Thursday, June 30, 2005

For every sports journalist, it's your worst nightmare. You're just doing your job, and someone steps in the way and keeps you from getting what you need. It could be a quote, footage, or anything that prevents you from doing your best.
What Kenny Rogers did yesterday was not the act of a frustrated veteran; but rather the act of a petty, self-absorbed bully.
His act was not much different than what Albert Belle ten years ago, when he launched baseballs at a photographer who had the audacity to do his job.
In 1995, I was a freshman in high school and a fanboy, so while I knew it was wrong, I wasn't really offended. Also, Albert was important to the Tribe lineup.
I was 15.
Now, I am a sportswriter, and if I have a job to do, and someone has the audacity to prevent me from doing my job, I would be annoyed and angry.
But to assault a photographer brings things to another level. It's not acceptable or excusable in any form, in professional sports or not.
Kenny Rogers is a thug. I hope the photographer sues him and Rogers faces legal action. I also hope baseball takes a stand and suspends him at least a month.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

NBA Draft moments
Remember your favorite NBA draft moments? Me either, but Bill Simmons has one of the funniest things I have read in a long time, putting forth the 60 greatest NBA Draft Moments. Many are funny, to be sure, but No. 11 is the best for me:

No. 11
2004: Utah takes 7-foot-5 Pavel Prdzswsbqzpdne, who stands up and immediately whiffs on two high-fives. Not a good start for the Pavel Era. Andy Katz calls it a "safe pick." Of course, USA Today's scouting report mentioned that Pavel "takes medication for a hormonal disorder related to pituitary gland." Maybe "safe" wasn't the best choice of words, not after the Gheorghe Muresan Era and Giant Gonzalez's wrestling career. My buddy Jacko quickly jokes, "Must improve: Genetic deficiency."

Reading Simmons' column was 1000x more interesting than the draft itself.

In depth Cavaliers NBA draft analysis

Monday, June 27, 2005

Meaningless Polling
President Bush always has struck me as man who doesn't care much for polls.
Maybe he should start caring. According to CNN, his disapproval ratings (I love how they stress "disapproval." I can only assume it's because it sounds worse) are high. Or is it low?
Wait a minute. High dissapproval ratings=bad. High approval ratings=good. OK, got it.
He better watch it though. It could really affect his re-election.
Some may argue that Bush's polls may be indicative of what may happen in 2006, but in June of 2005, it may be hard to make a point about elections almost 18 months away.

Flag Burning Amendment
I'm against it, but it's not because I don't love and honor the flag. Here's Mark Steyn with a good argument.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Shaved Eric Wedge
Despite winning his battle with the Tribe manager, Matt Glassman still has a message for Eric Wedge on his website.

Dear Eric Wedge,

It's a joke, get it?? We get hundreds of e-mails embracing this website. We have been praised by the best and the worst radio personalities in the city. We have gotten local/national attention, and to this point, the ONLY person who doesn't think this is funny is you.
It makes me so upset that you still don't find this funny. Look at the numbers, look at the record, ISN'T THIS FUN???
In the past few days, we have been informed that at least two newspapers in the city, and ESPN have requested your attention on this very website, and were abruptly turned away. Eric, you're managing a successful baseball team, and you have one of the most popular water cooler topics in the city DEDICATED TO YOU. Lets all have fun with this.
Please Eric,
I'm looking to you as a member of the majority
I'm asking you as a confused webmaster
And, I'm begging you as a life long Tribe fan
Embrace this site....Please

Matt ... I thought it was funny.

JT setlist
In response to a comment below:
You know, I wanted to bring a sheet of paper to write that down, but forgot. From memory, this is what I recall:
Secret of Life
Your Smiling Face
Handy Man
Fourth of July
Fire and Rain
Sweet Baby James
Country Roads
Frozen Man
How sweet it is
*He did a Dixie Chicks cover, something like "Born to Dance" (Not a Dixie Chick fan)

The Encore:
Summertime Blues
Up on the Roof
a third song I have never heard before, which he did with just his backing singers.
I am probably missing a few ... I hope this helps.

