Thursday, July 31, 2008

Manny Come Back!

Manny Come Back
(Sung to the tune of Baby Come Back by Player)

Spending all my nights, all my money going out to the Pro

Doing anything just to get out of last place

But when the morning comes, we’re right back where we started again

Trying to replace you is just a waste of space

Manny come back, any baseball fool could see

You are something, there’s winning all about you

Manny come back, you can blame it all on John Hart

He was wrong, and we just can't win without you

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

CC Shows More Class!

In this morning's addition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, CC Sabathia took out a +$12k ad to thank Cleveland for his time here with the Indians. He certainly did not have to do that and, although it must be nice to have that kind of disposable income, it is a class act by CC to once again extend himself to the Cleveland community.
Once again, good luck to CC! He is off to a great start in Milwaukee with a record of 4-0 in 5 starts with a 1.82 ERA and batting 3 of 15 with 1 home run.
It will be great to see you in the post season once again!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cellar Dwellers?

Come on Tribe, let's get out of the cellar! You are a better team than this, even without Sabathia and Blake...and probably Byrd in a couple of days! There have been some real bright spots lately...really! Jhonny Peralta has reacted very well to batting in the 4th position. Shoppach is hitting well, as is Garko. Mujica has been impressive in relief. So has Mastny (if you have a short memory). This team is the #1 defensive team in all of baseball. So come on! There should be a team goal to reach .500 by September 1st!

Sympathies to the family of Travis Hafner. Travis lost his father yesterday to a bout with cancer. Hafner, who is on the 60 day disabled list, is back home in Sykeston, North Dakota for the funeral. "Papa Pronk" made the drive to Minnesota each time the Indians played there, despite his illness. The sight of a proud father standing and applauding for his son will remain etched into Indians fans memories everywhere. SportsTime Ohio had a very nice tribute to "Papa Hafner" prior to the start of the game tonight.

A funny thing happened on the way to the ballpark...

We had a company meeting at Progressive Field on Monday, July 28th. This was an all-day affair in the Champion Suite, beginning at 9am with a meeting and finishing with the Tigers-Indians game in the evening. The Cleveland Indians' organization is really pushing their suites to be used for business meeting during the day. They are obviously new to this venture. We were told to drive down and park in the "East" garage on Huron Road by Progressive Field. We would pay $12 per car for the entire day. Pulling in to the lot, the 3 parking attendants who were busy chatting directed us to "take a ticket" from the automated ticket printer that operates the gate for entrance to the garage. Signs posted warned that "All vehicles must leave the garage before 5pm because of the game that evening. OK, I'll play...I take a ticket, the gate goes up, and I pull up and interrupt the attendants once again with a question! Damn! The nerve!!! Rolling down the window, I briefly explained that I was here for a meeting and the game. After receiving 3 extreme looks of displeasure, I was told that I should pay when I leave after the game. OK, I'll continue to play. I drive up to the 4th level and find a "safe" space to park my pampered ride, far enough away from to avoid mindless door bumps and careless backups.

It is now 8:05 am and I would like to set up for the 9 am meeting. By the time I reach the Executive Entrance, it is 8:15 am. It appears the Suite Staff thinks you can go into a suite and start your meeting without any set up or preparation. Come on, get in the game! I talked my way into the suite by 8:30 and began to setup a laptop for PowerPoint and flip charts with statistics. I am not impressed so far.

The meeting went well and our group went on a tour of the ballpark for $5.50 per person which was fine because the money went to the Cleveland Indians Charities. We finished our meeting by 4 pm and settled in for batting practice. At 4:20 pm, one of the staff members came in to let us know that anyone parked in the East garage needed to go pay for their parking, $4.00 for the day and $12.00 for the evening. Wow, what happened to $12.00? OK, so a group of us leave the suite, go down and outside, and walk over to the garage where we are looked at like we don't speak English. "What do you want? You can't stand here, cars are going to start coming in here! What do you mean you been her all day? I gotta get a supervisor. Huh? OK, hey, you gotta go up front and pay 'cause their ain't no attendants here when the game is over."

Wait a minute, no attendants? Why pay at all? They haven't exactly earned the fee! They won't know that we didn't pay, especially if there are no attendants after the game. Naw! We can't do that. So, we pay our $16.00 each and attempt to go back to the suite.

"I am sorry but the gates do not open until 5:30!" we are told. After explaining that we just left the suite after being their all day, the staff is refusing to let us go back in and rejoin our group until 5:30! I got the attention of a policeman who had held the door for us to exit previously and he made sense of the whole matter and let us back in. Note to the Indians; brush up on professionalism before you try to extract professional fees for your business services.

Well, it all turned out fine because the boys of summer rescued the day by beating the Tigers 5-0!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Do We Need To Know Too Much?

