Texas Rangers All-Access Episode 1: Back in Arizona Recap

A spring-training documentary series debuts and shows what Texas is focusing on this spring training.

San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers
San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers / Norm Hall/GettyImages

The Texas Rangers are finding out very quickly that with success comes more exposure. The defending World Series champions are taking part in an all-access series that is sponsored by T-Mobile and being aired on Youtube and streamed on a variety of social media websites. Episode one was released Monday afternoon. It was a short look back at the World Series and then recapped the first week of camp after the full-squad had reported. Lets recap what all we saw in episode one and what defines this team.

Episode 1's focus on the character of this team

The first thing you see as the series starts is the last moments from the World Series. It features Eric Nadel's classic radio call and the glove spike from Josh Sborz after striking out Ketel Marte. It shows the celebration from the team and a montage of clips from the trophy presentation. Then it goes to an aerial shot of the field in Surprise and a graphic that says 15 weeks later. This is to illustrate how short of a time it has been since that night in Arizona. The narration then focuses on how it has been the shortest offseason in Texas Rangers' history and how Texas comes to spring training as World Series champs for the first time in the history of the franchise.

The next thing we see after the players reporting for the first time is the full squad gathered in the main meeting room in Surprise, Arizona. It is time for the first meeting of spring training. Bruce Bochy gives an opening speech and starts by saying, "Welcome World Champions." Then he welcomes the free agents and first-year players. Then we see Chris Young's speech to the team. He talks about how this is just the beginning and then says this,

"Success for us as an organization is going to be defined by what he do here forward."

Chris Young

He discusses how he thinks this team could do something special. That is spliced together with video of pitchers on the mound throwing, batters in the cage, and Evan Carter running the basepaths and working on sliding drills. The final thing that Chris Young does say at the end of his speech is he focuses on the character of this organization. That is the defining aspect of this episode. Young mentions in broad strokes the character of this organization.

The next thing we see is Tony Beasley as he discusses what the staff does on a daily basis to prepare for that day's workouts. They then show signs around the building that indicate what the team wants their players to focus on like being a good teammate, competing with passion, and dominating the fundamentals. Marcus Semien is then mentioned as someone who embodies all of those characteristics.

That leads directly to a short feature on Marcus Semien. Beasley mentions how Semien gets here very early in the morning and that is shown by Semien walking in with the sun still down. Josh Smith then is shown talking about how Semien plays in all 162 and that he gives him a hard time about wanting to play second, but Semien plays everyday. Smith calls Semien a grinder who is always in the weight room. It is mentioned that Semien had more at-bats than anyone in MLB history in 2023.

That leads to an interview with Semien who says he took about 10 days off after the record season. He then discusses the 2024 team. He says,

"Now that we are all back together, we all want to find ways to improve, and if you can say you want to improve after winning a World Championship, you know I think the sky is the limit."

Marcus Semien

That is a forward-looking quote. That is the message I think the Texas Rangers are trying to send with this episode is that they are not content with just winning one World Series championship. Chris Young mentioned in that speech that the talent on this team is as good as any team in baseball. Semien saying the sky is the limit for this team.

We then get short interview clips with Corey Seager and Nathan Eovaldi. Seager talks about the camaraderie of this team and how they know what to expect now that they have been together for more than a year. Eovaldi mentions the closeness of this team and how they love to be together and do things together.

The next part is about players trying to make the team. This is one thing that is missing. Hard Knocks on HBO is known for identifying a group of players for fans to cheer on as they try to make the team. The episode mentions players trying to make the team without identifying a player who fits that profile. They could have done a short feature on Jared Walsh, Wyatt Langford, or some other non-roster player, but instead there is not a specific mention of a player. Maybe that will come in episode two.

Team photo day pranks

The next scene takes us to photo day. It begins with back-up catcher Sam Huff. The camera follows Huff into the photo studio that has been setup. We see Huff take his first pictures and then he is shown giving fellow DH candidate Justin Foscue a hard time. We see some light pranks with him telling Foscue his name sign was upside down and a picture is taken with Foscue holding his name sign the wrong way. Huff is shown trying to distract Foscue as he is taking his pictures.

We then shift to Adolis Garcia and Ezequiel Duran taking their pictures. It is fun scene seeing them two interact on the back of a golf cart and then in the photo studio. Duran is speaking Spanish to Garcia as he is being filmed. Then both are in the shot. I wish we would have gotten more from Garcia. He was the breakout superstar from the playoffs in 2023 and he really was not shown much at all until the very end of this episode. He was sprinkled in throughout but not prominently featured until the end. I hope we see more of Garcia and his personality in the upcoming episodes.

The Texas Rangers want more

The episode ends with a montage of clips of early spring training workouts. Travis Jankowski sums up everyone's attitude by saying this at the end of the episode,

"We got a taste of it, now we want more of it."

Travis Jankowski

The final thing shown is Dane Dunning throwing a pitch in the first spring training game from last Friday against the Kansas City Royals. I am sure they will pick up in episode two with the first few spring training games, plus workouts that are going on.

Overall I would say it was a good episode. I thought the Marcus Semien part was the most enlightening about how he approaches the game and just his amazing work ethic. We learned how passionate he is about this game and how he is constantly working to stay in shape. We see that in the field and his ability to play every day, but it was good to hear from him about it as well. I think the focus on how this organization prioritizes character gives some insight into why they do not pursue signing certain players. The quotes from leaders such as Semien, Seager, Eovaldi, and Jankowski about looking ahead gives me hope that the Texas Rangers will not be just a one-hit wonder. If you want to watch the video is below. Future episodes will continue to appear on YouTube and the Texas Rangers social media sites throughout spring training.

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