Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Entrée of Apathy

Since I, like everyone, am down in the dumps (and rightfully so) about the Indians’ lack of offense or any sign of a pulse as a team, I thought that I would turn over the reins for a day to serial poster Cy Slapnicka, an expatriate living in Chicago who attends Tribe games once a year at The Cell, then usually regales us with his gallows humor while praising all things Tribe and viciously mocking all things South Side. Because he fancies himself a bit of an amateur photog and gets to the games usually for batting practice, I thought that at least it would be good for some close pictures if not a story of a certain Chicagoan being “overserved” and screaming obscenities in the direction of Derek Shelton and/or anyone else who drew his ire. Based on last year’s account and with the way things were going, the stage was set for some epic ranting and vitriol.

With that in mind, The DiaBride and I went out for a lovely meal at Michael Symon’s LOLA, which is on the revitalized East 4th street if you haven’t been, to avoid watching the frustration of what seemed certain to be another Tribe loss and to celebrate another calendar year passing since my entry into this world. The meal, as expected, was fabulous as we pretended to be the judges on “The Iron Chef”, peppering each other with inane comments like, “I’m surprised to see salsa verde on top of my rib eye, but the sweetness and spice of the salsa verde perfectly complement the salt and fat of the meat” and, “Rosemary is not a spice I would have considered to make the fries as flavorful as they are…but it certainly works.”
Did I mention that we’re dorks?

A visit to the table from Symon to cap off the night seemed fitting as the food and wine had achieved their desired effects and we traipsed home to find the Indians (shockingly) up in the game 2-0 with both runs being scored by players that were Buffalo Bisons a very short time ago. But a run is a run is a run for this team, and is a bit of a cause for celebration. Since it seemed that Byrd had the game in hand, The DiaBride flipped to the finale of some karaoke contest that pits singers that would be put to shame at “Corky’s” in Lakewood on their karaoke night.

During commercials we flipped back and forth and the rout was, apparently, on for the South Siders as the bullpen imploded and the offense stayed in the fetal position for the remainder of the game. At the conclusion of the game, I grew excited for the blustery thoughts that were going to come out of the Windy City thanks to Cy Slapnicka having to sit through that abomination of a game. Quickly, he checked in, via his Blackberry:

I can't muster anything but these notes:
The bats even looked cold during BP.

Byrd made a special trip over to our section to give a little girl Sox fan a ball on the way in from his BP session before the game.

The players don't look like they even enjoy the game except Grady - zero passion.

They squandered a great opportunity when Vasquez fell apart with 2 bounced pitches, a near HR, and two doubles (including a hard one by Hafner). I kept thinking that would be the turning point for the bats, but…nothing.

When Dye went yard the 1st time, it felt like a 15 run home run. I have no idea why Wedge didn't have someone warming when Byrd fell apart.

Some Sox fans behind us almost got into a fight with each other (shocker), which a Sox fan behind us referred to it as "Sox on Sox" violence.

That's about it…and Hafner just looks totally overmatched.
Sorry man, it’s just depressing and I almost considered leaving after 7.


While I know that Cy was apologetic about not being able to summon much emotion, insight, or analysis from his time at the Cell, I think his comments basically sum up what most of us are feeling right now. I mean, one of the highlights of the game was Byrd coming over to the stands and giving a ball to some random girl during BP?

This is what it has come to (with me preferring to detail a meal rather than discuss, or even think about, the Tribe) when it should not be outlandish to think that the Tribe should be running away with the Central with their pitching?

It’s beyond frustrating to watch this team right now, beyond words to describe the annoyance of watching 1-2-3 inning after 1-2-3 inning with no sense of urgency, and heartbreaking to have the feeling that a one or two run deficit feels like, as Cy says, “a 15 run” mountain to climb, particularly with the way that the bullpen is going. To sit and lament one run…any run…given up by the pitchers for fear that the game is now lost is a feeling that I can’t ever remember. Watching the heart of this lineup in need of CPR and showing not even a flutter causes even me to question my sanity for continuing to tune into these games.

