desmond lauded, but that beats empty results with lousy at-bats.
So says Banister, who continues to make out the lineup card each game and continues to stick Fielder in the No. 3 spot. Banister has his reasons for sticking Fielder in such a key spot in the lineup, a decision that has the Twitter riled up.
The following is from Banister himself, who cited Fielder’s success at driving in runs at an above-average clip compared to the rest of the league and the continued belief that Fielder is going to be a better hitter than he is now:
“You can call it look. There’s presence, you know where certain hitters are in the lineup that command respect, and they pose challenges for pitchers. The look of it, the functionality of it, plus Prince has had some quality at-bats since we put him back in the No. 3 hole. I know that most judge a quality at-bat based on, now, the velo off the bat, but it goes a little deeper for me.
“I wanted him in the No. 3 hole. That’s about as raw as I can give it to you. It gives us an opportunity to stack the appropriate hitters where they need to be to continue to stretch out the lineup and give us an opportunity to have a complete attack.”
For all those pulling their hair out nightly by where Fielder is batting, there’s your answer. He’s not going to the bench — he makes way too much money — and the Rangers are doing OK despite his struggles.
For now, Fielder is being given a chance to save his season from the No. 3 spot in the lineup. At some point something will give.
3. The first round of All-Star voting results is out, and not one Rangers player is in the top five at his position or in the top 15 among outfielders.
Not even Adrian Beltre, on his way to the Hall of Fame, could crack the top five at third base, and while the punch to Jose Bautista’s jaw made Rougned Odor popular among his peers, it didn’t boost him in fan voting.
The ballots are set before the season, so Nomar Mazara is not on there. He can make the American League team by being selected by the manager, this year Kansas City’s Ned Yost, or via the player vote.
Someone could also orchestrate a massive write-in campaign, so, yeah, the manager’s choice or player vote.
The rookie looks like a deserving choice. No one would argue if Beltre or Desmond found their way onto the team. Cole Hamels could also be selected to the pitching staff, especially if the players or Yost are mindful of getting a San Diego kid on the team for a game being played in San Diego.
But it doesn’t seem like the Rangers will have more than one representative based on the first round of voting, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Twenty-four players would get to rest four days before the second-half push begins with a nine-game road trip.
That can’t hurt, right?