To the delight of Texas Rangers executives, Seattle Seahawks quarterback and Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson, who was taken by the Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft, will attend spring training in Surprise, Arizona, on March 3.
Of course, there's zero chance that Wilson would abandon or risk his rapidly ascending pro football career for a chance to prove himself as a baseball player, but that doesn't mean he can't have an impact on the Rangers.
Here are five things the Rangers could learn from Wilson's short but successful stint in the National Football League:
Speed and elusiveness
With Ian Kinsler and Craig Gentry gone and Jurickson Profar running into some injury issues, the Rangers are facing a decent speed deficit to start off 2014. Wilson has ranked in the top three in rushing yards for quarterbacks in each of his first two seasons, so he might be able to teach the team a few tricks. And with a new rule coming in barring collisions at home plate, speed and elusiveness is something the Rangers may need to score that winning run.
Despite playing in a much rougher sport where sacks and other hits are all part of the game, Wilson has yet to miss a game as a pro.
How to protect a thrower
It's no secret the Rangers hurlers have been a bit fragile the last couple of years. Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz, among others, missed part or all of 2013, and now Derek Holland is down for the count for at least part of 2014. Despite playing in a much rougher sport where sacks and other hits are all part of the game, Wilson has yet to miss a game as a pro.
Anybody who's tried to make it as an athlete knows you always need to be ready for that next opportunity, whenever or wherever it comes. Wilson is already an expert at that, having left North Carolina State due to conflicts with the coach. He transferred to Wisconsin, where he promptly led the Badgers to a Big Ten championship and trip to the Rose Bowl. When Wilson was drafted by the Seahawks, he was expected to back up Matt Flynn, who had just been signed to a big contract. But Wilson made a quick impression on his coaches, and he has yet to sit on the bench as a pro.
How to handle pressure
There are pressure situations in every sport, but Wilson seems to thrive when stress is highest. He more than met the challenge at Wisconsin, where the pressure had to have been intense. When the Seahawks chose him over Flynn, the stakes couldn't have been higher, especially for a rookie. All he's done is lead the Seahawks to back-to-back trips to the playoffs, including winning this year's Super Bowl. Which leads us to ...
How to be a champion
There are relatively few players left from the last time the Rangers went to the World Series in 2011, and those who are still around are likely smarting from the ignominious way the past two seasons have ended. Although Wilson is the first Super Bowl-winning quarterback not to earn the MVP in the past five seasons, that was more due to the magnificence of the Seahawks' defense than any deficit on his part. The Rangers can use all the positive mojo they can get right now, and who better to provide it than Wilson?