Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Move Along post
Just some quick shots:
- I love how Kenny Lofton and Trot Nixon combine for six hits Friday, pacing a 10-run effort against the Twins, and then are benched the next night. Eric Wedge insists on playing some strange form of baseball communism, where everybody gets to play regardless of whether they are playing well or not. And don't give me the "Johan Santana is left handed, so they had to play Jason Michaels." It's the best pitcher in the game, go with the momentum. Wedge didn't, and the Indians lost.

- Why on earth is Mike Rouse still here? The guy brings nothing to the table. Every team has a utility infielder, and almost all of them hit better than .119. It would be one thing if Rouse was a modern-day Dave Concepcion. But he isn't. Get him out of here. His defense practically cost the Indians Saturday's game. The Indians can't afford to be wasting roster spots.

-I'm not sure who it was who came up with ESPN's Now series on Sports Center, but I hope that person gets a cold sore.

Labels: ,

Friday, July 27, 2007

Kenny Lofton is back. Reports the Indians have called up Ken Hill and Jose Vizcaino have yet to be confirmed.

Actually, I love the move. More on it later.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hey, they wanted to hear the fans
Cliff Lee, after allowing seven runs (as I write this, anyway) in four innings, tips his cap to the booing crowd after being lifted.

What a baby.

Look, this team whines too much. C.C's mad because Boston fans outnumber Indians fans. Cliff Lee's mad because fans think he's not pitching well.

Manager Eric Wedge sometimes goes off on fans who he thinks don't understand the game.

They don't understand why fans don't want to see a group in record numbers.

My advice to Indians players: Shut up. You can't win by fighting back. It could only get worse.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A friend of mine told me some weeks ago he was going to name his child Fausto. Can you imagine how many LeBron's and Fausto's there may be around Cleveland if this keeps up?

And no, Vince, Erik, Joel, Vivek and whoever else may ask: I will never name my child Casey, or Blake. There's a better chance of a Rouse in my household.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Big East
For those of us raised in the Midwest, the national media's obsession with the Yankees and Red
Sox is usually beyond irritating.

But what's very troubling is that this season, the Indians appear to have bought into the hype.

After last night's loss to the Red Sox, Cleveland is now 1-6 this season against the Yankees and Red Sox.

One of my concerns about Tribe manager Eric Wedge is that he still seems like a minor league manager, referring to his players as "kids" and backing them up at all costs (unless, of course, you're Jhonny Peralta).

This is good and bad. But one of the drawbacks of Wedge's style is his team's inability to play under a great deal of pressure. When playing against New York or Boston, the Indians are often on national television, and get more press than usual.

For me, it all goes back to 2005. The Indians were poised to win the Wild Card. But when the pressure was on, they did not perform.

The closest thing to postseason pressure in the regular season is games against New York and Boston. Games against Detroit are also like that. But the Indians play the Tigers so much, the pressure likely wears off.

The Indians only see the Yankees and Red Sox a few times a year. And it's usually not pretty when they do.


Monday, July 23, 2007

What Bud Selig should say
If baseball commissioner Bud Selig decides not to be there when Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's career home run record, he needs to explain himself.

This is the man who presided over the steroid era, the man who went in front of congress and described steroids as a "sensitive issue" -- one so sensitive he ignored it for almost a decade.

In my mind, whether Selig is in San Francisco to put his stamp of approval on the record is immaterial. The commissioner has proved himself so weak and clueless that his "stamp" is meaningless.

Still, he cannot just avoid the situation and hope it goes away. If he stays away from the historic event, a statement needs to be issued. Here's what it should say.

To the fans of Major League Baseball:

I have decided it's in the best interest of the game if I am not in attendance when Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's all-time home run record.

While it's certainly a remarkable achievement for Mr. Bonds, I have come to the conclusion it was at least in part due to his use of illegal substances.

With my belief that Bonds has cheated, I cannot look at his record as an accomplishment which deserves my praise.