In the age of the internet, we have information at our fingertips…at our desks, at homes, even on the go, but when does enough become too much?
It wasn’t too long ago that celebrities had semi-private lives. 45 years ago, a president allegedly had an affair with a movie star and it was hush-hush. 8 years ago we are given the details of a current president staining a dress. Did the celebs of years ago not think or act as presently famous people? Yes, they did but times were different. There was less tolerance for outrageous statements and behavior years ago so people, including famous people, were much more discreet about those statements and behaviors. The fact is that news people have the right (guaranteed by our constitution) to report all newsworthy information. We have the right to decide whether or not to pay attention to that information.We all look at a percentage of celebrities making huge amounts of money and totally screwing up their lives and we say, “Give me a chance to live like that, I’ll show them how to do it right.”
Some of the information we receive is educational, entertaining, or humorous, some is shocking, and some is just unnecessary. Again, we have the right to decide what to watch, listen to, or read.
For example, I detest seeing professional athlete’s salaries in the sports page so I choose to pay no attention to it. When the ridiculous touchdown celebrations begin, CLICK, I make a decision that I have seen enough and it’s time to snow blow the driveway. You have to blame the coaches for allowing this. Can you even imagine a player of Paul Brown or Vince Lombardi taking part in a TD dance?
So currently, there are lots of news items not to pay attention to. Carson Palmer, QB of the Cincinnati Bengals had a major brain fart this week when he stated how much he disliked Ohio State football. Hello! You make your living publicly within 90 minutes of the Scarlet and Gray horseshoe. Does he have a right to make the statement? Sure he does, just as LeBron James had a right to wear a Yankees hat to Jacobs Field last October for an Indians/Yankees playoff game. However, just because someone exercises a right does not translate into exercising their brain.
Was Manny Ramirez physically hurt or faking Friday and Saturday? He certainly had the right to scratch himself from the lineup. He certainly has the right to ask to be traded as he has done today and we will honor his right for Manny to be Manny.
What rights are afforded to Major League Baseball to prevent a player from becoming bigger than a team? Since Collective Bargaining went into affect, sports teams have lost their identity. Players come and go without any loyalty. Can you blame them? Isn’t it like that in the real world as well? When was the last time you heard of someone retiring from a company after 35 years? Loyalty must go both ways, in ownership and in the ranks.
As a kid, I would get very interested in players, especially in baseball. Growing older, I find less interest in the players and more interest in the game of baseball, preserving and respecting it. In that manner, you become torn between CC Sabathia or Casey Blake being traded prior to becoming free agents. You want team identity but you certainly understand the rights of those players to become free agents.
So, as we acquire more technology to get us places faster while saving time on or eliminating some of our everyday tasks, we find that we have more time for the additional information rushing to us. It is our right to decide what to spend our time on; watching, listening, and reading responsibly.

Mighty Casey, Thanks For Everything!

Yesterday, the versatile Casey Blake was traded by the Indians to the Dodgers for two minor leaguers. On paper, this is a good trade for the future as the 34 year old Blake was eligible for free agency after this season. Blake, having an excellent year after a slow start, had quickly become a fan favorite since joining the Indians in 2003. Blake has always been the ultimate team player, never complaining about platooning early on and then being utilized at third base, first base, right field, designated hitter, wherever needed to benefit the team.
This trade should benefit the Indians in the future but the great news is that the trade will benefit Casey Blake now. Casey moves on to a 2008 contender in Los Angeles. The weak West Division in the National League is ripe for the taking if the Dodgers, who are 1 game out of first at 50 - 52, can get hot. With Casey Blake joining in and manager Joe Torre's experience at putting together a run for the playoffs in August and September, look for the Dodgers to make their move.
Congratulations, good luck, and thanks to Casey Blake from Indians fans everywhere. We look forward to seeing you in the post season once again. For sure Joe Torre is looking forward to having you play on his team rather than against him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'd Just As Soon Eat Crow!

“In case you haven't noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven't, the Indians have managed to win a few ball games, and are threatening to climb out of the cellar.” Bob Uecker as Harry Doyle in the 1989 movie “Major League.”

Hey, the 2008 Cleveland Indians have won seven of their last eight games. They are 11 games out of first place, tie with the Royals for last. They truly are “threatening to climb out of the cellar!”
I buried this team long ago. Injuries, key players not producing, and the abstinence of improving personnel through trades has truly cost this team contention.

But, wait a sec…What if they put together a run like they had in 2005? Even if they don’t make it all the way back into the playoffs, it sure would make the remaining games much more enjoyable.

But, wait another sec…Could they actually pull off a run for the post season? See below for some of the now famous teams that have made what seemed to be impossible…possible;

