The Tribe couldn't pull off the sweep, but still won the series to start this 15 game stretch at 2-1. Let's hope that the Baltimoran can get some W's in Camden this weekend.
I'll be out of town for a long weekend, so I'll start up again after the 4th.
Interesting poll question on ESPN.com's Baseball Page:
What is your Favorite Baseball Movie? The results:
Bad News Bears 8%
Bull Durham 13%
The Natural 16%
Field of Dreams 30%
And winning it all,
Major League 34%!
I don't know why that floors me so much, but I am shocked by those results (after over 17,000 people voted). I guess the Cleveland fans were out in force for this one.
Happy 4th and don't blow your hand off with some M-80.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
The Tribe couldn't pull off the sweep, but still won the series to start this 15 game stretch at 2-1. Let's hope that the Baltimoran can get some W's in Camden this weekend.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
The Tribe got some revenge for last week's sweep last night in Boston, with Millwood dominating the potent BoSox lineup in the 7-0 win. Some quick hits:
- Has Millwood priced himself out of the Tribe's 2006 plans? I don't think that it's happened yet. But if he continues his current pace, it's very possible. His ERA is hovering around 3.00, which brings the closest thing the Tribe has to an ace every time he takes the ball. If he continues his torrid pitching, you've got to think that he'll be in the $8-$10 million range with 3-5 years on his next contract. If that's the case, I don't think that fits into the Tribe's plans for 2006 (and rightfully so). When you look at the players the Tribe need to lock up (Super Sizemore & Lee), you can't overpay for one player, especially if there's a risk of a Jack McDowellesque flame-out. As Cy e-mailed me, it's time to lock up Grady until 2015.
- Just when I was going to say that Broussard's beard made him look old enough to buy beer, he shaves it into a goatee. Someone needs to tell him that he's not Eddie Vedder and should stick with the tight beard.
- Interesting to see Shapiro in the stands last night with his good friend (and Patriots player personnel guru) Scott Pioli. With the hiring of Danny Ferry (another Shapiro buddy) by the Cavs; had the Browns pursued Pioli further, there was a possibility of these 3 buddies running the 3 major teams in a town. To put that in perspective, think about yourself and two of your friends running the major sports teams in a city. Unreal.
- I've looked through the RH sticks that might be available in a trade and the pickings are slim.
- The first option is Moises Alou, who is 38 and is paid $7 million a year. Alou's numbers so far are .315/12/33/.931 OPS. The Giants, though, would probably want Tallet/Traber, Cruceta, Hernandez, and probably another minor-leaguer to make it happen.
- Another option is Kevin Mench, who had been rumored to be coming in a trade a few years ago. Mench is 27 with a $345K salary. He's hitting .290/12/37/.903 OPS in the young season. With the Rangers (still!) deep in position players and weak in pitchers, this could be a Hafneresqe trade, giving up Tallet/Traber (probably Traber) and Hernandez.
- The final RH option out there is Juan Encarnacion, who's 29 and pulls down $4.4 million a year. He's recently shown some signs of displeasure in Florida, where he's hitting .269/9/40/.795. The Marlins would like Howry (and maybe Hernandez) to stabilize a battered pen.
- As you can see, the pickings are slim. There are other RF's out there, but most are overpriced LH (Berkman, Jenkins, Ibanez). So, if the Indians are buyers, I'm interested to see which direction they'll go to add the "middle of the lineup" hitter that Shapiro has referenced. Mench might fit the bill (and the budget) the best, but I can't see my Uncle Joe tearing his way down to the Jake to see Kevin Mench.
- One of the WKNR Update guys refers to Cliff Lee as "The General". I'm not sure if I'm on board with that one yet. He also called the Indians "Team Windex" last year. Get it, they're streaky?
Last night's lineup looked like it should for the rest of the season (barring a trade). To recap, check out the boxscore online.
Any thoughts on the lineup?
With an dime from TB, I was able to get the Organizational Depth Chart, which will remain on the sidebar and be updated as is necessary.
All right, the Red Sox just cut the lead to 4-3 on the "General" (Nope, sorry. I don't like it). I've got to focus.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
The Tribe completed a series win against those lowly Reds today to move to 39-34 heading into a tough stretch of games (Boston, Baltimore, NY) before the All Star Break (with at home series vs. Detroit mixed in). The Tribe used the homestand to its favor moving to within 1 1/2 games of the Twins and staying in the midst of the Wild Card (though it still isn't even the All Star Break).
I heard something on the radio the other day that I thought was interesting. They were talking about how 2005 was the target year when the rebuilding project began. A caller said that this is a farce because of the way the White Sox are running away with the Central. But, let's look at where the team is, almost to the halfway point: 5 games over .500. Nobody said that the Indians were going to win the World Series in 2005, just that they would be in contention, and that's exactly where they are. The Indians can't control that the White Sox are on fire, they can't make other teams beat the White Sox. They can only control the games that they play, and recently, have been doing a great job at it. I'm cautiously optimistic about this East Coast trip. I think they will win one of the series against the AL East, but not get swept in any of the series. I'd like to see them go 8-7 leading up to the All Star Break, which would leave them at 47-41 to start the second half. I'd take that.
Some thoughts over the weekend:
- Is there a difference between what Alex Cora is doing for us and what Brandon Phillips could do for us? Cora can't seem to hit but seems to play good defense when called upon. I realize the argument is to have a veteran to help out Peralta, but Phillips seems to have finally turned a corner in Buffalo (named to the IL All Star Team).