Analysis of the situation feels like an exercise in futility as the Indians continue to put forth the same dreadful plate appearances, continue to stick with their struggling veterans who “grind it out” while Jhonny Peralta is the player getting called out by the manager (over players struggling much more, in the field and at the plate) and Andy Marte languishes on the bench with no chance to see if he represents any kind of upgrade at 3B, and the pit looks bottomless right now for a team so full of pitching talent.

Of course, all of this could change with an offensive awakening and a nice run of victories…but that seems awfully hard to imagine watching this team play day in and day out. The disinterest that this team conveys on a regular basis is leading to an apathetic feeling among those that force themselves to endure the absurdity that is on display day after day. It’s getting to the point (if not past the point) that if this road to perdition continues, something has to change…something…anything…before it gets too late, even this early.

22 comments:

Gehn26 said...

I really have got to agree with the comments you made. This team seems so lifeless and ho-hum. Its time for some radical changes. I find it amazing that Aubrey has 2 homeruns already and the rest of the team is just watching this youngster come up and play the way they should be playing!! I say we rock the boat and send some guys down. Even if its just to mentally shake them up and say "HEY, you have to perform to be in this lineup".

Cy Slapnicka said...

sorry, only took a few photos and i didn't feel like uploading them. i kept watching the players for anger or frustration, but it seemed almost as though they just accept the failure now. ya know, i believe this is why yankee fans loved paul o'neill.

i forgot to mention last night:

during the whitesoxfan almost-fight, one yelled to the other "i make 3 times as much money as you. you are so small". perhaps one shouldn't taunt someone with things like "i make $7.50/hr and you only make $2.50"? that would explain why he was able to afford not one, but two barbed wire arm band tatoos.

i saw the best one handed foul ball grab ever last night. a guy caught a foul ball in the front of the upper deck behing the indians dugout last night with beer in hand. it wasn't a high floating pop, but came right at him...he spilled a few drops of beer, bobbled the ball and recovered. of course, he was wearing a tribe lid. not sure if he had on an omar jersey.

they sold the place out, which was quite impressive for two reasons. first, i've never seen anything even remotely resembling a sold out game at the cell. and secondly, attending a sold out sox game does wonders for your self esteem.

Don'tCallMeJoey said...

Is it too early to discuss trading CC?

Before the season started, Shapiro stated that he felt that we would be able to contend again with this team as is. He would not want to trade CC with the possibility of us going to the post-season again. I can respect that. But at what point do we start shopping him? If we are still flirting with .500 by the end of May, is that the time? I also think the sooner we shop him, the more we may get for him, as the closer to the trade deadline, the more it is perceived as a 3 month rental type player.

Before I go any further, I do feel the need to state that I do not see my self as a "gloom and doom" Tribe fan. I don't always "want to get something" for our talent "before they inevitably leave for NY or Boston".

All I'm saying is with the way the Tribe has been playing lately (passionless), we need to do something if not for this year, then the near future.

I would like to go on record as I love rooting for CC and to see him in another uniform would nearly kill me, but for the greater good of the team, and the (nearly) obvious conclusion that he will not sign with the Indians at the end of the season, I ask a couple questions to all of you:

1) When do you start shopping CC? How bad does it have to get?
2) What do you realistically expect to get for CC?
3) Are there any teams that are off limits to trade him too even though they might offer the most/best talent in return?

Halifax said...

It's not too early to discuss CC -- the beginning of the season wasn't too early as far as I'm concerned.

The "dumbest professionals of the day" honors go to Tony Rizzo and Hammer on 850 AM for actually discussing this idea as if it actually could happen -- CC, Aaron Laffey and Gutierrez to the Rockies for Matt Holiday. 1) Why would the Rockies want CC at this point unless they flipped him (hmm, not bad); 2) whay in the world would the Indians trade both CC AND Laffey?

The Tribe does have enough pitching to deal from, especially in moving CC, but I'd rather see them unload CC & Byrd, both who will not be with this team next year, for some kind of offensive help.

