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Game 86: Twins at Rangers

We’ll sing the Grays in this one with Jon and Sonny.

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Yes, it’s spelled differently. So what, you frightened rabbits.

Time: 6:05 Central

Weather: 103° at first pitch outside, 75° inside

Opponent’s SB site: Lone Star Ball

TV: BSN. Radio: Where Buxton sings about loving his sausage

Today’s starting Grays are not related. 30-year-old righthander Jon escaped Coors Field for this season, his first of a four-year deal with the Rangers. He throws a mid-90s fastball and the usual breaking assortment, with a slider being his best pitch. Early results show his fastball getting hit far less far in Texas than Colorado. 2022 digits:

Incidentally, Jon’s birthday is November 5th, and Sonny’s is November 7th.

Old friend Mitch Garver, Texas’s backup catcher and part-time DH, has mostly struggled this year; even with a torrid May, he’s hitting .212/.292/.419 on the season. That’s good enough for a backup catcher, it’s bad for a DH. It’s also better than .219/.278/.409 (Sanchez) and .192/.274/.333 (Jeffers). Garvsauce’s also thrown out 17% of base stealers, compared to Sanchez’s 27% and Jeffers’s 15%. (The MLB average is 24% – and the average OPS for catchers is .654.)

Because Garver left the Twins, Maple Grove’s Omni Brewing Company no longer makes their “Garv Sauce” brand beer. It featured “Comet hops that have neomexicanus lineage but came of age in Minnesota (kind of like Garv Sauce).” (Comet is a name of a hop plant, a flavoring additive in beer, not something that came from comets.) The beer cans looked like this:

This label should have pictured Mitch shirtless and lotioning himself, that’s real Garv sauce.

I never sampled this beer, but one person rated it on a beer website thusly: “Not a bad thing but at 5.2% garv should get chided for having some weak sauce. That said, i could drink this all day. I just wish it wasn’t $10 a can.” (Apparently the writer has never bought craft beer at a ballpark before; they’re always that expensive.)

But the winner of Best Side Project isn’t brew-enthusiast Garver, it’s the aforementioned Jon Gray. You see, in his spare time, Jon Gray hunts for g-g-g-ghosts.’s “Cut4” series went to this well twice, first interviewing Gray about his hobby basics. He says he saw something apparition-ish as a child (he did grow up in Oklahoma, it is a strange place), and considers himself “a believer.” Gray shares warnings about dangers of the field, such as demons (“You gotta stay away from them and never provoke”) and conversational no-nos (“I’ve been told you never ask the question ‘How did you die?’ I’ve always heard don’t give out your name. But I don’t know how true that is.”)

Later, Gray investigated the supposedly haunted Pfister Hotel. The Twins’ Carlos Gómez had some spooky experiences there in 2009, saying “Everything’s scary ... Everything in the hotel, the paintings and pictures, it’s a lot of old, crazy stuff. No good, man. No good.” (Cue the Sam Jackson line!)

Now, far be it from me to doubt the existence of such entities. But I did quickly look around the web for “ghost hunter” information, and it’s mostly expensive electronic gizmos that hobbyist hunters can purchase to go beep and whir. Even though they probably are cheaply-made garbage with no usable scientific purpose. (Alas, an “REM pod” does not play “Murmur.”)

I’m also curious about where Gray says he will/won’t look, including his own house. If I believed in ghosts, and believed I had equipment to detect their presence, wouldn’t I want to use it to see if my own residence was haunted?

In fact, hauntings can strongly affect home prices. In 1991, the New York state supreme court actually ruled that a homebuyer was entitled to his down payment back because “as a matter of law, the house is haunted.” (Although that particular house has since become famous and gone up in price, some reports of house hauntings drive prices down — and The Economist even has a helpful chart!)

Gray is interested in a former sanitorium in Kentucky, but if he doesn’t feel like traveling that far, there are always places where humans have met sad endings. They’re called nursing homes — and Texas has some of the worst.

Well, that’s grim, isn’t it? So we won’t end there, today. We’ll go with a famous Texas Ranger — perhaps the inspiration for fiction’s famous Lone Ranger. (The real Rangers were frequently jerks.) And yes, this is TV’s Urkel, Jaleel White:

Today's Lineups

Luis Arraez - 1B Josh Smith - 3B
Carlos Correa - SS Marcus Semien - 2B
Byron Buxton - CF Corey Seager - SS
Max Kepler - RF Adolis Garcia - RF
Jorge Polanco - 2B Nathaniel Lowe - 1B
Alex Kirilloff - DH Jonah Heim - C
Nick Gordon - LF Kole Calhoun - LF
Gio Urshela - 3B Mitch Garver - DH
Ryan Jeffers - C Leody Taveras - CF
Sonny Gray - RHP Jon Gray - RHP

(Note the slight change in A-B-C here.)