Sunday, April 24, 2011

Casey Blake Watch
Casey Blake is one of those guys who surprises you.

Never a superstar, never really a prospect, he's a man who has made a career out of being good. He also appears to have done it out of pure willpower. From 2005-2007, I took great joy in looking for every error (defensively and otherwise) the guy would make, then ridiculing him for it.

He represented everything I hated about the Indians at the time. He was average, but management insisted on telling us he was more than that. Tom Hamilton never had enough good things to say about him. He went to the same college as Eric Wedge, the Tribe's manager, and it seemed like Wedge was going to play him no matter how bad the slump.

But Blake surprised me. In '05 and '07, he had horrible averages with runners in scoring position, but did everything else very well. He became a very good No. 2 hitter, and a better than average third baseman. By the end of '07, with the Indians in the playoffs and Blake a big part of their success, I finally admitted that Blake was a really good player.

Then he hit into a big double play and made a key error in Game 7 of that year's ALCS.

Nevertheless, Blake made a big contribution to the Indians, one that continues to this day. His trade to the Dodgers netted Carlos Santana, a future star catcher.

Blake's in LA now, hitting .333 with two homers and six RBIs. There will always be a spot for him (or guys like him) on a team. He has earned all of his success.

But no matter what, his doings on the field will always be tied to this blog in some way. He's earned that, too.


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