Thursday, July 31, 2008

A few days after my least favorite Indian was traded, my favorite Red gets dealt.

Ken Griffey Jr. is going to Chicago, to help the White Sox in their attempt to hold off the Twins and Tigers and win the American League Central.

Some will tell you that Junior's return to Cincinnati was a flop, marred by injuries and horrible baseball teams.

But Griffey seldom complained, and seemed to like playing in his hometown. He also was a victim of the time period. When contemporaries like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire were slamming homers and obliterating records, Griffey was often on the disabled list.

Maybe the long recoveries were the price Junior paid for playing the game right, and not falling victim to the temptations which soiled the legacies of so many others.

Regardless, I will miss seeing him in a Reds uniform. The columns tomorrow will talk about how the Griffey-Reds' era was a mess.

I will remember it as a triumph. The greatest player of our generation playing ball with a team I loved. It was too bad the Reds never reached the playoffs in Griffey's tenure, but no matter what anyone says, it wasn't his fault.

Thanks for the memories, Junior. Good luck.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When the Indians brought up Manny Ramirez in 1993, it was clear he was an interesting guy.

He asked manager Mike Hargrove to scratch him from the lineup once because of a sore throat.

In those early years, when Ramirez would get tagged out after a stolen base because an opposing infielder told him the ball was foul, or when he would stand at home plate for 10 seconds after a ball four, Indians' fans would shrug and figure that the hitting machine probably would grow out of it.

I guessed wrong on Manny. I sort of figured he'd grow up, one day go by "Manuel" and become a spokesman for the game, and at least be more serious.

Suffice to say, I misfired on that one.

Manny still does and says some of the stangest things, for reasons only he knows.

Ramirez doesn't appear to have grown up, even as he's grown old. And finally, after eight seasons and two world titles, Red Sox managment has finally said "enough."

His recent actions and comments come across as a dare to the Red Sox to trade him. As of late Wednesday night, a deal was that would send Ramirez to the Marlins was close.

Yeah, the same Marlins with a $22 million payroll. If it goes through, one imagines Manny's option won't be picked up and he'll be a free agent.

Ramirez is 36. He's still a dangerous hitter, with 20 homers and 68 RBIs. But the guy is on the verge of burning his bridge in Boston. Wherever he goes from here, it's unlikely his behavior will change.

I don't care about this nearly as much as the length of this post might indicate. But it's easier than writing about the Indians 14-12, 13-inning loss to the Tigers.

The Tigers scored two in the 13th, shortly after the Indians squandered a bases-loaded no-out situation in the 12th.

The hits just keep coming for this team.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The media love fest with Obama, and Democrats in general
Barack Obama probably will be the next president of the United States. Even if, as recent polls suggest, McCain is holding close, it's quite difficult for a candidate to win an election when a president of the same party has an approval rating less than 30 percent.

I say "probably" because I am not a political scientist, nor am I any good at predicting races. But if Obama does win, it will be a strange four years of coverage.

MSNBC's Chris Matthews seems to have a man-crush on Barack Obama. Think Michael Scott-Ryan Howard (The Office) man-crush.

The three networks sent their main anchors overseas to follow around the senator, while McCain gets nowhere near that type of following.

Chris Matthews once talked about a "thrill running up my leg" after an Obama speech.

Late night talk show hosts like Conan O'Brien and David Letterman (who looks and sounds more and more like a comic version of Noam Chomsky these days) don't touch Obama, instead cracking McCain over his age.

Letterman ought to ease up on the age jokes. Those in glass houses ...

Chris Matthews once said an Obama speech made him cry.

Of course, Fox News gets a pass, because it's generally considered in the tank for the Republicans, whether it is or not. I don't watch Fox News much because I think it sensationalizes too much, but the criticism of it being too far the right is unfair.

Is FNC right of center? Yes.

Is anyone on FNC more over the top in one direction as CNN's Jack Cafferty or MSNBC's Keith Olbermann?