- With so many teams looking for relievers and Fernando Cabrera tearing it up in Buffalo, is anyone expendable? What about moving Howry (who's a FA after this year), and bumping Riske into the Howry role, Betancourt into the Riske role, and Cabrera into the Betancourt role? If Cabrera continues to dominate at the ML level, you move him accordingly in the pen. I know that you're not supposed to mess with a good thing, but Cabrera is becoming impossible to ignore.
- Couldn't Casey Blake fill the Jose Hernandez role (1B, 3B, occasional OF) better than Hernandez. The 2 HR night notwithstanding, Hernandez does nothing for me on this team.
- With all of those thoughts, what is the problem with moving 2 of those guys for a RH stick (Kearns) or even throwing in a AAA starter (Cruceta, or even Tallet/Traber) to get a Wily Mo Pena? RF needs to become a productive position, and its not happening with the Gerut/Blake platoon.
- Other possible trade partners could be the Dodgers (they would love Howry, but have little to offer), the Rangers (who would eat up Cruceta or Traber/Tallet, but again have only Kevin Mench to offer) or the Orioles.
- I would like to see Moises Alou added to this lineup (we can black out the 1997 Series from our memory banks, if we haven't already), but I don't know what the Giants would want.
- Nice to see a sellout on Saturday. A 12-7 game in front of 42,000? Did Assenmacher pitch?
As you can see, I've taken a much more optimistic approach to the season. After a conversation with a non-Clevelander who goes to a lot of games (my bride), I realized that I was getting too high and too low as each game was played.
After Thursday's game I was told that, "It's a long season, and it's not even July. The Red Sox are World Champs for a reason, they were better than anyone last year. The Tribe played 2 close games against them and you come home, freak out, say that everyone stinks, and that Hernandez couldn't play in a rec league softball game (I'll stand behind that comment). Just relax. That's what's wrong with Cleveland fans, you WAIT for things to go bad almost like you want them to, rather than focusing on the positive and just saying, 'Oh, well that was a great game. We'll get 'em next time'."
Tribe Record on the homestand with me there: 1-4
Tribe Record on the homestand without me there: 7-0
Anybody want seats in the Mezzanine for the rest of the year?
Saturday, June 25, 2005
After witnessing all 4 games of the current 4 game losing streak, I am seriously banned from the Jake for a while. I was so upset at my role in the losses, I spent the drive home figuring out what I have been doing differently or what I can do to change the luck. The decision was made that the new belt that I had gotten last Sunday and had worn to all the games was the culprit. As I held the belt over the trash can last night, I said, "what the hell am I doing?" Had I become that superstitious that I truly think that I can change the outcome of the game?
I wondered where this philosophy could have come from. It couldn't be those countless Browns games when nobody could change seats if the Browns were winning and HAD to change seats after an interception or a fumble, could it? During the Browns-Jets OT playoff game, my father didn't let my friend's mother (who was at the house watching the game) leave our downstairs bathroom for the whole OT, because "it would ruin the momentum that we had going". In retrospect, how insane is that? But it made perfect sense to everyone there at the time. During the Tribe-BoSox Game 5 in 1999, me and my buddy C-Badd changed seats 3 times during Pedro's pitching performance to see if we could "change things up a little bit". My buddy Dozer's family are big Illinois fans and he said they switched seats over 10 times during the Final Four games. Maybe it just makes us feel like we're doing our part to bring home the W.
I think that in Cleveland (where the only "luck" we've ever had is bad), it's amplified. I hear conversations of people that say that LeBron is certain to leave, but maybe if they get a LeBron jersey, it'll change the mojo to make him stay. As if, one Saturday as the cashier is bagging a 23 jersey in Great Northern, LeBron (sitting at home in Bath) will have this revelation come over him that he should stay in Cleveland. It's such an insane premise, but normal, intelligent people subscribe to these superstitions every single day.
I remember this one TV movie when I was a kid called Tiger Town, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086439/, with Roy Scheider (the guy from Jaws), with the premise being that this little kid's favorite player was this washed up vet (Scheider). When the kid went to the games, and prayed real hard when Billy Young (Scheider) came up, Young would always go yard. The movie ends with the player finding out about it, and the kid not making it to the big playoff game in time, but the player hits a homer to win it at the end, without the kid's help.
It's a ridiculous movie, but there I was, about 7 years old, whenever the Tribe was up at old Municipal, head in my hands, deep in prayer. Never worked for the Indians teams of those days though.
What's wrong with us?
On a Tribe note: Let's be patient and see how they close out the homestand. They should've touched Milton up for a ton more runs and it should not have been that close at the end. There is no production coming from the corners.
On a Cavs note: The draft is rapidly approaching, they've cut ties with Traylor and Harris (no argument here), reportedly almost traded Gooden for Kurt Thomas, and are trying to deal Jiri Welsch to get into the draft. One question: WHO'S MAKING THESE DECISIONS? Wouldn't it make sense to have someone in place WELL before the draft and the Free Agency period begins?
Interestingly, they showed on the scoreboard that yesterday were birthdays for George Vuckovich (remember how he always made his hat fall off?) and Doug "Special Delivery" Jones (what a horrible nickname).
