Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hard To Say Goodbye...

Robert Feller, 1918 - 2010
Through the years there was that smile. Rapid Robert was just as quick to give a pat on the back as he was to flash that big smile with teeth gritted.
What accomplishments!
What a leader!
What unselfishness!

Many times Bob was asked, "What was your greatest victory in your fabulous career?"
Without hesitation, Bob would reply, "Winning World War Two!"
How many people do you know that have the an ounce of the dedication and passion to their country, to their ambitions, to their employer, to fair play that this great man possessed?

I know I am a better person for knowing you, Bob.
I won't say goodbye, I'll see you at Gate C.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's "FREE" About Free Agents?

USA Today lists the top 50 MLB free agents. Paul White of USA Today ranks Cliff Lee #1.
Here is an interesting ranking, he lists Derek Jeter as 27th. Can you imagine Jeter playing for any other team except the Skankees? You have to believe that New York would never let him go, regardless of his diminishing skills…I haven’t heard that term since Billy Bellycheck banished Bernie Kosar from Northeast Ohio! Still, wouldn’t that be almost as sweet as Texas beating New York in the ALCS?...Almost! I am still in a euphoric state since the night of 10/22/10! (Holy Crap! I have to go back to that wretched city in two and a half weeks!)
Look at the list if you get a moment. It is hitting and pitching rich.
Who catches the eye immediately? Well of course, Victor Martinez who told me in an airport he did not want to leave Cleveland and wished he were still there since the hiring of Manny Acta.
How about Adam Dunn? Forget it, the Dolans…never mind, they are not even worth talking about.
Realistically, who would take less or no money to come back and finish out their career in Cleveland?
It is not likely unless they still had property in the “Best Location in the Nation.”
Jimmy Boy Thome! I understand he still has a house in Aurora! He certainly could produce much more than Hafner and be the Eddie Murray for this band of youngsters.
A real stretch would be Manny Ramirez. Perhaps he just misses snow at Christmas..or on opening Day.
There will be much speculation on free agents and other type baseball related items and issues as the snow begins to fly. Other than an occasional Browns upset of a Superbowl contender or a LeBron-less Cavs team in first place with a .500 record, all we can do is buy Opening Day tickets and keep or fingers and toes crossed for the reincarnation of a Dick Jacobs kind of visionary to show an interest in our beloved baseball team.
I think it’s snowing…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Never Shed A Tear For You...

This was almost as much fun as when the Indians beat the Yankees in the 2007 ALDS!

27th payroll in the league...Who wanted it more?!

Class act, on and off the field!

A very fitting triumph!

Each time there was a "bad" call, the Rangers responded with a big inning. Here, Nick Swisher eludes a HBP call in favor of a wild pitch. How do 6 umpires on the field all miss this?

On to the World Series!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yankee Fans Once Again Show Lack of Understanding, Respect, and Sense of Fair Play for the Game of Baseball

National television audiences witness what umpires miss...again!

How is this not fan interference?
Come on Rangers, put a bullet in the New York Yankees.
I hate the Yankees!
I hate their town!
I hate their cab drivers!
I hate the people who work in NY and think you owe them something for doing their jobs!
More than anything, I hate the Yankee fans who think they know the game of baseball...apparently they don't know anything about fair play as caught in photos above.
Who was that kid who selfishly interfered in the 1996 playoff game in NY...Jeffery Maier. They probably erected a statue to the little shit somewhere in Da Bronx.
Tonight these morons not only interfered with play on the field, they taunted Nelson Cruz after they interfered with the ball and Cruz's glove. And they were proud of it. So were the rest of the so called fans in the toilet bowl called Yankee Stadium.
Score right now; Rangers 5, Skankees 3 in the top of the 7th.
Go all the way Rangers! Take your 29th ranked payroll and stick it to these pampered prima donnas and their neanderthal fans!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

League To Rule On Cell Phone Usage By Players During Games!

Nelson Cruz is tagged out by CC Sabathia last night while apparently asking caller, "Am I Safe?"

The Seattle Mariners hired Eric Wedge to manage at least part of next season.

Heads in the clouds...or somewhere else?

Would you trust this man with your business?

