Mazara Making His Mark
It occurred to me the other day that I have a new entry in the “Someday I will tell my grand kids about that” category. The list is already pretty long and includes things like covering Nolan Ryan’s 7th no-hitter. I will never forget the clubhouse that night, the post-game interview was done while Nolan rode the exercise bike and drank a beer at the same time. Who knew that Nolan was just ahead of his time? He was multi-tasking before multi-tasking was cool.
The fact that I covered almost every game the Cowboys played in the 90’s will be the stuff of bedtime stories for the grand kids someday too. Although how will they ever be able to sleep when I regale them with tales of almost being hit by the trash can that Michael Irvin threw when he learned that Jimmy Johnson was out and Barry Switzer was in as coach after back to back Super Bowl wins? Or the time when I went to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno the night after the Cowboys won Super Bowl XXVII because Troy Aikman was the guest. Of course, if the Cowboys don’t turn this around soon all of this talk of Super Bowls will sound like nothing but a fairy tale.
That Mavericks run in 2011 still seems like a fairy tale to me. It was so unlikely, but I will be able to tell the kids about the Jolly Green (and Blue) Giant, Dirk Nowitzki, and how one of the greatest guys I ever covered led his team past those awful villains Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. The 1999 Stars’ Stanley Cup run will be a fun story too….especially since I know how Lord Stanley’s Cup got dented during the post victory celebration (nope I won’t tell you).
The new addition to the list might seem too good to be true, like a happy fairy tale as well. But what we are seeing from the Rangers’ Nomar Mazara is happening. But this is no fairy tale and it is absolutely true. The two time American League Rookie of the month did not even make the twenty-five man roster coming out of spring training.
He was called up after Shin Soo-Choo got hurt five games into the new season. The expectation when he arrived was simply that he would fill a void until Choo was healthy, and then be shipped back to the minor leagues to continue his seasoning. But he had other ideas. He got here and announced he was ready.
When I say he announced it, the truth is he did not say a word, he did not even whisper it to his teammates. He announced it by doing everything right at the major league level. His hitting has been otherworldly for a rookie. He is hitting .318 with 10 home runs and 27 runs batted in. Amazingly, he has barely slumped in roughly one-third of a Major League season.
Baseball purists will say, “Wait til the league sees him a second time, then we will see if he can adjust.” But the truth is the Toronto pitchers have seen him twice – so have the Seattle pitchers. The Angels and the Astros have faced him three times. Jeff Banister notes that they have made adjustments to how they are pitching him, but he has adjusted to those adjustments and he just keeps hitting. Like in game one of this series with the Astros, when he went 4 for 4 with a hit by pitch. He was on base all five times he batted against one of the hottest teams in baseball.
Only time will tell what other stories will be told about this young man, but it already seems like the end will go something like this, “…and they all lived happily ever after.”