I'll recount the conversation between me and my wife about what's wrong with Cleveland sports fans tomorrow. I promise to be nowhere near the Jake tonight.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
After attending the first full 3 game series of my life (that is, I was at all 3 Red Sox games), and watching the Tribe get swept, I am banning myself for some time from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. I'm 1-5 this season. Maybe going to a Reds game this weekend will change the luck.
With a lot of disappointment (that I'm still getting over) I thought I'd go with some non-game related hits:
- The Indians hats should look like this, http://www.lids.com/pid/20027032. I don't know why there is an "I" on their hats, we're not Indianapolis Indians. I prefer the script "C". The only change I would make to this hat is replace the Chief Wahoo with the old Chief Wahoo logo, seen in the inner circle of this hat, http://www.lids.com/pid/20019893. In fact, that full body Chief Wahoo should replace the oversized red head on the left chest of the home jerseys and the sleeves of all the jerseys as well. So, maybe I spend too much time thinking about this stuff, but this is my team.
- Anybody have any other suggestions for the Indians' unis? Why can't I get a forum to share my thoughts with the Tribe marketing department?
- Watching the new graphics on FSN is confusing and too full of sound effects. I feel like I'm playing a video game. If I wanted to play NHL '95 (the finest game ever made, outside of Tecmo Bowl), I'd plug it in and continue my season with the Boston Bruins.
- Also, if I see that commercial for the BDSSP with Jimmy Fallon saying, "That's not cool, Salley", or the Jimmy Fallon look-alike (with the bad mustache) telling his boss that "perfection takes time", sitting in a b-dubs, I'm going to throw up.
- TB's story about Grady Sizemore is a classic. Why is it that everytime I see Grady on the field, he reminds of the young Moonlight Graham character from Field of Dreams? He looks like he's 12, facing 30 year olds. I'm waiting for Ray Liotta to ask him if he thinks the next pitch is going to be low and away or in his ear. "Think low and away, but watch out for in your ear."
- The Batter's Eye Bar has EXPLODED and is THE place to be during a game, but why not open the two picnic type areas during the game to make it even more of a party atmosphere?
- Looking at the Media Guide, here's a quick question: How many Tribe players, on the roster today, were developed by the Indians?...4! Sabathia and Riske were drafted and Peralta and The Stick were non-drafted free agents.
- That means the rest of the roster is made up of free agent signings or players Shapiro acquired in trades. Which led me to the next question: Finding the cupboard bare when he became GM, who did Shapiro trade to get the current players?...David Justice (Jake), Richie Sexson (Wicky), Jacob Cruz (Gerut and Bard), Russell Branyan (Broussard), Bartolo Colon (Grady and Lee), Einar Diaz and Ryan Drese (Hafner), Chuck Kitaen (Coco), and Robbie Alomar (Arthur Rhodes, by way of Matt Lawton). Sure Sexson would look good in a Tribe uni, but the proof is in the pudding. Shapiro has made some great trades to form this current roster. Sure, there are some duds (Scott Stewart for Ryan Church comes to mind), but I'll take that track record.
The sweep at the hands of the Sawx, while disheartening, only shows that the Indians are close; but are not there yet. They're beating up on the teams they should (Rockies, D-Backs), but haven't yet figured out how to battle the really good teams (Sox of both varieties, Angels, and even the Twins). They're on the right track though.
At the beginning of the homestand, I said that 38-35 was the worst case scenario and that 40-33 was the goal. A sweep of the Reds accomplishes the 40-33 and only a complete meltdown (losing 2 of 3 to the Reds) brings about the worst case. The conclusion of the homestand should put the team in a nice place.
With the Reds (and presumably, GM Dan O'Brien) in town for the series, could this be the forum to get a young RH outfielder (Kearns or Wily Mo, who for some reason are both on the trading block)?
I'm working up an organizational depth chart that should be finished soon. With all of the player movement in the minors, I thought it would be good to have an easy place to go to answer the question, "Who do we have in the minors at 3B?"
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
The first loss in 10 games falls squarely onto the large shoulders of #52. Despite the Indians scoring 9, C.C. couldn’t keep a lead. It was a very exciting game at the Jake, despite the presence of about 10,000 Sawx fans, 100,000 Canadian Soldiers (that descended on the stands like a plague of locusts in the 7th), and two wave attempts by Indians’ fans (both at critical junctures of the game).
- I was waiting at the gate next to some guy saying, “You know, if we start to fill this place and Dolan still doesn’t spend money, I’ll stop being an Indian fan.” All of the sheep around him nodded in agreement. It took everything I had not to blurt out, “Good, don’t come back here, because you’re not a fan. You probably haven’t been here since 1999 and wouldn’t even know where good money could be spent. Go home, put on your Thome or Omar jersey, and remember the good old days.”
- Then, I have to sit in front of some guy who felt that the solution to every problem was for an Indian to “go yard” and say “Swing, and a miss” like Hamilton for every whiff. Down 9-4, with a nice rally going and no outs? “C’mon, Hernandez, go yard!” The bashers of the ‘90s made Indians fans dumb in that they simply do not understand good, fundamental baseball. Ronnie Belliard was booed for a sac fly in the 6th for not “going yard”. Maybe I’m a snob, but get a clue.
- C.C., a “#3 pitcher…at best” said the guy next to me, letting the big inning get the best of him again. Why doesn’t Willis come out to the mound to settle the Crooked Cap down, when it’s obvious to everyone at the Jake that he’s becoming unraveled?