Don't look for the fortunes of the Cleveland Indians to change anytime soon, at least as long as they are owned by the Dolans and they keep Mark Shapiro in charge of the daily operations of the team. Apparently job performance doesn't matter as Marky was promoted from GM to President of the club. Who takes his place? His protege, Chris Antonelli, the assistant GM. Do as I did AND as I say!

We can thank Mark and the Dolans for giving us the ability to see some of our favorite players in the playoffs again this year. You know, guys that labored for the Indians and have found the brass ring and their fortunes elsewhere as we continue to develop talent for the rest of the league.

Manny Acta was a somewhat pleasant surprise this year as he was palatable as the manager of the team. But don't look now, Tony LaRussa will be moving on from the Cards and we will stand pat with Acta. Acta is somewhere between Wedge and LaRussa, kind of like hamburger helper to filet mignon and gruel...Lucky us!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How Do you See Things?

This is how Mark Shapiro sees himself wheeling and dealing Cleveland Indians' soon-to-be free agents;

This is how the fans in Cleveland see Shapiro's deal making;

This is how Braylon Edwards sees the city of Cleveland;

This is how the fans and coaches in Cleveland repeatedly saw Braylon Edwards;

LeBron's "Lady" sees the fans of Cleveland as unfair to the King;

You know what? I hated to see the guy go but we can take consolation in one thing...He didn't go to New York!

Today was "Take Your Best Shot At Cleveland Day!"

Is that all you got????

It's the Dog Days of Summer and tempers flare more and more at the old ballgame.

Did you see the Cards and Reds tonight?

Check it out;

Lovely, isn't it? And it was all pretty much started by a guy who holds the City of Cleveland in just as high esteem as anyone, Brandon Phillips.

Perhaps Milton Bradley would like to drive through Cuyahoga Falls for old time sake...Oh, bad idea Milty!

Why not have an Albert Belle bobble head night? Shake him just a little bit and he smashes a thermostat in the clubhouse, or hits a guy in the face with a ping pong paddle, or throws a strike at a camera man's chest, or...runs down some teens in his SUV.

We love and worship our sports heroes here in the city that once gave itself the phrase, "Best Location In The Nation!"

They just don't love us back!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

So It Begins Again...

Well, just when things begin to turn around, the fire sale begins again. Why Austin Kearns had to be taken out of the game last night because he didn't belong to the Indians anymore! Johnny Peralta goes to the Tigers for a Happy Meal. Austin Kearns goes to the Yankees for a hand full of beans to be named later. Jake Westbrook is starting today. If he comes out early for no apparent reason...guess what? He's traded!

It feels like the '70s and the '80s again. We almost lost the team until Dick Jacobs built a new stadium and saved the franchise. He enabled GM John Hart to extend long contracts to young players to ensure a future for the team and it worked. We have become a Triple A farm team for MLB once again. The funniest thing last night was that broadcaster Rick Manning kidded fellow broadcaster Matt Underwood that he heard rumors that Underwood was being traded. Funny, but sad.
So who is to blame, the Dolans for their shoestring budget and almost absentee ownership?
Or is it Mark Shapiro who sits on the edge of his seat ready to pull the trigger on any player making more than the league minimum?
I'll say it again, if my job performance read like Shapiro's, I wouldn't be gleaming for the cameras with the eventual promotion he will receive at the end of the season. When results are less important that the immediate bottom line, there is little hope for the future of the franchise...unless there is another Dick Jacobs out there. The city of Cleveland longs for another hero like Mr. Jacobs but does that person or group exist?
Until then, we are subject to the annual fire sales and poor baseball in Cleveland.

Too bad...too bad! But the true fans of the Cleveland Indians will still support the team and keep the faith. After all, that is what the city of Cleveland is so good at and all about. Time to pop in "Major League" again in the DVD player and dream about...I don't know, next year? Perhaps 10 years from now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's Been A While...

Yes, it has been a while...since June 5th. So what's been going on? Well, LeBron James set the city of Cleveland on it's (R)ear with his tasteless and classless theatrical announcement that he was going to the Heat. We will miss you LeBron but not the circus sideshow. How about Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cavs? He paled in comparison to "The Announcement" in his "Rebuttal" letter but he laid just as big of an egg as his ex-superstar.

