T.R.’s Memoirs: Dealing with Texas Rangers players usually was never an issue, but there were always exceptions
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
T.R. Sullivan covered the Texas Rangers over 32 years for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and MLB.com and is sharing his “memoirs” with this newsletter. In this installment, T.R. talks about the complicated relationship between the players and the beat reporters who cover the team.
“These guys are not your friend.”
— Rangers pitching coach Orel Hershiser, warning his pitchers about the media
The Rangers had lost eight straight games when they arrived in Baltimore for a three-game series July 25, 1995.
Prior to the losing streak, the Rangers had been one game out of first place. Now, after the Yankees walked off a 5-4 win at Yankee Stadium, the Rangers were six games behind the Angels and falling fast when they arrived at Camden Yards on a Tuesday night.
The weather in Baltimore was as miserable as the atmosphere around the team. Absolutely miserable. The game-time temperature was 93 degrees, but the intense Baltimore summer humidity made it even worse in the open-air press box.
The Rangers led 3-2 in the sixth, but the Orioles walked this one off as well for a 4-3 victory in the ninth. The Rangers lost the next night 7-6 and the losing streak was now at 10 straight, the longest since 1972.
Afterward, Dallas Morning News reporter Phil Rogers and I dragged ourselves back downstairs to interview the losing players. We approached two normally cooperative veterans: Will Clark and Mickey Tettleton.
“Not tonight!” Clark barked as we approached.
Tettleton just sat at his locker and shook his head: a definitive no. Not many of the 25 players on the Rangers’ active roster were eager to talk to the media.
The Rangers stopped the losing streak the next night with a 2-1 win. Starter Roger Pavlik pitched six excellent innings and that proved pivotal for the Rangers.
So naturally, Rogers and I went up to talk to Pavlik after the game. He declined to be interviewed.
“I don’t feel gabby,” Pavlik informed us.
That was one of two quips that I’ll never forget from that miserable losing streak. The other came from Rogers, who has had a long and outstanding career as a sports journalist.
We were later informed Pavlik wasn’t planning on talking to the media any time soon.
Said Rogers, “One down, 24 to go.”