- I’ve got to agree with my neighbor last night, and will take it one step further. Right now, I’ve got:
- Only 30,500 last night, on a 9 game winning streak, against the defending world champs. People must’ve been looking up Doug Johnson’s career stats at home (a “Here We Go, Brownies”, not Indians, chant started in the Batters’ Eye Bar at one point).
- The Wickmans’ Warriors T is 0-1 after last night.
- Saw a #99 Vaughn jersey in the men’s room. It was more of a T-Shirt than a jersey, but not bad.
- Slider is becoming Public Enemy #1 very quickly as I attend more games.
- Can you tell yet that I was disappointed in the results last night?
- Finally, I made my first appearance on the JumboTron, due to the knuckleheads a couple of rows back who had painted their chests. Not knowing if I was on, I simply waved and the camera was off of me. It went against everything that I had ever said, that I would flash the “4” for Four Horseman, to honor the great Ric Flair. I’m only disappointed in me.
See you tonight at the ballpark.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
A 10 run third keyed the Tribe's 7th straight win, all over NL West opponents. Clifton Phifer didn't have his best stuff going but, as usual, Lee scrapped his way through his start to get the W. Lee is now 8-3 and making a strong push for the All Star squad (after being passed over in 2004), but the more important thing to watch is if he can continue this torrid pace in the second half, which he certainly did not accomplish last year.
The offense looked great last night, with the new catchphrase "Keep the Line Moving" (apparently replacing "One Through Nine") philosophy keeping the Tribe bats smoking. I'll consider voting for Derek Shelton for mayor in November if this keeps up.
Over 3,000 walk-ups last night indicate that the town may be getting on board. I haven't seen a Tribe hat on the Moses Cleaveland statue, but let's be patient. As the manager formerly known as Magnum P.I. has stated, "It's still early."
Brett Butler was in the Jake last night as the Snakes' 1st Base Coach, causing me to reflect on the scrappy outfielder's 3 year tenure with the Tribe ('84-'86). Butler was a fan favorite in the midst of the Dark Days ('84-'89), and got out before things really bottomed out.
Interestingly, Butler was not named one of the Top 100 Indians of All Time in 2001, causing me to wonder how many players that played during the aforementioned Dark Days, from 1984 to 1989, actually made that list. So, without further ado, here it is: Candiotti, Carter, Franco, Jacoby, Jones (of the Special Delivery variety), and Tabler. Thornton and Hargrove also were in that timeframe, but I wouldn't include them in that whole "Indian Uprising" Era that dominated my youth. How anyone who grew up during those years in Cleveland remains a Tribe fan is a minor miracle.
Speaking of "Indian Uprising", I saw a fan at the Jake on Thursday who had the jersey that the White Knight and Carter wore on the SI 1987 Season Preview cover. It's the same jersey worn in Major League, with the block "INDIANS" on the front and the racing stripes going up the sleeves. I've been looking for that jersey online for 3 years, trying in vain to have a "Tabler 10" made. He was too far away for me to become that creepy stranger, asking breathlessly where he got his jersey.
Your Boy Elarton goes against B-Webb tonight, so we'll see if this streak is truly meant to last.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Sitting in the Right Field Mezzanine (where we got a great view of Joe D-G's catch) with my buddy TC tonight brought up some interesting topics:
- If the Indians fall out of the race by the trading deadline, do you trade Millwood, Wickman, and Howry?
- If the Indians are right in the race by the trading deadline (which I think they will be ), what do they add? What does this team need? Everyone harps on Dolan's "unwillingness to spend money", but really what would you add to the mix here and who would go? The only pressing need that I see is a RH bat, possibly as an OF. It seems that the two-headed monster of Hernandez and Blake is not doing the job.
- What starter conveys the attitude of an "ace" the most? Or, what starter, when on the mound, gives you the most confidence? Consensus in the Mezzanine was Lee, Millwood, Sabathia, then Westbrook. Sabathia #3, you say? The reasoning is that despite his claims that he wants (and needs) to be this team's ace, C.C. still seems to let things pile on when the inning gets tough. The other 3 don't seem to have that problem.
- Is Bob Howry expendable to get a RH bat in the lineup? With Cabrera tearing it up in AAA and Howry's contract up at the end of 2005 (he's sure to get a multiyear deal with the way that he's pitching), do you trade Howry with a minor leaguer to get a RH bat?
- Who are the core players on this team? Super Sizemore is obviously the best position player on this team right now (the Baldelli comparisons have started), but who else will be here in 3 years? With no obvious Manny, Thome, or Vizquel here, who's going to stay for a few years, and who will pull a Paul Sorrento?
Other things seen and heard at the Jake and afterwards:
- The Team Shop is selling #48 Pronk jerseys. If I see a #52 Crooked Cap or a #41 The Stick at the Team Shop, I'm asking for a commission.
- The lineup was introduced to The Crue's "Kick Start My Heart" to get the crowd in the mood. Very well done video montage that got me ready for baseball, more so than "We're talkin' baseball...Indians Baseball...talkin' Tribe!" Who still hits the play button on that one? Is someone in the Indians' front office related to this singer? Let's bring back "Indians Fever, Be a Believer".
- Why does the crowd start the wave with a Tribe runner on first and nobody out? Because Cleveland is not a baseball town. I'm sorry, but it's not.