* 1914 Boston Braves were 15 games out on July 6 with a 26-40 won-lost record. They went 68-19 in the final 87 games of the season to win the N.L. pennant by 10 games over the New York Giants.
* 1978 New York Yankees trailed by 14 games in the A.L. East division on July 20 with a 48-42 record. The Yankees won 52 of their remaining 73 contests including a one-game playoff over the Red Sox to win the AL. East with a 100-63 mark.
* 1951 New York Giants lagged behind the Dodgers by 13 games on August 12 with a 59-51 record In the remaining 45 games of the season, the Giants went 37-8 while Brooklyn went 27-24 during that span and lost the pennant on Bobby Thomson's home run.
* 1995 Seattle Mariners sagged 13 games behind the California Angels on August 3 with a 44-46 record before going 35-20 to win the A.L. West title, while the Angels struggled with a 22-33 mark during the final 55 games of the season.
* 1930 St. Louis Cardinals endured a 12-game shortfall on August 9 with a 53-52 record only to win 39 of their final 49 games to win the N.L. pennant by two games over the Cubs.
* 1964 St. Louis Cardinals loitered 11 games out on August 24 with a 65-58 record, but the breakdown of the Phillies who went 16-23 in the final 39 games while the Cardinals went 28-11 helped St. Louis capture the N.L pennant.
* 1973 New York Mets were 11 and a half games in arrears of the Cardinals in the N.L. East division on August 5 with a 48-60 won-lost mark. The Mets finished the year with a 34-19 record in the final 53 games while the Cardinals suffered to a 20-31 mark during the same span.
* 1973 Cincinnati Reds grimaced at a 11-game handicap, trailing the Dodgers, on July 1 with a 39-37 record only to go 60-26 the rest of the year while Los Angeles struggled with a 44-39 mark during the same stretch and lost the N.L. West division to the Reds by three and a half games.
* 1935 Chicago Cubs were buried 10 and a half games behind the Giants on July 5 with a 38-32 record, but won 62 of their final 84 games, including a 21-game winning streak from September 4 through September 27, to win the N.L. pennant by four games over St. Louis and eight and a half ahead of the Giants.
* 1936 New York Giants were grounded in fifth-place in the N.L. with a 42-41 won-lost record, 10 and a half games behind the Cubs. In their final 71 games, New York went 50-21 to capture the NL. pennant by five games over the Cubs who went 36-38 in their remaining 74 contests.
* 1942 St. Louis Cardinals were burdened with a 10-game deficit on August 5 with a 62-39 mark, but won 44 of their last 53 games to overtake the Dodgers by two games to win the N.L. pennant.
* 1969 New York Mets were lagging by 10 games behind the Chicago Cubs on August 14 with a 62-51 won-lost mark before they closed out the season with a 38-11 run as the Cubs spun into a 18-27 nosedive. The Mets captured the N.L. East division by eight games.
* 1989 Toronto Blue Jays were struggling in sixth-place in a seven-team A.L. East division with a 38-45 won-lost record before going 51-28 in the final 12 weeks of the season to win the division crown by two games over the Orioles.
* 1993 Atlanta Braves suffered a 10-game deficit on July 23 with a 55-42 record before going 49-16 in the final 65 games to win the N.L. West division over the Giants by one game.

So, I for one would love to cook up a nice big dish of crow and eat it if these guys could get back into contention! Stranger things have happened…
I hear crow tastes like chicken!
Go Tribe!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Go Left, Young Man!

Here is a great article printed last week in the Cleveland Plain Dealer through the Associated Press:

Best way to Cooperstown? Go left
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Jim Salter
Associated Press

St. Louis -- David Peters was born left-handed. It took a few raps on the hand by teachers, but like many in his generation, he switched to being a righty.
Maybe that's why Peters, now 61, became a scholar instead of a first baseman.
Peters is an engineering professor at Washington University in St. Louis who happens to be a baseball nut. He looked at baseball from an engineer's perspective and determined southpaws have a decided advantage.

"Ninety percent of the human population is right-handed, but in baseball 25 percent of the players, both pitchers and hitters, are left-handed," Peters said.
"Do lefties have an advantage? They definitely do. The statistics bear that out."
Peters' observations were for an article on the university Web site, not a scholarly journal. Still, they drew the interest of experts at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., who at the request of the Associated Press crunched the numbers of lefties and righties in the Hall, the first time they had done so.
Of the 61 enshrined pitchers, 13 are left-handed, according to John Odell, curator of history and research at the Hall of Fame. At 21 percent, that's more than twice the percentage of lefties in the general population.
The numbers for hitters were even more startling. Odell said 71 Hall of Fame position players batted right-handed, 59 left-handed, and eight were switch-hitters.
"Almost parity there," Odell said. "That's way up over what you'd expect to see if people were playing the way their handedness would suggest."
Among the left-handed hitters are some of the game's greatest names: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Barry Bonds and George Brett.
Peters said left-handed hitters are simply taking advantage of a game set up to favor them, starting with the direction the hitter runs to first base.
As a right-handed hitter swings, his momentum carries him the wrong way -- toward third base. A lefty, already standing roughly 5 feet closer to first base, swings and naturally spins in the correct direction.
"And that means the lefty travels the 90 feet to first roughly one-sixth of a second faster than the righty," Peters said. That translates to more hits and a higher batting average.
Because most pitchers are right-handed, the left-handed hitter also tends to have a matchup advantage.
"You see the ball better" as a left-handed hitter facing a right-handed pitcher, Peters said. "You get depth perception. A right-handed batter facing a right-handed pitcher actually has to pick up the ball visually as it comes from behind [the batter's] left shoulder. You've lost a lot of that split-second timing to pick up the ball."
According to, lefties hit .272 against right-handed pitchers last season. Righties vs. righties hit .261. Against left-handed pitching, righties hit .281, lefties just .251. But there were 122,053 at-bats against right-handed pitchers last season, nearly three times as many as the 45,730 against lefties.
Peters said southpaw pitchers have built-in advantages, because hitters simply don't see them often.
Not all advantages go to lefties. Catchers are nearly all right-handed. Infielders except for first basemen are virtually all right-handed because a lefty would have to make an awkward turn to get into throwing position.
Odell notes that it's not being left-handed, but rather hitting left-handed, that appears to be the advantage, at least among Hall of Famers. Just 22 of the 138 position players were pure lefties -- batting and throwing left. But 37 right-handed throwers hit left-handed. Among left-handed throwers, none hit right-handed.

