Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

All-Stars? ALL-STARS! We Don’t Need No Stinking All-Stars.

June 28, 2016

Indians at Orioles 6/26/15

So, as of yesterday, there are no – as in zero – Cleveland Indians with any potential of playing in the 2016 MLB All-Star game. Not a single player in a single position. No one.

And I could not be happier.

Fans of America just took an already awakened giant and kicked him in the ass. Perfect. I want my Cleveland Indians – well, mine and Christian’s and Timmy Wells’ and Patrice Link’s – going into the second half of the season angry. Better still, I want them fuming. I want them focused on proving just how good they are to the rest of the league.

No mercy.

According to ESPN’s MLB Player Ratings, our best player, Frankie Lindor, is ranked 29th and only the second best SS in baseball. But what about Salazar? Nope. He is ranked 32, and not even in the top 10 of starting pitchers! And it’s all down hill from there.

I love it.

45 down, 45 to go. And we are going… all the way!

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Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santana Claus

April 9, 2015

Carlos.SantanaI got a call last night around the 6th inning from my good buddy Timmy Wells. Tim was worried that the Tribe was only up 1-0. He is also worried that Michael Bourn is not going to cut it this year. I told him not to worry.

After all, this team is not – by any stretch of the imagination – a power team.  We are (at least in theory) a great pitching, good defensive team that occasionally can unleash the offensive hounds.  Which is why we were winning 1-0 in the 6th.  I expect us to win a lot of one and two run games this year. And I don’t expect this team to erupt with 10+ run games on too many nights.

But really, who knows. If Swish and Santana and Kipnis and Chisenhall and Aviles and Brantley can tap into their power… well, then anything is possible.

Here’s what I know: Francona is a winner, and winners win. I fully expect this team – MY team – to win 92 games this year

1 down, 91 to go… get on the bus early this year.

P.S. Santana has now homered on three of his birthdays; can we start singing “Happy Birthday” to him at every home game through the rest of the season?

The Journey of 90 Wins Begins With a Single Victory.

February 25, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 5.04.00 PMSo here is the really great news: It’s almost March and baseball season is about to begin.

Here is the even better news: The 2015 Indians are already projected to win the AL Central.

According to FanGraphs, it’s all about defense getting better than it was last year, which isn’t asking for much, since last year’s defense was less than mediocre almost every day.

I don’t want to say that the Steamer Projections are right, especially since they are not picking the Tribe to win 90, but I do like their attitude. Instead I will call this the first victory on the Road to 90.

None down, 90 to go.

Memo to Chris Antonetti: Thanks… For Nothing.

August 1, 2014

AntonettiAccording to Paul Hoynes, Chris Antonetti really, really, really wanted to do a deal before the deadline. Maybe that’s true. But his job isn’t to want to do deals, his job is to actually DO deals.

I suppose I should be glad that we are not Boston or Tampa Bay, trading away our future to cut salary. Oh wait, we just dumped Masterson and Cabrera in order to save money. But wait, maybe we are just being smart and creating cash so we can build up for next year and the year after. So then, this wouldn’t be a sell out, it would be an investment. After all, we did get Walters and Ramsey,

Yeah. There are just two problems with this theory:

1. According to Antonetti, we were really, really, really trying to get Lackey or Milone or others, which means he believes the season isn’t over yet. So then why isn’t he giving Tito better tools to work with?  Get us a pitcher or a strong bat or someone who won’t make errors in the field. I see Giambi in a uni every night, but no trace of Lindor; can someone explain that?

2. But even if this is just a lot of smoke, and Antonetti actually believes the season is over (and just doesn’t want to say it out loud), what is he going to do with free agency?  We don’t need to break the bank on another Swisher or Bourne or Giambi. I love these guys, but we WAY overinvested in them.