- WTAM's postgame with Kevin Keane and Mark Schwab gives a voice to the intelligent Tribe Fan. They give a cautiously optimistic view on the team while not getting too high or too low, while also remaining subjective and sometimes critical.
- At a street vendor's stand on Bolivar en route to the game, I saw the script "C" on a hat, which I feel should be incorporated into the uniforms. The other symbol that REALLY needs to be brought back is the silhouette of the full Chief Wahoo against the baseball (think the old Chief sign at Municipal Stadium). Why can't that be the depiction of the Chief, rather than just that big, smiling, red face?
D-Backs in time for the weekend. In the words of Lou Brown, "starting to come together, Pepper...starting to come together." Still shooting for 40-33 out of the homestand.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Mired in a 3 for 36 slump, Austin Kearns was optioned to AAA Louisville by the Reds yesterday, clearing the way for Wily Mo Pena. Could Kearns be the answer to play right field and be the right handed bat that the Indians' lineup lack? Keep in mind that this is the same player that put the kibosh on the Bartolo Colon to the Reds trade (thank God), he just turned 25 (to put this in perspective, Crisp will be 26 this winter, Gerut is 27, Blake is 31, and Broussard is 28)! Kearns has a lifetime OPS of .815 in 304 games, with 43 HR in what amounts to about the equivalent of 2 seasons. Despite being in a slump, Kearns has 5 HR and 25 RBI this year, which would be at the top end of the Tribe 2005 stats.
So the question is: if the Reds were willing to part with Kearns (their outfield of Dunn, Griffey, and Pena seems set unless they move Casey and Dunn plays 1B), what would they want? The easy answer is young starting pitching, or possibly a young 3B. Would the Tribe be willing to part with Traber, Tallet, or Cruceta AND a minor league 3B, possibly Gatreau or Osborn? This may turn into one of those Drese for Hafner deals, where both teams trade from their strengths. If that does happen, I can only hope for a Drese-Hafner redux type trade for the Tribe.
Great game to watch tonight as the Indians beat the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, I mean the Rockies. These are the games they should win though, particularly with a 12 year old toeing the bump for the Rockies.
Monday, June 13, 2005
With the 12 game homestand coming up (which the Indians should be able to parlay into some momentum) and a sweep of the Giants, what's the biggest news in town? That's easy, the Browns' minicamp! The minicamp, where nobody even gets to see the players! So, after Sizemore goes 18 for 36 in his last 8 games, C.C. and Lee turn into consistent starters, and Omar continues to crack back at the front office (Comment on Peralta: "He's got good power, but he doesn't play very much. If I were him that would make me wonder." Just go away Omar.) the big news is: Braylon Edwards is at his uncle's funeral! If anyone should ever have any doubt about whether Cleveland is a football town or a baseball town, the answer is overwhelmingly clear.
On another note, I caught Johnny Dangerously last night with one of my favorite actors, the venerable Michael Keaton. During the movie was a commercial for Herbie: Fully Loaded, in which Keaton plays the lovely Ms. Lohan's father. Has Keaton's star fallen that far? This guy was the legendary Jack Butler in Mr. Mom, and Billy Caufield in The Dream Team (Keaton's great and the movie has his moments, mostly due to Keaton: "You ever see Wolfen?").
It made me think about Keaton and another up-and-coming comedian from the same time period, who could also go berserk with the best of them, Tom Hanks. Seeing where Hanks is now makes one realize that there must have been some point when their paths took escalators going in the opposite direction.
Here's some random years with movies both were in:
MK - Night Shift
TH - Bosom Buddies (TV)
MK - Mr. Mom
TH - Splash
MK - Johnny Dangerously
TH - Bachelor Party
MK - Beetlejuice
TH - Big
MK - Batman
TH - Turner & Hooch
MK - Batman Returns
TH - Joe Versus the Volcano
MK - The Paper
TH - Philadelphia
MK - Multiplicity
TH - Apollo 13
MK - Jack Frost
TH - Saving Private Ryan
MK - Herbie: Fully Loaded
TH - The Da Vinci Code (coming soon)
Ironically, Keaton's big break as Batman seemed to put him on a downward spiral toward HBO and direct to video movies. Hanks, on the other hand, gained speed (somehow) after Turner & Hooch/Joe Versus the Volcano to win some Oscars. Seriously, look at '92, '94, and '96. What happened to my boy Keaton? It's obvious that Keaton's dramatic turn did not end up the way he would've liked it. But, we'll always have that obstacle course race in Mr. Mom.
Looking at these two, who at one time had comparable careers and promise, in hindsight is like one of those early '80s Topps' rookie cards with multiple players, who all had varying degrees of success. I wouldn't put Keaton in the same category of Bob Bonner (SS) and Jeff Schneider (P), who appear on Cal Ripken's 1982 rookie card. Maybe it's more comparable to Mookie Wilson/Hubie Brooks 1981 card. Hubie and Keaton put together some nice careers, though will be long forgotten. Hanks and Mookie will live forever through Forrest Gump and Bill Buckner's legs.
