Even though Jason Vargas will be making his World Series debut for Kansas City in Game 4, the Fall Classic atmosphere in San Francisco will not be foreign to him. Four years ago, while home for the offseason in Arizona, Vargas and his wife decided to fly to San Francisco to watch Game 1 of the 2010 World Series between the Giants and Texas Rangers. The Giants won 11-7 on the way to their first World Series title in San Francisco.

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on October 24th, 2014
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Post info: By RangersFan10 on October 23rd, 2014
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Jeff Banister will be named manager of the Texas Rangers, multiple outlets report Thursday, beating out interim manager Tim Bogar, along with several outside candidates. This would be Banister’s first managerial job in the majors, though he has lots of minor-league experience as a skipper (along with just about every other staff position). Banister (one “N”) is what they call “a lifer.” He has been the bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates since 2010, which pre-dates manager Clint Hurdle, and has been a coach with the Bucs, in the majors and minors, since 1993. He played from 1986-93 in the minors for all but one plate appearance in the big leagues. Banister, 49, has interviewed for other major league manager’s positions, notably with the Houston Astros this offseason, and with the Pirates, before they hired Hurdle for the 2011 season. What makes Banister the choice for the Rangers? Those most familiar with him say it’s not only his baseball smarts, but also his communication skills. Banister also is said to be a proponent of sabermetrics, though more major league coaches probably are than we realize. Pirates blogger Pat Lackey writes at Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke? : Ever since Ben Lindbergh published this story at Grantland about the unique and effective way that the Pirates’ front office and coaching staff communicate, I’ve been expecting Pirate coaches to start being poached by other clubs. Banister is always mentioned as being involved with the infield positioning alongside Hurdle and he’s the guy mentioned as being on the phone with Mike Fitzgerald (the stats guy the Pirates have travel with the team) in Lindbergh’s article, and so it makes sense that any front office that’s had trouble communicating with their coaching staff would be immediately attracted to someone from the Pirates’ coaching staff. It wasn’t a surprise when he almost got Houston’s job a few weeks ago, and it’s not a surprise at all that Texas wants him, especially given that Texas was Clint Hurdle’s last stop before Pittsburgh. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the hiring first, though the Rangers had yet to confirm it. Banister tweeted this Wednesday morning: “The only thing that stands between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible.” – Joel Brown — Jeff Banister (@Bannyrooster28) October 15, 2014   Banister’s one appearance as a player in the big leagues came in July 1991, when he pinch-hit for Doug Drabek. Banister hit an infield single and played two innings of a 12-3 victory against the Braves, but was sent back to the minors shortly thereafter. Banister has been deserving of a chance, and also seems to be one of the better candidates out there who’s never managed. Seems like a good hire by general manager Jon Daniels. But — what about Bogar? He was Ron Washington’s bench coach until Washington stepped down. Like Banister, Bogar is a lifer, though he had more time in the majors. From the Dallas Morning News : It is uncertain what will happen with Bogar, who was the Rangers bench coach before Ron Washington’s resignation on Sept. 5. Bogar went 14-8 in the three weeks until the season’s end, but the Rangers said they would conduct a thorough search for the new manager. Bogar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.   More MLB coverage at Yahoo Sports:    – - – - – - – David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter! Follow @AnswerDave  

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on October 23rd, 2014
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MIAMI (AP) — The former owner of a South Florida anti-aging clinic pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of illegally providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes including high-profile Major League Baseball players, most notably New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.

