Thursday, February 08, 2007

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

This week’s “Tribe Report” on STO featured an interview with Peter Gammons, who talked exclusively about the Indians. It’s rare that Gammons addresses one particular team and its players, without using the context of the whole league, so his comments are interesting to hear. Here’s what the man who graces the $20 bill had to say:

A Team Overview
The Indians have in Sizemore and Hafner, legitimate stars. But, the depth that they now have, with Blake and Dellucci and Michaels, that they have enough depth now that they can overcome injuries. And they have so much young pitching coming along. I love that they went out and got Foulke and Borowski to add some veteran presence so that when Cabrera and Miller and some of their young pitchers come along they have much more of a safety net than they did last year.

On Bullpens
I always point out that of the last 6 World Champions, the only team that ended up winning it that knew who it’s closer was on May 1st was Boston in 2004 with Foulke. Adam Wainwright never had a save opportunity in his entire life until September 10th and he ended up being up perfect in the postseason. So, bullpen is the easiest position in baseball to develop. The Indians have so many great arms, so even if Foulke and Borowski aren’t there in September, what they may do is provide a cushion so a guy like Cabrera or Carmona could end up the closer.

On T-Crowe
The guy that people talk most about around baseball is Trevor Crowe. Last year, when Akron was playing Portland in the Eastern League playoffs, two members of the Red Sox Front Office called me on their drive back from Portland to tell me about this incredible catch he made…and they started calling him Ty Cobb. That’s the way he plays, kind of “spikes high”, and plays hard all the time. That’s his nickname, that’s what they call him in the Red Sox Front Office – Ty Cobb.

On Sowers
The guy that’s been one of my favorites for a long time, since I got to know him when he pitched in the Cape Cod League is Jeremy Sowers. I think he’s going to be great. He’s got a presence, but he also really understands pitching and he really understands what scouting reports are about. It’s always been said that he’ll be better in the Major Leagues than he was in the Minors because he can take a game plan and execute it better than most because he’s so much more intelligent.

On the AL Central
I think that the Indians and Tigers are probably the favorites, but I like the Indians because of their depth. I like the Tigers a lot, but my question would be how much will a Justin Verlander, who never pitched more than 130 innings in his life, come back and try to pitch 200 innings this year. This is a very good division. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman told me the other day that everyone in the national media still focuses on the Yankees and Red Sox, but that he could easily see the World Champion come out of the American League Central.

Great stuff from Sweet Pete, as usual.
The thing that sets Gammons apart is that he’s an insider, but never tries to pass off the observations as his own. He always says what the scouts and executives are saying to him, which makes us obviously jealous of him and his influence while marveling at his humility and enthusiasm.

After hearing his insight (which was sorely missed while he was ill last year), it reminded me how good baseball talk can be. So, now can someone tell the folks at ESPN that a desk of Ravech, Gammons, Kurkjian, and Gwynn (or Hershiser or another cerebral player long on steak and short on sizzle) are preferable to the ridiculousness of Kruk and Steve Phillips?
It will make my summer much more enjoyable.

Also, here’s some news that should be celebrated on the same level as signing the likes of Pronk or C.C. to a contract extension.


t-bone said...

Gammons = God. And yes, that's with a capital G.

t-bone said...

Just heard this on WTAM...

Last year, had us preseason #1 in the power rankings (right?). This year, Fox Sports has is #2!!!

Cy Slapnicka said...

Could you imagine having Gammons as your Uncle? A guitar playing, music loving, baseball genius uncle? Such as shame we have to be insiders to read him...someone with access needs to volunteer to post his article here every week.

I would have loved to see Shapiro's reaction to his "So, bullpen is the easiest position in baseball to develop" comment last year...

t-bone said...

Another DirecTV piece, with a new twist...

Cy Slapnicka said...

I can't believe he stole my utility infielder line.

That is very interesting though, but I can't imagine DirecTV would pay $700mil for something that MLB would undercut. DirecTV cannot be that stupid, there has to be some sort of contract language that prohibits this. However, can MLB really think the wave of TV watching is the Internet? We want our HD broadcasts on our 42" TVs. I'd honestly rather subscribe to the TalibanTV network and get my Extra Innings package if I have to. (this of course assumes my plan to get Cleveland service in Chicago doesn't work)

I also don't understand why nobody talks about the fairness factor, with the national vs. regional networks.

Of course, my problem is probably that I forget these owners just want to get fat and happy. They don't care about their clubs or their fans, just their wallets.

Damn you baseball, I wish I could quit you!!!

pojo said...

Gammons is awesome, and that's an understatement.

The one thing I always watch out for is the fact that he's a bit of a Cleveland Indians homer, hidden in Boston.

But I could listen to the guy talk about baseball all year long...and then some.

You want to talk about a guy with a network...and a guy that gives credit to the network.


As far as MLB and direcTV...

go figure...