And, as they say, Boom Goes the Dynamite.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Upon completion of their first sweep of the season (Omar's Giants in 3), the Tribe is looking at a favorable schedule over the next two weeks in the friendly confines at Prospect & Ontario. The next 12 games, all at home, are against Colorado, Arizona, Boston, and Cincinnati. Let's say the Tribe takes 3 of the 4 series (and that is the WORST case scenario), they end up 38-35. Let's be honest though, with the state of the Rockies and Reds this season and Boston's pitching troubles, I'm looking for 40-33 coming out of the homestand. It's time to stop scoreboard watching, wondering how long the White Sox can keep this up, and take care of the business in our own ballyard.
Watching the Giants' series was a pleasure. This is how the season was supposed to be: good pitching, timely hitting, an occasional bullpen hiccup (Howry on Saturday night), but solid enough to beat up on inferior opponents. A 7-5 trip is not that bad, figuring in the way that they started in Minnesota and Chicago. Seriously, this team is a Broussard error away from two consecutive sweeps. That being said, it's time for this team to take off, with the starting pitching continuing to lead the way and the lineup producing enough runs to get W's.
I know that one man cannot be to blame for the early season struggles, BUT the Tribe is 6-1 since Murray was fired, and I agree with TB in that multiple career years in 2004 probably unjustly saved Eddie's job. The team seems more patient and more aware of situational hitting. Also, they're finally settling into a lineup that feels right (it only took about 55 games):
The platoon of Gerut and Blake suits me just fine, and an occasional Alex Cora sighting is welcome; but please, no more Hernandez! He's a windmill who's taking up a roster spot. Casey could play 3B, 1B, and OF; Cora can play 2B and SS; that leaves an open spot where someone else (Ludwick?) could take some strain off of the OF's. Send Hernandez to the NL where he can "murder lefthanded pitching" for someone else.
Cliff Lee IS the Indians' All Star, no question. During today's outing, he has never been in a better rhythm and was in complete control (despite Jhon going Ankiel/Knoblauch a few times). He's become a solid 3, at least, with the possibility of developing further. If Lee finishes this season strong, look for the Indians to give him Westbrook money and a long-term deal.
To those Indians' "fans" who were rooting for Omar over the Tribe (there were multiple callers on Friday to radio stations who claimed that Vizquel was "wronged" by the team and wanted to see him exact his revenge), know this: Omar is playing for the Giants because he wanted and took more money and security than the Tribe (wisely) were willing to pay him. When his contract expires, he will be a 40 year old playing SS, while the Indians will be light years ahead of the geriatic Giants. Knowing the way that Omar played his hand to seem like the victim in this whole deal makes watching his team struggle ALMOST as pleasurable as watching Thome not be able to play DH to rest his back (Shapiro 2, Just About Everyone Else 0).
Jason Davis is still not a starter and nobody will be able to convince me otherwise.
I'm trying to design my own #41 jersey with "The Stick" on the back, but it's one letter too long. Maybe a #48 "Le Pronque" or #48 "Shrek" would suffice. The other option is to get #52 with a "CC XL".
C.C. slide was phenomenal. Thank God for my new DVR as the slide was rewound about 10 times.
I appreciate your return to the Diatribe after some time away. Trust this, with all of these Tribe thoughts flowing through my head and the weather heating up, it's on. So bookmark this or mark it down as a favorite, or do whatever you want; because this is starting to get good.
Boom Goes the Dynamite.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
The Tribe, always surprising, takes 2 of 3 from the division leading Padres (could've been a sweep if Broussard catches the DP ball in the 2nd), continuing the Season of Uncertainty. Despite taking 2 of 3 from the Friars, the Wahoos remain 11 games behind those Amazin' Sox. A few thoughts as the Indians head up the Left Coast to face Omarvelous and the Giants (who are 8 games under .500...but Omar wasn't looking for the money or a long-term deal, just a team who would contend):
- Who is the Indians' All-Star? I don't think they're going to have the All-Star representation of last year, but someone has to go. The guess here is Cliff Lee, who has put together a solid first half and has a W-L record that isn't frightening (Sweatbrook, 2-9). Grady "Super" Sizemore is probably the best position player thus far, but his numbers pale in comparison to other available OF's in the American League. The other possibility is the Sticky One, who represents the back end of one of the best bullies in the bigs. I don't know if the manager of the AL has the stomach though for a typical Wicky inning (put 2 guys on, get a K and a DP as the tying run is 3 feet away from home) in the Midsummer Classic. So, I'm thinking Lee. When it happens, I will think about wearing my Lee jersey, but K-Mill took #34 away from Clifton this year (Cliff currently wears #31), leaving me looking like the guy who has the Winslow #11 jersey, a little premature and very embarassed.
- I struggled last night to watch the game with Coldplay on VH1's Storytellers. It was a great episode with the Brits tearing it up as usual, but you can't help but look at the drummer and bassist and think that they're just along for the ride, a la Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton of U2. The most amazing thing, though, is to watch Chris Martin (lead singer) and know that he's married to Gwyneth Paltrow. I know that she's a bit of a loon (British term): she did after all name her child Apple, but c'mon. I can go to the pulpit for Free Trade and not shave for a week and pull off what Martin's got going on.
- What's the deal with Le Pronque? Terry Pluto nailed it the other day by saying that Hafner's season has been "Blah...not bad, not great." Where is the clutch hitting and the opposite field moon shots? I wonder if his right elbow is bothering him more than the Dakota in him will let on. Or maybe he's upset about Shrek 3 not coming out this summer (and don't say you never noticed his similarity to the green ogre).