Some 10 years ago, we in baseball had our suspicions some players were using drugs to attain remarkable statistics. Records fell, and attendance rose. In the wake of the 1994 baseball strike, we felt compelled to look the other way.

It was a mistake, and I am as guilty of this as anyone. Just as I have doubts about Bonds, I also had doubts about Mark McGwire and other players. By not addressing those doubts at the time, and my not attempting to clean up the sport, I feel I owe the fans an apology.

We in baseball can't change the past, but I feel by attending Bonds' home run chase, we would be repeating the mistakes of a decade ago.

Our goal now is to regain the fans' trust, with a game that is clean. My being in San Francisco would contradict that goal.

Bud Selig


Saturday, July 21, 2007

From my interim report last week:

-[Rouse] Had better never make an error, or else.

After his error (in an important game) that could have cost the Indians, I think it's time to give Mike Rouse a one-way ticket to Buffalo. Or maybe Akron.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Very, very bad
This could be the biggest story in sports this year. Maybe in this decade.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Great moments in Indians broadcasting
From the "What game is he watching" department:

In the eighth inning of Thursday's Indians-Rangers game, Jhonny Peralta hit a drive to center field. Rangers outfielder Kenny Lofton goes back and makes the catch with his back to the infield. After he makes the catch, Indians' TV announcer Matt Underwood says:

"He's out of room! It's out of here!"

Lofton casually tosses the ball into the center field bleachers.

"He caught it! Oh, you've got to be kidding me. I thought it got out of here and Kenny Lofton made the over-the-shoulder catch, just in front of the wall. I've got to see this one again."

Well, obviously.


Obama supports sexual education for kindergarteners?
You know, the more Barack Obama talks, the more and more I wonder how intelligent he really is.
If he's serious about this, then I'm worried. About him, and what the country would be under his leadership.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Thome Question
When Jim Thome stepped to the plate Wednesday, he heard the sound of boos. He's got to be used to it by now.

Cleveland fans have never taken personal greed well. With Thome back at Jacobs Field, only now in White Sox-black, the fans have let him have it.

My memory fails me as to whether Thome came to Cleveland during his years in Philadelphia. I seem to think he did not, because it was a big deal when he returned last season, when playing for Chicago.

Personally, I think Thome should be cheered by Cleveland fans. Not because he's a great guy or because of his accomplishments while wearing blue and red. He should be cheered because, honestly, he did the Indians a favor by spurning their offers and going to Philadelphia.

On Dec. 6, 2002, Thome signed a contract with the Phillies, which was no doubt front page news. But buried somewhere underneath was a transaction made that day by the Indians.

While the Indians said goodbye to one power hitter, they said hello to another. In perhaps the best trade of his career, General Manager Mark Shapiro robbed the Texas Rangers. He traded catcher Einar Diaz and Ryan Drese for Travis Hafner. The Tribe also got some guy named Aaron Myette, but he gets eliminated from most discussions, like the guys that went along with Paul Revere.

It's possible that had the Indians signed Thome, they never would have traded for Hafner -- though it's unlikely Shapiro knew what he was getting in Travis.

At this point in their careers, I'd take Hafner over Thome, especially with the knowledge that Hafner will be under contract for another four years.

Back to Thome. He pledged love and loyalty to Cleveland, but took the dollar. I can't blame him for that, because I've never been in his position. No one will pay me $13 million to do anything (with the possible exception of keeping quiet). Fans will boo Thome because he left. Like Manny Ramirez. Like Albert Belle. Like C.C. Sabathia (Oh wait, not for two years).

If Thome gets it worse than the others that left (and I'd argue Belle was treated far worse), it was because the fans really believed he was different. That's why, five years later, he still hears it from the fans. Even if, in retrospect, his decision was best for him, and the organization.

I guess no good deed does go unpunished.