I love this article!
However, I believe there is another slant to this. Being born left-handed, you are immediately thrust into an opposite world that you must learn to adapt to, standout as a complete freak, or compromise and be an adapted freak. Opening jars with the opposite hand certainly develops muscles and adaptability that a right-handed person may not have the opportunity to develop so completely. Tools are right-handed, coffee cups are, wrist watches as well, telephone and calculator pads, gear shifts in standard transmissions, door knobs, guitars, computer mouse, all the things that right-handed people take for granted actually help a left-hander develop further, as long as they don't frustrate the hell out of them first!
Did you ever have to search for a really good baseball glove that fits on your right hand? Next time you are in a sporting goods store, notice the narrow selection.

When I began to golf, my dad gave me his old right-handed set of clubs (his opportunity to buy himself a new set) stating that, "Right-handed clubs will make a lefty a better golfer!" Why didn't he name me "Sue" as well?! I sucked at golf until I got a job and bought myself a left-handed set. Then, trying to learn to swing lefty was like trying to unlearn how to walk.
In Army basic training, there are many interesting things to learn, one of them being how to throw a live grenade left-handed. Grenades are made with the squeeze handle to fit under your right fingers, thus putting the pull-pin facing you and the body of the grenade cradled in your right palm. "Well, that ain't gonna work for you lefties," said the grenade training instructor. "You odd ducks are gonna have to hold the grenade upside down in your left hand! Why? Because we don't want you blowing your ass off or any one else's ass off, especially my ass in training because the squeeze handle was accidentally released in the palm of you left hand," he went on to explain. So, when it came time to toss some live grenades, didn't I get lucky and have to get into the foxhole with "Sergeant Grenade!" When he handed me my first grenade and I turned it upside down and placed it in my left hand, I saw terror in his eyes. "No, not another one!" Well, I still got my ass, so does everyone else have their ass, and so does the good Sergeant have his ass, from head to toe.

OK, so lefties in baseball...besides the advantages listed in the article above, what about this right-brained, left-handed stuff? Do lefties take more chances in the grand old game? Do they think that the few feet advantage at home plate leads them around the rest of the diamond? You bet! I always ran like I had a piano on my back but given the opportunity to take an extra base, somehow I was safe almost always! A few years ago at the Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp, I was in a situation. I was standing on second base in need of oxygen because I had just hit a double. The next guy up hit a ball that bounced into short right field. As I headed to third base in what seemed to be an eternity, I had "going home" in my brain. Approaching third, my coach, Rick Waits hesitated and then waved me around (I was going anyway, Rick). As I approached home, the ball came in to the catcher just as I got within sliding distance. I don't know why I didn't slide, I love to slide, in fact, I am an excellent slider, but I didn't slide! As the tag was applied to my left leg, I did a stutter step and stomped on home plate with my right foot (remember that right-handed/footed world). "SAFE!" called the umpire! I was soooooo out! As I trotted back to the bench to the cheers of the crowd and the congrats of my team mates, my other coach, Jim "Mudcat" Grant said with his hand scratching his whiskers, "You know, we can teach a lot of things here, but one of them ain't speed!" I responded, "I was safe, wasn't I?" Mudcat said, "You were called safe!"
That night, the play was shown in slow motion over and over again in the dinner tent showing that I benefited from the call. Chock that run up to the lefty advantage!
When my lefty son played Pony League, he had a very low batting average for the first half of the season, thinking he could be a power-hitter. I talked him into bunting for the second half. Because he didn't inherit the piano on his back, he raised his average up over .500 for the season.
So it may be a right-handed world, you just gotta know how to take advantage...Play Ball!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No Breaks in This All-Star Game!

15 innings late into the night, finally a victor emerges! But you will get no beef from me, I loved every inning! From the pre-game with the hall-of-famers, through the introductions, right down to the bottom of the 15th, this was a game!

With the score tied 3-3, bases loaded, and one out in the last of the 15th inning, Michael Young connected on a sacrifice fly that scored Justin Morneau, just beating the tag at the plate! Final score; AL 4, NL 3.
What a couple of days Morneau has had in New York! First he wins the Home Run Derby, then he scores the winning run in the All-Star Game.

However, I must mention (with a hometown slant) that my representatives from the Cleveland Indians certainly had a hand in the outcome. Congratulations to starting pitcher Cliff Lee who pitched 2 shut-out innings, striking out 3. He continues to be dominant!

Congratulations to Grady Sizemore. Representing the tying run, his single in the 8th inning and steal of second base kept the hopes alive for the American League. Without that steal, he doesn't score on Evan Longoria's ground-rule double and tie the game.

The pre-game was very well done. The Hall-Of-Famers brought back many memories. Thanks to Willie McCovey as he stood from his wheelchair to acknowledge the cheers. Thanks for showing Willie Mays "Catch" again from the 1st game of the '54 is still incredible (and heartbreaking to Indians fans) by even today's standards.

How about Yogi?!!
"So Yogi, what do you think of Sarah Jessica Parker?"
"She ain't bad."

Josh Groban's "God Bless America" was so respectful and inspiring...what a talent!

Kudos to Terry Francona (who's dad was an Indian great) for the way he respectfully moved Yankee players in and out of the game to the roars of the crowd!

Love or hate the Yankees, "The House That Ruth Built" is an incredible monument to the game and the history of this great nation.

Seeing many past Indians on the field, Hall-Of-Famers as well as current players, brings back so many memories.

There he was, Ralph Kiner! Finishing his career with the Cleveland Indians in 1955, he lived around the corner from me. Every morning the Indians were in town, I would park my bike and myself on his driveway. His wife would look out the kitchen window and say, "Ralph played a late game last night, he won't be up for a while." I would reply, "That's OK, I'll wait."