- I heard a commercial on the radio promoting the Padres series saying, "Catch Coco Crisp and the Indians take on Brian Giles and the Padres, tonight on FSN" then Coco hits 3rd. I was waiting for the punch line...still am. And don't come to me with 3 hits and 1 HR, Coco is not a core player on this team.
- The Super One (Sizemore) has established himself as a true keeper for years to come, but who else on this team is? The Stick and Le Pronque are the only two position players that come to mind, with C.C., Jake, and Cliff representing the pitching staff (Riske & Rocky Betancourt if you count the pen). Where is this next "wave" of players that Shapiro talked about a few years ago? Buffalo is stocked with guys that have been in the minors for about 8 years (think Jeff Manto).
- Anyone notice that the Polanco trade happened for Urbina and an INF (the day before the move was made, I had referenced a rumor of Polanco for Howry and Hernandez). Shapiro seems cautious to make a move that is going to disrupt this team. His comments in the PD that the Indians' schedule in August is favorable only strengthen the idea that this is the team, regardless of where they are at the trading deadline. However, if the Sox don't slow down, it doesn't do any good to have cupcakes in August if you're 15-20 games out.
- Ryan Drese (of TB on Shooters' Deck Fame) was given his walking papers yesterday by the Rangers, confirming the theft of Hafner as one of Shapiro's Great Heists.
Off to the land of fruits and nuts in SF, where I'm sure Omar's yellow suitcoat and Porsche are going over like gangbusters.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
With the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft happening today (which I've never heard anyone refer to as their Christmas), I thought it would be interesting to see what the Tribe's Top 10 Prospects, as determined this off-season by Baseball America, are faring in the 2005 campaign.
- Adam Miller RHP - Currently on the DL in Kinston, with an eye for a return in the near future. This 20 year old, whose fast track to Cleveland has hit a little road bump, needs to prove that he is healthy before continuing his seemingly obvious trip to Jacobs Field.
- Michael Aubrey 1B - Also currently on the DL in Akron after playing 27 games, hitting .288 with 4 HR and 19 RBI. A modestly impressive OPS of .816 shows that Aubrey can certainly hit, if he can only stay healthy. BA's timetable of a midseason call-up to Buffalo with an eye to challenging Broussard in 2006 may be premature.
- Franklin Gutierrez OF - AGAIN, currently on the DL in Akron after playing 44 games, hitting a paltry.238 with 3 HR and 17 RBI. His OPS, a miserable of .694 (though not bad when compared to some in the Tribe lineup) may be an indication that Gutierrez tried to play through pain unsuccessfully. Again, he may still full need another full season in the minors before challenging the mighty Coco Crisp (wait, what?).
- Brad Snyder OF - Hitting .274 in Kinston, with 5 HR and 24 RBI is less than what the Tribe expects from this former 1st round pick, who continues to develop rather slowly. The hope is that his body will fill out, transforming him into a corner outfielder; but it doesn't look like that's happened yet for the Ball State grad.
- Jeremy Sowers LHP - The 2004 first rounder has impressed at Kinston, with a 7-3 record and a 2.63 ERA. He's also punched out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings while posting a 1.04 WHIP. Look for Sowers to move up to Akron as the season goes on and the parent club dips into the minors for some help.
- Fausto Carmona RHP - Currently 4-4 in Akron's rotation, posting a 3.89 ERA and the opposition hitting .262 against him. Though still only 21, his fast track has hit a snag in Akron, where he's spending another year. If Buffalo loses someone in the rotation, look for Carmona to get the call-up, but some feel that his stuff may translate better in the bullpen for the future.
- Fernando Cabrera RHP - The last man out of the pen in Spring Training has pitched like a man possessed in Buffalo, posting a 5-0 record, a 0.84 ERA, 43 K's in 32 IP, and an improbable WHIP of 0.91! He's doing it as the set-up man for Jake Robbins, so he's not ready to close just yet. But those numbers are hard to ignore. Cabrera's monster start in Buffalo gives the parent club some options to possibly move a bullpen piece for some offense (more on that later). Cabrera should be in Cleveland at some point before the All-Star break. Does anyone else get Fernando Cabrera and Fausto Carmona mixed up, or am I the only one who lies awake at night trying to remember which is which?
- Ryan Garko C/1B - His right handed stick continues to mash, though at a lesser pace than last year, compiling 8 HR and 28 RBI in 52 games. His average of .250 could certainly use some work, but his OPS of .786 keeps him in the discussion. The big problem with Garko is that he is blocked at the ML level by some long-term contract players. He is first a C (The Stick), then a DH (Le Pronk), and finally a decent 1B (Broussard). The Tribe brass will struggle to find a spot for Garko, but let's hope that his hitting forces his bat down I-90 into a spot (right-handed, no less) into the lineup.
- Nick Pesco RHP - Currently 6-4 with a 3.45 ERA in the Kinston starting rotation, Pesco has adapted well to High A hitters and should tag along with Sowers on the path to Akron as the season progresses.
- Andrew Brown RHP - Brown has disappointed in Buffalo, going 0-2 with a 5.02 ERA. There are other arms in Buffalo who have passed Brown up in the pecking order for a bullpen arm, notably Kaz Tadano and Chad Zerbe (a lefty).
