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.
Thursday, May 22, 2008