Staying with it
The Indians took two of three from Cincinnati this weekend, ending the interleague schedule with the best record in major league baseball -- 15-3.
No one hates interleague play more than I, but without it, the Indians would likely be buried right about now.
Still, I hate it when the Reds and Indians play, because I am passionate about both clubs. In the old days, I always sided with the Indians because I was from Cleveland and lived and died with the team.
But the Indians traded Roberto Alomar, Bartolo Colon and Chuck Finley and let Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton and Sandy Alomar go.
Then Larry Dolan uttered the phrase "don't fall in love with your assets."
Then Mark Shapiro kept saying "2005" as an answer when Indians fans asked what they were doing.
Then Eric Wedge grew a mustasche.
Then 2005 came, and the team didn't win at first. I'd like to be patient, but remember, it was the team that told us about this season and set the expectations, not the fans.
The past four years have made me cynical about the Indians. I can't deny that. The Reds, meanwhile, are incompetent, but have lots of players (Sean Casey, Ken Griffey, Adam Dunn, Jason LaRue) that are among my favorites in baseball.
No, I don't root for the Reds against the Indians, but I do get defensive when Tom Hamilton goes on and on about how the Reds have no pitching and should be batting three consecutive left handed batters. Of course, a week later, when Wedge did it, their was no such criticism.
I wonder what happened to Hamilton, who seems to love being negative about other cities, players and teams.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati is struggling, and I can't help but feel bad as the team continues to lose.

Song quote of the day
With you I'm not shy
to show the way I feel
with you I might try
my secrets to reveal
For you are a magnet
and I am steel--Walter Egan

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Karl Rove was caught generalizing, perhaps even pandering, to a group of conservatives.
"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."
Andrew Sullivan had a fit over the remarks, and I suppose I can see his point to an extent. If one were to classify liberals as Democrats, then Rove would be completely off base in his analysis. Many Democrats have stood with President Bush in the War on Terror, be it the obvious (Joe Lieberman) or the not-so-obvious (Hillary Clinton).
But Rove is simply using the term "liberals" as the way he sees it. Rove has played a major role in the current political scene, where to be called liberal is to be called a dove, or even weak.
Remember how John Kerry fought to stay away from the "liberal" label? Now, some Democrats appear to be embracing the term so that they have a right to be offended.
Rove said something that left-hawks like Christopher Hitchens have already said. He just substituted the word "liberal" for "left."
And besides, since when has anything Karl Rove said ever mattered to the left? They view him as a evil genius anyway, a symbol of their distrust of the right.
I have, in the past, used this space to make fun of Howard Dean and Michael Moore, among others who I disagree with. Moore is a liberal who would fit Rove's definition of liberal.
At the same time, I have friends who I would consider "liberal," many of whom were not against intervention in Afghanistan. So, I don't agree with Rove, but only because my definition of the term is different than his.
So to recap:
I don't agree with Rove, but I think some are being opportunistic.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Song quote of the day
One sweet dream came true today--The Beatles

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A few things about the show stood out last night.
-There was no opening act. James just walked out and started playing Secret of Life.
- About half way through the first set, a woman screamed out for Fire and Rain. Taylor just smiled and said, "Yep, we'll get to that." Then the woman yelled out for Mexico. Taylor then picked up the set list in front of him, and said "yeah, that too, you see."
- He closed the first set with Fire and Rain, delighting much of the crowd. Before going to intermission, he said he really wasn't sure why they were taking one. Then wished the crowd good luck if they had eaten a corn dog.
- In the second set, Taylor dedicated Sweet Baby James to a serviceman headed to Iraq. Taylor dedicated the song, then thanked him. At that point, the crowd gave the serviceman (who was seated somewhere in the grass behind the pavillion) a standing ovation.
This was a very nice moment. Taylor, who had been part of the "Vote for Change" tour, made no political comment during the show.
-The best moment of the show for me was Taylor doing Blossom, then following it up with Never Die Young, perhaps my favorite song of his. My father, who was with me, mentioned before the show that in 1974, when he had seen James at the Blossom venue, he had performed Blossom, a song from his first album. He had hoped James would play it again, and had a big smile when the song started.
-Taylor finished with two encores, closing after about 2 1/2 hours. His voice is as good as ever, and the performance more than lived up to expectations.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