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The Giants cared enough to send their very best. What other way to describe Madison Bumgarner in the World Series? With their left-handed ace mixing a crackling fastball, a snapping cutter, a sweeping curve and even a surprising, 68-mph yakker, the Giants dealt the Kansas City Royals their first loss of the postseason and took a 7-1 victory in Game 1 of the Fall Classic on Tuesday. The world’s largest greeting card company is headquartered here. With Hunter Pence’s home run in a three-run first inning, and Bumgarner pitching himself deeper into World Series lore, the Giants sent the Royals something between condolences and regrets. The home team and powder-blue crowd, which waited nearly three decades for the World Series to return to Kauffman Stadium, can only hope to get well soon in Game 2. The Royals had gone 8-0 in this postseason. But they’re playing a team that has dispatched all nine playoff opponents they’ve faced in the Bruce Bochy era. Back on that Halloween Night in 2010, when Madison Bumgarner was barely 21 and shut out the Texas Rangers in Arlington, he said he couldn’t be sure if he’d ever reach the World Series again in his career. Well, he has. Twice more. And he has been nothing short of historically good. It took the 104 th pitch of his third World Series start, going 21 2/3 innings deep, before Bumgarner allowed a run in the Fall Classic. Salvador Perez dropped a fence-scraping home run into the Royals bullpen in the seventh inning. The homer snapped the second longest World Series scoreless streak by a pitcher to begin his career in major league history. (Christy Mathewson tossed 28 zeroes in a row back when you needed a dirigible to get your feet off the ground.) The homer also ended Bumgarner’s streak at 32 2/3 scoreless postseason innings on the road, a major league record. Until then, Bumgarner threw the same cold water on the Royals that he did to disarm the powerful Rangers in 2010 and Tigers in 2012. He worked eye levels with his fastball the first time through, offered them a completely different look the next time around, and when it was time to clock out, he’d held them to three hits in seven innings with a walk and five strikeouts. Bumgarner has allowed just the lone run and eight hits in 22 innings over his World Series career, with five walks and 19 strikeouts. The Royals’ only real shot to scratch him, aside from a bit of hard contact in the first inning, came in the third when shortstop Brandon Crawford fumbled a grounder from Omar Infante after Bumgarner nearly knocked the bat out of his hands. Bumgarner wasn’t afraid to throw a 3-1 slider to Mike Moustakas, who waved through it. But when he came back with an inside fastball, the Royals’ hot No. 9 hitter roped it into the right field corner for a double. The Giants had a 3-0 lead at the time, but the Royals had no outs and two runners in scoring position. It was a potential turning point. Instead, Bumgarner engineered a reverse takedown. He went to an 0-2 count on each of the next three batters, first going neck-high to blow away Alcides Escobar with a 92 mph fastball. Then after Norichika Aoki was late on two fastballs, Bumgarner came back with a curve and the little No. 2 hitter couldn’t check his swing. Bumgarner lost Lorenzo Cain to a six-pitch walk after getting ahead 0-2, but he followed with a first-pitch slider and cleanup man Eric Hosmer rolled it over to second base to strand the bases loaded. It was the Royals’ last breath. Bumgarner retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced, with Perez’s homer in the seventh the lone exception. The Royals were 0 for 8 with five strikeouts and a walk the second time through the order against Bumgarner, and much of that had to do with a slow curve that he began to bust out in June. He threw one at 67 mph to Perez in the fourth, then used another to strike out Moustakas in the fifth. By the end of the night, it was clear which team had a true Game 1 ace. — Andrew Baggarly, CSNBayArea.com

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Right-hander Jerome Williams has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tim Bogar, who filled in after former Texas manager Ron Washington resigned and was a finalist to replace him, will not be on the Rangers’ coaching staff next season.