While this was going on, I received many calls, texts, and e-mails asking how the town was going to handle another loss. Well, my response was that we all got up and went to work the next day, just like any other day. Of course, the USA Today had to remind everyone about the heartbreak Cleveland suffers in sports what with "The Drive", "The Shot", "The Fumble", etc. But they forgot more than they remembered and the lights are still on in the city by the lake. Why stop with sports anyway? We have the city that went into default. The river that burned...heck, that same year our mayor caught his hair on fire!

We still love ya, Ralphie! So don't worry about Cleveland and it's people...they are a hardy bunch that even "Red Right 88" couldn't keep down. It is a city of eternal hope. Our theme song should be, "I Will Survive!"

On another bright ray of hope, look at our Tribe!

They have won 7 out of their last 11 games since the All-Star break from 1st or 2nd place teams; Detroit, Minnesota, Tampa, and New York and they are in the process of beating the Yankees tonight.

The problem is these guys don't know they aren't supposed to win.

This is a pretty solid lineup that will only get better. Crow, Cabrera, Choo, Santana, Peralta, Nix, Brantley, and Kearns are hitters with good defense. They are getting better and better as they begin to believe in themselves. And the pitching is improving too!

So here it is...How we set ourselves up for disappointment in Cleveland...

The Cleveland Indians, despite the front office sitting on their hands, will grow into a contender next year...

But wait, there is more...

Just as I predicted in 2005 and 2007, this little team will win some games and make the division interesting in August and September! Are they going to the playoffs? No, of course not but could they finish 3rd in the division?

Here is how I see it on September 30th;






Buckle up and hang on 'cause these guys are gonna win some games in August and September!

This is my Tribe!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


You saw it probably 20 times by now. If you saw it live, it was even more incredible. We all looked at every angle to see what umpire Jim Joyce could have seen. Did Galaragas miss the bag? No, no, and no. Did he bobble the ball? Yeah, a little but each closeup on replay showed he had control before the runner got to the bag.

No doubt Jim Joyce erred on the call and only he will ever know what really went through his mind in that split second in eternity...or perhaps he will never know.

So what did you see? It is probably a better question to ask what you did not see. You did not see a George Brett-like tantrum. Instead you saw a young man who was truly cheated of a perfect game and all of the fame that goes with it. In a moment he realized what he had lost. You could see it in his face for the second or two that he stared in amazement at the "safe" call. But immediately he gently smiled as he truly maintained his composure and went back to the job of finishing the game.

The word "Class" has been used and overused in describing what happened. The true definition of Armando Galaragas is "Sportsman."

So now what? One faction is screaming for replays and the purists are defending the "human" aspect of the game.

Where do you stand?

We could go completely high tech and wire everything from the strike zone to the bases, to the foul poles to the balls and bats.

Before a batter stands in, electrodes in his uniform defining his specific strike zone would be synchronized with an electric 3-D strike zone that calls balls and strikes for those pitches not swung at.

The same type of electrode could decide if a bat or a body part made contact with the ball. The foul lines could call fair or foul. An electrode in spikes and first base could make the call at the bag. Umpires would be obsolete.

Well, that would end the game as we know it and put it into the hands of this techy society that does not get the beauty of this timeless game between cell phone calls and text messages. They have no patience to take the time to understand the mental battle that each pitch presents.

Probably the best suggestion I have heard was on the Cleveland Indians' telecast this evening. Matt Underwood suggested that the scorer become a 5th umpire that would decide when a play should be under review and when a replay would be necessary. That scorer/umpire would then review the replay and decide is there was conclusive evidence to change a call.

This way the human aspect of the game stays in tact until it is evident that a serious error could have been committed.

It will be very interesting to see what develops.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Questions, Questions, Questions...

More questions...

If you were Grady Sizemore, wouldn't you have used a bigger cup?

Doesn't Austin Kearns look like Beaver Cleaver all grown up?!

Who would you rather have on your team, Russell Branyan or Andy Marte?
(That's a tough one but I pick Marte!)

Would you let this man help your kids with their particular, spelling?

Is this the reincarnation of Bill "Spaceman" Lee?

If you had 30 minutes of this man's time, what would you say to him?

If this man worked for you, would you get tremendous satisfaction in firing him?

How long will we have to put up with the Dolan/Shapiro era?

Will empty seats finally force them to sell?

How do you give up 5 runs in the top of the 9th inning to the Royals and not flinch?

