Tag:Cleveland Indians
Posted on: September 24, 2009 8:03 pm

Shorter Hops

 Don't underestimate the different look Brett Gardner's wheels give the Yankees into the playoffs. The guy can flat-out fly. Comparing Gardner with some of the American League's fastest players, like Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury and his own Chone Figgins, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said gave the nod to Gardner. "He's one of the fastest guys we've seen," Scioscia said. "Put them all in a race and he might win by an eyelash."

 Damon, of course, can run -- though not like he once could -- and Robinson Cano and even Mark Teixeira make this Yankees team more athletic than some clubs in the past, especially when Jason Giambi was manning first. "We don't want to be one-dimensional, whether it's home runs or all small ball," Teixeira said. "Gardner gives us another option."

 Not surprising that the only form of celebration from the Yankees after clinching a playoff spot against the Angels the other night was a few handshakes and smiles. As Damon said, "Winning the division would make us a little happier. Unfortunately, this doesn't seal the deal for us like winning a World Series." Ah, how Johnny has grown from his Kansas City days.

 If Milton Bradley's apology was sincere, then why did Cubs players not even find out about it until the statement was issued? Cubs beat writer Carrie Muskat Twittered that the players knew nothing of an apology until the statement.

 Indians general manager Mark Shapiro has been fiercely loyal to manager Eric Wedge, but with the Tribe having lost 10 in a row into Thursday night's series finale against Detroit and showing little sign of life -- combined with the fact that they're finishing a second consecutive disappointing season following high expectations -- he likely will have no choice but to make a change. The Indians have been outscored 65-25 during the losing streak and had scored three or fewer runs in seven of the 10 games. Indians starting pitchers were 0-9. When they took a 2-0 lead Thursday against Detroit, it was their first lead in 69 innings. Ugh.

 Talk about blowing up a disappointing team: As Wedge waits to learn his fate, only 10 of the current 30 Indians on the active roster were active with the club on opening day.

 Mr. Clutch: Colorado catcher Yorvit Torrealba, over his past 26 at-bats with runners in scoring position, is hitting .654.

 Jim Fregosi, now scouting for Atlanta, would love to manage again. One dark horse candidate for openings this winter: Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke, who is very good and deserves a chance to interview somewhere.

 Closest thing to solid evidence of significant changes this winter for the White Sox: General manager Kenny Williams had some strong things to say to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times this week. "I know who's quit and who hasn't, who's willing to sacrifice," Williams said. "It's hard to win. Winning and success, whether it be baseball or any other facet of life, if you are not willing to sacrifice, you're not willint go put in the work, you're not going to be successful. You're just not. ... If you are not willing to do that, I can't have you here and I will send you to a better place for you."

 Loved the fact that it was Strike Out Violence Day two Sundays ago at San Francisco's AT&T Park ... and then the game was followed by a Bob Arum press conference promoting a fight between Manny Pacquiao and another guy I've never heard of. It was almost as good as the Dodgers giving away Manny Ramirez Bobblehead Dolls on Drug Prevention Night at Dodger Stadium.

Likes: The Panda Cam, as they refer to replays on San Francisco telecasts that feature Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval. ... Bobby Cox back managing Atlanta next year. Say what you will, and I know there are detractors out there who diminish his streak of winning division titles because the Braves only won one World Series, but he's a Hall of Fame manager. ... Glad X-rays were negative after Yankees catcher Jorge Posada fouled a ball off of his foot the other night. You hate to see injuries to significant players at this time of year, especially for teams headed to the playoffs. ... My Weber grill. ... I mentioned James Maddock's disc Sunrise on Avenue C the other day. It's great. Especially great is the cut When the Suns Out. ... Entourage has been especially well-written and acted this year. Last summer, I feared it had jumped the shark.