Kiner gave me an autographed ball and bat, both of which I still possess. The ball is full of other HOF signatures surrounding his. the bat, it has a nail in it and tape around it because I cracked it hitting a home run in little league.

"God, I love baseball!" Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs in "The Natural."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Home Run Derby?

Congratulations to Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins on winning the Home Run Derby. Although he out homered Josh Hamilton in the 3rd round 5-3, Morneau was gracious in his acceptance of the trophy to acknowledge the unbelievable feat of Hamilton in the first round, swatting 28 home runs, at one point 13 in a row, and breaking the old first round record of 24 set by Bobby Abreu in 2005 at Detroit's Comerica Park.
With the score reset to 0-0 to begin round 3, Hamilton's feat did not take the trophy. As stated by a very affable Milton Bradley, Hamilton's Ranger team mate, "Morneau took home the trophy, Hamilton took home the hearts."
What was the ad for MLB Network? I saw it early on last night and it is beginning 1-1-09. It promises baseball, 24/7!
It appears the "Derby" could use some "re-tooling" for future competitions in more ways than one. ESPN's Rick Reilly made the comment that there were eight white guys competing in the event. He questioned where were the African Americans and Latinos! Just a point of clarification Rick, with Grady Sizemore in the competition, there were seven and a half white guys competing.

What was up with Milton Bradley? He was actually fun to watch last night! He was wiping guys off, giving back rubs, even running bottled water out to Clay Counsil, the 71 year old pitcher for Hamilton.
In an afternoon interview, Bradley stated that he did not know what went wrong between he and Tribe manager Eric Wedge in the Spring of 2004. He claimed that he and Wedge had a great relationship in the minors but when Wedge became a major league manager, he tried to take a stand and make an example out of him. You have to agree with Bradley in that regard as Wedge is one of the most stubborn managers ever to occupy the head spot in the wigwam. However, Bradley is Bradley and he has been more than a handful wherever he plays. He seems to have found a home in Texas with a manager, Ron Washington, who Bradley claims understands him. Good, because Bradley is one of the top players in the majors. Here is hoping last night's Bradley will show up for the rest of his career. He is too talented to hold himself back...go Milton!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Congratulations to the Indians who completed a 4-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays with a 5-2 victory today. Hopes were that the Indians could at least compete with the Rays this weekend but the Tribe played like they are capable of playing and whipped the Rays handily. The Indians may not be a playoff team this year but despite injuries and key players not producing early on, this team definitely is not a last place team.

In his second start with his new team, CC Sabathia homered to help his own cause as well as his Brewers beat Cincinnati 3-2 in a complete game victory. In two starts with the Brew Crew, CC is 2-0!
Go CC!

Milton Bradley has shown that he can actually get in touch with his softer side. The Texas Ranger (this year’s team) star reported how he learned he had made the All-Star team from manager Ron Washington;
“He called me out of my domino game and told me about it. You know, I never really had any father-son moments growing up, but from Wash, the congratulations, would be something like one of those moments.”
Oh Barf! Too bad he didn’t take Indians manager Eric Wedge’s base running advise as a similar moment in 2004 when he was with the Tribe, before he was with the Dodgers, A’s, Padres, and Rangers.

No more human rain delays?
Beginning with the 2009 season, Major League Baseball will empower umpires to call a “strike” on a batter who fails to ask for permission to step out of the batter’s box. This rule, already in effect in the minor leagues, is expected to shorten the length of games. I certainly agree that the stepping out of the box to readjust batting gloves, even after a no-swing is way out of hand, but the games are already under 3 hours on the average. Wow! What team will be the first to lose a game on a called third strike because the batter reverted back to old habits? This will be an interesting rule to enforce fairly, hmmmm…

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What’s Got Into These Guys?!

At this writing, the Indians are leading the still first place Rays by a score of 4-0! Since losing 10 games in a row, the Indians are now working on 3 wins in a row and a possible sweep of the Rays!

Don’t you think it’s a strange season when the home run leader of the American League is a leadoff hitter? Go Grady! He hit #23 tonight!

Cleveland Indians hall of famer Bob Feller was a little impatient recently in a convenience store. He was purchasing a couple of newspapers and became irritated with the long line at the checkout. Bob, who will be 90 years old in November, slapped the correct change on the counter and headed for the door. The clerk insisted that he wait so that the items could be scanned. Bob challenged the clerk to “Call the police!” The police were not called because the store received their money for the purchase. If you know Bob, you know he is one tough old timer. I have witnessed and also been the recipient of many kindnesses by Bob. I have also witnessed Bob rip someone a “new one” when they needed it. Here is what you need to know about Bob Feller; Bob is more proud of serving his country in the Navy during World War II than any award or accomplishment in the Major Leagues. He is incredible to talk to and extremely accommodating to fans. (Just mind your P’s and Q’s!)

Whoa! 7-0 Indians!

The commercials on the Indians television network, SportsTime Ohio (STO) are so repetitive and so bad. Besides seeing Alltel’s Chad look like a mental giant next to the other four reps of the cell phone competition over and over again, there are some local commercials that you have to wonder if the companies paying for the spots even get a chance to approve the final commercial. Elk and Elk Attorneys should just use the Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy instead of showing the actual business partners that want to defend your personal injury. The one guy’s hair is obviously a real bad comb-over and it’s in his face as he glares at the camera. How about the lady talking about MetroHealth who says that her husband was in a motorcycle accident and he was broken in many pieces? MetroHealth put him back together and she says, “I like him better now!” I noticed that spot got changed to, “Now when I hear him play music again I am happy!”