Old man, look at my life
Just when you thought Julio Franco's career was over (or, at least, on hiatus), the Braves decided to take advantage of some unknown elderly hiring initiative and bring him in.
Meanwhile, congratulations to the Reds, who swept the Braves in Atlanta for the first time since 1990.
A break of sunshine in a raging storm of a season.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Wedge signs extension through 2010
Shouldn't the Indians have waited to see if they would choke away the last seven games of the season, like in '05?
All this means is I'll have Casey Blake to kick around for the next four years.

Labels: ,

Johnny Bench defends Bonds ... I think
You know, for a guy who gave Pete Rose such a a hard time, I find some of Johnny Bench's most recent comments hard to take.

"Have there been guys who are probably guilty [of steroids]? Probably so. And your wife has probably had a face lift or [breast implants] or a tummy tuck. We're all trying to do performance enhancement every day. Tiger Woods got lasik surgery. Is that performance enhancing?"

I don't know. Maybe your wife has Johnny, but the rest of us? How much money do you think we make?

More brilliance from Bench.

"If I could take HGH, I would in a heartbeat because I want to live longer," said Bench, who turns 60 in December and has a 15-month-old son. "I want to be as good as I can possibly be."

That's right. HGH makes you live longer. Just ask all the pro wrestlers about that. Actually, don't, because according to a lot of them, there is no drug problem in wrestling.

Still, at least Bench isn't bitter.

"We're second-class citizens now, our era. Our records are bygone," he said. "They're making $15 million or $20 million a year. I made $11,000 my first year. I was rookie of the year and made $20,000, was MVP and made $40,000, was MVP again and made $80,000. So I'm only like $19,920,000 behind.

You know what the hardest part about this is for me? I agree with Gary Carter:

"I saw him when he first broke in. He was a scrawny, skinny, 185-pound guy that had great talent. And then he turned himself into a freakin' power hitter with, what, 245, 250 pounds, and his head got twice the size. So, you know, you figure it out," (Carter) said. "I know he likes to go to the gym. We all like to go to the gym. You just don't get that big," he said.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Now, then and now

One site I think baseball fans need to look at this time of year. . It's like ESPN rumors, without having to pay for them.

In a recent post, the site linked to the Dallas Morning News, which reported the Indians are interested in bringing back Kenny Lofton (The site also says Omar Vizquel is on the block).

Lofton's name has been in the news lately, thanks to Gary Sheffield. Lofton made a brief comment yesterday in regards to what the Tigers outfielder said about Torre. He basically said he agreed with Sheffield's remarks.

Anyway, Lofton, who has played for eight teams since 2002, doesn't appear to be a clear fit with the Indians. He's still an effective player, and he will get traded (The Brewers are said to be interested). But the Indians don't need a leadoff hitter. Lofton would probably replace Trot Nixon in the lineup, and may move into the second spot in the order.

That's, of course, if a deal to Cleveland gets made, and I don't expect it to.

Still, I bet Lofton would like to return. He's hitting over .300, has stole 20 bases and scored 55 runs with the Rangers. But Cleveland is the only city he could go to where the aquisition would be treated as a big deal. Cleveland loves nostalgia, and it loves the 1995 team. The fans also loved Kenny Lofton.

And Lofton is one of the few players from the 1995 the Tribe could bring back. Here's a look at where the players on the 1995 roster are now. Thanks to

Tony Pena- First base coach for the Yankees; his son, who shares his name, was in Cleveland this weekend as a member of the Royals.

Paul Sorrento- Retired.

Carlos Baerga- Retired. Now an announcer for ESPN Deportes.

Jim Thome- Has hit 15 homers for the Titanic replica that is the 2007 White Sox.

Omar Vizquel- Finally appears to be showing his age with the Giants. After some great years with them, he's hitting .240 and his defense is no longer brilliant. But who could expect it to be? Vizquel turned 40 in April.

Albert Belle- Retired. Was sentenced to 90 days in jail last August for stalking.

Manny Ramirez- Not having a great year in Boston. He'll always be a hero there (and he'd be treated like one in Cleveland if he were to return) but has managed just 12 homers. Still Manny being Manny. But Manny's 35. When I watch Manny now, it reminds me of Adam West getting shot out of cannons in a Batman outfit.