JT Tonight
I bought the tickets in March, so it has been a pretty long wait for me to see James Taylor. Hopefully I'll remember most of the songs he played. Anyway, it will likely be better than the Tribe, who have looked rather poor since the streak ended. Tonight may not be a must win, but it's pretty close.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Movin' on Up
The Indians are ranked eighth in the current CBS Sportsline Power Rankings. Boy, I hope all this positive attention doesn't jinx the team. Oh wait, it's Cleveland. Of course it will.
Erik's favorite show, Around The Horn produced an interesting moment today, when screaming nonsense maker Woody Paige said Cleveland and San Diego would be in the World Series. He's generally a buffoon, but he gets more respect from me for being a pro-Cleveland buffoon.

Song quote of the day
Oh boatman
I am the river
I am the mountain and the sea
Oh boatman
taker and giver
can you deliver me
I will forever run free-- James Taylor

Dave Miley fired
How in the world is this season Miley's fault? Worse, Don Gullett, who saved the careers of numerous pitchers, has also been let go. The Reds haven't made the playoffs since 1995. Davey Johnson, Ray Knight, Jack McKeon, Bob Boone and Dave Miley have all been replaced.
Something tells me it's not their fault.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Song quote of the day
Person to person
man to man
I'm back in touch with my long lost friend
listen to reason and understand
think of me from way back when-- James Taylor

No greater comedy
Around the Horn's Jay Mariotti said he doesn't like the Indians chances because:
"They don't have a fifth starter."
First of all, pitching hasn't been the Tribe's problem for three years. Secondly, Scott Elarton (the Tribe's fifth starter) is 4-2 with a 4.79 ERA. That has to rank up there with most of the fifth starters in the league.
Mike Wilbon (on the far superior PTI) said the Indians have been pretty good since getting rid of Eddie Murray, and expects the Indians to beat the Red Sox tonight.
Wilbon at least makes sense, but the Indians test is not how long the winning streak goes, but how the team responds once the streak ends.
The Indians never recovered after losing a game to the Twins last season,a loss that came after a prolonged winning streak that brought them within a game of first.
Are the Indians better?
We'll see.

U.S Open
You know, I never thought I would pull for someone named "Gore," but Jason Gore ended up being a favorite in the U.S. Open this past weekend. Of course, the man that came into the tournament ranked 818th in the world lost the magic on Sunday, but I hope we see more of him. He comes accross as an average guy who doesn't take himself too seriously, and it's always nice to see more of that.
It's sad to admit this, but I am almost becoming an anti-Tiger Woods fan. I don't care who wins, but I want Tiger to lose. What's sad is that Tiger has little to do with why I go against him.
It's the hype.
If Woods had won, we would have heard nothing but "Grand Slam" talk for the next month. The next majors would have been nothing but shows about Tiger and his ability to win again and dominate like he did at the turn of the century.
Personally, I knew little about Michael Campbell. The only Mike Campbell I knew was the lead guitarist for Tom Petty's band. But I was glad to see him win. It was great for him, and also to see a slow in the Tiger-Hype.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Song quote of the day
If I had just one more chance to win your heart again
I would do things differently
But what's the use to pretend -- Traveling Wilburies

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Extended Two weeks notice
The NBA Finals only means something to me on the nights I work. Tonight I didn't, so I couldn't have cared less. Despite watching more of the NBA this year than ever, I now conclude I am a Cavaliers fan more than an NBA fan.
Still, Detroit rolled with pleasure tonight, evening the series with the Spurs.
So now it becomes a best of three series.
A thought for the day: When John Lennon sang "free the people now/ do it now," what exactly was he talking about? If Lennon were alive today, would he support the liberation of oppressed countries? Would he take a Hitchens-like stance on Iraq and Afghanistan? Or would he take the other position?
I can't say I know the answer to that question, but I seem to remember reading about Yoko Ono attending some Air America events.
I still contend that if Bill Clinton had done what the Bush administration has done, the left, or at least a greater portion of it would be there in support.
Now, some may argue, with a valid point, that they'd have greater faith in Clinton's decision making than Bush. But it is something to think about.
In six days, I will be attending a James Taylor concert. You can bet I'll write a report on it. Taylor's music may not exactly have evolved much over 35 years, but that's ok with me. He's so good at what he does, and when I found out he'd be around my home, I couldn't resist the chance to see a legend.