Chris Matthews once said Barack Obama "had all the answers" and his message was like "The New Testament."

Of course, many in the media are not so much into Obama as they are into Democrats. A story broke earlier this week about John Edwards being involved in an affair. It was reported by The National Enquirer, so there was plenty of reason to not report on it.

But as more evidence has emerged, the press is still -- for the most part -- keeping quiet.

I am all for this attitude, since I view Mr. Edwards' personal life as his and his family's business. But I also want that standard applied to all.

Do you think the media would be so quiet if it was a Republican caught at a hotel? Ask John McCain and the New York Times about that. It was of course the Times who ran a huge story about something it didn't prove, just so it could damage the Republican nominee.

Chris Matthews once said Obama is a "like a gift from the world to us."

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

We are richer for having lost him
So Casey Blake is gone, probably for good.

By noon, I'd received three calls and by the end of the day, I had received messages from many others.

"Your long national nightmare is over," said a friend at work.

At my place of employment, my long standing frustration with Blake is only slightly less known than my right-leaning politics.

So am I happy with the deal?

Yes. Honestly, I'd have released Blake after his miserable 2005 season. Instead, the Indians stuck with him, and he had his ups and downs over the next three seasons. His play was actually good much of the time, but I never thought he was much more than an average player, who could at times go above and below that standard.

He was very good this season, after a cold start. The most stunning thing was his average of almost .400 with runners in scoring position.

This from a guy who rarely hit higher than the Mendoza line in that position throughout his career.

But for all of his success, I will always remember Blake's double play in the seventh inning of the seventh game of last year's ALCS.

It was a crucial moment in Blake's career. To explain why that double play was so significant, let me go back to September of last season. After four years of ripping Blake unmercifully, I had warmed up to Blake.

After two game-winning homers in one week, I wrote a post on Blake called "Eating Crow."

So, Blake came through in the clutch, at the most important part of the season. So for the rest of the regular season, I'm done bashing him. He's done his part.

I also wrote that I'd get on Blake in the postseason if he went cold.

Instead, he had a big homer in game 4 of the ALCS, and I had conceded he had been good.

Then came game 7.

The Indians were down by a run with runners at the corners and one out in the seventh. The game should have been tied, but Indians' third base coach Joel Skinner inexplicably held up Kenny Lofton at third on a Franklin Gutierrez single.

That left it up to Blake, who swung at the first pitch and hit into a double play.

That alone could have happened to any hitter. But then Blake went out to the field and seemed to take the at-bat with him.

The Red Sox's Jacoby Ellsbury opened the bottom of the seventh with a routine ground ball to third. It went under Blake's gove and into the left-field corner. Boston scored two runs in the seventh, sixth in the eighth, and won, 11-2.

The seventh-inning sequence is how I'll remember Blake. Someone who could have good games and decent seasons, but the last person I'd want involved with a crucial game on the line.

I know it's not fair. I know Blake probably deserves better. But to say I feel otherwise about him would be dishonest.

My frustration with Blake never had anything to do with him personally. I have never heard anyone say anything bad about him, which after six years in Cleveland, is quite an accomplishment.

I never thought he was as good as the Indians' organization tried to tell me he was. That's also how I'll remember Blake. Tom Hamilton suggesting once that he should be a candidate for a gold glove, the Tribe's first STO documentary being about Blake, and CC Sabathia once describing him as one of the "best players in the game."

But in the end, I wish him well in Los Angeles. He's a good guy and deserves credit for the way he plays the game.

Now, as far as what the Indians got back ...

Carlos Santana -- what else to expect from and organization that traded for Milton Bradley, Coco Crisp and a guy eventually known as "Pronk?"

Santana has 14 homers and 96 RBIs for the Dodgers A team. That's something. In theory, he'll take a while to develop. But the last single A catcher the Indians traded for -- Max Ramirez -- took just two seasons to reach the bigs -- in Texas.

