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Friday newsletter time: Final-out blues? Not from Jose Leclerc

(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

 

The final out of the World Series was recorded by Josh Sborz, who emphatically spiked his glove into the grass at Chase Field in a moment that will live forever in club history.

Warming up in the bullpen was fellow right-hander Jose Leclerc, who had worked the ninth inning in victories pretty much the entire postseason. That included him getting the final outs of Games 3 and 4.

The Rangers scored four times in the ninth of Game 5. Sborz was going to at least start the ninth if the game had remained close, but the Rangers stayed with him the entire inning and Leclerc missed his chance to be involved in the most iconic moment in Rangers history.

He said on Thursday, the second day of Rangers spring training, that he couldn’t care less.

“In that situation, I just want to win,” Leclerc said. “I know Sborzy was incredible that night. I was not even thinking about it. I wanted to win, and that’s it.”

That’s been Leclerc’s approach since he first became a late-innings option in 2019. He enjoys saving games, but he wants to win more.

If he’s the closer to open this season, great. If not, he’ll do what he can to help the Rangers win in whichever inning he gets.

That kind of selflessness is what allowed the Rangers to win it all last season and will serve them well in 2024.

The graduate

While Jack Leiter was working in the offseason on the changes he made last summer, he was also working on finishing his degree from Vanderbilt.

He needed to serve an internship, which he did with WME Sports Agency, to complete the work on his degree in human and organizational development.

“You’ve got to do something,”  They don’t let baseball player be the internship.

Among the media in the group interviewing Leiter was Newy Scruggs from NBC 5. He recently completed his MBA from the Neeley School of Business at TCU. When that was pointed out by another TCU alum in the group (me), Leiter didn’t express much interest.

“I think I’m good on education,” he said.

Manfred to retire

Baseball will be searching for a new commissioner, though not until 2029.

Rob Manfred said that he will not seek another term as baseball’s boss, who is approved by the 30 team owners. Manfred took over for Bud Selig in 2015. Among the noteworthy things to he has dealt with are the Astros’ cheating scandal, the COVID season, the implementation of a pitch clock, the lockout that delayed the 2022 campaign.

He has been very good to the Rangers. He selected Globe Life Field as the host of the 2020 World Series while teams were restricted to a bubble during the pandemic, and Globe Life Field will host the All-Star Game this season.

Manfred would like to add two expansion teams. He said on Thursday that he still expects the A’s to move to Las Vegas despite the continued obstacles they keep encountering, and he would like to see a deadline for free agency.

The players don’t want to see that, fearing a deadline might force them to take less money than if they were to draw out the process. Jordan Montgomery, Blake Snell, Matt Chapman and Cody Bellinger might disagree with that.

 

Card of the Week

Back by popular demand (in this case, it was Anthony Andro complaining), it’s the Card of the Week.

I haven’t added much to my collection the past few months, nor did I get a single card for Christmas. The boy scored Corey Seager and Marcus Semien rookie cards from our buddy Bill at Superior Sports Investments.

My goal for the big Dallas Card Show event last month — aside from talking to Semien, Josh Jung, Evan Carter and Cody Bradford — was to find the elusive 1960 Topps Mickey Mantle All-Star that remains the only card missing from that set.

I saw one, but it was a PSA 8 and the dealer wanted $1,200 for it. That’s a little out of my price range, barring 20 of you taking advantage of the Rangers Today spring training special for new annual subscriptions.

Here’s what a PSA8 looks like. It’s the Card of the Week.

The 1960 set belonged to my dad. I took it over and have added or replaced around 50 cards. Once completed, and after I hit the lottery, I’ll replace the big cards that need to be upgraded.

That includes the main Mantle card.

My kids better get scholarships to college. Good ones, too.

Doggy video!

Great catch! Enjoy.

 

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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