Friday, July 31, 2009

So, You're Surprised Because...?!

Come on, you knew it was going to happen...but it doesn't take away the hurt though, does it?
Mark DeRosa, Gone!
Rafael Betancourt, Gone!
Cliff Lee, Gone!
Ryan Garko, Gone!
Ben Francisco, Gone!
Victor Martinez, Gone!

As sportswriter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer Bill Livingston said, "Why shouldn't the fans think that this ball club is anything but a farm club for teams in contention?"

Well, maybe it shouldn't stop there. Since things are so bad, perhaps we could look at other ways to save, or gain revenue.

Yeah, perhaps we can trade long time bleacher drummer John Adams to Milwaukee for a polka band! (Barf!)

Or, what do you think we could get for our self-proclaimed "Beer-Man", maybe a Sausage Racer from Pittsburgh?

Since nobody is listening anymore, we could trade radio voice Tom Hamilton!

How about we see what we can get for TV commentator Rick Manning? Do you think he would mind if we traded him...again?!
Then there is the guy who wears the fluorescent hats at all of the home games. He sits with his wife in the front row behind the visitors dugout and changes hats about every inning.
Dude, wake up that guy behind you!

Here he is seen picking out a new hat!

What a guy, he lets his wife pick them out too!

If anyone remembers the decline of the Cleveland Indians of the early 60's, it can be traced back to then GM Frank "Trader" Lane. He single-handedly ruined the team. Once he even traded one complete team for another complete team! Current GM Mark Shapiro's trades pale in comparison to "Trader" Lane...but not for long!

What could we get for Shapiro? Better yet, give him away now before it is too late! Actually, tarring and feathering seems a bit too lenient.

Larry Dolan, owner of the team is a very nice man, a life-long fan, but a poor owner who will never put together a winner. He does not have the financial power to do so.

Please Mr. Dolan, sell this team!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Visiting Louisville, Kentucky for business on Thursday, I decided to play a little "hooky" in the late afternoon. Knowing that the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory was only open until 6 pm, I headed to downtown Louisville. I had not been in the downtown area since I had my first 3-day pass from Army basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky back in 1970. It's a very nice area, all about the Ohio River. It was easy to spot the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory because of the 8-store replica bat that adorns the entrance. It is however difficult to navigate to the place due to so many one-way streets. After parking and walking a short distance to the facility, it wasn't long before the younger person in me emerged and dominated the next two and a half hours. There is a very informative tour of the factory that lasts about 20 minutes with Q & A at the end. The museum itself is somewhat small but very entertaining, informative, and fun to view. There is a theater that shows a short movie narrated by none other than Jame Earl Jones. The movie is graced with many shots of Progressive field and past and current Cleveland Indians to my surprise. There is a batting cage and an area where you can "Hold a Piece of History."

I was caught by surprise by the life-size likeness of Babe Ruth standing in the middle of the museum, in a pose concluding a swing that produced one of the Bambino's home runs. I almost thought this was a mime who would come to life any second as the likeness looked so real. The eyes of the Babe were so focused on the trajectory of the ball that he had just launched.
Of course there is a store in the museum and the most active part of that store is the back where you can order a customized genuine Louisville Slugger for yourself. The line for this was incredible when you consider the average price of the creation is about $60. (Mine cost me $74 plus shipping as orders after 4:15 pm must be picked up the next day or shipped.)

Exiting the store, there is a wall of signatures of major league ball players. It did not take me long to find Rocky Colavito and then to view many, many more.
The museum and factory is a great place to visit, reward yourself with a genuine Louisville Slugger, and learn about the great traditions of the 125 year history of the factory. I think it is someplace that you would not want to miss if you were nearby.
Upon walking out of the museum, it was fitting to learn that Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox had just pitched a perfect game that afternoon!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Let The Buyer Beware!

Is this what it has come down to on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario?

This team is now 21 games under .500 and showing no signs of life after the All-Star break. "Let the buyer beware" apparently has become the new motto of the Cleveland Indians' current ownership as they do nothing but sit on their deed to the team.

Well, don't blame the fans. We are going to continue to be an avid and loyal fan base to the team, the Cleveland Indians, but not necessarily to current ownership. For too long bad baseball was better than no baseball here where unemployment, cost of living, and home ownership continue to trend higher than the rest of the country. But yet, the fans continue to pay attention to this team...and I do mean "Pay!"

For team ownership with the second worst record in baseball to do absolutely nothing for two seasons is unforgivable. Worst of all, the Dolans aren't even trying to spin things favorably...they just do nothing! However, with the trading deadline approaching fast (July 31st), you can be sure some additional payroll unloading will take place in the next two weeks. See ya, Carl Pavano! You too, Victor! Cliff, it's been nice! Ryan Garko is probably going to go to a team where he can play every day and drive in the runs he is capable of with his .270+ batting average. Mark Shapiro just spent the last week in Columbus, Ohio assessing the talent on our AAA affiliate, the Columbus Clippers. Matt LaPorta is being switched to 1st base again. Goodbye Garko! Andy Marte is hitting homers again. He is sure to get the call up again to the big league. The trouble is, he is comfortable at the AAA level. Bring him up again and he will look complacent once again. The good news is that we will get to see Michael Brantley soon. He will more than likely trade places with an underperforming Ben Francisco.

