Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What if Travis Hafner never returns?

Time to face some facts. The Indians designated hitter is past 30, and has always had injury problems. Even in his career year of 2006, when he hit .318 and had 42 homers, he only played 129 games.

The next season was a big, big disappointment. Hafner apologists will tell you he drove in 100 runs. But he was surrounded in the lineup by overachievers. He underachieved, only hitting 24 homers.

Then last season. If 2007 was a decline, 2008 was a Magnum 200-like drop. Hafner clearly wasn't the same player, probably due to injuries.

Or maybe not. After all, the Indians kept playing him for 57 games while he hit five homers, drove in 24 runs and batted .197.

What if Hafner regains his 2007 form? Most would probably take it. But not only is he on the hook for a huge salary, but he's just a DH. That means the Indians really can't deal him many places, because few teams need a DH, even fewer need one making well above $10 million a season.

For me, the most logical thing if Hafner can't return at all is to put Victor Martinez at DH, catch Kelly Shoppach and play Ryan Garko at first.

Somehow I imagine Eric Wedge's plan involves David Dellucci.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

At this point, I'm actually mad at myself for thinking he was preferable to Hillary Clinton.

Had Clinton been president, she would not have been so brazen in the packages Obama has produced. Our country is moving further and further to the left. How far will we go? who knows.

Maybe we'll get an idea tonight when the President goes on TV for the 82nd time.


Friday, March 13, 2009

If I were to make out the Indians lineup today ...
1.Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
2. Ben Francisco, RF
3. Grady Sizemore, CF
4. Victor Martinez, C/1B
5. Jhonny Peralta, 3B
6. Travis Hafner, DH
7. Shin Soo Choo, LF
8. Mark DeRosa, 2B
9. Ryan Garko/Kelly Shoppach 1B/C

-OK, this is what I would do. I know Eric Wedge will not go with this, because he insists on leading off a guy with 40 homers. Is Cabrera a leadoff hitter? Who knows? I just think it's more important to put Sizemore in an RBI spot.

As you can see, I also favor putting a better defender at shortstop, and putting DeRosa at a more familiar position.

But I don't think we'll see any variations of this lineup this year.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CSU makes the Tournament, Cavs rally from 19 down to beat Clippers
Pretty good night for Northeast Ohio.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Five years
March 1 was the fifth anniversary of Vitamin Z's creation. Most of my friends who were blogging when I started either abandoned Blogger for better venues, or left blogging altogether.

And, there have been times when I wondered if this blog would survive. Growing up and growing responsibilities have shown me that I'm not a 23-year-old rookie having fun on his downtime anymore.

There's another blog out there (Baker Street) and a journalism career that require attention.

So it's been five years. I think VZ has lasted longer than almost all of Jennifer Lopez's marriages.

But I think lasting this long is an accomplishment. There's a list of people to thank.

1. Danny O'Brien: Got me interested in blogging, and writing about politics.

2. Curtis A.: My brother and one-time stand-in who continues to provide an important counterpoint in my daily life.

3. Vivek and Nihar Vasavada: My best friends and occasional stand-ins.

4. Aaron Rund: Good friend and long time reader.

5. Joel Hammond: Long time supporter of my efforts and one of the minds behind Pigskin Podcast.

6. Erik Cassano: Makes so many comments here he might as well be a contributor. Continues outstanding work over at PapaCass.

7. Andy Barch: Another Pigskin Podcaster and occasional contributor.

8. Phil Prusa: I lose to him every year in our 1-on-1 picks.

9. Matt Sussman: Given this blog plenty of readers from his links on Deadspin. Perhaps the funniest writer I know.

10. Vince Guerrieri: Fellow 210 West alum who has become the unofficial copy editor for this blog.

11:Dan Robinson: Mentor and friend who read my first post during downtime at work.