Why is everyone so worried about Grady Sizemore participating in the All-Star Home Run Derby? Guys in the past blame the competition on wrecking their second half of the season. I don’t buy it for one minute that over swinging or changing your swing for one night is going to change your approach for the rest of the season. If that’s the case, don’t play ball with your kid in the backyard! Baseball players are getting too specialized. We already put dresses on American League pitchers with the DH rule. If it were true that the Home Run Derby screws up anyone’s swing then why do we have it? It’s a “snore” anyway! Grady is smart enough not to permanently alter his swing but let’s hope he doesn’t have a problem in the second half because of the derby. If he does, he will get sent down to the minors to work out his problem because the coaching staff taking up space on the Indians bench sure won’t be able to help him!

Uh Oh, 7-4 Indians!

Listening to Rick Manning on the Indians TV broadcasts, you can’t help but think that he is dying to manage in the big leagues. He is constantly “managing” from the booth and he make a lot of sense. He often speaks of bringing the infield in to cut down on base hits because this outfield has the speed to go back on a well hit ball. Tonight he commented on Ben Francisco over-sliding second base on what would have been a close double. He said that Francisco starts his slide too late. Replays supported Manning’s view point. Recalling a game about one month ago, Francisco had a similar slide with the same comment from Manning. It wouldn’t be the first, or the second time a broadcaster came out of the booth to manage a team. Let’s do it! I’m all for a reaction from the coaching staff. Any signs of life from that corps would be refreshing!

Cool! Tribe wins it 8-4!

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel!

The key player in the CC Sabathia trade last week, Matt LaPorta, has already gained "hero" status, at least on his Akron, Ohio team.
Yesterday, with the Akron Aeros trailing 2-1 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning in Reading, PA., left fielder Matt LaPorta hit a 2-run homer to beat the Phillies in Class AA ball.
This was LaPorta's first home run with his new team.
Being plucked into star status as the key player in the big trade certainly has not bothered the talented LaPorta, at least not visibly. In fact, he seems to favor the burden of knowing he is the future of the Cleveland Indians...Go Baby, Go!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thoughts During a 9 Game Losing Streak…

Prior to the ballgame between the Tigers and Indians tonight, Placido Polanco became a citizen of the United States. He was one of 100 people who were sworn in on the field in Comerica Park.
“I wanted to be here in this country - it’s a country of opportunity,” Polanco said Wednesday afternoon. “I work here playing baseball, and baseball has been very good to me and my family. God bless America.”
What a great place to hold that very special ceremony! Congratulations to Citizen Placido Polanco and welcome! This is truly a proud moment for all Americans and baseball fans alike.

Watching the game tonight, it became apparent that the Indians may fare better with 8 men on the field instead of the 9 men that includes Andy Marte. Please trade or release Marte and stop the insanity.
Just like that, the Indians 6-0 lead turns into a tie game! Raphael Betancourt needs some help! Where is our pitching coach?
Kudos to Paul Byrd. He has been struggling for over a month and he decided that he was more than likely tipping his pitches in his delivery. He made an adjustment by keeping his hands lower than his cap and he must have corrected the problem. Byrd went 6 innings giving up 9 hits and 3 runs, quite an improvement! Where is our pitching coach??
Guess who comes to town tomorrow night for a 4-game series? Yeah, first place Tampa Bay! The Rays come in to town needing to get back on the winning side of town since losing 3 straight and reducing their first place lead over Boston from 4 games to 2 games. Not that they would take the Indians lightly but don’t you think they must feel pretty confident coming to Progressive Field? This is our chance to stop being Patsies and become Spoilers. What better team to do it to than Tampa Bay? Remember what they did to derail our run for the playoffs in 2005? They beat us 2 out of 3 games when we needed to win most (Sept. 27th and 28th). I love the Rays this year and I hope they go to the World Series but let’s make ‘em earn it!
Holy Crap! Tigers win it in the bottom of the 9th, 8-6!
The Tribe’s losing streak reaches 10 games, longest since 1979!

Albert Belle Chimes In!

Good old Albert “Joey” Belle! Remember that guy? Truly a talented ballplayer who was the poster boy for anger management! Well, it seems Albert is unhappy with the “CC” trade…

"Imagine that, the Cleveland Indians trade away another great player because they didn't want to pay him," said Belle from his home in Arizona. "The saga continues."
"When is Larry Dolan going to sell the club?" said Belle. "I could buy a piece of it. There are a lot of people on teams making a lot of bad decisions. You don't always have to spend a lot of money. Look at what Billy Beane does in Oakland."
Asked if he wanted to get back into the game, Belle said, "I want to be an owner. The Mariners called me and wanted me to come to spring training as a roving hitting coach. But they were going to pay me peanuts."

Just think, Belle could be back in Cleveland soon as the (part) owner of the Cleveland Indians! If Albert were to put together a purchasing group, just think of the good times he could bring back to Cleveland!
When Albert ruled the territory between East 9th Street and Ontario, he was a dangerous hitter, on and off the field.

  • He squarely hit the thermostat in the clubhouse with his bat when he didn’t like the temperature.

