Archive for the ‘Indians’ Category

Trade Deadline Moves

July 31, 2010

I like the moves the Pirates made today.  First of all, they got rid of Ryan Church.  Moving both he and Bobby Crosby (along with Carrasco who is more significant) when they were sitting on the bench not doing anything and getting a very useful catcher in return was a deft move.  Snyder’s offensive numbers are off his career average but he is coming off of injury and he’s very good defensively.  Catcher has been a position of liability for the Pirates this year as Ryan Doumit, when healthy, hits .250 and might be the worst defensive catcher I’ve ever seen.  The Pirates got a starting pitcher for Octavio Dotel who I was not anxious to get rid of but probably wasn’t going to still be here the next time the Pirates are good.  And in Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek the Pirates have other guys that can close.  We even got a AA player for Javier Lopez from the Giants.  We shall see how the moves play out, but I like them.  During the pregame this evening Bob Walk was talking about Doumit playing right field when he comes off the DL.  God I hope not.  Tabata is on an 11 game hitting streak and Milledge is hitting great with runners in scoring position and is rounding into form now that Russell finally wised up and started playing him every day the last few weeks.  As far as I’m concerned Doumit can be the reserve outfielder and 3rd catcher behind Snyder and Kratz.  If his power was more frequent he would need to be in the lineup.  But it isn’t.  If he hit .300 instead of .250 it would be different.  He doesn’t.  If he wasn’t so injury prone it would be different.  But he is.  And he’s a defensive liability.

I am less upbeat about the moves the Indians made.  One prospect for Westbrook, a solid starting pitcher?  Cash or the vaunted PTBNL for Kerns?  They weren’t going to get a ton for Kerry Wood of course, but they didn’t get much a couple days ago for Peralta either.  These trades feel more like dumping their veterans than actually getting value.  I hope I’m wrong, but its what it looks like to me.

Which lineup would you fear more, the Yankees are the rest of AL All-Stars.  Of course, good pitching could still shut that down in October, but adding Berkman and even Kerns to that lineup that already existed . . . wow.  I am a bit surprised that Adam Dunn didn’t go anywhere; the Nationals have to know they won’t have him back in 2011, right?  Red Sox and Mets didn’t make any big moves because they know they’re out-gunned this year either way?  Should be a fun last 2 months of the season.

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RIP James Gammon

July 19, 2010

Lou Brown in the 1989 movie Major League.  He was 70:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/entertainment/post/2010/07/actor-james-gammon-dies-at-age-70/1?csp=mostpopular

Give ’em a heater!

Busy Sports News Day In Cleveland

September 30, 2009

As the Indians announced the firing of manager Eric Wedge and the Browns announce that Derek Anderson will be the starting quarterback this coming Sunday against the Bengals.

I am in favor of the removal of Wedge, though I find it interesting that they would announce it now while allowing him to continue to manage the final handful of games remaining through Sunday. I guess they want to be able to begin a public search for a replacement without it appearing unseemly. At any rate, its time for a change. Actually, I think it was a season ago but it certainly is now. The Indians are in full rebuilding mode after July’s activity. Also, to be quite frank, I was not massively impressed with Wedge’s managerial skill. There were any number of times just in the odd game that I would catch in person or on TV that he made tactical blunders, didn’t handle a controversial umpiring decision, etc very well. It will be interesting to see who the Indians tab to replace Wedge. I fully assume it’ll be a lower cost hire, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. All high profile managers got their start somewhere, after all.

As for the Browns and Mangini’s decision to go with Anderson I frankly disagree. Brady Quinn was a 1st round draft choice a couple years ago and he is the future of the franchise. This team is going to lose more than they win irregardless of quarterback; why not play your future and let him gain experience? I would not have pulled him from the Baltimore game last Sunday for the same reason. Of course what this tells you is that Mangini is not sold on Quinn and might look to go with DA or a totally different option long term. Going with Anderson could be defensible though the Browns would not be able to get a 1st round pick in trade for Quinn they could get something to rebuild with. But going a 3rd route would mean completely starting from scratch. And while this team hasn’t looked very good so far they could get better as the season progresses. For what it is worth the 3 teams they have played so far are all undefeated, which is to say, they are a combined 6-0 against teams other than the Browns. I say stick with Quinn and let him go through growing pains with the rest of the team.

