Banister Injects Refreshing Madness Into Rangers’ Spring

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When the Rangers begin their day in Surprise by shooting free throws, it is indeed March Madness.

In an attempt to liven up the doldrums and monotony of Spring Training baseball, reigning Manager of the Year Jeff Banister has instituted a team drill called “Bracketology.”

At about 8:30 each morning the players gather around a hoop erected at their facility and essentially have a free-throw shooting contest. It’s a one-on-one, double-elimination, five free-throw contest each day that will run throughout their stay in Arizona.

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It’s team-building, via another sport.

“Look, they love to compete and love to have fun,” Banister told reporters as the tournament got underway last week. “We talked about more team building this offseason, and coaches shared ideas. It's an opportunity to compete, to build the team, for them to have some fun. And it breaks up the monotony of camp. These guys like challenges with one another.”

Banister got the idea after meeting last July with Seattle Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll. The manager is also injecting more energy into camp by allowing music to be played on the team’s back fields in Surprise.

If football plus basketball plus music in March makes the Rangers field better come October, I’m all for it.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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