Dislikes: There were a couple of chat-room comments on the last Bull Pennings disparaging David Letterman after I gave him a shout out for the show earlier this week when President Barack Obama was a guest. Memo to you who wrote the comments: Glad you're reading. Thanks. But sorry, you're dead wrong on Letterman. He's sharp, and it's not even close at 11:30 p.m. -- and hasn't been for a long, long time. Conan is likeable and funny. But Jay Leno? Come on. He's one of the top 10 exhibits for the dumbing down of America. ... My wife has enjoyed the first few shows of Glee, and the critics love it, but I just can't go there. If I wanted to watch pseudo-Backstreet Boys videos, I'd ... well, come to think of it, I absolutely, positively don't want to watch pseudo-Backstreet Boys videos.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I ain't got much sense
"But I still got my feet"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Girls in Their Summer Clothes

Posted on: July 31, 2009 2:37 am

Padres continue talking Gonzalez with Boston

The Boston Red Sox continued to work feverishly on multiple trade possibilities late Thursday night, sources with knowledge of the discussions said, continuing conversations with Cleveland regarding slugging catcher Victor Martinez and with San Diego regarding first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

It is believed that Clay Buchholz would be part of a package sent to the Indians for Martinez, if the Red Sox elect to go that route.

The Padres, looking for young arms, likely would require some combination of Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Daniel Bard and others in the deal. One source with knowledge of the talks said late Thursday night that the Padres also were discussing Gonzalez with another unidentified team.


Posted on: April 13, 2009 5:53 pm

A modest proposal to the schedule-makers

As the final batch of home openers is played this week, please join me in a standing ovation for those in Cleveland who braved that entire fiasco on Friday.

All 500 of them.

In case you somehow missed it, the Blue Jays beat Cleveland 13-7 in the Indians' home opener on an afternoon that included a 3-hour, 47-minute rain delay.

So for the few hundred fans who made it through the ninth inning -- out of a first-pitch crowd of some 42,000 -- score that a 7-hour, 12-minute opener.

Biggest reason they didn't call the game? Toronto was making its only trip to Cleveland of the year.

Which is exactly the problem. It was shades of Seattle playing Cleveland the first week of the Indians' home schedule two years ago, when a blizzard killed four games and sent the Indians' and Mariners' schedules into chaos.

I thought the schedule-makers would have learned their lesson then, that lesson being: In cold weather cities, early-season opponents should all be clubs that will make two or three visits to that particular city during the season.

But the schedule-makers are a stubborn lot.

Look, I'm not jumping on them, because they've got a tough, tough job. And I get tired each year of listening to the whining about how the cold-weather teams should all open on the West Coast or in domes.

Yes, it makes sense on the surface.

But in the big picture, you're going to tell the Indians, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and others that they can never open the season at home? And deprive those fans of ever getting the first game of the season at home?

And furthermore, possibly put other clubs at a competitive disadvantage because, if the eastern teams always open the season on the road, then they're going to get an inordinate share of home games later?

Sending the eastern teams west, or to domes, early in the season is not as obvious an answer as it seems. Bottom line is, it's baseball, it's outside, and in April there's going to be some weather. There was a 51-minute rain delay Friday night in San Diego, of all places.

But to send Seattle or Toronto to Cleveland early, when the Mariners and Blue Jays don't have a trip there the rest of the season (and, thus, no easy way to make up postponements), the schedule-makers have got to find ways around that.

Likes: Love all of the day games this early in the season. Wish there were more later. ... San Francisco coach Tim Flannery hitting fungos during batting practice, bouncing one final grounder to second baseman Emmanuel Burriss and shouting as he hits it, "I've got a 100-game hitting streak on the line!" -- and then running to first base to challenge Burriss as he fields the ball. ... Boston outfielder Jason Bay, a class act. ... The Rally Monkey video in Anaheim in which the primate plays the Tom Cruise role, dancing to Bob Seger's Old Time Rock and Roll. ... The chicken parmesan pizza at Spirito's in Carlsbad.

Dislikes: If the start of this season gets any sadder, we're all going to need extra boxes of tissues. First Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart is killed in an auto accident, and Monday Hall of Fame Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas is found passed out in the broadcast booth in Washington, D.C., roughly 30 minutes before the start of the Nationals' home opener. Sleep well, Harry. You're already sorely missed.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Lazy stadium night
"Catfish on the mound.
"'Strike three,' the umpire said,
"Batter have to go back and sit down.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

"Used to work on Mr. Finley's farm
"But the old man wouldn't pay
"So he packed his glove and took his arm
"An' one day he just ran away.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

"Come up where the Yankees are,
"Dress up in a pinstripe suit,
"Smoke a custom-made cigar,
"Wear an alligator boot.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

"Carolina born and bred,
"Love to hunt the little quail.
"Got a hundred-acre spread,
"Got some huntin' dogs for sale.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

"Reggie Jackson at the plate
"Seein' nothin' but the curve,
"Swing too early or too late
"Got to eat what Catfish serve.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

"Even Billy Martin grins
"When the Fish is in the game.
"Every season twenty wins
"Gonna make the Hall of Fame.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can."