Kenny Lofton - (See above).

Eddie Murray- The Hall of Famer celebrated 2007 by getting fired as a hitting coach for the second time in three years -- in the middle of the season. It was the Dodgers in 2007; Indians in 2005.

Sandy Alomar - Just signed with the Mets. One of my favorite players ever; and likely a future manager. But he keeps going, and God bless him for that.

Wayne Kirby- As of last year, was a hitting coach in the Rangers minor league system. Before that, worked in the Indians farm system.

Herbert Perry- Last game was with the Rangers in 2004.

Alvaro Espinoza- Retired.

Dave Winfield - Hall of Famer retired after his season with the Indians.

Ruben Amaro - Assistant General Manager of the Phillies.

Eddie "Scooter" Tucker- Retired.

Jesse Levis - Retired.

Billy Ripken - Co-hosts an XM radio show.

Brian Giles - Time may be catching up with him. The guy who hit 39 homers one season with the Pirates hasn't hit more than 23 since 2002. He's played just 54 games this year because of injury, and hit just two homers.

Jeremy Burnitz - Retired after a disappointing stint with the Pirates last year. Is only 38.

David Bell- Unclear whether he's retired. He hit 10 homers with the Phillies and Brewers last season, but hasn't played yet this year.

Charles Nagy- Pitching coach for the Salt Lake Bees, and affiliate of the Angels.

Dennis Martinez - Retired.

Orel Hershiser- Tries in vain to get his points in on ESPN's Baseball Tonight.

Mark Clark- Retired.

Chad Ogea - Retired.

Ken Hill - Retired.

Bud Black - Manager of the San Diego Padres.

Jose Mesa - After being released by the Tigers, is back with Phillies. Has an ERA under five, which in Philadelphia, is an accomplishment.

Julian Tavarez - Starter for the Red Sox. Has an ERA over five and a 5-7 record.

Eric Plunk- Retired. But still haunts my dreams.

Paul Assenmacher- Retired.

Jim Poole - Retired.

Jason Grimsley - Retired. Was the center of a steroid bust last year, when he pitched with Arizona.

Alan Embree - Still an effective late-inning reliever, now with the A's.

Albie Lopez -Retired.

Dennis Cook- Retired.

Paul Shuey - Amazingly, just pitched in a game for the Orioles. Before that, he had not made an appearance in a big league game since 2003.

Joe Roa - Retired.

John Farrell - The longtime member of the Indians front office was named pitching coach of the Red Sox this season.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Great moments in Indians broadcasting
I was at work tonight, and listened to the Indians game on the radio. But Curtis A. watched on STO, and sent along this gem from (who else) Matt Underwood.

The Indians were leading 4-3 in the top of the eighth. The Royals had a man on and two outs, and Tribe first baseman Ryan Garko made a nice defensive play to end the inning.

Cue Underwood:

"If Garko doesn't make that play then the Royals would have been in. . .pursuit of a change in the game."

In the words of the Geico Caveman: Umm ... what?


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Skip Bayless
Skip Bayless has turned annoying into an art form. His presentation is a symbol of everything that's wrong with ESPN. Period.
He was on one of the yak-yak shows (First and 10?) and said the Indians wouldn't make the playoffs.
He said the Indians "made a deal with the devil" with Fausto Carmona (what?) and suggested the Indians will see the "1-10 Fausto" in the second half.
Does Bayless watch sports or just talk sports?
Yes, Carmona was 1-10 in 2006. But that was because the Indians moved him around in his first Major League season. He was a spot starter, then a late reliever, then a closer (where he failed in spectacular fashion) then a starter again.
This season, he has had one, maybe two bad starts. But the key is he has started all season, will continue to do so, and will not see Buffalo in 2007.
And he knows that.
I wonder if Bayless did more than just rummage through the stat book to come up with his "deal with the devil" ridiculousness.
Fausto may not be 10-4 in the second half, but I really doubt he'll return to 1-10. Not with that sinker.
As for Bayless, his know-it-all attitude is just stunning. Whatever happened to a little bit of journalism?