Magnificent Seven: Favorite Beach Boys Songs
1. Heroes and Villains
2. God Only Knows
3. Sloop John B
4. Hang on to your Ego
5. Wouldn't it Be Nice
6. Good Vibrations
7. Surfer Girl

Here's an excellent obituary on Anne Bancroft. I learned a few things. Her name was not, originally Anne Bancroft, for example. I also didn't know she played Nicolas Cage's mother in Honeymoon in Vegas, despite seeing the film about 20 times.

Anyone need a reason to hate the White Sox? Me either, but just in case, Carl Everett comes through with flying colors.
Apparently, someone decided to ask Carl about things non-baseball related.
Bad idea, as he pretty much makes an ass out of himself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Song quote of the day
Out of nine lives
I spent seven
Now how in the world
do you get to heaven
Oh, you don't know the shape I'm in-- The Band

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Magic Time
As evidenced by my song quotes of the day, I am a pretty big Van Morrison fan. The interest started growing in October of 2003, when I picked up a copy of Moondance in Bowling Green, and I have been hooked ever since.
Well, Van has released a new album, Magic Time, and the reviews have been positive once more. I have only heard one track from the album, but will likely be adding it to my collection soon.
What amazes me about Van is, at over 60, he is still exploring musically, as opposed to resting on past success. Recent albums (Back on Top, Down the Road) have provided some beautiful tunes (The Beauty of the Days Gone By, The Philosophers Stone), and Magic Time appears ready to add to that.

Monday, June 13, 2005

In my career as a Bowling Green broadcaster, I had the opportunity to do two games with my good friend Andy Barch.
Barch was the voice of WBGU for several years, making every BG play sound like it was can't miss.
Without a doubt, the two games were the two best broadcasts I did. (It helped that both games were close. If I had to pick a third, it would be my football game with Aaron Rund. The only reason that evades the top two is because the score was 70 to something).
Anyway, in those two games with Andy, he and I seemed to work seemlessly, I think because we both understood the need to research an opponent.
But there are two other reasons I remember my time with Andy. In the baseball game the two of us did, there was a grounder to a BG infielder named Spencer Schmitz. I was on play-by-play and Andy was doing color. I called the grounder, and said, "Ground ball to Spencer ..."
Well, you can guess what came out.
I could hear the SID in the background.
"Did he just say... ?
I tried to hold it in, but a look at Andy completely cracked me up. Andy gave me this smile. While I tried to ignore it, the man was playing it up.
"Don't worry Zach," he said. "We all have moments like that."
This was of course on the air.
The second moment was the last broadcast I had at WBGU. As we retreated from the Anderson Arena press box for halftime of a BG women's basketball game, I realized that blood was all over my face, streaming from my nose. I got a tissue, dozens of them, and removed the crimson that was on my face.
I came back to the booth just before the start of the second half. Andy made some remark about how physical the game was, and it had "rubbed off" on me.
Barch was the voice of WBGU. His call of the BG-Northwestern game in 2001 is the call we'll all remember:
"Folks, you've just listened to one of the greatest comebacks, one of the greatest overall games, one of the greatest overall upsets, in Bowling Green history!"
Ok, maybe I should have capitalized all the letters to make it more realistic.
After he made his mark there, he moved on to BG 24 (the television station), where he also drew rave reviews.
Now, he has made it. When the local paper does a story about you Andy, you know people are taking notice.
Notice that's well-deserved.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Current Baseball Scene
Washington has won 10 in a row. It is a great story, and much of the credit has been given (and deservedly so) to manager Frank Robinson.
Robinson certainly deserves credit, but what about interim GM Jim Bowden? Bowden's future is just as insecure as the manager, but he has still managed o make something out of nothing and turn the Nationals into a contender.
Bowden, who was the Reds general manager from 1992-2003, made a name for himself by making the occasional big deal, but also by picking players off the scrap heap.
The Nationals, with players like Jose Guillen, Livan Hernandez and Esteban Loaiza, are 37-26, in first place in a five-team race. In a way, I am pulling for them.
-The Yankees lost again today to the Cardinals, finishing their road trip with a Reds-esque 3-9 record. For those who believe money can buy happiness, this is the counterpoint.
The problem with the Yankees is age, but it's also prospects. The Yankees have finally put themselves in a straight jacket -- they have costly veterans who arn't producing. The contracts are too high for the Yankees to deal them. In addition, the farm system is dead at the moment, so New York can't deal for a veteran to put them over the top.
It's so sweet.
- Speaking of the Reds, they took 2 of 3 from the first place Orioles this weekend. The Reds scored 20 runs combined in the last two games. While the playoffs will not be in this season's plans, the Reds do two things well:
1. They play well at the Great American Ballpark.
2. They knock the cover off the ball.
Those two things should result in nice crowds for the remainder of the summer, and should, financially, justify the owner's increased investment in this year's club.