Jon Meloan has had a couple of really good seasons pitching in the Dodger system, but it didn't translate to a good season this year in AAA.

If either of these guys pan out, it's a good trade. If nothing else, the Indians' organization has shown an ability to trade for better prospects than it drafts (Andy Marte notwithstanding).

But two upper-echelon prospects for a guy who is 35 and going to leave at the end of the year anyway is a pretty strong return.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

The trade of Casey Blake
Somehow, some way, Casey Blake has become the Indians third-best hitter.

The guy has had a very good season. I'm still not sure he's worth more than $6 million a season, but that's probably just because I have lost track of what players are worth these days.

But any player who can hit close to .400 with runners in scoring position is valuable.

There were times in 2005 when I wondered if the Indians could give Blake away. But now, with the Tribe out of contention, he has become the team's most tradeable commodity.

Indians' writers have made it clear that the Indians won't give Blake away, nor should they.

But the reality is Blake is a free agent after this season and could command a salary that might put him out of the Indians' range.

I know, I can't believe I wrote that either.

People have wondered who would play the corners should Blake leave.

My answer to that: Who cares?

The Indians are going nowhere, so it doesn't matter if Ryan Garko plays first and Andy Marte mans third. What will happen? They fall out of last place?

The Indians have no rights to Blake the moment the season ends, and they have to approach a trade that way.

Don't give him away, but don't hold on to him.

One would think Blake's value in the National League would be high, because he can play anywhere. Still, the teams we keep hearing about are Tampa Bay, Minnesota and the Yankees.

The Dodgers are also said to be interested, as are the Mets.

I should note is a great site.

The key for the Indians is to get the best prospect they can. Since Blake is hitting .287 with 11 homers, that should mean someone who is expected to be an impact player.

Anything less would be disappointing. But not as disappointing as Blake still being in Cleveland a week from now.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Three things that could derail the Browns' season
No reason to be negative about Cleveland's favorite team, and no reason to bring people down about something the region is genuinely excited about.

But if this Indians' season has taught us anything, it's that expectations and reality are often not even distant cousins.

In the Tribe's case, it was injuries and inaction that did them in. Should the Browns' season fall apart, it won't be due to inaction. Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel worked like crazy in the offseason to improve.

But there are a number of things that can wreak havoc with what looks like a sure-fire success. In the NFL, this happens two or three times a year. Remember how everyone was excited about the Saints a year ago?

The Browns season could turn into a disaster. My friend Erik Cassano will probably refer to this as a defense-mechanism column. He'd be right. But it's been a long time since I have been this excited about the Browns. You'd have to go back to the late 1980s to match this feeling.

I wrote sometimes last year that I felt eight-years-old again watching the Browns win.

Maybe it can be like that again. But if it's not, there are some things to look out for.

Here are the three things that can derail the Browns' season.

1. Injuries
This is an obvious one. It's the biggest reason why NFL teams fail. The Browns have already had injury issues, before the first snap of training camp. Defensive back Daven Holly is out for the season, and receiver Joe Jurevicius will be out for at least the first-third of the regular season.

Neither are likely to be crippling blows. Jurevicius is a valuable piece, but he's not the best at his position on the team. The Browns signed Donte Stallworth, paying him a great deal of money. His job will be to be the third receiver, behind Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow.

The Browns will miss the maturity and the sure hands of Jurevicius, and it will be important that he returns at some point. But Cleveland should get by and then some with the receivers they have.

The secondary is another story. Holly's not a pro bowler, but he is a decent player who can provide help to a thin position.

With him out and Leigh Bodden traded, the Browns will rely heavily on Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright, two-second-year cornerbacks who were very good at times last year.

The Browns likely will look for help after the final cuts, but if Wright and/or McDonald don't produce (think Asdrubal Cabrera and Ryan Garko) look out.

There will no doubt be injuries. Should quarterback Derek Anderson go down, Brady Quinn could step in and most fans (and probably the front office) wouldn't lose much sleep.

