Color me impressed, Rangers fans

Soak it in Rangers fans.
It’s called passion for baseball. It’s a long season… it’s not 16 Sundays. It’s every day and investing time emotion and having moments of great joy and winters of agony.

And if your team wins, you are overwhelmed with joy that can make each summer after wards a celebration.

Enjoy it. This frustration will pay off.

I started the post season needling Rangers fans but from the response on the blog and in the stands of Arlington, you are out there and you care.

I’m impressed.
Fill that park up next year. Don’t be like the Tampa fans who need to be bribed to show up to the game.

Wear those AL Champ T shirts. Make those antler signs.
And oh yeah… DEMAND that they sign Cliff Lee!

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The Texas Rangers – A film by Clint Eastwood





The Texas Rangers story this season has unfolded like a movie… but not just any kind of movie.

Specifically it has been a Clint Eastwood film.
I’m not talking about the Spaghetti Westerns, the Dirty Harry films or even the Clyde the Orangutan movies.

I’m talking about the respected Clint Eastwood films of the 1990s and 2000s.
You know, the ones he churns out about once every 8 months. The ones where, even if you didn’t like them, you’d think, “Well, at least it was well made.”

Bear with me, but the story of the 2010 Texas Rangers would be an ideal film for Clint not only to produce and direct but also to star in.

It is a story like Unforgiven or Million Dollar Baby where Clint is the grizzled old timer brought in to do what he was born to do… and paired up with a partner his age and a young whipper snapper.

Think about it!
You have Nolan Ryan leaving his ranch to save the Rangers.
You have Ron Washington and Josh Hamilton overcoming their drug past.
You have a Rangers team that is filled with cast offs from other teams giving each other antler signs.

And they beat the Yankees! It seems that every baseball movie, with the exception of Pride of the Yankees and The Scout, has the Yankees as the bad guys. Even the Bad News Bears had the evil little league team called the Yankees.

It adds juice to seeing them win the pennant at the end.

Rent your tuxedo for the Oscars, Clint… the movie is tailor made. The script would practically be a Mad Lib.

And let this blog post be one of two things:

1) My pitch, in case anyone at Clint’s Malpaso Productions reads my blog.

or

2) A way for people to see I predicted this movie before they even rolled cameras.

The film stars…

CLINT EASTWOOD as NOLAN RYAN
Yeah, he doesn’t look like Ryan (as Ryan has clearly discovered the Rawlings All American Grill). But Clint has Ryan’s imposing presence. He’s the legendary cowboy whose background makes everyone stand at attention. He’s the old school hero who wants nothing to do with these crazy new ideas. You can imagine him responding to the concept of pitch counts with a quiet, “Say what?”

MORGAN FREEMAN as RON WASHINGTON
Sure he’s older than the real Washington, but this is Hollywood. Stockard Channing played a teenager in Grease for Christ’s sake! Besides he can play the instant respect card when he arrives in the dugout. And he can play the troubled side when his cocaine use comes out. Plus let’s face it, he could narrate the hell out of the film. Give it the ole Shawshank RedemptionMillion Dollar Baby treatment.

MATT DAMON as JOSH HAMILTON
Clint has used Matt in his last few films, and why not? He’s awesome. He doesn’t really look like Josh Hamilton, but who cares? He can play the many layers of Hamilton. Ryan will inevitably get Hamilton pumped up, reminding him not to throw away his gifts and chance to be a great player. The Rangers are his third team and best shot at redemption. And Clint is big on redemption. Plus, when Washington has the cocaine problem, it can be Hamilton, the young player, who reaches out and helps him. When he stands by his manager, it will bring a lump to the throat like Jimmy standing by Coach Dale in Hoosiers.

HILARY SWANK as CLIFF LEE
Let’s face it. Hilary is dying for a third Oscar… and Clint loves her. She’s already won an Academy Award playing a woman pretending to be a man. Why not push it all the way? She’ll just play a guy! And just treat it as if it is normal. By the end people will be saying, “I completely forgot it was a woman playing Cliff Lee” and BAM! She’ll have a third golden guy for her collection.

And there are the supporting roles.

ADAM ARKIN as CHUCK GREENBERG
He’s the investor who lures Ryan out of retirement to save the team. He has to visit Ryan at his cattle ranch and no doubt steps his expensive shoes in some cow pies. He has to deliver the inevitable “We need you to come back” speech and tell him he can run the team HIS way. Then later in the film they’ll cut to him a lot clapping.

