Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy! Happy!!! Joy! Joy!!!

Say hello to Doug Mathis. Why is he smiling?

Well, it could be because Doug just had a huge burden lifted from his shoulders.

Doug is a relief pitcher for the Texas Rangers. As this is his
rookie year in the major leagues he was given a unique task by his teammates in the bullpen [described in this texasrangers.com article]:

Doug Mathis -- The Rookie

Mathis may just be a rookie, but he carries some of the biggest responsibilities.

He takes two bags with him to the bullpen every day. One is a pink Dora the Explorer bag filled with protein bars, snacks and other supplies needed to pass the time in the bullpen.

If he doesn't come through, Mathis will receive his fair share of grief.

"We were out of protein bars one day," Mathis said. "C.J. [Wilson] eats protein bars every game in about the fifth inning. One day I forgot to restock it, and I got yelled at. I like to stay on top of it."

Today Mathis passed on the Dora backpack to another rookie - Neftali Feliz.

Let me take this opportunity to say "Welcome to The Show, Neftali! I hope you enjoyed your first day. It was quite a day. I hope you'll be around for a long time!"

Here's a breakdown of Feliz's first day:
  • Gets called up from the minors to take over the relief position created when Jason Grilli was placed on the Disabled List
  • From the looks of this photo [sent out by teammate C.J. Wilson via Twitter] he has inherited the Dora backpack.
  • Eric Nadel and Dave Barnett - the Rangers radio broadcasting team - gave listeners a quick tutorial on the proper pronunciation of Feliz's first name [the syllables are all evenly stressed (sort of like Ichiro's name): Nef-Tuh-Lee...not Nef-TALL-Ee]
  • The aforementioned C.J. Wilson gives Feliz a nickname in another Twitter post:
    welcoming Mr. Happy to the bullpen, and the major leagues. Got to hang a bit with him in spring training
  • Feliz is brought in to pitch in the sixth inning. He pitches two perfect innings including striking out the first four batters he faced [a fete that hasn't been achieved by a major leaguer in their first appearance sine 1962].
Not too shabby. Even though the Rangers went on to lose the game C.J. couldn't help but spotlight Feliz in one of his post-game tweets:
On a positive note the mr. Happy era has begun...feliz is fo real folks
Once again...Welcome Feliz! Please stay awhile

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