But if the Browns suffer injuries to the offensive line, or if injuries start to pile up, things could get dicey. What if Kellen Winslow and Jamal Lewis, both with recent health issues, go down again?

In short, no team, no matter what its depth, is immune to injury problems.

2. Quarterback Controversy
Derek Anderson threw 29 touchdowns a year ago, while Brady Quinn quarterbacked all of one series in the regular season.

Yet the majority of fans I talk to seem to have more faith in the Notre Dame kid.

For all of his success, Anderson had a few crucial bad games. He was the one most responsible for losses to Arizona and Cincinnati. He seems to believe he can fit the ball in to a receiver no matter what the situation.

It's good to have confidence, but Anderson seemed to play on the edge.

He will start the season as the team's No. 1 QB. But if the first game against Dallas goes badly, the calls will start coming, and will build with every mistake.

There wasn't too much pressure on Anderson last season. Crennel and Savage were committed to keeping Quinn on the sideline.

They won't be that way this year. Anderson will have leeway because of last season, but if the Browns struggle and are in need of a so-called "spark," pressure could build and a mess could develop.

Quarterback controversies can wreck a season. Everyone in Berea knows it.

3. The Schedule
Every schedule looks tough on paper. Last season's schedule looked awful too. The Browns had all of their home divisional games within the schedule's first four weeks.

But who'd have thought Cleveland's games with the Jets, the 49ers and Ravens would be games with sub-.500 teams?

Still, this season looks brutal.

The Browns start with NFC East champs Dallas, then the Steelers. It's my firm belief Cleveland will beat Pittsburgh this year, but it can hardly be called an easy game.

The AFC North is always tough, but the Browns also host the Colts and the Super Bowl-champion Giants.

Then come the road games.

Some have said the Browns could go 9-7 and win the division. That's how tough play is not only for the team, but for the division.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

One last shot
Stranger things have no doubt happened, but it's reasonable to assume that what is coming in a few hours will be Greg Norman's last shot at a major championship.

The golfer has not been shut out of majors, and has been victorious in this very event. But winning the British Open at 53 years old, that really would be something.

Rarely have back-to-back majors provided such drama. The U.S. Open was as gripping as any sporting event, with an injured Tiger Woods and an aging Rocco Mediate battling it out in a Monday playoff.

But should Norman somehow hold his two-shot lead, well, that's history.

Norman is a name from the past. For me, he's a reminder of the pre-Tiger era, when golf was merely something my father watched and not something I really followed.

It's tough for me to write this, but I never really became a golf fan until Woods came along. I'm not sure I like everything that has come with his popularity -- endless hype, fans who think they are at a football game, and mindless windbags bantering on about a topic they know little about.

Norman comes from the pre-Tiger era. He can take a tee shot on the par 5, and you can remember, easily, a time before some idiot screamed out "GET IN THE HOLE!"

Tiger is not to blame for what I don't like about golf. He has handled his ridiculous success with a class that, in this day and age, would be difficult to match.

But even with Tiger on the shelf for the British Open, the announcers and writers still could not avoid obsessing over him. The pieces on TV were about the golfer's heroic victories in the past (at least that's how they seemed to be portrayed).

Hey, I admire Tiger as much as the next guy, but he's no hero. I hate to pull the soldier/firefighter/police officer/teacher card, but as long as people continue to talk inside an ignorant bubble, I'll continue to protest.

And yet, here's Norman. He's way past his prime. Despite all his success, he's known for choking away majors on the final day. And he's got a rather famous woman by his side -- his new wife, Chris Everett.

So many stories are there for the taking. A victory today would vault Norman into legend, something he seemed destined for so many years ago.

Here's hoping he pulls it off, if only to show that even without its greatest star, golf can still leave you gasping after the 18th hole.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Indians' Midseason Report
More than halfway in, here are my thought snd grades for each player on the active roster as of July 18.

