Sunday, December 30, 2007

Oddly In Cleveland...

Cleveland Sports have had some colorful moments. Some not as proud as others but very colorful indeed. As the 2007 year comes to a conclusion, the highlights of the Cleveland Indians were made up in part by some very strange moments that have been well documented on these pages. That is not to say that 2007 is unique in the annals of Cleveland sports with odd or colorful moments. Here are just a sampling of past incidents:

Lou Boudreau, Manager of the Cleveland Indians once blew a game when he blew his nose, forgetting that the "steal" sign was putting a towel to his face.

Bill Veeck, colorful owner of the Cleveland Indians, once hired rubber-faced Max Patkin, the "Clown Prince of Baseball" as a coach. Patkin's appearance in the coaching box was the sort of promotional stunt by Veeck that delighted fans and infuriated the front office of the American League.

Just before opening day in 1960, hometown Cleveland favorite Rocky Colavito was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn. Colavito had led the Indians in a pennant chase with the Chicago White Sox the previous season, only to fall to second place in the final week of that season. Years later, sports columnist Terry Pluto documented the decades of woe that followed the trade in his book, "The Curse of Rocky Colavito." Pluto takes an in-depth look at this particular era, in which the franchise perennially played an almost comically bad brand of baseball. It was 35 years later that the Cleveland Indians finally reached the post season, 41 years since their last appearance in 1954.

On April 26, 1962 the Cleveland Indians traded catcher Harry Chiti to the New York Mets for a player to be named later. A few weeks later, The Mets sent Chiti back to the Indians as the player to be named later.

Not an Indian oddity but certainly worth mentioning, Abe Abraham was perhaps the most popular non-player in Browns history, until Big Dawg John Thompson came along. Abraham was affectionately known as "The Man in the Brown Suit" during his days with the team. Abe's main duty was retrieving extra point and field goal tries behind the goalposts in the closed end of the stadium. On September 20, 1964, Abe missed the start of the Browns-Cardinals game, the first and only time he was ever late for a game. When he finally arrived at the stadium, he received a louder ovation than many of the Browns players themselves. Later, Abe claimed that he was late because he couldn't find those famous Brown pants.

On June 4, 1974 the Indians hosted "Ten Cent Beer Night", but had to forfeit the game to the Texas Rangers due to drunken and unruly fans. The next night, Tonight Show host Johnny Carson joked that the reason for the riot at the stadium was because officials locked the bathrooms.

2007 brought many more oddities to Cleveland;

The Snowed-Out Indians Opening Weekend

The "Home Games" played in Milwaukee and Seattle

The "Phantom Run" taken off the score board 3 innings later vs. Baltimore

Bug-Gate, game 2 of the Yankees-Indians ALDS

How about "The Field Goal" vs. the Ravens that bounced off the center post of the goal post and back onto the field, forcing the Ravens to come back onto the field after going to their locker room with what they were sure was a victory?!

We have some great traditions in Cleveland sports that are laced with oddities. I suppose we wouldn't have them any other way, except to include a championship or three. If the Colts win tonight, all three major sports teams in Cleveland will be in the playoffs for the first time in a calendar year!

Go Indians, go Cavs, go Browns, and go Colts!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Only 93 days until Opening Day!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another Top Ten…

Terry Pluto, author and sports columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has penned his own top ten sports moments for the Cleveland area for 2007. Here is what he wrote:

10. Cavs, Indians, Browns possibly making the playoffs in the same season? No one ever dreamed that!
9. Case Western Reserve's football team goes undefeated? Who'd have dreamed it?
8. Derek Anderson becoming a big-play QB. Who'd have dreamed it?
7. The Browns drafting Joe Thomas. He was my first-round pick.
6. Phil Dawson's boomerang field goal in Baltimore.
5. Paul Byrd and the Indians eliminate the Yankees in Game 4 in New York.
4. LeBron James turns into Michael Jordan with 48 points against Detroit in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
3. Akron University's basketball season. I love Keith Dambrot's teams, and enjoyed four years of Dru Joyce III and Romeo Travis.
2. Game 6 of the Cavs-Detroit series. Daniel Gibson sinks the Pistons and the Cavs win their first Eastern Conference title.
1. The Bug Game: The Indians swarm all over the Yankees.