Ding-Dong, the mustache is gone. I expect the Indians to win the Central now.

Mike Tyson lost again last night, which really isn't that surprising. The fact of the matter is that Tyson has never really recovered from Buster Douglas. He says his career is over, and it appears that the media, as a whole, is buying it. Tyson's career as an effective fighter is over, but I expect him to fight again. He owes too much money and has no other way to pay it back.
Tyson is, without a doubt, the most troubling sports figure (save perhaps O.J Simpson) in the last 25 years. He has his demons,and he has been used by most of those around him. He has done very bad things, and is in many ways a very bad man.
But somewhere, somehow, there is sympathy for him. He has very few people around him he can trust, and he probably has no idea who he is.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

At this point, one would think the Indians ought to just drop the designated hitter when Sabathia pitches. Watching the game early this morning, the only thing that hit me was: Why on earth would you walk Aaron Boone to pitch to Sabathia? Boone has been swinging the bat better lately, but Sabathia has proved dangerous every time he's had the lumber.
One thing: In the two games Blake didn't start in San Diego, the Indians won. In the game he started, they lost. He didn't start last night either. I think the Indians may have found something with Gerut, Crisp and Sizemore in the outfield. I hope Wedge sees the same thing.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Song quote of the day
Unfaithful servant
you don't have to say your sorry
did you do it just for the spite
or did you do it just for the glory --The Band

On Boone
Erik is right; I am very high on Aaron Boone. I chose the players on the list because I liked them, either as players or as people. In 1999, Aaron Boone drove me crazy at a Reds-Rockies' game. In his first three at-bats, Aaron saw nine pitches, swung at all of them, missed all of them, and retreated to the bench.
In his final at-bat, with the game on the line in the ninth, he swung at the first pitch and lined out to left. The Reds lost.
But I became a big fan of Aaron because the more I watched him, the more I admired the way he played the game.
Hal McCoy, possibly the best baseball writer of all-time, called Boone his favorite player of all time. Hal has seen it all, and that has to say something.

Favorite Reds at Position
C Joe Oliver
1B Hal Morris
2B Mariano Duncan
SS Barry Larkin
3B Aaron Boone
LF Kevin Mitchell
CF Ken Griffey Jr.
RF Reggie Sanders
SP- Jose Rijo
RP - Jeff Brantley
Note- It hurts me to leave Eric Davis off this list. I am actually still stunned that I left Roberto Alomar off the Indians list. But I loved watching Mitchell hit, so he wins out, barely, over Davis.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Song quote of the day
In South Carolina
there are many tall pines
I remember the oak trees
that we used to climb-- Gram Parsons

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Song quote of the day
Twenty thousand roads I went down, down, down,
and they all led me straight back home to you--Gram Parsons

On Moore
Interesting Q&A with a member of the Left on his new book. The book makes the case against Michael Moore. Maybe it's not a right wing agenda, after all.

