ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers' front office staff doesn't believe in the idea of simply acting like walk-off grand slams to win postseason games are common occurrences. And, of course, they're not. Nelson Cruz's blast in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the AL Championship Series was the first time a player hit a grand slam walk-off in the postseason.
When Cruz's missile landed in the left-field seats, general manager Jon Daniels and his crew went nuts with high-fives and hugs, some of it captured by Fox cameras on national TV. It was a bunch of guys in ties or golf shirts -- or in the case of longtime scout and special assistant to the GM Don Welke, a tan leisure suit -- going just as crazy in their suite as the fans below and above them were when the Rangers won.
"We don't aspire to be the professional group that acts like we've been there," assistant GM Thad Levine said. "We want to celebrate every one of these minutes as if it may be the last. When somebody in our group, and Nellie is in our group, does something special like that, we want to celebrate it and remember that forever. The experiences are the currency of life and Nellie gave us one [Monday] and we're not going to miss it."
In addition to Daniels, Levine and Welke, that group of front office folks in that suite included (among others): A.J. Preller (director, player personnel), Scott Servais (director of player development), Josh Boyd (director, professional scouting), Kip Fagg (director, amateur scouting), Mike Daly (director, international scouting), Matt Vinnola (director, baseball operations), Bobby Crook (manager, amateur scouting), Jake Krug (assistant director, player development) and Jim Colburn (director, Pacific Rim operations).
"We feel like a huge family and brotherhood and we feel the energy of the team," assistant GM Thad Levine said. "We feel so connected to these guys because of having been here for six seasons now, we've gotten to develop and mature with these players. We feel such a strong connection, so when things happen like that, I think the fans in us bubble to the surface and we can't control it."