JESSICA LANGE as RUTH RYAN

It’s a shame Sondra Locke can’t play this role, which will inevitably be thankless. Ruth, Nolan’s wife, initially is skeptical about Ryan’s going back to the Rangers. She realizes how it will be his last bit of youth sparked again and agrees. Then later in the film they’ll cut to her a lot clapping.

GIOVANNI RIBISI as JON DANIELS
Ribisi would be spot on as the super young GM who works well (and shows respect) to Nolan Ryan. And along the way teaches Ryan that the young kids may have a few good ideas in their head. He looks concerned during a lot of the ball game scenes and gives Nolan Ryan someone to growl to.

NATHAN FILLION as C. J. WILSON
The left hander has a great season pitching the Nolan Ryan way… and let’s face it. He looks like the star of Castle. And why would Fillion turn down a role in a Clint Eastwood film?

MICHAEL PENA as BENGIE MOLINA
The actor from Crash worked with Clint in Million Dollar Baby. He comes over to the team in mid season and gives the pitching staff a boost… plus when he hits for the cycle and later steals a base in the playoffs, it can be a comical moment.

RYAN KWANTEN as MICHAEL YOUNG
The Aussie does a nice job with an American accent on True Blood, and he’s in shape enough to play the versatile Young in the film. Plus he’s a nice looking man.
JAIMZ WOOLVETT as MIKE MADDUX
OK, he looks NOTHING like Mike Maddux. But damn it, Woolvett was GREAT as the Schofield Kid in Unforgiven and proved he could handle himself in a scene with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman. He should be in the cast, damn it!
TIMOTHY BOTTOMS as GEORGE W. BUSH
The former owner of the Rangers who dabbled in politics will show up from time to time. No, you can’t put Will Farrell in this movie. Besides, Bottoms played serious Bush in a 9/11 TV movie and silly Bush in “That’s My Bush.” He can handle the cameo.
So, come on! You can picture it! Even the poster can say
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER CLINT EASTWOOD
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER MATT DAMON
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER MORGAN FREEMAN
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER HILARY SWANK
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER JESSICA LANGE

IN A FILM BY CLINT EASTWOOD
(WHO HAS 3 MORE OSCARS NOT COUNTING THE FIRST ONE WE MENTIONED WHEN WE LISTED CLINT IN THE CAST!)
It smells like Oscar bait.
I demand a producer credit.

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The ghost of George visits Hank and Hal

(Hank and Hal Steinbrenner sit in their Tampa offices. The TV is on showing the Giants and Rangers playing in the World Series. Each are reading over details of Joe Girardi’s contract offer. They both look up when they hear a strange rattling.)

HANK:
What the hell was that?

HAL:
Who’s there?

(The ghost of their father, George M. Steinbrenner III, appears.)

GHOST:
I am thy father’s spirit,
Doom’d for a certain term to walk the night.
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love–

HANK:
That doesn’t sound like you, dad.

HAL:
You never spoke in iambic pentameter.

GHOST:
What? Your old man didn’t have a flair for the dramatic?
I ought to fire you both.

HANK:
Now THAT’S dad.

HAL:
What are you doing here?

GHOST:
(Pointing to the TV.)
First of all, I want that turned off. There’s no World Series being played
this year. Not as far as we are concerned. Now for the last few years my
body has slowed me down a little. But let me tell you… I am charged up
and ready to be the old George again.

(Ghost sees they are reviewing papers.)

GHOST:
What are you working on? I assume the apology to the fans of New York
for such a poor showing this October?

HAL:
Um… no dad. We’re not issuing a statement like that.

GHOST:
Why not? What are you satisfied with this showing? Did you break camp
in April saying “Ooooo. I hope this rag tag bunch of misfits scrapes together 95 wins and gets the Wild Card?” You think New Yorkers want that? You see those “Wild Card” hats and shirts flying off the racks? We should donate the whole damn line to Goodwill. It’s a disgrace. What are you working on?

HANK:
These are about Girardi.

GHOST:
Ah. Good work. Get him out of here.

HAL:
Actually it’s a three year extension. We’re bringing him back.

GHOST:
WHAT?

HANK:
We believe in Joe.