Anne Bancroft, RIP
Every young man, as a right of passage, should watch The Graduate at some point. When I read yesterday that Anne Bancroft, the REASON to see the movie, had passed away, it was a bit of a shock.
In some ways, I can imagine that Bancroft, who was a wonderful actress, may not have liked being thought of as Mrs. Robinson. But The Graduate, which is on my list of top five movies of all-time, would have been tough to follow.
Especially because no one could have played that part as well.
Rest in peace, Anne Bancroft.

I'm not sure if Howard Dean is just a 13-year old looking for attention, or someone who is really crazy. I suppose it doesn't matter that much. But reasonable democrats are hurt when the DNC chairman opens his mouth and makes remarks like the ones he's been making lately. And for those who think calling the Republican party "pretty much a white, Christian party" is ok, imagine what would happen if he had substituted another race for white, and another religion for christian.
I'm not particularly offended. But it does make me wonder how Dean ever got his position.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Overrated annoying offensive lineman wants out
But, who will I laugh at? Ah well, there's always Eric "What should I do Buddy?" Wedge.

Song quote of the day
We'll save Australia
Don't want to hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an all-American amusement park there
they got surfin' too -- Randy Newman

Monday, June 06, 2005

On Martinez
OK, here's the deal with Victor.
He's a core guy and he certainly needs at-bats. But at the same time, Eric Wedge has been reluctant to move him from the three or four spot.
The bottom line is that a third of the tribe lineup has been under .220. Martinez is the future; just not a current No. 3 hitter.

Progress is being made. While the reports of violence and tragedy grab the headlines, that is not the whole story, according to a first hand observer. Mike has that account posted.

Song quote of the day
My suitcase is packed
got a one way ticket
ain't comin' back -- Bobby Charles

Eddie Murray was fired Saturday night due to the Indians offensive woes.
The former tribe hitting coach was essentially the fall guy for the Indians' struggles, despite the fact that Murray:
-Wasn't the one who let Matt Lawton and Omar Vizquel go.
-Wasn't the one who signed Casey Blake to a ridiculous contract.
-Wasn't the one who didn't have a backup plan if Aaron Boone wasn't ready.
-Wasn't the one who kept playing Blake and Boone and Victor Martinez.
-Wasn't the one who continues to wear ridiculous, bad luck inducing hair under his nose.
-Wasn't the one who made out the lineup.

You knew it was coming. But then, Eddie's not the one with the contract through 2012.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Spring sports is over
As Van would say:
La La La La- La la la
La La La La- La la la.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Spelling Bee
Thousands of years from now, when historians are studying our civilization, they will be most amused by what is on ESPN as I write this.
Like those who compete their animals in worldwide dog shows, people will soon wonder about the rare child that can spell "geistlich" correctly.
I am particularly amused by the announcers who say that some 11-year old with attitude is a "real crowd favorite."
You mean people just COME to this thing? I sort of figured it was just the parents and the unlucky camera man who came. And the parents only have one favorite.
Some kid just pumped his fist like he struck out Carlos Beltran after spelling the word "Hooroosh" correctly. Now, as someone who celebrates after winning a game of charades, I am not one to criticize. But it is funny for an outsider.
How do you get to be an announcer for this thing? Maybe it's the first step to calling a game at Wrigley.
"We're down to the sweet 16!" the announcer exclaims. Hmmm, better check my bracket.
Anurag Kashyap is up. Honestly, I didn't see him making it this far. I had him advancing to the final 20, but ... he spells "terete" right, and advances. I wonder how this changes Aliya Robin Deri's strategy.
Surprisingly, the word "baggage" hasn't come up yet.
The announcers, much like Fred Willard in "Best in Show," make this whole thing worthwhile.
I was in a spelling bee in second grade, and was the last one on my team to advance. It was going really well until Mrs. Kidder asked me to spell "threw." I spelled it "t-h-r-o-w." It has bothered me ever since.
Quite cool getting Al Franken to emcee.
The announcer just said "The spelling bee mirrors life."
Uhhh ... I guess.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Best baseball teams, June 2005
1. St. Louis - Quietly the best team in baseball.
2. Chicago White Sox - The cracks are starting to show. If they don't get pitching, they don't have the offense to make it up. If this continues, the Twins will catch them.
3. San Diego- Just finding ways to win right now. They remind me of the 1994 Indians in late June.
4.Texas - If you want to play in Texas, you gotta have baseballs in the stands. Like homers, a lot of them.
5. Los Angeles Angels - Bartolo and a tough bullpen will be enough to pass Texas.
6. Atlanta - Just don't bet against them.
7. Baltimore - Let's just assume I've made a reference to Gram Parsons "Streets of Baltimore" here, and it made sense.

