Monday Morning Round-up (aka Seaward Loves Bullet Points)

Well, its ****in Monday afternoon! You should get out of bed earlier!

"Well, it's ****in' Monday afternoon! You should get out of bed earlier!"

It was a busy weekend in Cleveland and I spent almost all of it out of town and away from a computer, so let’s take just about my favorite thing in the history of blogs–BULLET POINTS!–and wheel our way around the weekend that was along America’s North Coast.

  • Ohh… the Indians. People often look for turning points in seasons when a team figures it out and goes from mediocre to contending. Friday’s game was pretty much the opposite of that, I’m willing to wager; an anti-turning point, if you will, that took a team that was starting to get it together and kicked it right in the mommy & daddy button. The bullpen is not getting better and there is seemingly no end in sight.
  • When I was still at (the infamous) SportsTalkCleveland.com, I had a lengthy discussion with Bruce Drennan on how Major League Baseball umpires were, of the big four sports, the best in-game officials. I am officially ready to retract that opinion after watching the men in blue absolutely butcher calls with and without the aid of instant replay. The call on Garko’s would-be double yesterday was an absolute farce. And don’t even get me started on Troy “Jim Thome’s Bitch” Percival not getting tossed in the ninth. Here’s my 2009 order of competence among major professional in-game officials, from best to worst: NHL > NFL > MLB > NBA — that’s right, MLB umpires are now behind the crew that once upon a time botched a coin toss. Think about that.
  • About that almost-double by Ryan Garko. Here’s my reason why I think Wedge was ultimately not thrown out of that game: the umpires said to him, “Um, even if that was a double, your next batter is David Dellucci. Do you REALLY think that runner will get to the plate with rally kryptonite on deck? The point is moot, sir.”
  • Eric Wedge should have been immediately fired, with prejudice, when Kerry Wood didn’t put a fastball in Carl Crawford’s earhole Sunday. While I will admit that it may have been nearly as good to watch Crawford stand on the back edge of the batter’s box and submit one of the most cowardly strikeouts in league history, it should’ve never gotten to that point. Wood should’ve dotted Crawford before he even stepped onto the back line of the box. Say what you want about Jagmaster General Ozzie Guillen but, if he was managing the Indians, Wood would’ve either drilled Crawford or been handed a bus ticket to Columbus. Period. Continue reading
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FAKE REPORT: Carey signs with Indians

WINTER HAVEN– Drew Carey, come on down.

In an ongoing effort to keep up with the Yankees, the Cleveland Indians have signed their own hometown comedian to a contract with their big-league club. Drew Carey, the native Clevelander, agreeing to a one-day deal worth close to $1.2 million dollars with his boyhood team. This coming one day after the New York Yankees announced they had signed Billy Crystal , a move that can only be described as a PR stunt. General Manager Mark Shapiro has other ideas for Carey. “He will bat fourth in our lineup for our upcoming game against Toronto [Thursday] and we’ll take it from there.” Shapiro adding that Carey is a viable, “contingency plan” in case Travis Hafner gets off to another slow start.

Hafner, the current Indians designated hitter isn’t worried though, and couldn’t be happier to have his new teammate aboard. “I’ve always been a big fan of The Drew Carey Show and The Price is Right.” The native South Dakotan is excited to talk to his new teammate about calling one of the games on Price is Right “Pronk.” “It wouldn’t have to be a car game necessarily, they could give away a f*****g dinette set for all I care.”

Carey also hasn’t taken long endearing himself to his manager, Eric Wedge. “I’d say about 95% of our interaction has been positive so far. The only thing I didn’t care for was his take on the Aristocrat joke. Amputee defecation is off-limits for me.”

The Carey deal isn’t Shapiro’s first venture into comical contracts. Before the 2005 season, Cleveland negotiated terms with outfielder Juan Gonzalez, a move that delayed current center fielder Grady Sizemore’s development into a big league player. Gonzalez began the season on the DL, then tore is groin running out of the box in his only at-bat for the Indians that season. $500,000 well spent.

Once again, Carey scheduled to make his spring appearance Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays, we will have a full report from Indians camp after the first contest of the Drew Carey Era in Cleveland.

Unsung Indians

Coming into this season for the Cleveland Indians, there are those players we are supremely counting on to get things done (CC, Victor, and Grady), those that we need to bounce back from a rough 2007 (Hafner, Pronk, and the guy that wears number 48), and those that we hope can avoid a sophomore slump (Asdrubal, Fausto). There are others though that need to step up, and those players could become the keys to our season more so than the players named. These players have seemingly slipped through the cracks this offseason. I say no longer. We need the following players to have big years:

Jhonny Peralta

Hard for me to say this, but it’s coming close to do-or-die time for Jhon. The Tribe have him under contract until 2010 with a club option for 2011. Peralta has yet to live up to his rookie numbers, in which he posted his career highs in doubles, triples, homers, RBI’s, and on base percentage. While last year was a step in the right direction coming off of his sophomore slump, Eric Wedge has to figure out a way to get Jhon to thirty home runs and at least 90 RBI’s. This might require Peralta to be shifted around in the order, but getting him up to those numbers will be a crucial factor in the success of the 2008 Cleveland Indians.

Paul Byrd

Just like in last years postseason, the Tribe will rely on Byrd to be the bastion of stability in the rotation. Between Eric Wedge already coming out and saying, “don’t expect the same year from Fausto”, the contract talks of CC, the gigantic question mark that is Jake Westbrook, and the seemingly revolving fifth starter door this season, Byrd might be the only starter the Indians can throw out all year that doesn’t have to worry about perceptions off the mound. Every other person in the rotation has something to play for, ranging from pitching in a contract year to pitching for your livelihood. Byrd doesn’t have to worry about those, or any of the other issues. He needs to pitch with that clear head, and give us another 15 win season.

Rafael Betancourt

He has to be pitching this season with the notion that at any point during the season, he could be called on to close. Joe Borowski has made more Clevelanders invest in Bayer asprin than any pitcher in recent memory (and yes, my recent memory includes Bob Wickman and Jose Mesa circa 1997), and Masa Kobayashi is looking like he may need some seasoning considering his first few spring outings. This will be Betancourts job eventually, and if it is this year, the Tribe will need him to perform, because it will mean we lose some of our bullpen depth. Will he be ready if called upon? I don’t know, but ask the 2006 Cleveland Indians what a reliable bullpen can do for a ballclub.

Eric Wedge

This is the guy answering the phone at three in the morning. It’s early, but I can forsee him having to make some very hard decisions this season. What happens if Borowski falls apart, what to do about the corner outfield positions, how long should the leash be for Andy Marte, and is Asdrubal Cabrera’s future at shortstop? Expectations are still very high for the Wahoo Warriors, on a team that is virtually unchanged, in a division in which the Detroit Tigers will be breathing down their neck all season, a veteran team with a veteran manager leading them. Wedge has had to grow up real fast in his tenure as Tribe skipper, but this year may be the most crucial of them all.