Start Writing

October 31, 2011

- See all 164 of my articles

1 Comment

Tomorrow, Tuesday November 1 2011 is the start of National Novel Writing Month. Are you ready? This is a great opportunity to test your skills, develop you ideas and enter the realm of writing. Your topic can be serious or whimsical, topical or fantasy, personal or political. In this case, it is actually all about you. You choose your topic. You choose your message. And you choose every word that you put down. If you choose to participate in the organized event sponsored by the Office Of Letters and Light at, then you can work within a community and get fancy (symbolic but no actual dollar value) prizes. The goal is set, 50,000 words in 30 days. That is 1667 words a day on average.

I have participated in the challenge for the last two years and will be again this year. Why did I even think of participating? Well that is a mixed bag of suggestions, distractions and loneliness. A co-worker first showed me the NaNoWriMo challenge. I hesitated for several years. My kids encouraged me, but still I did not jump in. Then in 2009, I was on an extended work trip in California with nothing to do in the evenings. I had a computer and lots of time, especially on weekends. The result was a romance novel titled A Changed Man. It was not what I originally planned, but it is what I ended up with.

Why did I do it again? That answer is much less complicated. I really enjoyed writing the first work and Kosmo had invited me to relate my experience on The Soap Boxers (then know as the Casual Observer). Basically, I got addicted to writing. It was fun and I could write down anything. The second effort is Science Fiction titled Out There. To date, it is at about 100,000 words and only about 2/3rds of the way done. The Romance was about 150 pages in standard 5.5×8.5 binding. The Science Fiction will be about 400 pages. Both of these are about average for their genre. I did not aim for a specific length, these are just the results of my efforts.

What am I going to do this year? Well, this year is a response to a request by my sons. It will be an almost comic book story to be titled Fire Breathing Ninja Squirrels from Outer Space. I think the title alone gives you enough to put a picture in your head. I have the location picked out already, northern Minnesota. I have also thought about the heroic kids who are much smarter than any of the adults, the evil invaders, the loyal dogs, and the native squirrels torn between their love of home and allegiance to the invading species. All in all, this one should be fun, and easy to keep up the word count.

Remember the rules, no actual writing of the novel until November 1. Good luck and happy writing!

Electoral College Gear

October 28, 2011

- See all 763 of my articles

No Comments

The Electoral College was created in 1787.  It’s been around for 224 years, but nearly all the media coverage of the college centers on their role in elections.

But there’s more to the Electoral College than just 538 people who cast votes in presidential elections.  There’s an entire institution of higher learning.  There’s a football team, a marching band, a glee club … and of course, intramural luge!  EC boasts award-winning faculty and a student body boasting an average IQ of 172!

The college should do more to promote itself, instead of allowing itself to be portrayed as a one trick pony in the media.  Since the college has failed in its self-promotion duties, I have taken it upon myself to promote Electoral College.

As of today, you can buy apparel promoting the academic and extracurricular departments within the college!  Designs include:

  • Electoral College History Department – Stuck in the 1700s
  • Electoral College Admissions Office
  • Electoral College Alumni
  • Electoral College Glee Club
  • Electoral College Rowing Club – Up A Creek Without A Paddle
  • Electoral College Cheerleading

Am I joking?  I assure you that I am completely serious.  Waltz into a room with an Electoral College shirt and watch yourself become the center of attention.  With the presidential election looming in just a year, it has never been a better time to buy Electoral College themed merchandise.

To see a complete listing of designs, visit our store.  You can go directly to our Zazzle Store, or use the easy-to-remember URL (which will bounce you to the Zazzle store).  Check back often for new designs and an expanding collection of merchandise.  Tell all your friends about Electoral College Gear!

On game days, remember to cheer for the Fightin’ Lecties!

Note: Profits from the sales of Electoral College merchandise will go directly to the writers of The Soap Boxers.  This is a fun way to support your favorite writers.  You can also edit the text (font and words) to whatever you want.  I’d prefer that you keep things tasteful, but I have no control over the text you put on the shirt.

Update: it turns out that someone has trademarked the use of the term Electoral College on shirts.  It seems odd that someone could trademark such a common term and exclude anyone else from putting it on a shirt, but it costs $300 to petition for cancellation of a mark, so I’ve changed the design a bit.  The shirts are now for Electoral STATE.

Who Will Emerge As the Republican Nominee?