  • How about the hurtin’ he put on the national photographer with a thrown ball to the mid-section? How dare he take a picture of Albert the Great!

  • Then there was the perfect pitch he fired at the fan in the stands who called him “Joey!”

  • Albert showed great dexterity at ping pong when he smashed his paddle in a heckler’s face!

  • Remember the 1995 World Series? Albert threw out the first Hannah Storm from the home team dugout to start the game!

  • There was the sink in Colorado Springs that dared to get in Albert’s way.

  • Remember Albert’s corked bats in 1994?

  • How about the forearm he threw at Fernando Vina or the many times he charged the mound?

  • Best of all was when he chased after Halloween “trickers” with his SUV after they threw eggs at his house. Because of the contact between one of the teenage egg throwers and Albert’s SUV, Albert was convicted of reckless operation and a civil suit followed. The father of the “bumped” teenager was an employee of mine. That teenager and his brothers and sisters would never have to worry about the cost of college educations as a result of the settlement.

So yeah, ‘mon back, Albert! This town and the good fans supported you and looked the other way like no other until you filed for free agency, went to Chicago, and then dissed the fans upon your return as a dark knight (with White Sox).
Tsk, tsk, tsk; Albert, Albert, Albert; Joey, Joey, Joey; whatever, whatever, whatever!
Mind your own business, keep playing non-contact golf, and try to stay out of trouble. Your old team is hurtin’ bad, but far better off without the likes of you!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

OK, Let's Move On...

A letter to Indians Fans

Dear Fans,

Thank you for your many years of loyalty to and support of the Cleveland Indians. Because you are vitally important to the success of the Indians, I want to communicate the thinking behind our recent player personnel decisions, including our decision to trade C.C. Sabathia, directly to you.

After keeping the strong nucleus from our 2007 playoff team intact, we all had high expectations entering the 2008 season. Unfortunately, the team did not play up to our expectations and we sustained injuries to key players within our starting lineup and rotation. Due to our team's performance, as well as the significant opportunity to add talent that can impact the short-term and long-term success of the organization, we decided to trade C.C.

We did not take our decision to trade C.C. lightly. He has been an integral member of the Indians organization and the Cleveland community for the past eight years. We all shared the pleasure of watching C.C. develop from a young draft pick into a mature team leader and one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball. After re-signing C.C. in 2005 to a contract that extended into what would have been his first two free agent years, we were able to share in and enjoy his 2007 Cy Young Award winning season as a Cleveland Indian, a performance that propelled our club to the AL Central Division Championship.We made extensive attempts to secure C.C.'s future in Cleveland by signing him to a contract extension. In fact, we offered C.C. a top of the market contract that included the highest annual salary in the history of the Indians organization. Unfortunately, due to C.C.'s desire to test the free agent market, we determined that trading C.C. provided the best outcome for the long-term success of the organization. By trading C.C., we capitalized on an opportunity to infuse upper level talent into our organization that can contribute to our on-field success for many years rather than risk losing C.C. for only two draft picks with a distant and uncertain future.We remain enthusiastic about the steps we have taken towards fulfilling our organizational mission to build and sustain a championship-caliber team. Our minor league system served as the catalyst for our 2007 playoff run and continues to develop exciting, young players. We look forward to the opportunity of watching many more young players blossom into Major League stars as Cleveland Indians.

We have confidence that the tremendously difficult decision to trade C.C. will enhance our ability to put a winning club on the field to make our loyal fans and the entire Cleveland community proud. On behalf of my family and the entire Cleveland Indians organization, I appreciate your continued support and look forward to seeing you at a game in the near future. Go Tribe!


Paul Dolan

Thanks Paul, we developed a star and could not secure him. If that's the way it must be, so be it. You probably received the best players you could for the circumstances, only time will tell. However, the trade does nothing to turn around the failings of this year or to inspire hope for next season. Matt LaPorta is projected to be ready in about one year to join the bigs. If anything, the fact that he will probably move back to 1st base should serve as a wake up call to Ryan Garko. Your management staff cannot seem to provide that wake up call so we must take a more indirect approach in grooming a 1st baseman in the minors.

OK, so let's move on. Trading Sabathia was something, it shows that someone is still upright and breathing in this dormant organization.

What's next????

What are we doing to stop the losing streak, to salvage even 4th place out of this season? Sowers vs. Verlander tonight is not going to help.

Perhaps a lesson can be learned from the 2007 Yankees. When injuries struck them early in the season, they went to their farm system and held together until the regulars got healthy again. A couple of the call-ups actually did very well and stayed with the team as they began July 15 games behind Boston and secured the wild card spot in the American League by the end of September.

We had high expectations, although guarded, for this season. No one now is expecting a turn around in this season but we need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. You have provided us with a cave.

If you expect to see the fans at the ballpark in the near future, the team must produce. Just as the fans have filled the ballpark like no others in this country, they can stay away as well.

As in baseball, you are only as good as your last at bat.

The fans are asking, "What have you done for me lately?"

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Goodbye, C.C.

Rumors swirled all week long that Cleveland Indians Ace C.C. Sabathia was going to be traded to one of four teams before his next start on Tuesday, July 8th. Apparently this is a fact as the news services have confirmed that an announcement will be forthcoming on Monday morning that C.C. Sabathia will be traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for three players. Although the details are not 100% confirmed, two of the players are believed to be minor leaguers Matt LaPorta (OF) and Taylor Green (3B).