In honor of VZ's birthday, here's five things I always wanted to write but didn't:

1. I may not have done this three weeks if I hadn't found a hits counter online.

2. I don't think the writing on this blog was any good until the 2004 election.

3. I'm still ticked Nihar never posted the week I was in LA. Keys to the castle, Nihar. Keys to the CASTLE!

4. I never really hated Casey Blake that much. I sure did hate the way the Indians promoted him, though.

5. In the beginning, I didn't want to annoy anyone. In the middle, I wanted a lot of hits. Now, I'm just happy I have a vent spot.


10 things I think
1. The Indians ought to release David Dellucci. He never plays, and when he does, it's a trainwreck.

2. The Cavaliers are just ridiculous. LeBron James scores 42 points, Mo Williams scores 30, and the team goes 3-1 on the road trip.

3. I agree with Michael Steele. Rush Limbaugh IS an entertainer. He should not have apologized.

4. The Reds probably won't compete in the NL Central They've had the gear stuck on "mediocre" for more than a decade.

5. I'm still not sure how Jimmy Fallon got Van Morrison to do his show, but I'm glad he did.

6. My early feelings on the new Browns regime are not positive.

7. I'm starting to think Randy Lerner only changes coaches to cover for his own incompetence as a football executive.

8. I think the Indians will go about .500.

9. I also picked the Indians to win the World Series in '05. Just saying.

10. More people should DVR Chuck. It's an actual funny show on NBC not named the Office.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Baseball still has a steroid problem, and it's its own fault
Two things I heard today during an exhibition game between the Dodgers and the White Sox made me frustrated.

Hawk Harrelson, who, despite his blatant homerism and odd style, I generally like, parroted two themes that have become central to baseball's defense of itself.

1. The media want to talk about steroids, no one else really does. Let's just play ball.

2. Bud Selig is a great commissioner.

I've tackled both of these issues before. Needless to say, I think Selig is quite corrupted, and has been compromised since the moment he took the "interim" job in 1992.

Needless to say, it's been a bumpy road since then. Selig acted as commissioner while still owning a team, which was a major, major conflict.

Of course, the Brewers weren't any good for most of the time he held two positions, so who cares.

But hey, baseball's making money, right? Sure, the Yankees payroll may hover around $200 million while the Marlins barely scratch $35 million. And yes, baseball's best player is involved in the steroid scandal. And yes, it's a weird scandal, because baseball didn't even bother to act on it in any way until 2003, when it tests were only for information gathering.

And yes, baseball canceled the World Series in 1994, had an All-Star Game tie in 2002, was called before congress and humiliated in 2005, and ... well, I could go on about Bud's rule, which has been littered with indifference and incompetence.

What Harrelson was arguing was that the media was harder on baseball than other sports.

Yeah, so hard it looked the other way for most of 1998, and didn't even bother to get interested until the fans -- yes, the fans -- did.

People tell you the fans don't care about steroids. Is that why Barry Bonds' breaking of Aaron's record caused such a negative reaction in 2006? Because the fans didn't care?

In truth, the fans probably would have looked the other way, too, but things just got too blatant. A guy in his late 30s blasting 73 homers? A starting pitcher having his best season in his mid-40s?

Baseball was content to ride the money train, and would still be riding it today unless someone blew the whistle.

Oddly, that person wasn't Selig. It was Jose Canseco, one of the sports biggest users.

I seem to recall his book on the issue was a best seller (there's your counterpoint the next time someone tells you fans don't care).

Other sporting organizations, like the Olympics and the NFL, have had steroid policies and punishments for more than 20 years.

Baseball's had one since 2004.

Selig's only defense is money. In fairness to his supporters, it isn't the worst defense in the world.

Baseball's very profitable now, but it sold its soul to get there.

People try to find villains. The fans, the media, the players, the owners have all been mentioned.

Is what has happened to baseball's integrity all Selig's fault? No. But he's been more than willing to cash $17.5 million checks while sitting at the top of the sport's mountain.

Fair or not, he has to be held accountable.

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