It’s a cliche to admit when you are wrong, but it takes a real man to admit when he’s right. This is not easy to say ... I was right about Mitch Moreland.
The Texas Rangers pro baseball team is now three games over .500 for the first time in ... a long while. Los Rangers are three games back of the first-place Houston Astros, and just one game behind the wild card. Who cares if the American League West stinks? Just go with it.
One of the biggest reasons this team is here is because of my guy Mitch Moreland. Where would this team’s offense be without my guy Mitch Moreland?
While all of you haters out there were begging for my guy Mitch to be traded for a box of batting practice baseballs, or designated for assignment, I was convinced there was a quality big league hitter in his bat and his approach.
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My man Mitch may have challenged my belief and faith earlier this season, but ever since I saw him nail a three-run home run in Game 3 of the 2010 World Series against the San Francisco Giants at the Ballpark, I was sure this guy had it. I loved his swing, and his defense has always been big league caliber.
Moreland is one of those guys that members of Team JD (GM Jon Daniels) would routinely insist was here only because former president Nolan Ryan wanted to keep around. We will never know the full truth on that, but the Rangers are finally benefiting from Moreland’s bat as much as his glove.
Other than Prince Fielder, Mitch has been this team’s best hitter. He is batting .295 with 17 home runs and 61 RBI. He and Prince are tied for the team-lead in home runs. Of the team’s regulars, Mitch leads the team with a .522 slugging percentage. It did take a while, and God knows he did test this team’s considerable patience, but at 29 Mitch Moreland found it.
“You know, before it seemed I’d get depressed a little bit and that’s easy to do,” Moreland told me recently in the Rangers’ clubhouse. “You just lose confidence a little bit but this year it’s been good. It’s been a really fun year. I just have the normal sores and occasional bruises. It’s been good.”
Moreland has battled through a series of injuries in his career, but in the offseason he said after he had his ankle “cleaned up” he felt like a different person. Maybe that was it. Whatever the case, he’s here and there is no debate that he belongs. This team would not be in the position to contend without him.
“I knew I would do it,” Moreland told me. “I always felt like I should have been doing it.”
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760