Texas Rangers: Why Prince Fielder Needed to Win
You realize how much you love it. It becomes a job at times. When you take it for granted, like I took being healthy for granted.
OAKLAND, Cali. — When the Texas Rangers took the field on Monday night to begin the 2015 season expectations were set high. The fans expected a now healthy Shin-Soo Choo to do what he was brought here to do – get on base – a lot. We expected lights out pitching from Yovani Gallardo who was making his 6th career Opening Day start.
We expected Elvis Andrus to not only perform better defensively but offensively, too. Fans wanted to see Leonys Martin prove he could handle the leadoff spot. Above all else, Texas Rangers fans needed to see self-proclaimed ‘I’m-back-better-than-ever-with-a-rejuvenated-love-of-the-game’ Prince Fielder blast home runs or at the very least, get a few hits.
None of that happened.
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Instead, the Rangers were blanked by the Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray in the first game of the season. The only player who had a hit was the player with the least amount of expectations, outfielder Ryan Rua.
Understandably, when the Texas Rangers took the field on Tuesday at the Coliseum fans had already lowered their standards. But, that would soon change in the second inning as the team looked how we wanted them to in game one.
There is no question that the Rangers needed this win. Jeff Banister needed this win, well maybe wanted it is a better fit. The fans needed and wanted this win. But, the one player who needed to get the W for himself, the club, and the fans is Prince Fielder.
After his season was cut short and undergoing neck surgery we had lost faith that Fielder would ever be the same, heck some of us even doubted he would return. If you have been watching MLB Network anytime in the last three days you’ve probably seen the interview he did with Peter Gammons. And let me tell you, I am so glad I didn’t see this before the season began.
Gammons asks him if he thought his career was over before he was 30. Fielder replied:
"Yeah. I didn’t know what was wrong. My whole body was weak. My arm was weak. In BP I tried to hit a home run [it] felt like somebody was grabbing my shoulders back. I just didn’t know what was wrong with me. I [thought] I was just breaking down, I’m 30. (Said with a HUGE laugh). You know, that’s what they say ‘When you turn 30 your body changes.’ I’m like it’s over."
As I stated, I’m glad I didn’t see this before Monday because it would have made that loss even harder to swallow. But then, in the third inning last night with Rougned Odor at second, Prince Fielder lines drives to shortstop Marcus Semien for an RBI single and is safe at first.
This may have been a small play in the grand scheme of a baseball game, nonetheless, it was a huge moment in just the second game of the season. Later in the 5th Prince Fielder hit a two RBI single and by the reactions on Twitter – not to mention my own hollerin’ at the t.v. – you would have thought he blasted a walk-off grand slam in a playoff game.
But, that just proves how much everyone needed to see Fielder hit. It doesn’t matter that it was a single. What matters is he connected and drove in all three runs scored in last night’s win over the A’s.
This is the Prince Fielder we needed to see. This is exactly what needed to be shown this early in the season to prove to the baseball world that Prince Fielder is feeling exactly how he said he was – strong, healthy, has his strength back and his arm feels good.
When the Texas Rangers play their home opener against Houston Astros on Friday the eyes of Texas will be watching to see their Prince blast moonshots over the right field porch.