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Whenever he could, Buster Posey turned on the TV and watched the Kansas City Royals burn a hole through the AL playoffs. He understands what awaits him on Tuesday in Game 1 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium. A test of his arm, and of his composure. “Yeah, I’d imagine,” said the Giants’ lead-by-example catcher, asked if he expects the Royals to run. “Watching them the last month or so, they’re very aggressive, they have a ton of speed and I expect them to use it.” This is not the kind of challenge the Giants faced in the 2010 World Series, when the Texas Rangers tried to pass off designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero as a right fielder. The Royals are not the 2012 Detroit Tigers, who mostly waddled around the bases and hoped to outslug teams. The Royals are a National League wolf wrapped in American League wool, perfectly capable of beating the Giants at their own game. Kansas City manager Ned Yost is such an aficionado of playing small ball that he’s inspired the phrase, “The Bunt for Ned October.”   [RELATED: Bochy sets World Series rotation, see role for Lincecum ] No wonder, then, that the Giants worked on pitcher fielding practice and took infield drills in a workout Saturday at AT&T Park. No wonder they’ll work out both Sunday and Monday at Kauffman Stadium, too. They’ve played cleaner baseball than their opponents to claim an NL pennant. They can’t let down now. Ask the Giants how they slow down the go-go Royals and you’ll get two answers. The first one is laced with homespun humor. “Oh the Royals?” Tim Hudson said. “Don’t let ‘em get on base. That’s easy.” The second answer is the stuff that bench coach Ron Wotus prints out and stuffs in his clipboard: tag times, slide steps, secondary leads … “You can pitch out and they can still beat you,” backup catcher Andrew Susac said. “You have to stay focused on it as a pitching staff, mixing holds and looks, slide stepping is going to be a key. But that’s how these guys get a lot of pitches, too. If you’re slide stepping and it causes your arm to drag, that’s when you could leave pitch over the plate.” Right now, the Royals aren’t missing those pitches. They hit the fewest home runs of any AL team, but Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer have been extra-base threats all postseason. The Giants didn’t need to watch the Royals steal, bunt and thump their way through an 8-0 postseason to know how dangerous they can be. The Royals swept a three-game interleague series from the Giants at Kauffman Stadium in August, winning by scores of 4-2, 5-0 and 7-4. Susac started that last game behind the plate, when the Royals stole seven bases. The first five came with Tim Lincecum on the mound; Sergio Romo and Juan Gutierrez were victimized once each. It’s not like Susac is a slouch behind the plate. He once threw out blinding fast Reds rookie Billy Hamilton twice in a Single-A California League game. That day in Kansas City, though, he had virtually no chance. And he could summarize his feelings with one word. “Helpless,” Susac said. “Yeah, it was not a lot of fun. We didn’t do the best job holding them on, and it kind of hit us out of nowhere. I put a few good throws on and I know I couldn’t do much more. I don’t think I’ve ever had seven stolen bases in a month and they did it in a game. “If anything it was a good eye opener for us. You’ve got to know what they’ll try and put it to a stop to it early, and that’s how we can kill that sense of confidence they have.” Norichika Aoki and Jarrod Dyson each stole three bases that day. Alcides Escobar swiped one, too. [RELATED: Giants' experience may not be enough to beat Royals ] “It’s important to do a lot of things to disrupt that,” Posey said. “As a pitching staff we’ll have to vary our holds and our delivery times and it’s going to be important for me to be ready to make a good throw.” In terms of World Series opponents, the Royals might be most similar to the 2002 Angels, and coincidentally, this is the first meeting of two wild card teams since they raised a trophy in Anaheim 12 years ago. This series promises to be just as turbocharged. Other than managing the Royals’ aggressiveness on the bases, it would behoove the Giants to score early runs. The Royals have a better bullpen than any club the Giants have faced this postseason, and you don’t want to be in comeback mode against the three-headed monster of Wade Davis (1.00 ERA in 71 games), Kelvin Herrera (1.41 ERA in 70 games) and Greg Holland (1.44 ERA and 46 saves). Herrera, Davis and Holland have combined for a 1.05 ERA this postseason while throwing 32 percent of the Royals’ innings. This is their first World Series, though. It’ll be a test of their composure as well. – Andrew Baggarly, CSN Bay Area

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Betty Finnegan made the 5 1/2-hour drive from Fort Worth, Texas, with a friend Aug. 31 to watch the last two games of the season for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Her 21-year-old son was finishing his first summer as a professional baseball player on the Double-A team after helping pitch TCU into the College World Series.

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Arlington (United States) (AFP) – The Texas Rangers on Thursday inked Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as their new manager.

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