Rafael Betancourt (2-4, 6.00, 4)
- He gets an F.
- Maybe the biggest disappointment this season, which is saying a lot.
- Needs to get his confidence back and throw inside.

Paul Byrd (3-7, 5.47, 0)
- He gets a D
- Has not been the same since the HGH story broke last October.
- Probably done with the Indians, and maybe with baseball, after this season.
- The team would probably give him away at this point, and consider it a bargain.

Matt Ginter (1-0, 0.00, 0)
- Made one nice start.
- Too early to grade.

Masa Kobayashi (4-4, 3.05, 5)
- Gets a B.
- Probably the second-most consistent reliever the Indians have.
- Should get closing opportunities the rest of the way.

Aaron Laffey (5-5, 3.45, 0)
- Gets a B.
- Should have close to 10 wins.
- Didn't pitch as well right before the break.

Cliff Lee (12-2, 2.31,0)
- Gets an A.
- Best pitcher in the AL in the first half.
- Could give the Indians back-to-back Cy Young winners.

Jensen Lewis (0-3, 4.73, 0)
- Gets a C.
- Has had his moments, but mostly been disappointing.
- Should remain in the majors the rest of the way, no matter what.

Tom Mastny (1-2, 12.96, 0)
- Gets a C.
- ERA inflated because of the spot start in Texas.
- Never seems to be good enough to break through or bad enough to cut loose.

Edward Mujica (0-1, 4.86, 0)
- Gets a B-.
- Recent outings suggest he may finally have found it out of the pen.

Rafael Perez (1-1, 3.16, 0)
- Rates a B+
- Indians most consistent reliever.
- Too valuable in seventh and eighth to close.
- Needs support around him so he isn't over-used.

Juan Rincon (2-2, 6.98, 0)
- Most of his numbers came with Twins.
- Too early to grade.

Jeremy Sowers (0-5, 7.51, 0)
- Gets a D.
- Hasn't been the same since Indians shut him down in 2006.
- Is running out of time to fit into Indians' plans.

* Victor Martinez was hurt since opening day, and the numbers reflect that. He gets a pass on this.

Sal Fasano (.385, 0, 0)
- Gets a B.
- Fine fill-in backup catcher.

Kelly Shoppach (.248, 7, 20)
- Gets a B
- Done a decent job offensively with Martinez out.
- Been suprisingly mediocre defensively.
- Had more right to be an all-star than Jason Veritek.

Casey Blake (.282, 9, 52)
- Gets a B.
- Has had a supurb offensive season after poor start.
- Not the greatest defensively.
- Indians need to trade him; he's 35 and is attractive to contenders.

Jamey Carroll (.268, 0, 22)
- Gets a B
- Good for what he is.
- Has been OK filling in at second.

Ryan Garko (.241, 7, 45)
- Gets a D.
- Needed to step up when Martinez and Travis Hafner got hurt, and did not.
- One of the bigger busts this season.

Andy Marte (.177, 1, 2)
- Gets an F.
- Has had few opportunities, but has done little with the ones he has been given.
- Looking like one of Mark Shapiro's worst deals.

Jhonny Peralta (.261, 16, 48)
- Gets a C.
- Inconsistent offense, no range defensively, slow.
- Has decent power, but will never be consistent enough for the player the Indians need him to be.

* Travis Hafner has been on the DL, and Asdrubal Cabrera just came back after a lengthy stint in Buffalo. Rest assured, if judged on stats alone, they'd fail.

Shin-Soo Choo (.243, 3, 18)
- Gets a C.
- Looks to be little more than a platoon player, and the Indians already have truckloads of them.

David Dellucci (.230, 8, 30)
- Gets a D.
- How on earth is he hitting .230?
- Just useless to the team right now.

Ben Francisco (.294, 8, 35)
- Gets a B+
- It's amazing the Indians started him in AAA this season.
- Even more amazing he's batting third regularly now.
- Not a No. 3 hitter, but has held his own there.