October 27, 2011

- See all 34 of my articles

1 Comment

First we had Plum Nuts with Michelle Bachman, then there was Just Nuts with Rick Perry and now we have Black Walnut with Herman Cain. Now that his 9-9-9 plan gets more scrutiny and less simple by the minute. The current Flavor of the Month of Republican Presidential Primary voters may be on the way out soon.

Who will be the next flavor in the search to unseat The Great Divide known as Mitt Romney in the race for the nomination? Will it be an outsider not in the race right now? Chubby Hubby couldn’t become the new fave when Chris Christie said no, but is there anyone else out there to make their ideas pleasing to the palates of the voters? Very Unlikely.

With November nearing, meaning the first contest being just about two months away, it is pretty much too late to make much of a challenge for things. So there goes that notion. So that leaves us with what we currently have to find the next craving for the right. So who is it going to be? As I was watching some discussions a day or so ago on Cain being ahead of Romney in the latest poll, I noticed something else in that same poll – Classic Vanilla himself Newt Gingrich was in third place and double digits for the first time in pretty much forever at ten percent.

Is this old flavor, the new flavor of the near future? While he may start to see a continued bump as Cain goes down and Romney keeps his same numbers he has had, Newt will never win the nomination. He is not really conservative enough. Sure he did his best to shut down Washington before, but he has sat down and agreed with that down right dirty leftist socialist tramp Nancy Pelosi in the past. Shoot in the last debate he tried to be the voice of reason for the festival of kookiness this race is becoming.

Also don’t forget Newt is only running because it is time to change in his old wife with a new staffer model. So while it may become the new thing again, the voter will soon remember what cause them not to want this same old plain taste in the first place? So who will get that next bump after that? Rick Santorum’s Holy Gelato? Now that’s a flavor I would certainly like to see rise to the top, or I’ll take some more Plum Nuts, two scoops please.

Jason Aldean – My Kinda Party

October 26, 2011

- See all 26 of my articles

1 Comment

I’ve never written anything related to music or an artist, and I am by no means a professional critic, but I do listen to music throughout my day and I know something is good by the amount of time I put into listening to it. What I’ve been listening to most is an album by Jason Aldean….My Kinda Party. Yes, it is country, so if you’re not a country fan at all then you’ve surely never heard of him. Or, maybe you have…Dirt Road Anthem, anybody? Definitely the biggest single off this album to date, Dirt Road Anthem mixes Aldean’s country background with a little bit of hip-hop/rap/pop (whichever you prefer to call it), but nonetheless, a great song. I’ve been an Aldean fan for a few years now, but hearing this song off of his latest (ok, it was released in late 2010 so I’m a little behind) album really got me listening to his other songs.

In the past few years, I’ve found myself actually listening to the lyrics of songs and trying to understand what they really mean. Call me crazy, I know. I have no idea what triggered it, but it really has made music more enjoyable for me. Possibly my favorite song on My Kinda Party is track #5, Fly Over States. If you get a chance, listen to the song, and try to understand the words. It’s a song about what the title says, Fly Over States – Indiana, Oklahoma, etc. Farms, back roads, highways, “small towns with funny names”…it all makes perfect sense. Not many people fly to Indiana, or downstate Illinois, or Oklahoma, where farmers are “bustin’ their @$$ for you and me”. I’m not trying to sell anybody on anything, but take 3 minutes and listen to the song. It really does make sense.

The rest of the album is upbeat, partyin’ country and slower country that has meaning. This summer, I heard Aldean was coming to the Illinois State Fair…just a short drive from me. Definitely was not going to miss it…and I was not disappointed. It sometimes can be hard to put on a show at a state fair, but Aldean found a way to do it. It was obvious which songs the crowd wanted to hear, and when it was Dirt Road Anthem time, the crowd went crazy. Possibly because it’s the song that’s easiest to connect to? In short, it talks about what you did growing up (in his case, in the country). It talks about memory lane, and “reminiscing about good times”.

I know I’m not coming anywhere close to doing his music any justice, but I have to say if you like country music at all, give him a shot. Listen to the words, connect to it, and you won’t be disappointed. I guarantee it.

Is Randy Moss Treated Fairly By The Media?

October 25, 2011

- See all 763 of my articles

1 Comment

I’ll start by saying that I’m biased – I’m a Randy Moss fan.  I have a #84 jersey in my closet.

I’m not going to say that Moss is a saint.  Clearly he’s not.  He ran into legal issues in high school (although race did play a role in the most prominent incident) and had had issues with marijuana.  He had a number of incidents while he was in the NFL.  He certainly wasn’t the best teammate in the world – but were some of the events overblown?

