Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rangers Better in 2012? Nolan Ryan Thinks So

He is truly EF Hutton.  When the Rangers president and CEO talks, we all listen.  At least that was the case when he met the spring training media throng in a tiny, hot tent Wednesday afternoon.

"I think we’re a better ball club," Ryan responded when asked to compare the 2012 Rangers to the 2011 unit that went to the World Series for the second straight year.

Ryan didn't need to be prodded to explain his reasoning.

"If you ask me why I think we’re a better ball club going into spring training in 2012?  We’re a stronger club than we’ve ever been because  of our young pitching and the number of innings they’ve logged and the success they’ve had getting a feel for what their durability is."
It's not just the young guys that give him such optimism. 

"We have a nucleus of guys, position players, that play every day and play hard," he continued.  "We have what I call established veterans on the ball club that aren’t at the end of their careers.  Their in the peak of their careers. "
"You can kind of go around the ball club and you look at Josh (Hamilton) and you look at Adrian (Beltre) and you look at Ian (Kinsler) and you look at Michael (Young), Nellie (Cruz).  That’s a nucleus of a ballclub that’s not yet growing old."
"The biggest thing you say, 'what would you like to see?'  Less time on DL.  When you look at what happened with our club last year and we did it key people spending time on the DL.  If we can narrow the amount of time those folks spend on the DL, it increases the opportunity for us to be an even better ball club."
I don't need to remind you how last season ended.  The only way to improve on 2011?  Go to the World Series and win in 2012.  Easier said than done.
Friday, February 17, 2012

Vinsanity 5.0 Working Well in Dallas

Vince Carter has won slam dunk titles, Olympic gold medals and had deep postseason runs but the Larry O'Brien trophy has eluded him.  The Mavericks are the fifth team the veteran guard has played for and Carter is hoping the fifth time is the charm in Dallas. 

The Mavs signed Carter as free agent in December.  He's started in 15 games this year and played in 25 of 30.  He's averaging 11 points, a far cry from the 22 points a game he's posted over the course of his 13 previous nba seasons and the career high 27.6 he averaged with the Raptors during the 2000-2001 season.

At this point in his career, Carter says personal numbers aren't his primary concern. 

"I mean, I'm asked that all the time.  I dont really know how to answer that," he said earlier this week.  "I'm about winning.  It's not about points, not about stats.  At the end of the day, if the team I'm on is winning, that's all care about.  That's what I came here for."

Interestingly, Dallas is 6-0 when he scores 15 or more points.  But Carter is clear, he wants a ring and feels that with the Mavericks his chances are good of getting one. 
"It is what it is, I'm trying to win. I'm here to contribute to a very good basketball team and hopefully it's enough to get us over the hump to win another one."
Monday, February 13, 2012

The Blake Show's Dallas Connection

The Mavericks cancelled their morning shootaround prior to their game against the Clippers Monday.  That gave us plenty of time to spend with the Los Angeles team that is stealing some star power from that other team in the City of Angels. 

It goes without saying that Blake Griffin is one the league's best young stars.  He's also one of the most likeable.  He's an uber-talented, marketable, smart young man who is also a thoughtful, humble interview. 

The Oklahoma graduate's parents are staying north of the Red River tonight but he will still have a long list of fans inside the American Airlines Center tonight.  Griffin has family and ton of friends who live in Dallas.

"I'll have a nice little ticket list tonight," he lamented with a smile.

I asked him which team those family members cheer for.

"They root for the Mavs when we're not playing," he said. "But, you know, they've started to watch a lot of west coast games."