I don’t know, maybe I am being unfair.  From everything I’ve seen, Chris Antonetti seems like a great guy. Unfortunately, like most GMs he has evolved into the consummate politician.  Just two weeks ago, Chris was asked how he viewed the second half for the Tribe; here is his reply:

“I believe in our team. I believe in our staff and in Tito. I feel we’ll play better baseball in the second half than we did in the first half. If we can stay healthy and guys perform to their potential as a group I think we’ll have a successful second half. Now, how many wins that translates to and how that compares to how many wins other teams have, I’m not quite sure – but I know we have the potential to play better.”

Huh? Seriously? Did you just say something? I am seeing words, but they aren’t saying anything.

Just once – as a Cleveland sports fan – I’d like to get a winner or the truth… preferably a winner.

53 down, 41 to go. I believe in this team… probably more than Chris Antonetti.

 

 

 

 

Nap Lajoie Says He Remembers Managing Scott Atchison at the Turn of the Century… the 19th Century.

July 23, 2014
"I remember Scott Atchison from the early days," says Nap

“I remember Scott Atchison from the early days,” says Nap.

One of the millions of things I love about the Cleveland Indians – and I do mean millions – is that you never know who’s going to be in the line up. Every day is a whole new experience, a whole new adventure.

Some nights they are rookies – young guys struggling to get a peak at the bigs.  Sometimes they are journeymen who are just good enough to hang on and not bad enough to get tossed. And once in a while they are mysteries.

Last night, lost amidst the glitz and glamour of Danny Salazar’s return and Carlos Santana’s near perfect batting performance, Tito Francona offered up a spectacular surprise. In the seventh inning, as Minnesota’s dusty old pipe organ jazzed up the night with a little ragtime celebration, Scott Atchison took to the mound… again.

Initially signed with the Cleveland Naps in 1898, Atchison, or “the Ageless Wonder” as he is known by his teammates, is quickly approaching his 2,500th game as a professional ball player.

Nap Lajoie, who played with the Indians and managed the team from 1905 through 1909, recalls the early days with Scotty. “As I recollect, Scott was already a little long in the tooth when he joined Cleveland, but he had one hell of an arm,” Said Lajoie. “Like most Texans, he thought he was the biggest thing in the game.  I remember one night he decided to introduce a new pitch – the half-seam, split-knuckle, eephus, screwball. He gave up three home runs in one inning. But he was durable, and that’s what we liked most about old Scotty.”

Did I mention lately that we are still kicking ass?

51 down, 43 to go… Beam me up, Scotty.

Hindsight Being 30-30, You Should Have Known the Tribe Would Be 1.5 Out of First with 102 Left.

June 6, 2014

I swear, Tribe baseball is more fun than Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 1.55.43 PMa barrel full of monkeys… even when they are not playing.

Yesterday, for example, they picked up four new draft picks who all have the potential to be the next Babe Ruth… and that was fun.  Also, Detroit lost another game – their fifth in a row – and the Tribe moved up while standing still… and that was fun. FanGraphs.com announced that the Tribe will probably finish 82-80, but then they only think three teams will win more than 90 games… so that’s fun-ny.

Tonight, we get to see Bauer take on the whirling Darvish… and that will be fun. And if we win, we will be above .500… and that will be fun. And if Detroit and Chicago lose… well, face it, that is always fun.

Anyway, things are heating up, so we are cranking the AC in the Tour Bus… all are welcome.

30 down, 64 out of 102 to go… in case you are wondering, that’s .62745098 (more or less).

P.S. Kevin hasn’t said a word about the Royals, who have been leading us most of this season, and Timmy Wells and I really appreciate that… so we are just going to let the sleeping dog lie.

A Tip of the Hat to the Boston Braves… and Red Barrett

June 5, 2014

BarrettRedThe other day, Christian pointed out to me that Justin Masterson struck out the Boston Red Sox in just 9 pitches during the fourth inning; in fact, Masterson ended up throwing 25 consecutive strikes in that game.

This naturally got me thinking about the fewest number of pitches ever thrown by a pitcher in a complete game.

