Sunday, January 27, 2008

Oh Yeah, Kool-Aid's Here!

Did you drink the Kool-Aid from Mark Shapiro’s stand?
Cleveland Indians Vice President and General Manager Mark Shapiro insists that the Cleveland Indians can win the American League Central Division and compete for the World Series in 2008 with the team they have going to Spring training.
Granted, it is unusual for a team to return almost completely intact from the previous season. This team did win 96 games, tie with the Red Sox for the most wins in baseball.
But we haven’t really improved while most other teams have. And shouldn’t we improve if we want to get by the Red Sox and go to the World Series? Because we had the Red Sox down 3 games to 1, does that make you feel comfortable that we can improve by growing a set of killer instincts? But what about the thrashing we took in the last 3 games of the ALCS? Remember we were out scored in those 3 games 30 – 5, and 35 – 16 in the series. We couldn’t put wood on the ball and our pitchers couldn’t get a strike call, even on the very same pitches that had them lead the league from the All-Star break with the fewest walks. A bigger question would be why didn’t they adjust?
OK, so what about the teams that have improved in our own division? Minnesota, Chicago, and of course Detroit have all bettered themselves. Of the three, Detroit has made the biggest improvement. It is evident just in payroll. Detroit has the 3rd highest payroll in baseball while the Indians reside at 27th.
Here’s hoping the Indians can make them waste their dough like they did with the Yankees last season.
Detroit has a solid batting order from top to bottom. Rodriguez, Guillen, Polanco, Renteria, Cabrera, Jones, Granderson, Ordonez, and Sheffield combined for a .309 average in 2007 and .297 lifetime.
But can the Indians, with what is regarded as the deepest pitching staff in the league, the same staff that lead all of baseball with a 3.56 ERA after the All-Star break, tame the Tigers hitters? What if we do? We still only play them about 18 games a season so we will need help from other teams.
Will Dontrelle Willis return to career form after a rough year? His season can be compared to that of Cliff Lee. But Lee had most of his season with a team that won 96 games while Willis was with the Marlins who won only 71 games.
Other questions? Does Kenny Rogers return effectively? Can the two Rafaels repeat their excellent seasons for the Tribe? Can Hafner get his groove back? Who are our corner outfielders?
There are many questions and many more than what are posed here today, but with Spring training just weeks away, I am starting to get thirsty.

Can I have a taste of that Kool-Aid, Mark?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Down It Comes, Up Go The Cries!

Change - to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one's name; to change one's opinion; to change the course of history.

Progress - the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.

Progressive - favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are.

As we live and breathe in the land known as Cleaveland, now spelled "Cleveland," many times we find that our opposition to change has in fact inhibited our very growth, or our ability to keep up. The Cleveland Plain Dealer is full of reader comments lamenting the renaming of Jacob's Field to Progressive Field.
We need to get over ourselves. What a bunch of belly-aching, whine-babies. I am just grateful that the name change didn't get on the ballot with the upcoming March 4th primary election. Can you imagine the negative publicity that would have brought? We have run out of room to hang another black-eye. A local company has bought the naming rights to our baseball field. Additionally, they have given the team owners $3.6 million dollars per year to improve the ballclub. (That's $3.6M x 16 years...$57.6M that can be rolled into a long term contract, or two, or three!)
If we want to get crazy about something, put a target on the $57.6M! To date, the team has stayed pretty much the same while practically every other team has made off-season advancements. Oh yeah, that's us, Cleveland...we don't like change. Cleveland Indians V.P. and General Manager Mark Shapiro has said over and over again that he believes that this team, as is, will compete for the American League Championship. Right now, Detroit appears to be 10 to 15 games ahead of us and Spring Training is a month away.
Call the ballpark The Pro, The 'Sive, whatever. People who are against the change are calling the renaming "An end of an Era"... Baloney! The true "Era" will come to an end if the Indians brass doesn't get off of their collective hands and continue to groom this team as a champion.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Famous Denials

“I am not a crook!”

"If I was a betting man, I'd bet you I never bet on baseball.''

"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.''

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.''