Jay Mariotti Ridiculed

August 9, 2009

Its easy to do of course, but if you enjoy such activities, I recommend reading this column:

http://elvishasleft.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/just-when-you-thought-the-pirates-columns-couldnt-get-worse-jay-mariotti-joins-the-fray/#more-978

Snap!

Pirates And Indians Make Trades

July 29, 2009

As the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline in Major League Baseball approaches both area ballclubs engaged in the further selling off of key pieces.  The biggest trade (at least so far) today in baseball was the Indians sending ace pitcher Cliff Lee and utility outfielder Ben Francisco to Philadelphia for four highly rated prospects.  In the grand scheme of things this trade was also significant for signalling that the Phillies will NOT be trading for Toronto uber ace Roy Halliday as had been widely rumored the past couple weeks.  Philadelphia did not like the Blue Jays steep asking price and get a very good pitcher just one step down from Halliday for a less draconian asking price.  As for the Indians, they get 4 prospects, all rated in the top 10 in the Phillies organization by Baseball America, a widely respected source on such things.  Not sure Francisco’s role in the trade, unless Philly basically told the Indians that they needed a 2nd major leaguer if they were to part with 4 prospects.  Obviously, he is not getting a ton of playing time at the detriment of a current member of their All Star outfield.  As for Halliday, the Blue Jays may very well still move him, but it obviously won’t be to Philly.  My hunch is the Dodgers or Red Sox, but we shall see.

The Pirates made two separate trades today, sending the heart and soul of the team in Jack Wilson and a malcontent in Ian Snell to Seattle for Ronny Cedeno and several prospects.  While I hate to see Wilson go, Neil Huntington got the Mariners to overpay, like some of the other trades he has made this season.  Obviously Seattle is banking that a change of scenery (like Pittsburgh to Indianapolis was) is all Snell needed to turn back into a highly useful major league starting pitcher.  But I don’t know if Snell will be able to immediately help Seattle, Wilson is a good shortstop for sure but I don’t think a paradigm shifter, and Seattle wasn’t likely going to be able to overtake Anaheim either way.  In other words, I think they bought near the trade deadline with 2010 in mind.  The Pirates will use Cedeno so they can have players in the middle infield while hoping his bat gets stronger and there seems to be reason to be bullish on a couple of the prospects.

In the other trade announced shortly after their series against the Giants ended this afternoon Freddie Sanchez was asked to migrate from the visitor’s clubhouse to the home house and play for the Giants in exchange for one minor league pitcher rated the 10th best right handed pitcher in baseball again by Baseball America.  This trade feels more like a dumping than the other moves Huntington has made this year; its one All Star for one AA pitcher.  But its a pitcher with relatively strong prospects, so this trade could still work for the Pirates.  The value in the move to the Giants is obvious.

NFL Goes to SCOTUS With Sherman Exemption Request

July 21, 2009

If successful, writes Lester Munson, they could radically re-wire the landscape of major American professional sports:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=munson_lester&id=4336261

I am no legal expert to be sure, but I think on a logical level one can make a substantial argument that the leagues are single entities.  I think its a bad thing if SCOTUS rules that way; players and fans alike will likely get the fuzzy end of the lollipop in a number of ways.  But, technically speaking, I think the NFL has a case.