GHOST:
Oh I believe in him too… I believe he just cost us a trip to the World Series. Did you see how he managed that ALCS? He wouldn’t bring in Mariano Rivera with the season on the line, but in every big spot out came David Robertson. I read the box scores and kept thinking “Why the hell are they listing his social security number?” Then I realized THAT WAS HIS PLAYOFF E.R.A.!

HAL:
The Rangers were tough.

GHOST:
Tough? We used to beat them and they’d score only one run all series. And those were the Rangers who were all on steroids. But it’s easy to score runs I guess when you don’t use your Hall of Famers and keep throwing the Robertsons and Mitres of the world. Where the hell was Sabathia when the season was on the line in Game 4?

HANK:
Joe didn’t want to wear down his arm.

GHOST:
Wear down his arm? He threw 10 innings over 2 weeks. Billy Martin used to throw Sparky Lyle 10 innings every other day out of the bullpen. Does Sabathia look like a guy who is going to wither away? He’s built like a brontosaurus. But I guess Joe got his wish. He’ll be well rested for spring training!

HAL:
Burnett actually pitched well.

GHOST:
6 innings and 5 runs for the loss. That’s a 7.50 ERA.
For $16 million I’d expect a little more than that.
Catfish Hunter could throw better than that and he’s as dead as me!

HANK:
That’s not fair, dad. Burnett pitched well for the first 5 innings.

GHOST:
Well unless they shortened the game to 5 innings since I’ve been gone,
those other 4 innings count too! And going into that game, every Yankee fan out there would ask a GENIE for 5 innings from Burnett… then 2 from Wood and 2 from Rivera. But Clueless Joe kept Burnett out there until his arm fell off. Which reminds me, when the hell did we start letting players wear tattoos on their arm?

HAL:
Molina hit a fluke homer right after the intentional walk.

GHOST:
That’s another thing. Why was every other batter intentionally walked?
David Murphy was walked? Did David Murphy become Joe DiMaggio since
I went away? And what’s he doing walking Josh Hamilton twice early in
Game 6?

HANK:
Well, best face Guerrero. He didn’t do anything all series.

GHOST:
He got 4 hits in one of the games! What happened to going after the hitters?

HAL:
Joe likes to go “By the book.”

GHOST:
Let me give you the Cliff Notes for that book. “I have the biggest payroll in baseball and I spit the bit 2 out of 3 seasons.” I’ve read it. Let me spoil the ending for you. It ends with the words “You’re fired.”

HANK:
He has Cashman’s vote of approval.

GHOST:
There’s another one. This guy has Monopoly money to play with. He can just keep building Hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk… and we don’t have a #4 starter? We don’t have a decent pen? That poor shmuck Joba kept being shifted back and forth that Girardi tried to bring him into the game as a reliever but forgot he was starting. Get rid of Cashman.

HAL:
We can’t do that!

GHOST:
Why not? There’s good GMs floating around out there. Let’s see how
they’d feel about working with blank checks. They might even put a Division
Winner on the field… something we’ve only done ONCE since 2006. And get a
manager in here with some guts.

HANK:
Like who?

GHOST:
Why not Bobby Valentine? I liked that whole “disguise” thing he pulled in
Queens. Very clever. Or hell, Joe Torre’s available. Get the author back in here and have him write a sequel.

HAL:
Torre? We’ve already parted ways. There’s too many bad feeling there.

GHOST:
Like Billy Martin and me were singing Kumbaya. I’d bring Billy back sometimes WHILE I was firing him. Let’s go. Let’s shake things up. I can only do so much from the other world.

HANK:
What should we do first?

GHOST:
Can you shake up the coaching staff?

HAL:
We already let Dave Eiland go.

GHOST:
That’s my boy! And by the way. I saw my monument at the Stadium.
It’s nice. Understated.

HANK:
Thanks dad.

GHOST:
Fare thee well at once!
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And ‘gins to pale his uneffectual fire:
Adieu, adieu! Hank and Hal, remember me.

(Hank and Hal look confused.)

GHOST:
That’s Billy Shakespeare. Good guy. Turns out he has a wicked curve ball.
Lived in the wrong century. I would have paid him Kei Igawa money.

(Exit Ghost. Hank and Hal exhale, look at Girardi’s extension, and then search for Joe Torre’s number.)

HANK:
(Into Phone)
Joe. It’s Hank Steinbrenner. You won’t BELIEVE why I am calling you.

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