Our writers have been shipped to a factory in China, where they will make iPhones and Ray-Bans. I’ll recall them when the Indians decide to win a World Series. A few escaped and are reportedly still writing for the Damox Sports Blog.
In case any of you tribe fans haven’t noticed yet, the starters for game 1 of the World Series will be CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, both former Cleveland Indians. It’s a shame that the lack of a salary cap or a punishing luxury tax allows teams that develop fine young talent see it lost to teams with the biggest bank accounts. The Indians offered CC $20 million/year, but that fell $5 million short of the Yankees offer, who blew every other offer out of the water by at least $15 million over the length of the contract. That’s just not competitive. It’s like negotiating with a pocket knife when the other guy has a bazooka.
While the Yankees and Phillies enjoy their Indians purchases, we get to ponder the Indian big free agent signee of this offseason: Manager Manny Acta, formerly of the last place Washington Nationals. I guess if he wasn’t good enough for the worst team in baseball, he’s somehow good enough for the Indians.
The Indians are looking for a manager, and Tony Pena should be a front runner for the position. Here are some reasons why:
- Pena was once an Indian, and he had a heroic home run when the returned to the playoffs for the first time in 40 years in 1995. That makes him popular among diehard Indians fans.
- Pena has managing experiencing with a franchise with tighter pockets than the Indians. He managed the Royals for over 3 seasons and even won manager of the year with them. He knows the right way to develop an organization.
- Pena is a former catcher. Catchers make good managers, it’s as simple as that. He’ll work well with our young pitching staff.
- Pena is already coaching in the American League.
- Pena is coaching for the Yankees, where he has very little chance of getting moved up to manager, especially if Joe Girardi gets them a ring this season. Even if Girardi ever left or was fired, you know Yankees fans would prefer their hero Don Mattingly over Tony Pena, a former Red Sox. It may be irrational to hire a first baseman as manager over a catcher, but most Yankees fans I know would rather have Mattingly as manager right now over Joe Girardi, a former manager of the year as well as being a former Yankee catcher. They’re just irrational beings.
If Tony Pena wants the Indians managing gig, I think he should get it. The only person I’d favor over Pena right now is Lou Brown, and he’s busy talking to a guy on the other line about a set of whitewalls.
The Indians have finally fired manager Eric Wedge. The team has only won a handful of games this month and will not win 70 games this season. I’m not convinced this makes us a better team, but at the very least it allows us to let go of this season and move on with a fresh leader. Now let’s start speculating on who that might be next season.
The Indians have selected Alex White from North Carolina with their 1st pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. It was the 15th selection in the 1st round. Alex White is a right-handed pitcher who has a mid-90’s fastball and a good slider. He has had some control issues, but he tends to miss low, which is crucial when facing hitters that can take pitches in the middle of their body and drive them 400 feet. He’ll put some in the dirt a few times each outing, but at least those pitches don’t end up on the other side of the fence. White was first drafted by the Dodgers way back in 2006 before deciding to hone his skills in college. Here’s a video of him pitching back in high school:
Eric Wedge tried his hardest to sink the Indians today, but the Tribe came through in the end with a walk-off hit in the 9th inning. Wedge’s pitching change in the 8th led to the Yankees tying the game, and led me to consider whether Wedge is actually trying to get fired. He still has a year left on his contract, so he’d be better off financially if he was fired as opposed to just quitting. It would also free him up to ruin some other franchise.
Here’s the situation: Carl Pavano has pitched magnificently through 8 1/3 innings. He’s just given up an infield single to Derek Jeter. He’s thrown 84 pitches on the day.
a.) Leave him in to face Johnny Damon
b.) Take him out and bring in Perez, a reliever with an ERA above 13.00
Eric Wedge went with option b. Perez, who has given up about 2 hits per inning this season, gives up a double to Damon. Wedge replaces Perez after Damon. The Yankees now have runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out and are set up to rip their way through the shaky Indians bullpen.
Just when things were looking better for the Indians, they found a way to disappoint fans once again. The Indians had snapped the Red Sox 11 game winning streak on Tuesday night and were looking to take the third game of the series on Wednesday. They had a 5-0 lead going into the 6th inning, and that’s when things started to fall apart. The Red Sox scored 2 in that inning, 3 in the 8th, and capped off the improbable comeback with a go-ahead home run in the 10th from Jonathan Van Every, who was making his first start of the season.
The Tribe got home runs early in the game from Mark Derosa and Kelly Shoppach, but went scoreless in the final 6 frames, allowing the Red Sox to slowly creep back into the game. The loss will go to Jensen Lewis for giving up the home run to Van Every, but it was Betancourt who had the really poor outing, giving up 3 hits and 3 runs in just 1/3 of an inning of work. Derosa wasn’t much help, making an error in that inning that allowed 2 of those runs to score.
The Lame Performance of the Night has to go to Jhonny Peralta, who was 0 for 5 with 3 strikeouts and 5 left on base. He’s down to a .211 batting average on the season. There’s a reason he hasn’t been starting on my fantasy league team.
As you’re all aware, the Boston Red Sox are in town for the first part of this week. They are one of the most popular teams in baseball, and they usually draw pretty good size crowds, even when on the road. A look at last night’s attendance at The Jake shows the Indians are facing a major attendance problem. The announced attendance was 19,613, which is just 43% capacity. That number was about double the actual attendance, according to my sources. In some other games this season, actual attendance has been as low as 5,500.
This is a major problem for a team that once set a record for most consecutive sellouts in this stadium. Jacobs Field (if the Progressive corporation wants me to attach their name to the stadium, they can pay me directly, otherwise they can KMA) is not the huge draw it once was, and apparently neither are the Indians. I know times are tough, but this is our baseball team, the same team that was rescued from the depths of obscurity a decade ago to become perennial contenders. If we can’t come out to see them play, how long can they last in this decaying town?
The Indians promotions this year are intriguing, if not a little bizarre. They’ve got an 80’s weekend coming up in June to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the movie Major League (with Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn bobblehead). One of the promotions that weekend will be a Shin Soo Choo 80’s bobblehead, which features our star outfielder dressed as Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice, standing on one of those Simon games (4 color buttons, follow the pattern. You know the game). It’s the weirdest promo I’ve seen in a while, but if anyone gets their hands on one I’d sure like to have it (email thatrichguy @ yahoo.com for contact info, I’ll throw you a link if you have a website). Let’s hope some of these free goodies will get some fans in the seats. Nobody wants to go back to the ho-hum days of the late-80’s when we lost every year and nobody was even there to see it.
Mark DeRosa scored the game-winning run after Red Sox reliever Javier Lopez dropped a flip throw from first baseman Kevin Youkilis as the Tribe beat the BoSox by a final score of 9-8. DeRosa went 4 for 5 with a home run in the game to lead the Tribe, and Kerry Wood picked up a win after pitching a scoreless inning of relief.
Anthony Reyes got the start for the Indians in this game but was just terrible, giving up 7 earned runs in just 2 innings. NASA should have the results of his ERA calculation later next week.