Now that FanFest is over, capping a busy weekend of Rangers stuff, here are some random thoughts about the weekend and your Texas Rangers:
* More than 12,000 fans showed up for the four-day event, which started with the Texas Rangers Awards Show on Thursday night and then continued with the three-day FanFest at the Arlington Convention Center. For those that attended the awards show, did you like the new format? It wasn't quite as large of a crowd as the banquet was last year (that's me eyeballing it, anyway), but that may be because the more formal event attracts more corporate sponsor tables. Just a guess. Anyway, I liked the way it worked this year and I thought it was neat that Josh Hamilton came out to give Michael Young his club MVP award.
* Friday was another reminder of how different this Rangers organization is from five or even 10 years ago. While working on trying to get a contract done with Yu Darvish, an investment that could cost around $120 million or more, the club met with Scott Boras and Prince Fielder. With new ownership and a new TV deal, the Rangers are major players now. And whenever there's a big free agent on the market that could help Texas, expect to see the Rangers involved. I still think they can do both Darvish and Fielder, depending on how the Fielder deal is structured. But we'll see. Either way, it created quite a buzz knowing that the group was meeting at the Four Seasons Resort & Club on Friday (and one of you that found me at FanFest said you saw Fielder at Cool River that night).
* The Fielder meeting made Saturday's Q&A with Nolan Ryan an even bigger deal than normal. It didn't take long for Ryan to get asked about the meeting (by a little girl asking the third question of the session...and Ryan joked that he needed to talk to her daddy). Ryan's response was that it was a "very preliminary" meeting and a chance to feel out where he is in the process. Read more about that here.
* Hamilton was in the news some this weekend. First, on Thursday, he joined me and Joe Trahan on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and revealed the extent of his injuries during the end of the 2011 season. He had three adductors in his left leg detached and another one "about to pop" and he had a torn abdominal muscle. It's amazing he was able to do what he did in the playoffs.
* Hamilton also talked about Michael Dean Chadwick, his accountability partner, saying :"Who else would I want there with me?"
* On Saturday, when he made his appearance at FanFest, Hamilton talked about his contract and Prince Fielder. He stressed that the door is open to a long-term deal until spring training starts, and then he's focused on 2012. He said he's also aware that he has to get a contract that's fair and that he's aware of how it could impact those that come behind him.
* Hamilton revealed that the club put together a recruiting video for Yu Darvish, one that included Hamilton saying "Welcome to Texas" in Japanese. The video played while Darvish toured the park. I like this. It's as if the club is treating Darvish like a college football recruit. They want him to want to be here.
* Hamilton was by far the most popular Rangers player for autographs and Saturday was a big day with Ian Kinsler also in the house at FanFest. The line was wrapped around the building before the doors opened Saturday.
* The Rangers have "checked in" on Roy Oswalt. This makes sense. They could likely get him on an affordable one-year deal and if he stays healthy, they've got something. For those that think the Brandon Webb contract from last year ($3 million guaranteed and he never pitched in the majors) will scare the Rangers off from making those types of deals, you're wrong. They still feel like it's worth the risk. They know they won't hit on all of them.
* Mike Adams talked about his surgery and goals for 2012. He was disappointed that he's not the closer and that he didn't pitch better after he was traded to Texas midseason.
* Ian Kinsler said he had a PRP injection to help get ligaments away from the bone in his right ankle and that he feels "100 percent" for the first time since rolling the ankle in March 2010. Think what Kinsler could do on the bases with a fully healthy ankle.
* Neftali Feliz said he felt like he was ready to pitch the 10th inning after he saw Hamilton hit the two-run homer in Game 6. He talked about the loss and trying to get over it and discussed a meeting he had with Pedro Martinez.
For those that watched football all weekend, you missed a lot of baseball news. I hope this helps get you caught up. There are other stories not included on the Rangers blog as well.