Monday, August 13, 2007

Baseball In Cleveland...It's Sink Or Swim!

OK, it has taken a few weeks, but finally, Indian’s General Manager Mark Shapiro has noticed that something just is not quite right with his Cleveland Indians.
The following statements are quotes from Shapiro after the Indians were swept by the Yankees this past weekend and fell to 2nd place in the division and 3rd place in the wild card race:

"Our fate is not going to be determined by who we play, it will be determined by how we play."
"We have a little bit of a burden because of the snow-outs, but it doesn't seem to be slowing the Mariners down. Those things are excuses. We have to find a way to manage the fatigue and fight through it."

Eric Wedge had the following epiphany:
"We need to handle this with a lot of strength and perseverance. We have to keep our chins up until we get beyond this."

Are they kidding?

Everyone remembers "Red Right 88," the ill-fated pass-play turned interception that Brian Sipe threw in the 1981 playoff game against the Oakland Raiders that sealed the Cleveland Browns' loss. After the interception, Sipe returned to the sideline and apologized to Head Coach Sam Rutigliano. Sam looked at his quarterback and said, "I love you, Brian." Defensive captain Lyle Alzado threw up! Some time later, Alzado related that story on the Tonight Show to Johnny Carson with absolute disgust.

At the post game interview of that same playoff game, Rutigliano stated, "300 million Chinese will wake up tomorrow morning and not care that we lost this game." A town of Browns fans threw up!

It is this perpetual lack of killer instinct that continues to plague Cleveland sports teams. How many strike outs, called or swinging must we endure? How many two strike pitch counts has our opposition turned into rallies? Jhonny Peralta walked to load the bases with no outs Sunday against the Yankees, only to stroll some 20 feet off of first base because he wasn't being held on. New York first baseman Andy Phillips moved in between Peralta and first base and tagged him out. The Indians wound up scoring only one run. As Peralta headed back to the bench, there was no reaction from manager Eric Wedge. During the post game interview, Wedge stated that it shouldn't have happened. Peralta will probably need counseling after that tremendous brow-beating. Wouldn't this team play to a higher degree if there were consequences?

The following question was posed over the weekend on this blog:

The Cleveland Indians have posted a 10 and 13 record since the All-Star break. Is it time to panic?
Here are the results:
46.2% said Yes, they need a wake-up call immediately!
23.0% said No, they are in first place.
15.4% said No, they are playing as well as can be expected.
15.4% said Maybe, but they will work it out.

Currently, it is the top of the 9th inning in Detroit and Oakland is ahead, 7-2. If the A's lead holds, Cleveland will be thrust right back into first place in the Central division, tie with Detroit!

Cleveland has been blessed with good to great pitching throughout this season. If these guys can start hitting again, they could easily begin to run away with the division.

You can have the "backing in" to first place. Mr. Dolan, Mr. Shapiro, Mr. Wedge...start holding these guys and yourselves accountable and take the low hanging fruit quickly, before Detroit or Minnesota does!

(It's final, Oakland 7, Detroit 2...Tribe tie with Tigers for first place...unbelievable!)

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