Americans Win Another Midsummer Classic

July 15, 2009

This is becoming a rather familiar refrain as the American League wins yet another All Star Game by 1 run, this time 4-3 was the final score.  MVP honors went to Tampa’s Crawford for his catch at the wall denying Brad Hawpe of Colorado a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the 7th.  The AL then went ahead by the decisive margin in the next half inning when, with one out, Curtis Granderson of Detroit tripled and was brought home by a sacrifice fly.  Once again San Diego’s closer is the loser.  The interesting thing in that inning was NL manager Charlie Manuel’s decision to issue an intentional walk to Cleveland’s Victor Martinez.  Its not something you tend to do in an ASG; after all, all the hitters are generally rather good being All Stars.  Also, for what it is worth, it did deny Indians fans of their one chance to see their one All Star bat in the game.  But Manuel was aware that “this one counts” and he pretty much knew going behind there would be game over with Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera waiting in the AL ‘pen.  The NL did get a rally going against Nathan but Ryan Howard struck out swinging w/ runners at 2nd and 3rd and Rivera breezed through the NL in the 9th for his record 4th career ASG save.

It was a pleasant game to watch, though, with a brisk pace and several defensive gems after early runs scored in part because of nervous defense.  There was the above-said Crawford play, but also some nice plays by Albert Pujols among others.  One thing that did detract during the pregame scenario was Fox’ use of camera angles, though.  Who thought a thigh level and ultra zoomed in shot was a good way to showcase the AL reserves?  You couldn’t even see their faces unless they completely removed their hats.  And who was the genius that decided to show Obama’s 1st pitch in such a way you couldn’t see home plate?

Some fans in Pittsburgh and Oakland are doubtless disappointed that they didn’t get to see any of their guys play in the game.  But such is the reality of the situation now that “it counts” and we’ll play forever if we have to to get a winner that some guys have to be held in reserve for extra innings, especially pitchers.  And in the case of Freddy Sanchez, his recent back troubles might also be a reason he wasn’t used when not necessary.

So, the American League, as has been the case every year since 2002, will have home field advantage should the Fall Classic go 7 games.  Of course, it hasn’t mattered thus far as the World Series hasn’t gone the distance since 2001 when Arizona beat the Yankees on their last ups.  The relative rarity of it actually going 7 is why I still treat the ASG mostly as it should be; a pleasurable exhibition game between the best and most popular players in the game.

Wedge Issue

July 6, 2009

I don’t know what it says about my level of cynicism that I had a random stray thought today, then log onto cleveland.com and see that Bill Livingston had EXACTLY the same thought.  For sure its spooky:

http://www.cleveland.com/livingston/index.ssf/2009/07/standing_pat_is_not_an_option.html

Its not a random fear at all.  The Indians did this last year to a certain extent; have a lousy first half and then a hot second half to get back to .500 and Wedge keeps his job.  Tribe fans face the same conundrum this year.  Do we root for them to win games?  It won’t accomplish anything positive, as winning the division is out of the question now and even getting back to .500 is probably beyond the pale.  But if the Indians screw up and get hot and end up at, say, 75+ wins they probably keep Eric Wedge on for yet ANOTHER season.  Which is to say another season of trying to overcome idiotic game management decisions.  Its bad enough trying to overcome a craptacular bullpen and the injury bug.  A solid July and offseason by the front office and this team can be contenders in 2010, but that we need a new field manager is painfully obvious.  If the team keeps losing at the current pace I think we’ll get one.  If they rally, Wedge keeps his job.  Which puts Indians fans in a horrid catch-22.

Weekend in Sports

July 5, 2009

Certainly a big Independence Day weekend in the world of sports:

1) Steve McNair found dead: Obviously very tragic news.  While the police aren’t willing to say it yet, signs seem to be pointing towards a female acquaintence murdering him in a murder/suicide.  Certainly when you ponder his NFL career the two words “tough competitor” leap to mind.  It seems he was always hurt, indeed that he was always nursing multiple injuries at the same time.  But he almost always played through it and played very well.  I don’t think that you would consider his career Hall-of-Fame worthy, but it was rather close to being that good.  And, either way, a tragic ending to a short life.