Franklin Gutierrez (.216, 3, 18)
- Gets a D.
- Avoids failing because he's a good defender, but I'm probably being generous here.
- Has a hole in the hole in his swing.

Grady Sizemore (.273, 23, 54)
- Gets an A.
- Batting him leadoff just doesn't make any sense anymore.
- If he could up his batting average 10 points, would be one of the top players in the league.
- Enjoy him while you can, Cleveland fans.

Eric Wedge
- Gets a C.
- Can't blame him for the front office doing nothing in the offseason.
- Can't seem to work with players who don't share his attitudes.
- Too loyal to certain veterans.

Mark Shapiro
- Gets a D.
- Can blame injuries all he wants, but the real culprit of the Indians' shortcomings this season is Shapiro himself. He didn't seem to grasp that if the team wasn't getting better, it was getting worse.
- Needs to have a better offseason, or could be in trouble.

Man, this got depressing.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Lee to start All-Star game
In a season marred with failure, Cliff Lee's turnaround has been one of the few bright spots for the Indians.

Lee will become the first Indian to start the All-Star game since Charles Nagy in 1996. Unlike Nagy, Lee didn't have the benefit of his manager picking who the starter was. Back in 1996, I remember thinking Mike Hargrove (who managed the American League) was just trying to give Nagy confidence. It may have had the oppisite effect, since Nagy was rocked and the American League lost.

There's no doubt Lee deserves this, though. A 12-2 record with a 2.31 earned run average makes Lee, statistically, the best starter in the league and perhaps in the game at this point.

I'd be lying if I said I thought he could keep this pace up beyond this season. But he still deserves a ton of credit. Remember, this is a guy who was sent to the minors last season after being booed at Jacobs Field and sarcastically tipping his cap to the fans.

At the time, I thought Lee may never start for the Tribe again. Glad I was wrong on that.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Taking it to the Podcast
My friends over at the Pigskin Podcast were nice enough to have me on for their most recent edition. People should always check the site, because the guys that host (this week it what Nick Seuberling and Hammond Bacon's Joel Hammond) are passionate and articulate fans of the NFL and college football.

The topic this week was Brett Favre, who can't come back if he never leaves. Bookmark the site and listen to the download, which also includes Ken Edwards, talking about the latest college football video game.

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Tony Snow
Tony Snow was one of the best communicators I have seen on television. He was by far the most entertaining press secretary.

It was sad to read that Snow had died, only a month after the death of Tim Russert. Snow was far more opinionated on the air, and was by no means an impartial journalist, but like Russert, had an aura about him that made him stand out.

Juan Williams, one of my favorite writers, was a close friend of Snow. He wrote some things about the man you may not know.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Drugs in sports, even after all these years
Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones went from more than 1,000 yards receiving in his first season to getting in head coach Jack Del Rio's doghouse in the second.

Del Rio was said to be frustrated by Jones' work ethic. He was so frustrated that he made Jones inactive for three games last season, pretty amazing when you consider that Jacksonville was fighting for a playoff spot for much of last season, before roaring in.

Now, it appears the receiver has bigger problems.

It's been 21 years since Len Bias, but some athletes still don't learn. We've gone through an entire generation of drug problems in sports.

Lawrence Taylor, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and the late Steve Howe are examples of how drugs -- cocaine in particular -- can reak havoc on careers.

And yet, guys like Matt Jones still seem to believe they can handle what so many before them have failed to.

You keep thinking athletes will learn. Maybe some of them, or even most of them, have. But there are still guys like Matt Jones.

Jones has shown the ability to be one of the better receivers in the NFL. Now a suspension could loom.

Hopefully Jones will clean up his act. His career and his life depend on it.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

This isn't goodbye, it's just I won't ever see you again
The Indians, in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, have dealt Cy Young winner C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee for Double A outfielder Matt LaPorta and two others.So much for the theory that the Indians needed to get someone who could help them next year.