  • There’s the negative perception of Moss taking plays off.  I’m not completely convinced that this is a terrible thing.  I wonder how many players take off plays but use a different phrase to describe it.  If you want to have fresh legs in the fourth quarter, it might make sense to conserve some energy in the first three quarters – especially if you can drag a couple of defenders away from the ball by acting as a decoy and using 50% of your energy.  But I’ll conceded this point and agree that it’s bad for Moss to take off plays.  In spite of this, he had 153 touchdowns and nearly 15,000 receiving yards – he was incredibly productive most years. 
  • One of the more famous incidents is the mock mooning of the Packers fans in 2005.  Joe Buck about had a heart attack when this happened.  Seriously, Joe?  Moss didn’t actually drop his pants, he just pretended to – and he was parroting the actions of Packers fan who greet the opposing team bus with a real mooning.  I’m not going to say this was in good taste, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as Joe Buck would make it out to be.  Much ado about nothing.  Also, when Joe Buck is against you, you must be doing something right.  Most overrated broadcaster out there. 

While Moss was getting trashed in the media for taking off plays and pretending to moon people, here’s what some other NFL players were doing:

  • Rae Carruth (former Carolina Panther wide receiver) had his pregnant girlfriend killed
  • Michael Vick killed dogs
  • PacMan Jones was charged with felony coercion and misdemeanor counts of battery and threat to life related to a strip club shooting that left a man paralyzed (and has bounced between the suspended list and the active roster like a ping pong ball over the years)
  • Ray Lewis was convicted of obstruction of justice following a murder
  • Two seasons after finishing his NFL career, police found 213 pounds of marijuana in a van owned by Nate Newton.  Incredibly, a month later,  he was caught again – this time with 175 pounds of marijuana in the van (give him credit for being persistent, I guess)
  • Twenty five years after being bounced from the NFL, Art Schlichter is still popping up on police blotters.  You can wade through his mess of a life on Wikipedia
  • Ben Roethlisberger has been consistenly guilty of, um, “conduct unbecoming a gentleman”

This is the tip of the iceberg.  You don’t have to do much work to find a list of NFL players with long rap sheets, including violent crime.

So, what’s my point?  Keep things in perspective.  While Randy Moss may not be remembered as the best teammate ever, he’s often portrayed as a bona fide “bad guy”, and I’m not sure that’s the case, especially when compared to the list above.  Off the field, Moss is active in charity work, but you wouldn’t know it by reading the press clippings.

Join NanoWrimo 2012

October 24, 2011

- See all 164 of my articles

No Comments

This is my 100th article on the Soap Boxers. We have had a number of milestones over the last few weeks. Johnny had his 100th article two weeks ago and Kosmo posted the 1000th article for the site last week. I was originally brought on board for two reasons that I remember; to write about writing and to help fill in as a regular while Johnny was on a leave of absence. Although I have strayed into politics and sports on occasion, I have been regular in my postings, published articles on writing and provided short stories and chapters from larger works. It is almost two years since my first post, and if you search back into the archives, that post was to publicize an annual writing event called National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo.

It seems appropriate to return to that beginning. November is National Novel Writing Month. It was not designated by congress, nor is it recognized by any religious organization that I am aware of. It is a competition established by the office of The Office of Letters and Light. The idea is rather simple; during the month of November write a novel or at least part of a novel. The goal is 50,000 words in 30 days. If you succeed, you get some pretty nifty download stuff; icons and logos to show off on social media and an official winner’s certificate. No money, just the reward of actually writing, and some electronic recognition and bragging rights.

So why would anyone want to do this? That is also simple; to write just to write and have a lot of other people doing the same thing at the same time. NaNoWriMo has a community of other writing enthusiasts in regions across the globe. There are local groups who get together at coffee shops to provide companionship, encouragement and generally hang out. Registering is easy, you provide as much information as you are comfortable with and you write. I would recommend signing up now so that you are ready to hit the road running on November 1. You can participate in regional activity at what ever level you desire, attend all the meeting live or go it alone. Periodically through the month, and defiantly on the last day, you paste you work into a word counter to get an official tally and earn your rewards. None of what you copy into the site is saved, so you work is yours and yours alone.

The completion is to get people to write. Publishing is your own responsibility, although there are several helpful articles to get you going in the right direction. I have personally participated for the last two years and succeeded in getting to the 50,000 goal both times. My first effort will be released here on The Soap Boxers before Christmas (I know I have been promising release for a year now). My second effort is still a work in progress. Although well past 50,000 words, it is still far from complete.