I still say if you must deal a Laffey (preferably Sowers) send him to the Rangers for Hank Blalock.

I totally agree, start shaking this tree and see who falls out and who climbs higher!

Cy Slapnicka said...

new idea for wedge, since he is obviously out of them and would rather argue obvious calls to show he still cares. lets just alternate our batting order with the kid and grady and use ghost runners for when they get on base?

and anyone else find it ironic that simmons rode vince carter as much as he did and is acting like vince carter?

csusi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joshua Whitman said...

Paul,

You may be on to something. As an outsider, I'm not familiar with eating establishments in metropolitan area. Perhaps as an alternative to writing about this garbage being put on the field (which is how a gentlemen described the Browns on a Sunday back in September while my family and I were heading done 9th street toward Jacobs Field), you could use this forum to write restaurant reviews when ever you and the DiaBride venture out to a new location.

Just a thought.

Also, thanks for turning me one to the CastroTurf blog. He seems to post lineups about two hours before game time (not that the lineup is of any consequence) and breaking news before it hits the indians.com website.

Paul Cousineau said...

csusi,
I appreciate your insight and contributions here in the comments section, but I'm putting my foot down on the whole "hey, check out this site" in the comments.

You're more than welcome to re-post your comment without pimping the site that you mention, which had nothing to do with your thoughts.

Not trying to be a hard-ass here, I'm just sick of seeing the barrage of html's in the comments. If you want me to add a link, just drop me a line and I'm more than happy to add it.

csusi said...

my bad. i didnt think it was a big thing. respect and love your page, wouldnt want to do anything to mess up the flow of things. my apologies.

Paul Cousineau said...

No worries csusi.
Thanks.

Steve said...

Someone needs to post a link to a site with some fundamental hitting instruction tutorials. We could forward it to the entire stinking team.

minktrapper said...

I miss Kenny...does anyone on this team know how to slap a single the way he could? You know...then maybe we get a look at some pitches from the stretch more often...2 hits tonite...2 freaking hits against a pitcher that didn't make it through 2 innings the first time we faced him this year(remember that game?...all those hits?)...Texas next....we will turn it around on them, Right?..Well?

Charlie said...

Before the season started, Shapiro stated that he felt that we would be able to contend again with this team as is.

Shapiro should follow sabathia and Wedge out the door. His utter inactivity after getting one game from the World Series, and knowing he only had one year of Sabathia left, was an absolute dereliction of duty. He is a good GM for tearing things down, but when it comes to the task of adding those last little bits to a contender, he's been completely paralyzed. Ken Williams takes a lot of heat, but he's got one ring already, and knew enough to pick up Carlos Quentin for peanuts while Shapiro's big move was Jamey Carroll.

t-bone said...

PC and cy and anyone else, you've summed up my feelings completely.

i find myself reading less and less about this team because a sadness, of sorts, has overcome me with regards to these guys. i'm not even getting mad about it anymore. they're about my favorite thing in the world and it is beginning to depress me. i'm still checking in here and my handful of daily staples (TCF boards, castroturf, etc.), but it's only once a day now as opposed to several, several times a day, with minimal commenting (if any).

hopefully the warm weather we're FINALLY supposed to get these next few days will get things going. if not, hey, at least dr. jones will be able to get my mind off things for a few hours at some point this holiday weekend (we named the dog indiana).

lastly, i was at corky's three saturdays ago. we're going to party, karamu, fiesta, forever, come on and sing along! all night long! (all night) all night long! (all night) all night long! (all night)

t-bone said...

and cy, the simmons comment was golden!

t-bone said...

CastroTurf reports Breslow DFA'd to make way for JoBo.

Ron Vallo said...

Paul:

Followed your lead. My wife and I took in a Broadway show Thursday. Thought it would be better to see one "hit" on Broadway than zero hits from the Tribe lineup (Ok 2).