Well I would agree with #1 as stated a few days ago. Without the gritty performance of Fausto Carmona and some help from the Lake Erie Midges, the tide probably would have turned in the Yankees favor if they had won game 2 of the ALDS.
And although this blog is about the Cleveland Indians, I have a problem with two of Terry’s selections for his top ten.
#10 The Cavaliers making the finals of the NBA was a huge achievement and should stand alone as a top ten moment. Even though they did not win a single game in the best of seven series, it certainly gave us hope for a future championship. Like all Cleveland major sports teams since 1964, they failed to win the championship, but of our major teams, they have the best chance now of bringing a championship to this town, especially since the Indians have all but given up the American League Central to Detroit. Also, the Browns have their hands full this weekend. For Terry’s “moment” to transpire, the Browns will need Tennessee to lose to the Colts on Sunday night in prime time. You would think that was a no-brainer except that coach Dungy may rest his stars for the playoffs…get the snake serum ready Cleveland.
#8 Since Derek Anderson was handed the starting QB job early this season, who has he beat? He beat eight non-playoff teams and Seattle. The losses to non-playoff teams Cincinnati, Oakland, and Arizona cannot be readily dismissed for a feeling of playoff euphoria. Despite the winds of Cincinnati, I saw the true Derek Anderson on the field Sunday.

So, here is hoping for another unseasonably warm summer and fall in Cleveland, one that will produce millions and millions of Lake Erie Midges…until Shapiro pulls the trigger on a blockbuster trade, the Indians will need all of the extra help they can get to compete in 2008.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Please Santa, Stop Here!

Dear Santa,

We have been so good this year, well actually almost great. (We missed the World Series by one game!)

We hope you like the goodies we are supplying for you this year...some are left over from a celebration we didn't have.

Could you please fill the following needs ASAP?
  • A +.300 power hitting third baseman
  • A +.300 power hitting corner outfielder
  • Another proven starting pitcher that wins in the playoffs
  • Also, no snow between March 31st and November 2nd
  • We could also use some help signing C.C. Sabathia

Thanks big guy, I hope you can help us out 'cause all of the "kids" have been good.


Mark Shapiro, VP & GM, Cleveland Indians

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Top Ten? Aren't You Forgetting...

Cleveland Plain Dealer sports writer Paul Hoynes, who covers the Cleveland Indians, chose the following ten "memories" as his tops for the 2007 season:
10. Watching Baltimore receive a run with the Indians batting in the sixth inning on April 28 because plate umpire Marvin Hudson missed a call in the third inning. The run turned a tie game into a 3-2 Baltimore lead. The Indians protested the game, but it was denied.
9. Owner Larry Dolan kissing manager Eric Wedge after the Indians beat the Yankees in the ALDS.
8. The sound of about 20 leaf blowers - fighting a losing battle against the snow at Jacobs Field - trying to save the home opener on April 6.
7. The media feeding frenzy around Paul Byrd before Game 7 of the ALCS following a newspaper report linking him to HGH.
6. The Milwaukee welcome the Indians and Angels received at Miller Park in April.
5. Casey Blake's game-winning homer in the 11th inning against Detroit on Sept. 17.
4. Third-base coach Joel Skinner stopping Kenny Lofton at third in the seventh inning of Game 7 of the ALCS with Boston leading, 3-2.
3. A gaunt and weary Casey Blake talking to reporters after the Indians' 11-2 loss in Game 7 of the ALCS.
2. Grady Sizemore starting Game 4 of the AL Division Series with a homer at Yankee Stadium.
1. The Indians beat Oakland to clinch the American League Central.

I would agree with most of Paul's moments, except that he left out one...the one that would be my #1. That one memory was what then became known as "Bug-gate." Yes, game two of the divisional series vs. the New York Yankees. Why is it my #1?

Well there are many reasons and the top one is probably because I was there to witness the phenomenon. The Indians entered the game with a one game win advantage vs. the Yankees, with the next game scheduled in New York two days later. The Indians were coming off of a big win the night before despite a weak performance by the team ace C.C. Sabathia.

It was an unseasonably warm night in Cleveland, one in which produced thousands of midges. About the eight inning, those midges swarmed the players on the field, targeting the Yankees. Everyone knows the rest. The Indians won the game in the bottom of the eleventh inning.
Without that victory, the momentum would have easily shifted to the Yankees in New York.

Since then, the memories continue because Sportstime Ohio continues to play those games that made up the season of 2007.