2) Tony Stewart survives at Daytona: I haven’t sought out much in the way of postmortem coverage, but I would hope Stewart isn’t being blamed too much for the final turn of final lap wreck that gave Stewart the win and massively re-shuffled the final race order of finish.  Kyle Busch was leading with Stewart right behind.  Tony went to pass low and Kyle blocked, so Stewart then went to pass high.  Busch went to block, but Stewart already had his front even with Busch’s rear, so when Kyle went up they clipped and Busch was spun into the wall, while Stewart was able to maintain control and take the checkered flag.  This wreck was Busch’s fault for trying to block when Stewart was already beside him.  Really, at that point, I don’t think Busch even needed to try and block; just race Stewart to the finish line.  Either way, it made for a dramatic finish to the restrictor plate race.

3) Federer wins 15th Slam title: Wow what a match!  16-14 in the 5th set which pulverized the previous Wimbledon and Grand Slam records for length of final set.  Basically, if Andy Roddick had played that well at any time in the past 5 years he’d have more than 1 Slam title and be better than 2-19 all-time against Federer.  Federer never broke his serve all day until the decisive game.  I’m sure Roddick will rue blowing a 6-2 lead in the 2nd set tiebreaker, but he really doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of.  With Sampras’ record broken and with Federer completed the career grand slam with last month’s French victory, is he the best male tennis player of all time?  Hard to say, but he’s certainly in the discussion.  On the ladies side Serena won the most recent version of sibling rivalry, but will remain 2nd to Dinara Safina in the world rankings despite having one 3 of the last 4 Slam titles.  Oh well, everyone knows who the best 2 players in women’s tennis actually are.

4) Speaking of best, we already knew Tiger was the best golfer going before he won his own tournament, the AT&T National at Congressional by staring down a final round 62 by Hunter Mahan.  With a hot 2nd half of the season he could catch Nicklaus for 2nd all time in PGA Tour wins.  On the ladies side a South Korean named Yi got her first LPGA Tour win by beating a late-charging Morgan Pressel on the first playoff hole at the Owens Corning Jamie Farr Classic in Toledo.  I guess the Buckeye in me could point out that people don’t win in Ohio while wearing Maize & Blue.  Also noteworthy was the final round 64 that vaulted Michelle Wie into a 3rd place finish.  A double bogey on 18 in the 2nd round is essentially what kept her out of the playoff.  Her game is certainly coming around, and I think its a fait accompli that wins will come for her.  Next week at the Women’s US Open I think would shock no one.

5) Rosters for the MLB All-Star Game were announced today.  I don’t really have a lot to add on that topic.  The fans made a couple logical choices, like Pujols being the leading vote-getter.  They made a couple dumb choices like NL outfielders that are injured, but that is par for the course there.  Freddie Sanchez will represent the Pirates and Victor Martinez the Indians, which is sensible.

6) Of course the biggest parlor game the past 48 hours has been trying to figure out what Sarah Palin is thinking, but I have no intention of getting inside her head.

Bad Sports Day

April 19, 2009

Penguins lose Game 3 in Philadelphia, Pirates get hammered by Atlanta a day after they pummeled the Braves, and the Indians fortunes in New York turned on a highly questionable home run.  Oh well.

The Penguins are still in good shape in the series.  They did not play very well defensively and were still in this game with a couple excellent chances to draw within 5-4 in the middle of the 3rd period.  If they can tighten up their defense, specifically making sure to mark the late guy into the play, they’ll be fine.  Special teams and goaltending; the Flyers had a short-handed goal and Biron made several nice saves for them.  Hopefully the Pens can rebound and win Game 4 Tuesday night.

As for the Pirates, they still find themselves at .500 after two weeks.  I would say that early return is ahead of my expectations.  But I have/had no expectations whatsoever, so it would be a vapid statement.

As for the Indians, why have replay if you are not going to use it to reverse reverseable bad calls?  Not as obvious as the Jeffrey Maier play in 1996 against Baltimore, but I thought it pretty clear the fan reached over the plane of the wall and interfered with the Cleveland outfielder.