Reaching the goal of 50,000 words is not as hard as it may seem. First, remember that everything you write does not have to end up in the final product. The idea is to encourage writing, even if some of it is trash. To make the goal, you have to average 1667 words per day. That may seem like a lot, but consider that this article is well over 800 words and it has taken me less than an hour to write. The beginning of the effort may be a struggle, but once you start putting words together and a story or multiple stories start popping into your head, it will get easier. In several of my earlier articles, I have put forth suggestions for plot development, character development and fighting writer’s block. If you have trouble writing one night, just start itemizing your day. In this way at least, you will be adding to your word count and practicing writing and who knows, some of it may end up in a best seller!

I hope that many of you choose to take up the challenge. Even if you do not formalize your writing efforts through NaNoWriMo, I hope that you try your hand at writing. At the very least, take the opportunity to post comments on the various articles here on The Soap Boxers. Each of us has written at least one controversial or at least provocative article over the years. What ever your passion, there is always something to write about. In his 1000th site article commentary, Kosmo related that I had stated that I should be paying him for the opportunity and forum that he provides for my writing attempts. I do believe that I owe him much more that he owes me. He provides this platform, not just for me, but for all of his writers and for all of the visitors to the site. All you have to do is write.

Friday Roundup

October 21, 2011

- See all 763 of my articles


No new episode of Treasure Hunt today.  My creative energies have been diverted elsewhere this week.  A secret project is underway – more about that next week (hopefully).

If you’re thinking of buying a Kindle, check out my review from a couple of weeks ago.  I touch on the pros and cons of each model.  What’s great for you might not be a good fit for someone else.  If you like the article and decided to take the plunge, consider buying through the links on the site – we’ll earn a small commission on the sale.

You can now check out Kindle books at many public libraries.  Check out this feature!  I’ve been making slow progress on the print edition of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and downloaded the Kindle version from my library.  You can’t use 3G to download, needing instead to use either WiFi or USB to transfer the book.  Nonetheless, a cool feature.

This is article 1002 for The Soap Boxers.  Want to see them all?  Explore the archives.

The World Series is underway.  It’s currently tied at one game apiece, with the Cardinals taking game one and the Rangers game two.  A huge play in game two occurred when Elvis Andrus moved to second base on  slightly errand throw.  Albert Pujols touched the throw from the outfield ever so slightly, slowing its path to catcher Yadier Molina and making it impossible for Molina to cut down Andrus as he tried to advance.  As a result, the double play was no longer in order.  Making the situation even worse for the Cardinals, Andrus moved to third on a the run-scoring sacrifice fly by Josh Hamilton.  Had he been at first base when Hamilton came to bat, he would have been unable to advance on the fly, and the throw from right field to second base is much shorter than the throw to third.

Last Saturday, Chad Dawson scored a controversial TKO in a boxing match against light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins.  The key sequence in the match involved Dawson lifting Hopkins into the air and throwing him to the canvas.  An injured Hopkins was unable to continues and the bout was called.  On Tuesday, the WBC declared the match a technical draw and reinstated Hopkins as the champion (the reigning champion must LOSE in order to lose his belt; he retains the title in the case of a draw).  This is an interesting – and seemingly correct – decision.  I’m not much of a boxing fan, but find it interesting to see the result of a contest changed after the fact.  This simply doesn’t happen in team sports.

As a lover of Tigers, I was saddened by the shooting of 49 animals – including 18 Bengal tigers – after their owner opened their cages and committed suicide.  I fully understand the decisions that authorities were faced with, and can’t fault them for their choice.  I place the blame on the owner, Terry Thompson, who put the animals in danger by released them.  Thompson had been convicted of animal cruelty in the past.  While the Bengal Tiger is the most common of the Tiger subspecies, there are fewer than 2500 of them in the world, and the death of 18 in one event is a blow to conservation efforts.

On Thursday, we heard reports that Libyan leader Gadhafi (Qaddafi) was killed in a crossfire between his troops and those of the National Transitional Council.  His death ends a 42 year reign over the African country.  Observers wonder if this will embolden rebels in other countries, such as in Yemen, where rebels have called for the resignation of president Ali Abdullah Saleh.  For some interesting insights into Libyan/American relations, I’d suggest Nelson DeMille’s novel, The Lion’s Game.  It’s fiction, of course, so you can’t treat it like a history book (although many of those books indeed contain fiction), but it’s an entertaining introduction to the culture.

