Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tomahawks Nearing The End

As October looms, here come some meandering Tomahawks, slowly making their way to their mark…the end of the season.

In case you don’t have the Indians’ 40-man roster at the top of your list of things to watch these days, you may not have known that OF Brad Snyder and LHP Reid Santos were claimed by the Cubs (Snyder) and Blue Jays (Santos) this week as the Tribe removed both from the 40-man in an attempt to clear them through waivers. Both Snyder and Santos had been passed in the organization by other players at their positions or had seemingly hit their ceilings in AAA or AA, meaning that their presence on the 40-man roster was unnecessary as neither figure very prominently into the Indians’ future plans.

The Indians have many 40-man decisions to make this off-season and this looks to be nothing more than a clearing out of some space at a time that the Indians may have thought that other teams’ 40-man rosters were relatively full.

Regardless of the timing, the loss of both players was met with a chorus of crickets from the North Coast.

Andy Marte’s season is officially over, despite numerous reports that it was over when Lacey Cake made the team out of Winter Haven – which ultimately proved to be premature, with a leg injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season.

The obvious question, with this news, is who The Atomic Wedgie will regularly pinch-hit for late in games as the season winds down with Marte out of the picture?
Thanks a lot - I’ll be here all week…try the chicken paprikash!

Seriously, I’m not sure if this spells the end for Andy Marte on the North Coast no matter how obvious that conclusion may seem. If the Indians are unable to add an infielder (although it is their stated “highest priority”) this off-season, the Indians could very well go into next year with Andy Marte as their starting 3B, or at least split time with Jamey Carroll.

Knowing what’s out there on the FA market for 2B and 3B, not too many of the names jump out at you as “must-have” players, particularly the way that FA are generally overpaid, either in terms of dollars or years. To go past that, look at the 2B and 3B around MLB (ranked here and here by OPS) and tell me the name that jumps out at you. Outside of the obvious “untouchables” of Utley, Kinsler, Pedroia, Wright, Aramis, Longoria, etc. is there a player out there that a team would be willing to move that you’d fire your biggest single bullet (namely Shoppach) for?

Additionally, if the Tribe thinks that Wes Hodges is going to be ready to take over 3B at some point in 2009 (and that, to me, is a HUGE leap of faith), the Tribe could go into 2009 with Marte as their starting 3B, giving him that “one last shot” (though the handling of AB, or lack thereof, for him this year is baffling) at success at the MLB level before passing the baton to Hodges, assuming that he thrives in Columbus to start 2009.

While this scenario of keeping Marte as the 3B seems both unlikely and unsettling (and the alternative of letting Josh Barfield start the 2009 season as the starting 2B is no less unsettling), the Indians’ Front Office is known for targeting the most value they can get on the market. If, by chance, that value doesn’t exist for infielders, and perhaps is more prevalent with outfielders or starters, the Indians could go into 2009 with Marte (or Barfield) taking up a spot in their infield and strengthen the team’s weakness in other areas.

Not likely, but not as patently absurd as it looks at first glance…

With another Emmy going into the pocket of AMC’s “Mad Men”, I’m intrigued (though don’t ask me what channel AMC is) to the point that the Netflix queue may soon be populated by Season 1 of the show, once the “Freaks and Geeks” DVD’s have been exhausted and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” has been completed.

Is anyone a fan of this show, which I find myself reading about with no other knowledge than the general premise?
Is it Netflix-worthy?
Would The DiaBride vehemently object, the way she does when a film like “Transformers” (a horrible, horrible movie) arrives in the mail?

Since the logic of Bob Watson in the MLB office for handing down the suspensions that he did in the Sheffield fight is beyond comprehension and not worth even trying to figure out, here’s my favorite part of the fracas which was caught by the FSN Detroit feed (sorry the YouTube video that I got the screen capture off of violates MLB rules):

Yep, that’s The Atomic Wedgie, nose to nose with the madness that is The Sheff.

So not only did Sheffield get owned by the Indians (despite what his warped mind may tell him), with no help from his teammates, but he got an earful from the opposing MANAGER during the melee.

Say what you will about Wedge and his apparent lack of emotion (“The Comatose Rabbit” I think is the popular moniker because of the nose twitch) in the dugout, but he was right up in the face of a mentally imbalanced individual right after said individual got his face bloodied.

I’ll take that over a “leader” who wears (but rarely speaks into) a headset on the sidelines while showing no emotion.

And with that said, the most disappointing thing about the 0-3 Browns playing the 0-3 Bengals this weekend is that it takes me back to those fall weekends in college when I was stuck at the University of Dayton surrounded by Bengals’ “fans” (term could not be used any looser). Of course, my collegiate tenure coincided very unfortunately with the Browns either getting ready to pack up their belongings and heading towards the Inner Harbor or playing their games in purple and black (August of 1995 to May of 1999), so my barbs about the ineptitude of the Bengals were generally countered with the old “at least I have a team to cheer for” fare.

With that background in place, realize that the falls began in college with Bengals’ “fans” chirping about how “this was their year” as Training Camps broke, only to see the Bengals fall on their collective face out of the gate and Bengals’ “fans” simply tuned out until they could boast about how GREAT the team was going to be when Labor Day of the following year rolled around.

Of course, as every September drew to a close, the vicious cycle would hit the mid-point:
We’re Going to Be Great!...
We’re Not So Great, Who Cares?...
Oh Yeah? Well Next Year, We’ll Be Great!...

