Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
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.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
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.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
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
* 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!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Best way to Cooperstown? Go left
Thursday, July 10, 2008
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 retrosheet.org, 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.
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.
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.
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
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
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
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!
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
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!
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
“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.
The Tribe’s losing streak reaches 10 games, longest since 1979!
"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."
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
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
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
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!