Fame for Crunchy

October 20, 2011

- See all 35 of my articles


As you know, I’m not an exclusive Soapboxers writer. Kosmo doesn’t pay me enough…or at all (insert donation button here, Kosmo). But, hey, we’ve known each other for a long time (I first met him when I was in HIGH SCHOOL), besides, he has given me a great place to voice my opinion, whether he agrees with me or not.

However, I was recently approached (or as they say “targeted” but I try to avoid aggressive rhetoric) with Yahoo! News to write a “blog sounding” article about Iowa politics. Yeah, that was right up my alley. So I wrote this. Just a story about me being an undecided voter in Iowa. It’s dangerous. Especially with phone calls at bed time. I almost said the candidate that doesn’t wake the kids gets my vote. But that’s not entirely true. So I didn’t write it. But almost…so I submitted the article, crossed my fingers and went about chasing a toddler who needed a diaper change.

And it got published. Color me surprised. So I was asked to write another blog post about a “timely news event”. What’s better than the Occupy Wall Street drama?? The other night I was staying up (way way) too late and got sucked into twitter. I suggested the Occupy Iowa people get a job. Apparently I hit a nerve. Someone I don’t know, who ISN’T an in-law created the twitter hashtag #antisarahbowman (when I’m not Crunchy Conservative, I go by that name). And that got me to thinking…wow. Either these people have nothing better to do than cyber bully and protest something they really don’t understand or….well, sleep outside on the lawn of the statehouse. But thank you, anti-Sarah Bowman people, for giving me a topic to write about. So I wrote this.

Again, I crossed my fingers and went to bed. Imagine my surprise this morning when I woke up and thought “Eh, I’ll see if Yahoo! News has posted my article yet?” And then I find 5 tweets, 54 Facebook recommends and 51 comments! Woah. I hit a liberal nerve. I have told my mom NOT to read the comments, because, no mom likes it when someone calls her kid a “F**king moron”.

So yes, twitter IS worth something…whether my husband believes it or not. If you want to know how I feel about the Iowa caucuses or the Occupy Wall Street “people” view the links. And comment…and re-tweet. And link back to this article. But not while you’re on the clock…and if you’re not on the clock and actually “occupying” somewhere? Get a job.

Post #1000: Has This Blog Been Successful?

October 19, 2011

- See all 763 of my articles

No Comments

Today is the 1000th post for The Soap Boxers. (Technically, we’ve had more than 1000, but a bunch of them had to be deleted after I discovered that a writer was plagiarizing). It’s been three years since the blog was launched. Has it been successful? Depends on what you’re trying to measure.

Financial Success

Regardless of how you measure financial success, the answer is probably no. My business first appeared on a schedule C for the 2009 tax year. The business recorded losses for tax year 2009 and 2010. Things have turned the corner this year, and I should make a slight profit. Still far below minimum wage, but black ink nonetheless. If things continue down this path, profit-sharing for the other writers should be triggered next year.

The core business – The Soap Boxers blog – still doesn’t generate significant revenue. I change the mix of ads, to no avail. I flash reminders of people’s favorite online merchant – – to no avail. I don’t even want to think about how many hours I’ve spent screwing around with the ads for the site. Definitely a poor use of time.

That’s not to say that there’s not money to be made. There’s fairly strong demand for my talents as a personal finance blogger. This is somewhat strange, due to the fact that I never set out to be a personal finance blogger (and have never actively sought any paying gigs in this niche). I knew that I didn’t want much focus on financial topics on The Soap Boxers, so whenever I had an idea for an article, I’d place it as a guest post on some other site.

From a pure dollars and cents perspective, it’d make sense to shutter The Soap Boxers and take on as many freelance gigs as possible.

But that wouldn’t be as much fun.

Fiction Writing Success

A major reason I started The Soap Boxers (or The Casual Observer, if you remember the old name) was to refine my writing technique in anticipation of a novel.

Is the novel done? No. But I’ve written more than 100 short stories, and I feel that my technique has improved greatly over the years. In the early days, I’d often crack out books on the craft of writing, to figure out how to attack a certain writing problem. I haven’t dusted off any of these books in a very long time. I’ve found my own writing style, and many people seem to like it.

[Looking for a collection of those stories? You can find my collection Mountains, Meadows, and Chasms in Kindle format. The fan-acclaimed short story The Cell Window is also available as a stand-alone Kindle book (it is also included in Mountains, Meadows, and Chasms).]