Anyone else seeing the Browns’ 2008 season marking the beginning of this cycle, when we’re “one” player away or a “coach replacement” away from REALLY turning this thing around? Because once we do…WATCH OUT!

Actually, watch out for me enjoying my fall and winter Sunday afternoons outside with The DiaperTribe if the Browns drop this one and my voicemail fills up with the gloating of Bengals’ “fans”, convinced that the Browns and Bengals are the most bitter of rivals.

The way that this AL Central race is narrowing, is there any way to make this picture a fixture in the Indians’ dugout throughout the ChiSox series to close out the season?

Lord knows the players will be acutely aware of the choking gesture that Ozzie made towards the Tribe dugout as the Indians’ 2005 push for the playoffs ultimately ended in their exclusion from the postseason.

How do I know they’ll be acutely aware?
Because I was sitting behind home plate that fateful day with my buddy C-Badd – in the general direction of the “choke”, and it’s not an easy thing to remove from the recesses of one’s brain. And I’m pretty sure the guys that were there (Grady, Victor, etc.) will be more than happy to illuminate some of the younger players who were a few levels away from that 2005 Tribe team to inform them of importance of sending the White Sox home.

Finally, you may have noticed that I added an RSS feed to the top of the right sidebar and I’m not going to pretend to know what that is or how it works. But I’m told that it allows you to subscribe to the rantings of a madman and his merry batch of serial posters so you’ll be informed when something is posted on this site or commented on by one of the readers.

So, if you ABSOLUTELY have to read anything that comes from this here keyboard, the tools are allegedly in place for you.

One series remains in a season that was over long ago for the Indians…push through it, fellas.
It’s time to force the White Sox into tee times a few weeks earlier than they expected.


t-bone said...

Jhon starting at third tonight!

Fios said...

As painful as that Boston series was, if the Tribe can keep the Whote Sox out of the playoffs, I'd consider that ending the season on a high note.

Cy Slapnicka said...

i'm going to try and go tonight. if i do, i'm getting a poster of the ozzie choking printed up. i doubt they'll show it on tv, but just in case...

Anonymous said...

Mad Men's just okay, Paul. It's definitely written by a bunch of 30-somethings who WISH they had been around in the 60s ... or, at least, they think they do. The aesthetic is great, but once you get over the ritualized misogyny and in-office boozing, the dynamic of the underlying show is more "ponderous" than "understated."

You really want the Twins in the playoffs? I mean, I hate the White Sox, but at least I have FUN hating the White Sox. The Twins are where fun goes to die a lonely, miserable death.

RE: Free agency...meh. Either this team is going to show up healthy and productive next year, or it isn't. I'm going to let this off-season pass over into zen. Getting rid of Marte just doesn't line up with the team's needs as far as I can tell. If there's room for Bryan Bullington on this 25-man, there's room for Andy Marte.

Paul Cousineau said...

Mad Men sounds overrated. I’ll probably check it out…just not urgently.
I’m not sure why, but I see the White Sox as the lesser of two evils between the “top” two AL Central teams. Between Ozzie’s insanity, AJ’s arrogance, Kenny Williams’ high opinion of himself, and not being able to get past Thome in a Sox uni, there’s just something inherently distasteful about them.

I know that your disdain for the Twins and their style of baseball is borne partly from the fact that you’re scared that the Indians are turning into the Twins (grind-it-out teams, pinning their hopes on youngsters year after year), and Gardenhire is just as unlikable as Ozzie in a more understated way, but I think that the fact that the Twins were bad when we were good in the 1990’s, then the roles reversed, leave me rather indifferent about them. To me, they’re a boring but inoffensive team that doesn’t get my dander up the way that the swagger of the White Sox does.

The fans of the White Sox also play a role here as Minnesota fans just seem to me to be the “aw, shucks…go get ‘em Joey Mauer”, while White Sox fans are boorish, obnoxious, and make up for their second team in Chicago inferiority complex by acting like they’re the “big boys” in the AL Central.

I also don’t know if I can take another postseason of Ozzie and AJ and “Don’t Stop Believin’”, where you know the Twins are one and done.

Cy Slapnicka said...

after some thinking, i decided against the poster tonight. a couple white sox fans recently beat a cubs fan to death and i'm guessing my creativity won't be met with insults and harassment but thrown items and violence.

hopefully my jinxing problem doesn't extend to things like keeping a hated rival out of the playoffs.

R.M. Jennings said...

So, from what I could tell from Albany, JP held his own at third, masterfully recording one putout and two assists. Droob wasn't so good at short, which surprised me more. I know it's just one game, though.

What was going on with two Indians getting plunked immediately following the Grand Slam? Is Ozzie that much of a panicked dirtbag, or was it accidental?

Anonymous said...

No big deal on the 2 hit batters last night. We have been letting this go unanswered all season...our pitchers are too self-centered?... to worry about taking care of the guys who supply the runs for them. (sometimes)

Anonymous said...

Ok then...we win again tonite...looks like we can finish up maybe 5 games out if we win tomorrow?. ( I can handle a Tribe win and a Browns loss tomorrow just to watch ozzie I want everyone to weigh in with their 5 favorite losses. Mine are:
1. The first blown save by JoBo(remember him?) in Boston with his 81mph fastballs.
2. any 4 of the games we played and lost with injuries that were so TOP SECRET that the injured players themselves didn't know about them.