Of all the images burned into my corneas (pleasantly, I might add) from the Rangers' magical 2010 postseason run, there are a couple that stand out.
The Nellie Cruz home run in Game 6 against the Yankees, Neftali Feliz freezing A-Rod dead in his stance with a slider to clinch the AL pennant, you get the picture.
But one particularly stands out.
Elvis Andrus vs. David Price. The Tampa ace, who's a lefty, going head to head with Andrus at first base in a vicious game of chicken. Andrus getting in his head. Eyes darting from catcher, to Price, back to catcher, back to Price. It was a beautiful scene. He went on to score a beautiful, manufactured run.
It was the start of a phenomenal run in the postseason for the 22-year-old, who will start the 2011 season five weeks from today as the Rangers leadoff hitter, after starting last year in the No. 9 spot.
Andrus is a throwback to the days of Omar Vizquel, Shawon Dunston and perhaps most comparatively, Ozzie Smith.
Smith stole 580 bags in his career and his 28 home runs in his 18-year career while hitting .262 and flashing the leather enough to earn the nickname "The Wizard of Oz."
Andrus has two full seasons under his belt and is showing some similar tendencies. The guy didn't hit a single home run last year, but stole 32 bases and scored 88 runs, a total that will surely go up with a full season leading off. He's hit .267 and .265 in his two seasons, but is a run producer. He's brilliant defensively and, as he showed in that glorious game against Tampa, is crafty on the base paths.
It ought to be a big year for "Tiny E" in his third professional season. Buckle your seatbelts, opposing pitcher, it's going to be a fun ride.