I also led a fiction writing seminar last spring. I had the intention of turning this into a recurring paid gig, but wanted to test on the process first, so I solicited a few students to join the first class, which would be free. It was supposed to be four students, but scheduling issues for one student caused the class size to drop to three. I quickly discovered that trying to provide analyses of several stories with a quick turnaround was difficult. The course ended up stretching much longer than expected, mostly due to my inability to meet the timelines. It was smart to pilot this idea with one non-paying group – I learned that, at this time, the fiction classes are not something I can commit to. However, the course was interesting, and I think the students got benefit out of it, so it might pop up as a future venture.

A Forum For Other Writers

I started out running a one-person blog. Eventually, I brought on Johnny Goodman to cover sports. That may have seemed a bit like taking coal to Newcastle, considering that I’m a huge sports fan. However, I wanted to free myself up to write more about baseball and dump the other sports on Johnny.

Since then, the group of writers has grown, and at this point nine writers are contributing on a regular basis. These folks are working for a share of profits. Since the venture hasn’t turned a profit yet, it means that none of them has earned a penny from their writing … yet. I doubt any of the writers will ever retire from the money they make from their writing on The Soap Boxers, but I am confident that there will be profits to share in the future.

So I’m a bit like Tom Sawyer, getting my friends to help whitewash the fence. However, the writers do get a benefit. I give them a soap box to jump onto, allowing their opinions to reach more people. During lunch on Monday (at a local BBQ joint) Martin Kelly commented that he sometimes feels that he should pay me for the privilege of writing on the site. That’s crazy talk, of course, but gives you an insight into the mind of many writers.


I’ve met a lot of interesting people along the way – both readers and other bloggers. I can’t possibly name everyone (and I’m sure to forget someone important) … but special thanks go to Evan, Barb, Lazy Man, SVB, Baker, and Mrs. A. (Yeah, you too, Johnny Sacks, even if you do cheer for the stinking Yankees).

1000 down … one million to go!

The World Series Begins Today!

- See all 763 of my articles

No Comments

If you’ve been paying attention over the past few years, you might realize that I’m a baseball fan.  I love the playoffs and World Series, even when my team isn’t in it (sadly the case this year).  The World Series is my Super Bowl (times seven!)

This year’s matchup pits the St. Louis Cardinals from the good league versus the Texas Rangers from the inferior league.  The Cardinals are my second favorite team, so I’m naturally pulling for them.  It’s been a strange journey for the Cardinals, who had to make a miracle run in September just to get into the playoffs.  Early in the month, I commented to Bob Inferapels that while that Phillies had an insurmountable lead over the Braves, the Braves likewise had an insurmountable lead in the wild card.  Well, the Cardinals surmounted it.

This is a team that lost co-ace Adam Wainwright in the spring, had Matt Holliday knocked out early with an appendectomy (and other various injuries during the year), and lost Albert Pujols for a while due to an injury.  They did catch a couple of small breaks when Holliday and Pujols returned earlier than expected, but for much of the year it was guys like David Freese carrying the load.

A few years ago, many critics said that Matt Holliday was simply a product of Coors Field and would flop anywhere else.  While he hasn’t been able to duplicated the crazy numbers he put up for the Rockies (not even I expected him to), his numbers the past three seasons (OPS of .909, .922, and .912) still place him along the elite hitters in baseball.

The Rangers road the bat of Nelson Cruz into the series, returning to complete the unfinished business from last year.  They lost Cliff Lee as a free agent in the off-season, and very nearly traded away an at-the-time disgrunted Michael Young in the spring, but put those events in the rear view mirror early in the season and roared to a 96 win season.

Some of the Rangers players have faced a lot of struggles in their lives.  The most notable, of course, is Josh Hamilton.  The former #1 pick was always an elite talent, but his struggles with drugs and alcohol nearly cost him his career.  This season, Hamilton faced a tragedy when a fan fell to his death trying to catch a ball Hamilton had tossed to him.  It’s very common for outfielders to toss a ball to fan in the stands.  Shannon Stone was simply the unfortunate victim of a freak occurrence.  It would be nice for Hamilton to finish the season on a high note.

Pitcher Alexi Ogando had been invited to Spring Training in 2005.  However, when he arrived in the US that year, he was taken into custody for his role in a human trafficking ring.  The gist of the operation was that young baseball players were marrying women who had been denied visas, in order to allow the women to gain entrance into the country.  Ogando was banned from entering the United State for five years, derailing his Major League career.  Ogando started the season strong and cooled in the second half (likely due to a large increase in innings pitched), but still finished with a 13-8 record and a 3.51 ERA.

Even if the east coast media market doesn’t like this matchup, it should be a great World Series!

Older Entries