Labels: ,

Hafner signs extension
Usually, I try not to write anything unless I am in a particularly witty or sarcastic mood.

As a positive writer, I am not all that good. I am much better as a sentimental writer or a bitter writer. But no one has been on the Indians' case more than me. Specifically, I have accused the Indians ownership of being cheap and at times incompetent.

Today, the Indians showed that for the moment, they are not cheap.

I have never been one to believe a designated hitter should ever be the highest paid player on the team, but Travis Hafner has been so good for three years, that before this season, he seemed worth it.

Hafner has struggled this year. He's still on pace for 100 RBIs, but the crazy numbers of the past few seasons have not come this season.

Maybe that's why Hafner, who is 30, signed the deal. Or maybe it's because the insecurity of not having a deal was affecting his play.

It's the hope of Indians fans that the deal will relax Hafner, he has a monster second half, and the Indians find themselves in the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

As for C.C, I just don't see that happening. Nor am I convinced the Indians should shell out some $18 million to a pitcher who carries a lot of weight on his shoulders. And on his stomach. And on his legs, back and everywhere else.

The interesting thing will be what the Indians decide to do this winter. If Sabathia finishes the season how he started it, he could reach 20 wins. If contract talks don't go very well, it would only make sense for GM Mark Shapiro to see what offers he gets for the 27-year old.

A deal that could net a starter like Aaron Harang and some top prospects might be worth looking into.

Shapiro is more likely to stand pat over the winter, and wait for to see the Indians decline next year. I don't know if that will get him more prospects, but it's probably worth it to hold on to Sabathia if the Indians are contending at this time next season.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

There were (and sometimes still are) reasons to be skeptical of the Indians.
Yes, they had a very good first half. Yes, they are playoff contenders. Yes, they have achieved what we hoped they would in the first half.
Still, there are doubts.
Every time you see Cliff Lee struggle, you wonder.
Every time Mark Shapiro uses the term "market" in an interview, you wonder.
Every time Mike Rouse is in the starting lineup, you wonder.
Are these guys for real? Will the Dolans do what needs to be done to improve the club? Can the Indians hold on as we get closer to October?
Well, we know one guy is for real.
Victor Martinez put up MVP-like numbers in the first half of the season. Last night, he put an exclamation point on his half with a 2-run homer in the All-Star game, helping the American League to a 5-4 win. Should the Indians reach the World Series, they will get homefield advantage for the first time ever in their history.
Victor is one of the leaders on the team. He's hitting in the .320s, has 16 homers, and will likely drive in more than 100 runs.
If you watch him on the field, you can tell he's one of the leaders. He's a reason (like Grady Sizemore) to believe.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Indians Interim Report
I always hated interim reports in school. My parents would get a little sheet that said how I was doing. In math, it always seemed to have two phrases on it:
Student's grade is between a D and an F
Student is enjoyable to have in class.

Which I believe translated into "You're son's a nice kid, but I won't have a second thought to failing his ass."

Anyway, we have reached the All-Star Break, which is as good a time as any to evaluate the Indians. We'll go player by player, in the same format as my old interim reports. Then we'll evaluate the manager and team overall.
Victor Martinez .324, 16, 68
- Grade is solid A.
- Has worked hard to improve his skills.
- Possible MVP candidate.

Kelly Shoppach .330, 4, 17
- Grade is between an A and a B.
- Enjoyable to have on team.
-Could start on number of teams.

Josh Barfield .262, 2, 38
- Grade is between C and B.
- Player plays outstanding defense.
- Shows signs of an improving bat.

Casey Blake .276, 14, 48
- Player's grade is solid B.
- Gets along well with others.
- Player still struggles with runners in scoring position; but has thrived when not in that position.
- Much better defense than expected.

Ryan Garko .292, 9, 30
- Player's grade is solid B.
- Has lived up to expectations.
- Is expected to improve as season continues.