Hitch, Part III
Here's an interesting debate on the Iraq War involving several different people with several different viewpoints.
To write about my support of the President and the support of the war will no doubt cross lines with some people, so sometimes I try avoiding the topic. I am not fighting in Iraq, and further, I am no military expert.
But I still think overthrowing Saddam was the right thing. Christopher Hitchens, certainly no right winger or friend to most Reagan-friendly Bush supporters, continues to make some of the best cases for the mission.
Dennis Miller once called Hitchens "The Mark McGwire of skeptics ... He makes me look like a cheerleader."
Yet, in the said debate, Hitchens had this to say about Iraq:
More than that I think Iraq will be remarkable. We’re going to live to see great things. We already have in Lebanon. We’re about to I think in Egypt, with the reopening of the Egyptian democracy. The Ba’ath party in Syria in my judgement will not be there in two years time And there will be extraordinary, are already extraordinary developments in Iran which I have just come back from. And so the essential point of the Blair-Bush policy, which is to change the balance of power in the Middle East, that has already been conclusively vindicated.
I agree, despite the enormous cost.

Juan Gonzalez' season is now in question, and one would assume, his career also. I'm sure the Indians and many of their fans will pine for Ryan Ludwick, wondering why the Tribe designated him for assignment for a hobbling 35-year old.
The Indians like Ryan Ludwick, they say, it was just a matter of numbers.
I don't buy it.
Look, the Indians acquired Ryan in the late summer of 2003. At the time, as a writer for the Lakewood Buzz, I opened a thread about the deal that cost us Ricardo Rodriguez.
Maybe Ludwick was in the plans then, who knows.
But last season he was injured, and this season, the Indians showed no real interest in getting him playing time.
This is what is irritating about the "We like Ryan, but we couldn't find a spot for him," talk.
How could they not find a way to get him more than 41 at-bats? Casey Blake is hitting .201, and Aaron Boone has not been able to make anything happen, yet THEY got lots of at-bats.
Blake is playing because they gave him a lucrative deal. Boone is likely playing for the same reason. I know that like Ludwick, they are right handed hitters.
But 41 at-bats for the guy? I could understand it if Brian Giles were roaming in right, but Casey Blake?
Ludwick hit four homers. That's an average of one shot every 10-plus at-bats. Would he have kept that up? No, probably not. But he was at least worth a look.
And when will Cleveland come to the realization that Blake is nothing special. I still contend he's not as good as his past numbers, but the Indians seem convinced he's a core guy.
People will somehow pin this on Juan. It struck me as funny yesterday when Tribe broadcaster Tom Hamilton said "If Juan didn't want to play, he wouldn't have gone through all the trouble."
That's true.
But last year, in a game against the Royals, with the Tribe way ahead, Hamilton couldn't resist a slap against the slugger.
Gonzalez was on third, and a ball was hit to the outfield. Hamilton thought Juan could have tagged, but he remained at third.
"Maybe his hamstring flared up," said Hamilton, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
But now that Juan plays for the good guys, Hamilton is full of praise.
The current team of tribe broadcasters make me miss Herb Score like never before. Herb made mistakes, but he was positive about the Tribe, and positive about the other teams and other players. He wasn't critical of the play on the field, because he knew how hard it was.
That's missing now.
Juan Castro is underrated. If he played in New York, we would never stop hearing about what a great defender he was. In my opinion, he's the best defensive infielder in baseball right now.