Ohio doesn’t seem like it would be a bastion for baseball players, not with cold weather half the year, but 13 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame were born there.
Four players on the Texas Rangers’ spring roster are from the state better known as the home of the reigning college football champions and as the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents.
Derek Holland, a Michigan fan who was born in Newark, is the leader of the Ohio quartet, by far with the most big-league service. Ryan Rua (Amherst) and Phil Klein (Columbus) got a taste of the majors last year, and Jared Hoying (Sidney) is trying to show that he can contribute, too.
They have learned to battle the weather during winter time, either by moving to Texas as Holland has done or by making the most of the facilities available to them in Ohio. If Cy Young (Gilmore), Mike Schmidt (Dayton) and George Sisler (Akron) did it, so can these Rangers.
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“I’m used to it now,” Klein said. “It’s definitely more difficult.”
Klein runs into issues with his long-tossing, which usually can’t be done outdoors. So, he goes to a gymnasium and throws into a net while aiming some 15 feet high. Rua can take groundballs inside a gym, but weather usually prevents him from going outdoors to shag fly balls.
As their careers evolve, Klein and Rua said that they would consider moving south. Holland, who has a home in the Metroplex and Surprise, already has.
“I would like to be in a warm-weather state,” Rua said. “We’ll see how things go down the road.”
Fans were invited to bring their pooches to the ballpark Saturday at the Peoria Sports Complex.
No complaints here, as man’s best friend deserves a day out of the house.
But with temperatures pushing 90 degrees, it’s not hard to imagine that the St. Bernard in attendance would have rather been lounging in some air conditioning. The same goes for the beautiful jet black Great Dane, who was dragging its owner to their seats.
But everyone’s hearts were in the right place, with all dog-related proceeds (doggie tickets were $4) going to the Arizona Humane Society and with hounds available for adoption.
By the numbers
12Spring telecasts of Rangers games this year. The first is at 3:05 p.m. Sunday on KTXA/Channel 21. Former Houston radio man Dave Raymond, working seven games this spring for Steve Busby, and Tom Grieve have the call.
“They’re all human beings. They need positive reinforcement, but they also need the critical truth, too. That’s one thing that I won’t shy away from with any of them. You’ve got to tell them the critical truth about where they are, where they stand and what’s needed from them.”
— Manager Jeff Banister on his communication approach with players
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760