Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June Swoon? Say It Ain’t So!

In the great baseball movie, The Natural, the New York Knights are mired in last place. As manager Pop Fisher said, "Now look at me. I'm wet nurse to a last-place, dead-to-the-neck-up ball club, and I'm choking to death!"

Enter Dr. Knobb, the straw-hatted shrink who's intention is to stop the team from losing. "Losing is a disease. Losing is contagious…as contagious as Polio…as contagious as Syphilis…as contagious as the Bubonic Plague…attacking one, but infecting all."

Where is Dr. Knobb when you need him? Granted, we are still in first place, tied with Detroit. Minnesota and Chicago are currently playing the part of "also-rans."

Better yet, where is Roy Hobbs when you need him? Victor Martinez is trying to carry the team on his back. He is leading the team in RBIs, home runs (tie with Peralta), and second in hits. Casey Blake has a 21 game hitting streak, leads the team in doubles, and is the cornerstone of the defense at third base. C.C. Sabathia is carrying the pitching staff with a 3.09 ERA, a 9-1 record, 89 strike outs, and 99 innings pitched.

It’s time for the rest of the team to step up and stop the all too familiar “June Swoon!” What is with all of the called third strikes? We seem to be complaining about the strike zone for 8 innings and then in the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th inning, with two strikes, we fail to protect the plate on pitches that have been called strikes all game long. I love the fact that we make opposing pitchers go deep into pitch counts because our batters are disciplined but come on, after your lineup has gone up against the starting pitcher a couple of times, isn’t it time to be a little less disciplined and a little more of a student of the pitcher? Let’s see, he struck me out twice on inside and low pitches. Do I watch another one and hope it’s a ball or do I go down and pull it? Our pitchers are struggling with any part of the strike zone except for “down Broadway!” Byrd and Lee, you guys are crafty. Stop pitching in the heart of the plate and make ‘em swing where it ain’t. This team has come too far and has too much talent and fight in them to roll over for Detroit.

As Pop Fisher said to Roy Hobbs, “Well, you're better than any player I ever had. And you're the best God damn hitter I ever saw. Suit up.”

Suit up, Tribe, you control your own destiny!

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