For a team to be one game away from the World Series just one and one half seasons ago, things just ain't right and show no signs of getting any better.
Please Mr. Dolan, sell the team!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Can You Stand By And Watch?

Can you stand by and watch the demise of the 2009 Cleveland Indians? Speaking for myself, I want to throw 25 life preservers. I have never been one to stand by in a crisis. I want to take action...lead the rescue of the cat in the tree, help the confused lady cross the street (probably my mother-in-law...Hmmm), volunteer to build a home for Habitat for Humanity (someday), and good stuff like that. But what can a guy like me do to help my beloved Cleveland Indians? It seems like anything helpful would just be as much a waste of time as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
There is much that stinks on the corner of 9th and Carnegie. Unfortunately to rid the team of the stench that is them right now would take a sizable amount of money and that just isn't gonna happen with the current ownership. Until last week, I took my car to a "conveniently located" dealer near my home. They have terribly inconvenient hours, rude service people, salesmen that think they are owed a living, and just downright piss-poor customer service to go along with their inability to fix cars right and satisfy customers. Unfortunately, their convenient location has made me put up with too much too long. No, the Dolan family does not own the car dealership too. My point is, even the most die hard fans will become disenchanted. Not me of course as I will always have my first baseball loyalty to the Cleveland Indians. Aurora Chrysler Plymouth can burn down for all I care because I will never go back there!

Cleveland Plain Dealer sports columnist Bill Livingston wrote earlier this week that he hopes the Tribe will stop winning in the second half of the season. As shocking as that sounds, there is a method to this madness. Bill feels that if the Tribe puts together a second half this year like they did last year, the team will again stay pat, not spend any money, and say that they just need a spare part or two just to put the team back to playoff bound in 2010.
I must agree to disagree; Never stop trying to win, you owe that to the fans and yourselves. Do come to the realization right now that the team needs a major overhaul to be competitive once again. And for #@#!! sakes Mr. Dolan, sell the @#@!! #@#@#@!!! team! If you love the Indians and the town, sell!
No matter what happens, Shapiro and his lunatic coaching staff must all go! They have been given a reprieve until the end of the season. Talk about stink, PU! These guys are a total embarrassment to the community and the game of baseball. As long as you recruit bargain basement coaching and management, your team will dwell in the basement...what a bargain!
Could you imagine turning in numbers and results where you work that these guys do and keeping your job? These guys are so lame duck right now you have to watch where you step around the dugout...maybe that's what stinks so bad! Here's an idea to fill the seats each night at Progressive Field...or at least 1 seat. Fire Wedge and hold a lottery for "Manager of the Night." What harm could it do and it would make each game very interesting. Joe Fan gets an opportunity to manage the Cleveland Indians for a night! Of course, there would be rules and regulations;
"NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the entry form from our Manage the Indians Contest. To be eligible, entries must be completed and received on or by the closing date of the draw. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of the Cleveland Indians. The Cleveland Indians will not be responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries. Entries received by telephone, fax, courier or personal delivery will not be accepted. The contest is open to anyone upright and taking oxygen. Knowledge of the game of baseball is preferred but not required. Winners must be prepared to travel with the team in the event that their managing day/night is outside of the Cleveland area. Winners must pay their own expenses to and from the game, including air fare, meals, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation. Current management or anyone closely resembling any Cleveland Indians organization employees are not eligible.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Shin-Soo Choo, Self-Made Hitter!

Last night, Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo led the offensive attack that drove the Cleveland Indians to a 15-3 win over the Oakland A's at Progressive Field. Choo went 4 for 5 with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs. Choo is his own biggest critic. Despite being the most productive hitter for the 2009 Indians, Choo believes he is capable of much more and has promised so recently. Perhaps that is what drove him to his "Extra Credit" work on Thursday's "off" day. While being interviewed in the post-game last night, Choo revealed the following. He said that he watched 3 hours of hitting DVDs on Thursday. "I tried a wider stance so I could see the ball better and see it longer," he said. "I didn't swing at bad pitches."
So, during the interview, I posed an even deeper question in my mind that I was hoping would be asked of Choo, or Wedge, or Shapiro, or even the grounds crew..."Where was Derek Shelton on Thursday and why do you have to come up with this "self-coaching" on your own?!"
It has been apparent to me and to anyone else that pays even the slightest bit of attention to this team that they have been under-coached for years. Here's a guy that is leading his team offensively, knows he can do even better, promises the fans that he will, and then he develops his own coaching techniques.
Over the last 7 days, Choo has put on a masterful defensive display, cutting down Cincinnati and Chicago base runners with laser throws from right field. Perhaps if he was asked what he attributes his strong throwing arm to, he may refer that to live grenade training in his South Korean homeland. Choo still has a military obligation that he will be required to serve soon unless he receives a "pass" from South Korea for his baseball career.
Now that I think of it, this team reminds me more and more of the Bill Murray platoon in the movie Stripes. You remember, their drill Sergeant Hulka was blown up during basic training and the platoon was left to train themselves.
Is this your 2009 Cleveland Indians?
Mr. Dolan...Puleeeeeeeze sell the team!!!!!