Jhonny Peralta .277, 14, 50
- Grade a solid B.
- Has improved since last season.
- Still shows signs of laziness in field.

Mike Rouse .125, 0, 3
- Grade is between D and F.
-Couldn't hit broad side side of barn.
- Benefits from ridiculously low expectations.
- Had better never make an error, or else.

David Dellucci .234, 4, 20
- Player is not passing.
- Player looks like waste of money.
- Player can stay on DL as long as he wants.

Ben Francisco .357, 3, 5
- Player's grade cannot be tabulated at this time.
- Player enjoyable to have on team.
- Has excelled when given opportunity.
- Player can cancel ticket back to Buffalo.

Franklin Gutierrez .284, 4, 9
- Player's grade a solid B.
- Player's defense is outstanding.
- Player enjoyable to have on team.
- Has been solid contributor to team

Travis Hafner .262, 14, 57
- Player's grade a solid B
- Player hasn't lived up to high expectations.
- Player will carry heavy burden to improve in second half.

Jason Michaels .284, 6, 26
- Player's grade is solid B.
- Player plays role very well.
- Player unable to fool us into thinking he's full time player.

Trot Nixon .238, 3, 26
- Player's grade a solid D
- Player resembling Boxer from Animal Farm; may need to be sent to glue factory.
- Player shows strong leadership skills.

Grady Sizemore .280, 15, 46
- Player's grade between A and B
- Player as talented as any in game
- May strike out too much for leadoff hitter.

Rafael Betancourt 1-0, 1.13, 0
- Player has solid A.
- Player is one of best late-inning relievers in the sport.
- Better hope player's contract doesn't run out anytime soon.

Joe Borowski 1-3, 5.35, 25
-Player's grade between an A and a B.
- Player shows ability to finish projects, no matter how dire they appear.
- Player doesn't fail much, but when he does, it's scary to watch.

Paul Byrd 7-4, 4.41, 0
- Player's grade is between C and B.
- Player defines average.
- Gets along well with teammates (especially now that Bob Wickman is with Braves).

Fernando Cabrera 1-2, 4.73, 0
- Player's grade a solid D
-Player's recent performances cause for concern.
- Hope, for player's sake, that he's renting.

Fausto Carmona 10-4, 3.85, 0
- Player's grade is between A and B.
- Player has been crucial to team's success.
- Player should be considered for Comeback Player of the Year.
- Player has responded well to team's attempt to wreck his career last season.

Cliff Lee 5-5, 5.23, 0
- Player's grade is solid D.
- Player has difficulty escaping tough situations.
- Player is only consistent at being inconsistent.

Tom Mastny 6-2, 4.63, 0
- Player's grade is solid C.
- If grade was on a bullpen curve, it would be higher.
- Has shown ability to escape trouble.

Edward Mujica 0-0, 10.57, 0
- Player hasn't pitched enough for accurate grade.
- Thank goodness for the kid that's the case.

Rafael Perez 0-0, 2.22, 0
- Player's grade is between an A and a B
- Could become a staple if he keeps up recent play.
- One of three relievers the Indians can count on.

C.C Sabathia 12-3, 3.58, 0
- Player's grade is a solid A.
- Has become one of the four best starting pitchers in the league.
- Have to hope last start was an abberation.

Jason Stanford 1-1, 4.71, 0
- Player hasn't pitched enough for an accurate grade.
- Has been solid as a starter, and in long relief.
- Would be next in line for starting job should someone go down.

Jake Westbrook 1-4, 6.27, 0
- Player's grade is between D and F.
- Player's season seemed to go downhill after signing big contract.
- Still reason for optimism, based on player's solid track record.

Manager Eric Wedge
- Manager's grade is between A and B.
- Manager seems to have sold local media on his greatness.
- Manager has shown ability to get most out of a talented but not superior roster.
- Manager seems to fall in love with players (Nixon, Blake, Rouse), but his persistence at times pays off.
- Manager deserves credit for keeping team together after rare April blizzards.

