On a recent road trip with the Rangers I was stopped in the lobby of the team hotel by someone who told me he enjoyed me on the broadcast and asked where he should eat in that city. He introduced himself as Doug Rogalski. Since I am not a beat writer, per se, the name did not ring a bell. As it turns out Doug is the agent for Jonathan Lucroy and Ian Desmond.
I tried to grease the wheels by telling him how much the Rangers and their fans like each of those guys. The truth is my comment to him won’t enhance the chances of signing either or both of those men to a long term deal, but it sure would be great if the Rangers and Doug can do a couple of deals in the off season. These two men are not only talents around which you can build a team, they are great guys. The kind of guys you can build a clubhouse around.
To illustrate my point let me relay the conversations I had with each man later in the week.
I approached Ian one day to let him know that I had met his agent, and asked him how it was that he chose Doug to represent him. Ian, who is from Florida originally, said, “Well he is a Florida guy and he followed me for a long time, and he was the only agent I talked to that didn’t look at me like I had three heads when I mentioned my Christianity.”
How great is that? Great that a very young man (between 18-22 when he signed) was that devoted to his faith. Great too that in a world where so many athletes are bad role models, Ian Desmond is a good one. He was very active in giving back in Washington DC when he played for the Nationals. He has been great about giving back here too. Publicly and privately he has helped many people here in Texas. So if you have a kid that idolizes Ian, fear not – he is a role model worthy player and man.
Then there is Lucroy. I asked him the same question about selecting Doug as his agent. He thought for a minute and then recalled that, “He was the only one that didn’t offer to take me to a strip club.”
First of all shame on those other agents, offering that invite to high school or young college kids who may be drafted. Secondly, good for Lucroy, who did attend three years of college and was all of 20 when he declined those numerous offers from seedy agents. He’s one of the hardest working players I have ever seen. Catcher is not only a demanding position physically, but it is demanding mentally. Jarrod Saltalamacchia used to arrive at the clubhouse around 11:00 am to go over all the scouting reports necessary to call a game. Lucroy doesn’t arrive that early, but once he is in the clubhouse he is all business – feverishly devouring the scouting reports of the opponent.
On one road trip this year we had an off day. Pitching coach Doug Brocail told me that he bumped into “Luke” and told him “I’m almost through scouting tomorrow’s opponent. I got the right handers done, I just have to finish the lefties.” Brocail says Lucroy looked at him and said, “I spent all day with video, I’ve already got them all scouted.” What a way to spend an off day.
So in Lucroy and Desmond the Rangers have hard working good men who have just the right approach to the game of baseball and the game of life. It would be nice to lock each of them up for the long haul.