Having impressive seasons thus far, but missing from the list from each level (AAA to High A) are:
Buffalo - Jake Gatreau, 3B, who was acquired for Corey Smith from the Padres in a swap of 1st Round Busts. All Jake has done is hit .295 with 11 HR and 30 RBI, while posting a .891 OPS. While the Aaron Boone Experiment (good name for a band) continues, Gatreau is blocked; but keep your eye on this 3B.
Akron - Dan Denham, P, who is 4-2 in Akron, with a 2.98 ERA and the opposition batting .198 against him. Denham, a former 1st round pick, may find himself leap-frogging some of the pitchers listed above if he continues his solid year.
Kinston - Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, is another purveyor of the hot corner in the bushes who is impressing early on in the 2005 campaign. Hitting .346 with 9 HR and 45 RBI in 49 games is not even the most impressive stat. His OPS tops the 1000 plateau, sitting at 1.014! With Akron's offense struggling, Kouzmanoff shoud get the call to come up north soon.In response to What Can Be Done of yesterday, I ran across an interesting trade proposal from the Indians Compendium (http://www.insidethecomp.blogspot.com) a couple of days ago. He writes:
The Phillies Get:
RHP Bob Howry
IF Jose Hernandez
The Indians Get:
2B/3B Placido Polanco
All of the players involved in this proposed trade are free agents at the end of the year. Polanco makes more than Howry and Hernandez combined, but not too much. The Phillies are looking for a "proven" setup man, and Howry fits that bill. The Indians need a competent third baseman and a top-of-the-order hitter, and Polanco fits that bill. If the Indians are out of the race by July, they could easily flip Polanco to another team for a prospect. David Riske would replace Howry in the setup role, and Fernando Cabrera, who's been dominating AAA hitters, could be brought up to fill Riske's previous role. Aaron Boone would get moved to the bench, or he could agree to accept an assignment to Buffalo, in which case Mike Kinkade would be brought up to fill Jose Hernandez's role.
Makes sense to me, but staying up to watch the Tribe play the Padres until 1AM doesn't. Looks like Casey Coleman will have to let me know the results at 7:40.
Monday, June 06, 2005
After a wild week and a half, it's time to talk Tribe (despite the 2-4 start to the road trip). A few thoughts as I've been watching the last few games:
- The Juan Gonzalez thing was a fiasco only in that the media had hyped him up to be the savior of the offense. Had the offense been playing RELATIVELY decently, it would have merely been a blip. It was ridiculous though, to see him pull up lame on his first at-bat! I was watching the game and had just finished saying something to the effect of, "if he could only stay healthy." Manning's reaction was classic with an understated "Oh, no..." as the camera wasn't even on Gonzalez. Manning's always good for an articulation of what Joe Fan is thinking. Even my bride said, "Did that really just happen?"
- It sounds like there's more to this Eddie Murray thing than meets the eye. Ever notice that Easy Eddie NEVER sat with the "Brain Trust" of Wedge, Bell, and Willis (if you can call that triumverate a "Brain Trust")? He was always off near the camera bay with his big head, surly disposition, and great mustache. I don't think he ever got along with Wedge, but was protected by his friendship with Shapiro (Shapiro's father was Murray's long-time agent). The season had reached a breaking point with the offense, though, and changes had to be made. It's not like Luis Isaac (who I think still throws BP) was going to get the blame.
- The loss of Buddy Bell doesn't concern me that much (remember we did OK after he left in the 90's), though I'm still not 100% confident in the Atomic Wedgie as a manager. I understand that the bunt is discouraged in the Moneyball world of the Tribe front office, but NOBODY can execute a simple bunt. One huge difference between the White Sox and the Tribe on offense (both are near the bottom of the AL in team offense) is that the White Sox do the little things to manufacture runs. I know that these are terms heard often, particularly this year, but the series in Chicago could not have made it more obvious.
- I'm becoming more resigned to the fact that the Indians are the 3rd best team in the Central. They were beaten by both the Twins and the White Sox, with a lot at stake this early in the season. All of the games are close, but they don't count ties, close games, or moral victories in the standings.
- I think that changes are still to come. My buddy Dozer thinks that a trade needs to be made to shake things up. But who? Nobody wants Boone or Blake, and I can't see Shapiro trading one of the players who is actually producing (Broussard, Gerut, Belliard), so I don't know what can be done. It's not as if the team is one bat away from ripping through the month of June; the problem is deeper than that. Unless Derek Shelton turns out to be the hitting coach equivalent of Leo Mazzone, I don't see this offense doing a 180 anytime soon.
- To Shapiro's credit, he recognized the need for a RH bat this offseason. Let's go through the checklist and the results: Boone (oops), Gonzalez (ouch), Blake to a long-term deal (oh man). Who's going to be the right handed stick in this lineup? Belliard? Peralta? Everyone is either a lefty or a switch hitter.
That's enough venting for one post, though there's still a lot on the table here. I know that the tone was rather negative, but it's hard not to be when you watch the good ship Wahoo go down like this.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Things have gotten crazy, so I'm in the midst of a self-imposed 15 day DL stint.
The timetable for a return is sometime early next week, when I can comment on Samson Martinez, Juan (Really) Gone, Buddy Bell, the arrival of my Wickmans' Warriors T-Shirts (see http://www.wickmanswarriors.com for more details and some phenomenal shirts), and more.
Anybody else notice that the Tribe rides the bats to a winning streak when the posting stops?