(The show "Curtains" - with David Hyde Pierce - was pretty good, but not great. It was better, I presume, than watching another loss following the same old script - no hitting and the bullpen giving it up at the end.)

I think if there is any trading of CC, it should be done with this year in mind. In other words major-league talent (emphasis on talent). Otherwise we might as well ride it out and try to pick up a bat some other way.

There's something to be questioned when three players from the Opening Day roster are DFA'd by the third week in May.

T-Bone. I feel the same. The anger part is over. Now it's sadness mixed with bewilderment.

Paul Cousineau said...

I was all set to write something like "Here's what we should do..." - but does anyone REALLY think that Barfield's promotion is going to make THE difference?
Or Choo coming up for Dellucci?
That's not going to get Vic or Hafner or Peralta hitting, which is what is needed right now.
And what would Byrd net in a trade in late May?
Seriously, there is no ONE move to make that serves as the cure-all, as nice as that would be.

As painful as it is, I think we just need to ride this out for a while longer until the contagiousness of a slump becomes the contagiousness of a hot streak.

While the fact that there have been 3 DFA in 2 months is upsetting (as are some of the in-game decisions happening right now), I'm holding out hope that this thing is not lost and if someone (anyone...is this thing on?) can put this offense on his back, the pitching can carry us to a hot streak that puts us right back in it (not that we're out of it).

I'm getting out of town (up to Chautauqua) to see if some lake air would do me some good...all while obviously watching the games online.

I'd like to think that the next post won't start with the obligatory "ugh" or "sigh".

Les Savy Ferd said...

it won't! and hey, my grandparents used to live in mayville, right on the lake. went there every weekend over the summer as a kid and most holidays including times when the snow was higher than the car.

I was doing some mild number crunching and I saw that this year the tribe have scored 4 runs or fewer in 34 of the 47 games they've played. In more than half (26) they scored 3 or fewer. CLE has only been shut-out 4 times which definitely seems like a logical impossibility.

Conversely CLE has held their opponents to 4 runs or fewer in 31 games, including an impressive 8 shutouts.

all this an they have still outscored the opposition by 16 runs.but i think that is mostly due to your previously mentioned 'pile-on' offense and the fact the tribe has only been beaten up once for more than 9 runs.

Anyhow, I think this is a talented club that is scuffling, playing well below even its offensive average, let alone its ceiling. I just don't want them (and us) to regret this when the obligatory post allstar break red hot streak arrives and it just isn't quite enough this time around.

but there's loads of time. time enough to make changes and for slumps to slamp (unslump? deslumpt?)

Cy Slapnicka said...

wow, why didn't we think of this before? SLUMPBUSTERS! is there any way we can have someone drive around cleveland and pick up a bus-load of slumpbusters and deliver them to the jake?

Halifax said...

I'm sorry, I beg to differ Paul, concerning the comment about "will it really make a difference?"

Considering one of the DFA guys was Michaels and we brought up the well-deserving Ben Francisco, and considering he is our best hitter, our only hitter right now, I think it makes perfect sense to bring up Barfield. It can't hurt. Cabrera is hitting .175, isn't it time to let him go down and find himself?

Considering the Fausto DL trip, I thnk it's a blessing in disguise, because Laffey can stay up and continue to solidify his role and prove he's ready, allowing us to move someone else for a bat.

I just hope they don't deal him. He's got the winner's mentality n the hill.

Paul Cousineau said...

Hal,
I think 2B is a different situation than Michaels/Francisco (which I did call for Frisco to break camp with the team). Cabrera has an OBP .002 lower than what Barfield had in Cleveland last year with superior defense. Given that Barfield hasn't done much in Buffalo...no, I let Asdrubal ride this out - only because Barfield is not an upgrade. If an upgrade existed, I agree, send him to Buffalo to find himself...but Barfield isn't it.

As an aside, interesting to hear the "Master of the Trade" looking to hold onto Laffey.

Hey LSF,
I'm sitting on the south side of Chautauqua (near the Mall)...too funny you visited Mayville that frequently.