Still, there is the lingering feeling of disappointment, a feeling of incompleteness. It would be very easy to name the top ten disappointing memories of the 2007 season. Lets cut to the chase and take it down to the top two:

#2. Game seven of ALCS vs. the Red Sox. We lost after being up 3 games to 1, losing our opportunity to advance to the World Series. You probably thought that was going to be #1. It would have been until the Winter Meeting.

#1. Detroit acquiring Cabrera and Willis. That one trade during the Winter Meetings appears to have positioned the Tigers to dominate the American League in 2008. So, not only did we choke in game 7, our inability or unwillingness to strengthen the team has become a huge distress signal. Our small payroll is inhibiting the Indians to continue to compete in the American League.

Unless...unless something is done from now until March 31st with our expendables. We have Cliff Lee, Jeremy Sowers, Jensen Lewis, Franklin Gutierrez, Ben Francisco, and some very strong minor league prospects.

Mark Shapiro has got to make something happen to add a power hitting corner outfielder, another proven starting pitcher, and shore up the bench. Detroit has a lineup with nine .300+ hitters with power and a pitching staff that could be on the edge of greatness.

Shapiro, it's your move.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hail To The Commish!

He's coming to a town near you...

He's coming to clean up the game of Baseball...

He's the next MLB Commissioner!

What the hell, he needs a job next year!

Baseball is turned upside down with the steroids controversy. Does anybody really care?
Manage it already and let's get on with the game!
This investigation and the subsequent results are taking so long, even Ozzy Osbourne could pass a MLB drug test now.
Clean it up and play ball already!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Aesop Fable For Mark Shapiro

The Ant and the Grasshopper
Aesop Fable
(Sixth century B.C.)

In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”

“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”

“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:

So, while other teams build and improve, Tribe G.M. Mark Shapiro is satisfied that his current team will compete.
Right, Grasshopper!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Son Of A -----!

Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis go to the Tigers!

The Tigers are one strong team, top to bottom, deep in the line-up and deep in pitching!

That's it!

The Tigers go to the World Series in 2008!

Very much like Mark Twain was said to come into this world and then back out again on the tail of Haley's Comet, You can be sure the Cleveland
Indians will never win the World Series in my lifetime!

Why am I so sure?


The 1948 Cleveland Indians won the World Series and I was born some 9 months later.
They got back to the series in '54, '95, and '97 but came up on the losing side.
They came within one win of going to the series in 2007 but pulled one of the biggest CHOKES in sports history.

Now, they get completely out manned by the Tigers in the winter meeting trades.
The average human life expectancy is 76 years. Haley's comet returns every 76 years.

So, in 2023, start reading the
obits in the
Cleveland Plain Dealer because when my name is in there,
call Las Vegas and bet the farm on the Indians winning the World Series the very next season!

Son Of A -----!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Did you ever want to sit in on baseball's winter meetings and get the real stories?

Wouldn't you love to know what really transpires in trade negotiations?

The Cleveland Indians are in a somewhat enviable/somewhat tough situation as the winter meetings are about to begin in Tennessee. In 2007, they were one win away from going to the World Series and they have all of their players coming back for the 2008 season. That is enviable to many teams but the tough part is that early on in the hot stove trading season, most teams are not staying pat. The Tigers and Angels have made great acquisitions and will strongly compete again for the American League playoffs. If the Indians stay with their current players, how do they advance past the Red Sox while holding off the Tigers, Angels, and Yankees again?

Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro says he will not enter the "high priced, low talented" free agent market and will take an observer's approach. Early on, Shapiro claims that he has been close on two trades, we all know that one involved Marlins slugger/third baseman Miguel Cabrera. Since that deal fell through, Shapiro speaks of having still an "outside interest" in Cabrera.
What about their Cy Young award winner, C.C. Sabathia? He can become a free agent after the 2008 season. His market value which was already high, has just increased with the award. C.C. claims that he wants to stay in Cleveland, the only team he has ever played for. Can the Indians afford to sign him? Can they afford to lose him? Can they afford to trade him now?
Right now, there appears to be a great deal of poker faces on general managers and double talk being quoted in the media.
Here is what we can take to the bank. The Indians have a surplus of starting pitching which is a huge advantage in the current market. They have a surplus of infielders as well. With a short list of "untouchable" players and shallow pockets for free agent payroll, they cannot afford to stay pat with the team that finished second in the American League.