What if Dan Gilbert could put together a deal to buy the Tribe and make LeBron a part owner to keep him and the Indians in Cleveland?

Is there a someone out there with the backing and business savvy of Dick Jacobs who cares enough to rescue a city and it's baseball team?


Monday, May 17, 2010

I Still Watch...I Still Believe...

I do!

As often as I can, I watch...even out of town on the web...This is my team and this is my city.

Yes, we were all reminded that Cleveland has not had a winner since the '64 Browns at the conclusion of the Cavs/Celtics playoffs. As the Celts celebrated, the world had to see again the suffering of Cleveland teams and fans with all of the heartbreaking plays that have crushed dreams over the last 46 years. Thanks for that...but guess what? We can take it.

Are there more heartbreaks to come...some sooner than later?

Is LeBron really LeGone?

I hope with all of my heart that LeBron stays but if he doesn't, guess what? We all get up and go to work the next day.

So why hope and believe in Cleveland?

This is my town. I have lived here for almost 61 years and I am not about to relocate now.

My sport is baseball and my team will always be the Indians, no matter who poorly owns them or who miss-manages them.
I still think this team can make a lot of noise in the AL Central. The door is open with the Red Sox tanking. Except here comes Tampa Bay again!
So what! Did you see the Indians come back on Baltimore on Saturday night with 8 runs in the 9th inning? That set the table for a big performance by pitcher Jake Westbrook on Sunday.
They are still fun to watch and they keep showing signs of life with some pitching that is coming on fast. Get Grady back on track and who knows how close they can come.
Let the rest of the world look back on the heartbreaks and laugh, or even feel a little sorrow.
We will still get up in the morning and go to work with hope in our hearts...that a man the likes of Dick Jacobs steps up again in the city that he loves (like D.J. did) and rescues this franchise for the better.
Time to go to work...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What The...

While hanging out in beautiful and fun downtown Cleveland recently, I was thinking back to my college days where I spent quite a bit of time walking between classes in the heart of the city. I met Steve Allen once and on another occasion Bob Hope as he tooled around the corner of 9th and Euclid in a limo. Most of those old buildings that I should have been taking classes in are long gone to make way for Gateway. I spent most of those days in the local bars drinking 3.2 beer, eating more than my share of beer nuts, dropping quarter after quarter into the juke box, and dancing when I should have been in class. You can look North and see the new Browns' Stadium adjacent to the Rock and Roll Hall and the Science Center. There are still some pretty cool bars and some very nice restaurants, many of them elegant in the area around Progressive Field and the Q Arena. A trip slightly further east provides some of the greatest culture available anywhere in the University Circle area. Of course just over the bridge to the West of the Q offers many, many cultural and culinary treats as well as historic and entertaining places.

Here is another good thing about Cleveland, Joakim Noah will not have to return to Cleveland for two very good reasons. First, the Cavs will finish the playoff series in Chicago winning 4 straight and second, Noah apparently does not appreciate the finer attributes of our fair city.

What kind of moron would make statements as he did publicly, even if he did feel that way?

Well, you don't have to look to far to see the ramblings of another such moron. He puts those statements daily in the sports section of the Akron Beacon Journal. His name is Sheldon Oker and perhaps it is time for he too to leave the area.

Shelly, apparently it is time for you to retire when all you can find to write about, or lately complain about is the paint on the dugouts at Progressive Field. In the midst of this young teams most recent and modest winning streak of 4 games, you chose to write about how they are not much different under Manny Acta than they were under Eric Wedge. Wedge took a wait and see approach to everything. He was just that deliberate in deciding which end of the bench to fall asleep on. Acta has been everything Wedge wasn't so far. He is upright and breathing and that is an improvement over Wedge. And your flip, sarcastic, and condescending answers to your "fans" who write in to you are out of line. The Akron Sports section has not been the same since Terry Pluto defected back up north to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Perhaps it is time for the two papers to merge and merely have an Akron section.
I am disappointed in Michael Brantley. He was not able to make the best of his time in the Bigs and was sent down to make room for Russell Branyan. Brantley is the future and he will be back, hopefully soon. Branyan amounts to a mercenary playing for any team that will have him in between constant and tiring injuries. Let's play him now until he goes out with another surgery requiring injury. He puts me in mind of Roger Dorn in the movie about our Indians, "Major League."