General Manager Mark Shapiro
- GM's grade is between A and B.
- GM has hit on enough moves (Barfield, Borowski) that the ones he didn't hit on (Nixon, Roberto Hernandez) don't hurt so much.
- GM continues to be saavy with a shoestring budget.

Record 52-36, second in central.
-Team's grade between A and B.
- Only miss an A outright because it isn't in first.
- Trouble could lurk, because the Tigers are probably a little better talent for talent, and can outspend the Indians at the trade deadline.
-Eric Wedge (and several Indians) will need to prove they can operate under pressure, something the team couldn't do two years ago.


Monday, July 09, 2007

CNN vs. Michael Moore
I didn't see the whole thing, but the interview between Michael Moore and Wolf Blitzer appeared testy at times. God only knows what Moore was thinking when he said CNN "got it wrong" on the Iraq War.
Moore thanked Blitzer for having him on live, implying that his version of "truth" is too hot for television. Actually Michael, the reason you aren't on live TV much is because you insist on hogging all the air time and not letting anyone else talk. Ranting and raving doesn't usually make for a sound interview.
The line of the day, however, goes to CNN's Lou Dobbs, who, when previewing his own show, said this:
"Wolf, are you having fun with Michael Moore? He's more of a left-wing promoter than Hugo Chavez, for crying out loud. He has to ... he has to love profit. What's he talking about?"

Thanks, Lou.

Labels: ,

Friday, July 06, 2007

Big Time sports bloggery
Good luck to my pal Matt Sussman, who debuts this weekend at Deadspin. And no, this is not just some cheap plea to him to link some of my stuff there. Good luck Matt.

Labels: ,

Might as well end the suspense ...
I won't be performing at Al Gore's Live Earth. I realize it's important to raise awareness for something that has been on the news since I was in third grade (and probably before that), but I just can't help but think that Gore (and his jet flying, kiss stealing, wheeling dealing son of a gun musician friends) could do a better service to the world by just hanging out and listening to Joni Mitchell records or something.
I'm not even sure who the Arctic Monkeys are, but they have become one of my favorite bands.

Labels: ,

Remembering Larry Doby
Back in April, Major League Baseball made a big deal about the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut, and rightfully so.
You can never take away from what Jackie Robinson did, and I was glad to see a number of players (and a few teams) wear the now-retired 42 (Robinson's number) to celebrate the event.
But yesterday, another milestone passed, without too much notice.
Larry Doby debuted with the Cleveland Indians July 5, 1947. In doing so, he became the first black player in the American League. This was back when the two leagues were very much separate entities, unlike today.
But yesterday passed, and aside from a few features on ESPN and in some newspapers, the anniversary wasn't given much attention. The Indians were on the road in Detroit, and while the team will honor Doby after the all star break, the rest of the league didn't seem to notice.
What Doby went through couldn't have been much different than what Robinson went through (he entered the big leagues . But his name and number are not draped in every ballpark.
Doby's relative lack of prominence may be for two reasons. He was "second," but he also played most of his career in Cleveland, which was not as prominent as Brooklyn.
For the record, the Indians will honor Doby Aug. 10 against the Yankees. All Indians players will wear No. 14.
But why weren't the Indians home yesterday? Why couldn't the Indians honor Doby on his anniversary? Why didn't American League players wear a patch, to commemorate what Doby went through?
I don't have an answer for that. I don't know if the Indians even requested to be home July 5. But they shouldn't have had to.
The Indians retired Doby's number July 3, 1994, before a game against the Twins. It was in the first season of Jacobs Field, and the game was sold out. It was also a Sunday night game carried by ESPN. Larry Doby spoke, as did Joe Morgan and some others. My family had tickets for the game, so I was lucky enough to see the ceremony.
Doby was a great player, a Hall of Fame outfielder who played on the Indians last championship team, in 1948. He died in 2003.
We should certainly remember Jackie Robinson. We should also remember Larry Doby.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Indians-Tigers, game three
C.C. Sabathia faces Justin Verlander today. I'll be checking in every half hour with my thoughts on this one. I listened to the ESPN radio feed of the game last night. Not sure who the play-by-play guy was, but the color commentator was former Marlin Orestes Destrade. During one of Casey Blake's at-bats, the play-by-play guy mentioned Blake was hitting .157 with runners in scoring position, the second-worst average in baseball.
Destrade: Yeah ... uh ... that's alarming.
It was nice to hear someone recite the stat, since none of the Indians announcers will ever even bring it up. Blake's done a solid job lately, but the stat is still important. (12:59)