Turns out it happened 70 years ago.  Turns out the pitcher was with the Boston Braves. August 10, 1944 at Crosley Field. Charley “Red” Barrett, who was once quoted as saying:  “I’d rather be lucky than good.” managed to finish off the Cincinnati Reds in just 58 pitches.  Take a moment to digest that.

The next closest pitcher required 67 pitches in 1915.

During his 11 years in the pros, Barrett was a career .500 pitcher.  But on this night, he set two records, pitching the shortest complete game in history (one hour and 15 minutes) and throwing the fewest number of pitches. Nearly 8,000 fans witnessed this achievement, which is more than double the number who actually saw Lenny Barker’s perfect no-no (including me).

And although it’s not one of those records that jumps out at you and gets you all excited, I think I will start paying more attention to pitch count and get excited if Kluber can get through the sixth with just 40 or so pitches.

The Difference Between Good and Great.

May 22, 2014

Good to great

When my kids were young, I routinely reminded them that the difference between good and great was not that much – probably a lot less than they thought.

One extra effort, one last push, one additional challenge.

If you can forge ahead – just one more step – after everyone else gives up, you can achieve greatness. What was it Rudyard Kipling said: If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same…

Anyway, I understand that the Tribe did just that the other day, calling an extra “spring training” practice before the series with Detroit. And it seems like that worked out okay.

Cause her we are after a clean sweep of the top team in the central division… in dead last place, but just another series win away from second place and two series away from first place. Funny how that works out, isn’t it? In the cellar one day and on top of the world the next.

Damn, I love baseball. And I love the Tribe.

22 down, 72 to go… we are so close.

A String Theory that Brian Greene Would Be Proud of…

May 15, 2014

safe_imageDespite the final score (15-4) I watched the entire Tribe game last night full of anxiety, which is just the way I like it. Let’s be honest, the Cleveland Indians are not the Detroit Tigers. We do not have a roster capable of winning wire to wire. In truth, we have a team that – barring an injury or explosion – should play .500 ball most of the year.

Watching the 2014 Indians is like eating a box of Cracker Jacks, they are a sweet treat and there is a surprise in every game.   One night it’s a homer from Santana, the next night it’s a shutdown performance from Corey Kluber… you never know.  It is an edge of the seat, nail-biting, hair-pulling, roller coaster ride from the first pitch to the last.

So how does a team like that make it into the postseason?

Well, that’s where my string theory comes into play. To paraphrase the great string theorist and physicist Brian Greene (as well as Stephen Hawking), string theory is a step towards the correct fundamental description of nature (don’t ask).

As it relates to my Indians, it goes something like this: The only way for a .500 team to separate itself from its competitive environment and catapult itself to a top position in the hierarchy of the AL Central is to put together a string of no less than 10 consecutive wins (preferably 15) at some point just prior or immediately following the All-Star game. Once the team completes this run, it can continue to play .500 ball and secure a divisional or wild card spot.

It is this innocent and almost unnoticeable string that makes the difference between 80-82 wins and 94… and gets us to the World Series.

19 down, 75 to go. Welcome to the 11th dimension of our elegant universe.

#4, Meet #15, #2 and #1

May 8, 2014

aviles-closeup-swing-2013-ccjpg-ddf59171b1ca80a8It was kind of hard to put that west coast trip into the rear view mirror, but I think we can safely say: mission accomplished.

Yeah, I know, it hasn’t been pretty.  And it hasn’t been consistent. But it is getting better.

So last  night, Mr. Dependable not only produced one of my all-time favorite new dances attempting (and succeeding) to tag out Chris Colabello at second base, he also got the game winning hit in the bottom of the 9th.

So, to Mike Aviles, #4, congratulations on getting win #15 for the Tribe, helping the team to win two in a row and for giving us the first walk-off win this season.

In case you’re wondering, we are two wins behind our 2013  pace.  And that is not acceptable to anyone… but we’re just getting started.

15 down, 75 to go… I’m checking the air pressure in the tour bus tires… I’m expecting a smooth ride going forward.


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