"Oh come on cut the rah rah shit Taylor! Year after this I go free agent. Plus me and my agent got a couple of plans for life after baseball. So I am not about to risk major injury or displace this property for a collection of stiffs!"

Never thought much of you when you were here before, still don't think much of you Russell.

Time for the Tribe to get back on track tonight in Minnesota!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Good, The Bad, And The Predictable!

Going into the Cleveland Indians’ Opening Day 2010, the 110th opener celebrated on the shores of Lake Erie, this club had established a record of 2 wins and 4 losses. That record could easily have been 4 wins and 2 losses due to a costly error and two predictable bullpen failures.
Anyway, there we were at opening day, a new beginning. The town looked sparkly driving in from I-77. The snow was gone, the weather was great, and Progressive Field welcomed us from far away. Soon we were in the stadium in the Club section where it was all you can eat. Most people seemed to have forgotten the blown game the day before and were ready to greet their team.
As we moved into our Club seats, the park looked great. The grass was so green and manicured as the Rangers took batting practice. There was a buzz in the air.
For me, the true highlight of the day was seeing 92 year old legend Bob Feller purposefully make his way to the mound, toe the rubber, and throw out the first pitch to Sandy Alomar Jr. 70 years earlier, Bob Feller had pitched a no hitter on an opening day that he still remembers like it was yesterday.
When the teams were announced, something occurred to me. After we had to endure the introductions of the guy who shines the shoes, the guy who cleans the toilets, etc., etc., etc., finally the players were announced by radio voice Tom Hamilton. Where were the applause and cheering? The biggest ovation seemed to come for past fan favorite Sandy Alomar Jr. who is now a coach. Grady Sizemore sat this game out and as concerning as that is, he received a somewhat mild reception. As the team took the field, there was much milling around by the “fans” that lasted throughout the game. There was a total lack of respect for the action of the field as well as people sitting in seats they did not have tickets for. Most disturbing was people coming in late and prying others out of the seats that they paid for. A group sitting next to me was apparently enjoying mass quantities of Bud Light out of the safety bottles allowed for sale within the park. Many times during the game, mostly during action on the field as I stood up repeatedly so they could go get more beer, I was tempted to ask them what the score was. I am sure they didn’t know who was playing much less the score. The “ASS Parade” continued throughout the game making it impossible to see such plays as in the 6th inning when Travis Hafner tried to score on a single by Jhonny Peralta and was apparently thrown out at the plate…I saw the replay at home.
Sportswriter Bill Livingston wrote the next day that there was very little fan recognition for the players, especially the newer players because of the lack of ovation when they were announced. Bill, had you been down in the throng, you too would have discovered it was amateur day at Progressive Field. Most of the people who were there Monday will not be seen again in the later months of the season unless the fortunes of the Indians change abruptly, they find themselves in contention, and these so called “fans” will benefit from company perks or just buy cheaper admission and look for empty party seats in a better location.
So, that aside, the game started out good, went bad, and became predictable. Shin Soo Choo put us ahead with a 1st inning home run. He had a great day until he lost count of the outs and was doubled off 3rd base, aggressively advancing from 1st on a Hafner pop-up with only 1 out. How do you not know there is only 1 out?
The bullpen wasted a very good effort by Fausto Carmona who appears to have regained his control and command. This same bullpen wasted a great effort by Jake Westbrook a day earlier in Detroit.
OK, so they are 2 and 5 instead of 5 and 2 as they really should be. New Manager Manny Acta vowed to play to win and stressed the importance that wins in April are as important as wins in September. Time to review your notes and quotes, Manny.
I still maintain that this is a good team. If Manny Acta and Tim Belcher can put together some kind of bullpen or bring up a prospect or two, this team will score runs and be very interesting. Two of our losses so far are very troubling, forgetting the one Peralta blew with a huge error Friday night, I am much more concerned with the bullpen. React now and revive the confidence in these young players and they will win some ballgames.
Let’s see what happens tonight and what adjustments Acta will make as well as what he will allow between the foul lines going forward.
This is my team, I like what I see in offense and defense, we just need to fix the bullpen again. Adjust and fix it now and we are in for some fun. Wait the obligatory Shapiro 40 games into the season and the bargain basement trading will soon begin.
Manny…be the man!