- After an inning and a half, the Indians have a 2-1 lead. Victor Martinez slammed a Verlander pitch deep to right in the first. In the bottom of the inning, Placido Polanco hammered a homer to left ("fairly deep" according to Indians announcer Matt Underwood). In the second, the Tigers gift-wrap a run on an error and wild pitch, turning a one-out single from Ryan Garko into an Indians lead. (1:36)

- Three innings in, and the Tigers lead, 5-2. You hate to simplify things to make a point, but I'm going to. Because of one pitch, C.C. Sabathia shouldn't start the All Star game. With the score tied at 2 with one out in the third, he had Carlos Guillen down 0-2, and hung a curve that Guillen dropped into the left field stands. I was never too keen with the idea of Sabathia starting the game anyway. In 1996, Charles Nagy started the game for the AL (probably some confidence thing from Mike Hargrove) and got shelled. Anyway, the Indians pick Sabathia up by not even bothering to put the ball in play in the fourth. Ummm, why is Trot Nixon playing, again? Verlander looks to be in a groove. (2:15)

-Oh, right, the game. After Gary Sheffield's 2-run homer in the fourth, the Tigers went up 7-2. The Indians went in order in the top of the fifth, and I responded by turning down the sound and putting Magical Mystery Tour on the stereo. Justin Verlander is cruising along heading to the sixth, before allowing a leadoff double to Blake. Turning down the volume has its advantages, such as not hearing Underwood, or those miserable Alltel commercials with the four Chad stalkers. Anyway, Victor doubles in Blake to make it 7-3. As All You Need is Love plays, (Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game) Hafner bats. Hafner lines out to Sean Casey, bringing up Jhonny Peralta. Peralta grounds to third. You know, the Indians' clutch hitting has been pretty pathetic in this series. Here comes Garko. I put in Oasis (What's the Story). Garko gets hit, bringing up Nixon. Oh joy. I think you can actually see the Tigers leaving the field. Nixon flies out; inning (and probably the game) over. (3:02)

- Sigh. The Oasis album plays on, and the Tigers keep hitting. They greet the Indians bullpen "B" team (Edward Mujica and Jason Stanford) with five runs to turn the game into the Blazing Saddles (a laugher, which could be construed by some as offensive). It's 12-3 in the bottom of the seventh. The Indians got a double with one out in the top of the inning from Josh Barfield, but neither Grady Sizemore nor Blake could drive him in. (3:32)

Song Quote of the day
And I want you to know
I got my mind made up now
but I need more time -- Oasis (3:34)

-Mercifully, it's over. Verlander deserves to start the All-Star game. He went seven innings, allowing three runs, two of which were earned. Sabathia threw, without question, his worst game of the season. He threw four innings and gave up 10 hits, three of which were homers. Hopefully (if you're a Tribe fan) this was just a bad start, and he'll be back to dominating after the break.

-Other notes from the Box Score
* Grady Sizemore was a non-factor at the plate, going 0 for 4. His batting average is now .279.
* Trot Nixon was 0 for 4, dropping his average to .240. He left three on base.
* For the game, the Indians left 6 runners on base. For the series, they left 27.

And who is on the cover of Sports Weekly? Sabathia.
"C.C. Sabathia rock solid as Indians ace."

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Song quote of the day
And I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free
and I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me -- Lee Greenwood


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Casey Blake homers; Indians beat Tigers
OK guys, you can pile on if you want.

Labels: ,