Basically, the Indians re-built their system, but halfway through the process the system started shedding parts.

This ends Sabathia's 11-year partnership with the Indians' organization. As a fan, I wish him nothing but the best. He's a class act.


Great moments in Indians' broadcasting
"Stretch time at the Metrodome, 1-0, or, excuse me, 3-1 Cleveland."-- Matt Underwood, Sunday afternoon.

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Lee, Sizemore make all-star team
Cliff Lee was an obvious selection, and probably should start the game for the American League.

As for Sizemore, he was far from certain until his recent power surge. His average is around .270, but his league leading 22 homers put him over the top. It's his third straight all-star game.

Still, of all the picks, one stands out. Boston's Jason Veritek was selected as a reserve catcher.
A few things here:

1). The Red Sox already have five all-stars, so it's not like champions needed a representative.

2.)Varitek is hitting .219 with seven homers. For God's sake, the Indians' Kelly Shoppach is doing better than that. I can only assume this was a selection of Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who was able to choose some reserves because his team reached the series. Which leads us to ...

3). The Red Sox are evil and we should all hope they never get to the World Series again.

Apparently Veritek was a players' selection, which proves that sometimes, players know about as much about picking all-stars as the general public. That is to say, they don't know much.

Still, apologies to Francona.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Borowski cut, Weaver signed
Did anyone really believe Joe Borowski could do what he did last season?

Does anyone believe Jeff Weaver can help the Indians?

Weaver needs a reclamation project just to be considered a reclamation project. He was terrible for Seattle last season, and was cut by the Brewers' farm team this year.

As for Borowski, the Indians probably could have saved themselves $4 million by not picking up his option. Nonetheless, they can just throw it on a pile called "wasted cash." That's where the salaries of Jason Michaels, Paul Byrd, David Dellucci and Aaron Fultz reside.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Fourth of July
God Bless America. Thanks to everyone serving and who has served.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Adam Russell
Last week I wrote about North Olmsted graduate Adam Russell making it to the big leagues. This is a big deal for me and many of my friends, who, like Russell, are NOHS graduates.

Sadly, most of us are Indians fans, and Russell picked up his first two career wins against our team.

From what Indians announcer Tom Hamilton said tonight, it seems the Indians were Russell's team too.

Either way, it's still nice to see Russell having the success, even if we wish he's have it against some other team.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Indians keep losing
It's not like we haven't seen this before.

Forget winning the division. At this point, the Indians will be lucky to escape last place by the end of the month.

This is just the way it goes when a team is going bad: one out away from an extra inning win, and the closer implodes. No reason to rip on Joe Borowski. In the words of Woody Hayes: "I don't blame you. I blame the guy that hired you."

It's becoming more and more apparent by the day that the root of the Indians problems came from the offseason, when general manager Mark Shapiro (perhaps on the direction of ownership) opted not to spend money and improve the club.

Examples of this are all over the place on this team (a David Dellucci-Jason Michaels platoon?), but none better than Borowski. He saved 45 games last year, despite having an ERA greater than five. He coaxed a decent season out of a somewhat questionable arm. Very few people thought he had another season like 2007 in him.

Sadly for the Indians, Shapiro was one of the believers. Borowski was miserable at the start of the season, then was mercifully placed on the disabled list. He's returned, but with little relief. He's had 10 save opportunities on the season, and completed six. That's not a great ratio.

You can't blame the Indians for Borowski's injury. You can blame the front office for not looking for some proven help in the pen in case Borowski imploded. Masa Kobayashi is pretty good. Jorge Julio was not.

The bullpen is not the main culprit of these problems. But it is a microcosm of what's wrong. The team that won 96 games didn't learn much from 2006, when it did nothing to improve, and actually made itself worse by dealing Coco Crisp, a move the team is still paying for.

At this point, you have to wonder what's scarier: A bad season, or the decision making after a good one.