As the Cleveland Indians struggle through the first part of the 2008 season with injuries and disappointing results, there have been many people questioning the commitment of the players on this team to give it their all.
Outfielder David Dellucci says there is no question that the team is doing everything they can. "Baseball isn't like football or basketball," said Dellucci. "You can tackle harder in football and run faster in basketball, and it really looks like you're playing harder. If you try to swing harder or throw a pitch harder in baseball, it has the opposite effect. From the outside looking in, it might not look like the effort is there. But it is there. We're doing everything we can do, but it's just not happening."
David Dellucci plays hard. I have always loved his enthusiasm and devotion to the game. However, to make a blanket statement that everyone is doing everything they can is truly off the mark. The current edition of the Cleveland Indians is lethargic at best. They are beaten and they have caved in. They phoned in this season long ago. The odds were stacked too highly against them. First, they couldn't hit. Then, they couldn't pitch out of the bullpen. Then, devastating injuries struck. Dellucci's statement, "We're doing everything we can do, but it's just not happening," says it all. It is most apparent when so many players on the team look at a called third strike. If they swung and missed, the effort would certainly be there.
It's a shame. They had their opportunity to run away with the division. Chicago is in first place just nine game over the 500 mark. The Twins are hanging tough and the the Tigers are waking up just in time. Chicago will never hang on to their lead.
The self confidence that the Indians lost in the ALCS last season remains missing in action. With their confidence gone, so too is their drive to play the game. Through all of this, the biggest missing piece to this puzzle is coaching. This team is severely under coached and not held accountable for their actions. The coaching staff apparently is not equipped to bring this team together. What a shame, it was all there for the taking. We can best remember this season as "called strike three."