Good luck to C.C. as he has been a class act ever since he joined the Indians organization. His loyalty and leadership coupled with his tremendous talent will always be appreciated in Cleveland. Here is hoping he can help the Brewers land a playoff spot and then hook up next season with a team that contends every year.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Contenders, Pretenders, Spoilers, to Patsies…Say It Ain’t So!

Although the Cleveland Indians made no moves to speak of since losing to the Red Sox in the ALCS last season, many fans as well as experts regarded the team as possible contenders, at least for the American League Central. A combination of injuries and key players having sub-par seasons has changed any hope of contention.

Since week 2 of the 2008 season, the Indians have been a mystery to their fans. Not so to the Indians’ brass and management as unpublished injuries to key players were reported after those players failed to meet expectations. Reasons given for keeping those injuries quiet were related to not showing weaknesses to the competition. Through the first month and a half of the season, G.M. Mark Shapiro insisted that it was too early to react and manager Eric Wedge insisted that the team would keep after it and turn things around. Meanwhile, other key players who performed so well last season continue to let themselves and the team down night after night with less than an hint of a reaction from management.

The White Sox went through a similar scenario last season and now are in position to win the division title. But what about teams this year that have lost key players to both injury and free agency? How do teams like the Minnesota Twins stay in contention with a winning record? The last 12 games prior to the All-Star break were designated by manager Eric Wedge as a “make it or break it” period for the Indians this season. At least it offered the Indians an opportunity to have a part in the seasons of contenders Chicago (White Sox), Minnesota, Detroit, and Tampa Bay. To date, the Indians have failed to win even one game in the “make it or break it” games.

This is not a role that the Cleveland Indians teams of the past are not familiar with but who would have thought that this team would fall to the level of becoming one of the doormats in the American League? Furthermore, will the ownership and management, who took no action to date to resuscitate this team, stand by and let their pitching ace C.C. Sabathia and versatile Casey Blake leave the team via free agency? If so, what does this tell a player like Grady Sizemore about his future with this club and their commitment to him?

Yesterday, the collective management of the team designated their failed closer, Joe Borowski to assignment. They have 10 days to trade him or release him. Glaciers move faster than this brain trust.

The Cleveland Indians organization owes their fans and the city of Cleveland answers to many questions and an action plan for the future of this team. If there were a bona fide commissioner of baseball, that action plan might be subject to league approval, especially given the fact that the Indians’ organization has been relying on crossed fingers and a prayer for an action plan to date.

Shame on the leaders of this organization. They have forced their loyal fans to resign themselves to remain loyal to the team but not the ownership or management.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day,...

Groundhog Day or Gopher Ball Night?

The Cleveland Indians find themselves trapped in a losing streak, night after night with similar results. Two nights in a row, they lost in the 10th inning to the Chicago White Sox as the victims of the looooooooonnnnnnngggggg ball. Just how do they stop the losing?...

“They say we're young and we don't know
We won't find out until we grow”

Today, in Minnesota on an off day, Eric Wedge and his coaching staff will be on a conference call with G.M. Mark Shapiro and his staff. I would love to be a fly on the wall…no, better yet, I would rather be Vice President of Public Relations Bob DiBiasio as Bill Murray in Groundhog Day addressing the Cleveland Indians, knowing that you have nothing to lose because tomorrow, when you wake up, you will still be in Cleveland and in last place!

Here is how the call could go…
Wedge: “OK you guys, we are dialed in and we will be starting soon.”
Pitching Coach Carl Willis: “Hey, how about passing me some more of those sausage links.”
3rd Base Coach Joel Skinner: “Sorry, I gotta put up a stop sign or we will run out.”
Batting Coach Derek Shelton: “Wow, these hot cakes are delish! What are they made with?”
1st Base Coach Jeff Datz: “Batter, something you know nothing about!”
Bong! The Cleveland front office joins the call.
G.M. Mark Shapiro: “Good morning everyone. I just want to start the call and set the tone. I know we lost again last night but there is no need to panic. So, let’s talk about next steps.”
Wedge: “Well, we are gonna just keep after it until we get this thing turned around. We are still making adjustments but so are the other teams and…”
Bob DiBiasio interrupts: “Hold it, all of you! I’m sick of the same bull crap every day! Your coaching staff is ill-equipped to make even the slightest adjustments, the manager is out of focus and has lost the respect of the team, the general manager has provided no talent to help the team, we are on the verge of losing our Cy Young ace and our versatile RBI leader to free agency, and ownership has got long pockets and short arms! What the hell do you all think this is? I’ll tell you what we are going to do…Dolan, sign Sabathia and Blake today! Get your ass on a plane to Minnesota right now and do whatever it takes to secure our future with these two guys. Shapiro, package Byrd and Marte and trade them today for a hitter, any hitter! Start bringing up some talented players from the minors that want to win. Put Choo, Dellucci, and Peralta on the trading block as well. Wedge, get off your ass and hold your coaches accountable to put a winning team on the field by tomorrow night or you will all see fireworks like you’ve never seen. We start winning tomorrow, is that clear?!!!!!”
Of course, DiBiasio knows he will wake up tomorrow in last place again. He is right but, because he was the only one with the balls to shake things up and drive accountability in the organization, the Indians begin to win and the repetitious nightmare is over!

Go Get 'Em, Bobby!