"I think people, a lot of people, have already made their decisions.
And that's our country, isn't it? Guilty before innocent,
that's the way our country works now."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Progressive Field is Tribe's New Home

The following story appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer this morning, Friday, January 11, 2008
Jacobs Field, the Indians' home since 1994, will now be called Progressive Field, according to a source close to the team.
The Indians reached an agreement Thursday with Progressive Insurance for the naming rights of the 40,000-seat facility on the corner of Ontario Street and Carnegie Avenue. Progressive is a Mayfield Village-based company owned by billionaire/philanthropist Peter Lewis.
An official announcement is expected today.
In 2007, the Indians hired IMG to find a buyer for the naming rights to the ballpark. It has been called Jacobs Field since the day it opened on April 4, 1994, in honor of former owners Richard and David Jacobs. Richard Jacobs paid $10 million for the naming rights, which expired in 2006. The Indians have been looking for a more lucrative arrangement since that deal ran out.
PNC Bank Corp. is paying the Pirates $2 million a year through 2020 for the right to call their ballpark PNC Park. The Reds will receive $2.5 million a year through 2033 from Great American Insurance and Citizens Bank is paying the Phillies $2.3 million a year through 2028 for its naming rights.
-- Paul Hoynes
Does this mean we can now sign C.C. Sabathia with the naming rights $$$$s? Look for that to happen very soon!
Now, on to the possibilities…
Currently, Jacob’s Field is fondly known as “The Jake.”
What will Progressive Field be know as, “The ‘Sive?”
How about “Peter Park” in honor of Progressive founder Peter Lewis?
Can they get the sign up in time for Opening Day on March 31st? It is only 80 days away! Then they can offer refund “insurance” when we get our traditional 3 feet of opening day snow. Maybe Mr. Lewis will be asked to throw out the first “snow” ball. Maybe the little AFLAC duck can do a fly-over during the National Anthem and we can all take shots at him as we clean the snow from our seats.
The Geico lizard may visit and be a guest commentator with Rick Manning and his crew. The Cavemen could work our concessions or be part of the ground crew. "It’s so easy, a caveman could do it" could become a mission statement.

Perhaps future negotiations with players will include complete coverage for home and auto. Think of the possibilities for recovering on accidental injury to the players. (Aren’t we still paying off Wayne Garland’s free agency contract?)
All in all, it is great to keep the name of our field of a company locally owned and operated.
Now, sign C.C. and get some sluggers!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tribe Season '08

Sung to the tune of "Love Potion Number Nine"

I made a call to Mr. Know-it-all
You know that sports host with a lot of gall
He's got a sports show that really tells it straight
Sellin' lots of talk ‘bout, the Tribe in 2008

I told him that we were a flop of late
We’ve been this way since 1948
He listened to my rant as he cleaned his dinner plate
He said "What you need is, to back the Tribe in ‘08"
He barked out and growled a lot and gave me a dare
He said "I'm gonna make a bet right here in the air"
“If Cleveland doesn’t win the pennant by the end of ‘08
I’ll hold my breath, I’ll close my eyes, I’ll lose some weight!”
I didn't know if he was wrong or right
I started bettin’ every game in sight
But when I saw Shapiro hadn’t made one trade to date
It broke my little bubble ‘bout, Tribe 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Who Will Come To The Rescue????

Rescue Me,
as sung by our very own Chief Wahoo!

Rescue me
I need some fresher arms
Rescue me
You keep on raiding my farms
'Cause we’re worn out
And it’s true
I need CC
And Fausto too
Come on and rescue me

Come on, Wedgie, and rescue me
Come on, Markie, and rescue me
'Cause we need a big named guy
Can't you see that we’re fading

Rescue me
Come on and make a trade
Take a chance and really make the grade
'Cause we’re worn out
And it’s true
We need sluggers
And fielders too
Come on and rescue me

Come on, Larry, and rescue me
Dig down, Larry, and rescue me
'Cause I love this crazy town
Can't you see that we’re fading

(Come on Cleveland)
Keep me Cleveland (keep me Cleveland)
Save me Cleveland (save me Cleveland)
Love me Cleveland (love me Cleveland)
Can't you see, you need me Cleveland
Can't you see that I'm fading

Mmm-hmm (mmm-hmm)
Mmm-hmm (mmm-hmm)
Mmm-hmm (mmm-hmm)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


As sung by Indians V.P. & G.M. Mark Shapiro...

Help, I need some hitters,
Help, not just triple-A hitters,
Help, you know I need .300 hitters, help.

When we were winning, so many victories each day,
We never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now those days are gone, I’m not so self assured,
Now I find we’re left behind, Detroit may have the central well secured.

Help me if you can, we’re going down
And I would appreciate a draft first round.
Help me, keep our treasured central crown,
Won't you please, please help me?

And now the competition has changed in oh so many ways,
Our dominance just seemed to vanish in the haze.
So every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need to trade like I've never done before.

Help me if you can, we’re going to drown
And I do appreciate this supportive town.
Help me, keep this team above renown,
Won't you please, please help me.

Opening Day is only 90 days away...