-- Bob Dylan, Catfish


Posted on: March 11, 2009 6:38 pm

Double Dutchin' it with the Indians

 GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Think anybody inside baseball clubhouses noticed that Team Netherlands bounced the vaunted Dominican Republic from the World Baseball Classic?

Cleveland ace Fausto Carmona, from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, arrived at his locker bright and early Wednesday morning and found ... an official, bright orange Team Netherlands cap carefully placed at his locker.

The culprit?

"I don't know," Carmona said. "Maybe Ben Francisco, I think."

The replay of the Netherlands-D.R. game was dominating the televisions in the Indians' clubhouse, and though Carmona was trying to ignore it, he couldn't help but steal a few glances.

Don't ask him what happened to his native country, though.

"I don't know," he said. "I don't want to talk about that."

Besides, he didn't have time to discuss the outcome. The prankster had removed Carmona's Indians cap while placing the Netherlands cap in his locker.

As the Indians were preparing to head outside for the morning practice, Carmona had already searched all through his locker looking for his Cleveland cap and had moved on to sweep-search the clubhouse. Last I saw, he was rifling through Francisco's locker.

But the Netherlands cap didn't leave his locker.


On the other side of the clubhouse, left-hander Jeremy Sowers was reminded of what his coach at Vanderbilt University preached during the season.

"Every time we played a 'midweek' team, our coach would say, 'If you let these guys stick around long enough, they'll believe they can beat you,'" said Sowers, who is fighting for a spot as Cleveland's No. 5 starter this spring.

"The Netherlands got a couple of bounces and that was that. Baseball's an unfair sport. On any given day, anybody can win."


They're pretty loose here in Indians camp this spring, though like many clubs, they'd like to see more from their rotation.

"I've been very happy with most of what's happened in camp," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said. "If you point to one area of concern, it would be the rotation.

"Carmona has thrown the ball well. He's leveraged the ball more consistently than last year. He's demonstrated more power. Anthony Reyes in a couple of looks has been good. He's healthy, which is our primary concern."

Cliff Lee, who surrendered four runs (three earned) to Colorado on Wednesday, is going to be fine. And Shapiro likes what he sees of Carl Pavano.

"One spot in the rotation, we're waiting for someone to step up and take the job," he said.

Aaron Laffey, Sowers, Scott Lewis, David Huff and Zach Jackson all are in the mix. Sowers followed Lee to the mound Wednesday and didn't allow a run in three innings.

Part of the difficulty of sorting things out for the Indians involves the elongated spring, which is an extra week this year because of the WBC.

"Those guys are going every fifth day, but to get them their innings, we have to spot them out of the bullpen right now," pitching coach Carl Willis said. "Until the minor leaguers come in, there just aren't enough games to give all of them their starts."

Partly because of that and partly because there's still so much time left in camp, Shapiro is trying to keep from making hard decisions right now.

"It's tough overall to evaluate. We feel like we should be close to making decisions, but we still have three-and-a-half weeks to go," Shapiro said. "You have to discipline yourself not to think that we've been here a month already. It's how much time is left."

Likes: Very nice complex here in Goodyear, which eventually will house both the Indians and the Reds. Both logos, in fact, already are up on the scoreboard. "I work so much more efficiently here," Indians pitching coach Carl Willis says, compared to at the club's old complex in Winter Haven, Fla. "There, I couldn't put guys on certain fields because there would be a hole here, a hole there. ..." ... Bumper sticker philosophy (seen out near Texas' complex in Surprise the other day): "If God isn't a Broncos fan, then why are sunsets orange?" ... Really happy to see Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central win its boys' basketball district tournament opener on Monday night. Pulling for Coach Ray Lauwers to lead the Falcons past Ann Arbor Greenhills in the next round. ... Will take Jon Stewart over Jim Cramer. And over Rick Santelli. Not even close.

Dislikes: Butler losing in the Horizon League title game. 

Sunblock day? Nice. Temperatures in the mid-to-upper 70s.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well you walk into a restaurant
"Strung out from the road
"You can feel the eyes upon you
"As you're shaking off the cold
"You pretend it doesn't bother you
"But you just want to explode"

-- Bob Seger, Turn the Page


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com