First, there were the years with Manny and Jimmy, both now on the Dodgers.
Then came the years with C.C., Victor, “Raffy right” Betancourt, and Cliff Lee.
Now? Uh…um…well…65-97 leaves us fans with years of definite uncertainty. Everyone I built hopes on for our return to October glory left except for Grady Sizemore. With the Dolans in charge, the thought of Grady becoming one like Robin Yount or Tony Gwynn are highly doubtful. Where is this franchise going? I have no clear idea at the moment.
Still the thoughts of the teams remaining in the October fun give me players to choose to root for as the playoffs begin in about fifteen minutes.
Before I begin to comment about the players involved in October, one person asked me to comment about last week’s dismissal of then manager Eric Wedge. Personally, I loved the guy. I worked on occasion for the club and loved the fact that whenever Eric would greet you, he would talk to you and with you, not at you or down to you. To me, it appeared that I was someone important to Eric, even though we never talked past the occasional “Hello” or “Good Luck”. He always showed me respect and he shared this respect for his team, his players and his opponents. He respected the game of baseball and I will miss him.
Still I will not miss the slow April starts that the team showed under Eric in general and the lack of playoff appearances except in 2007. I remember the week I spent in Arizona so very well. I remember one game in particular when we sat right behind Eric and were upset throughout the game. There was a lack of urgency or effort on the Indians, or so it seemed. This was what I saw with Eric running the team, a lack of urgency to come out and win from the start. This was what I saw in Eric Wedge, a lack of urgency, excitement and it affected many of my friends and co-workers’ decisions to not attend games.
Now onto October.
Looking into October, I see several Indians players and one Indians division rival in the mix which should make these playoffs worth watching. I will try to comment about each matchup focusing on these players and teams.
First leading off, we have the Rockies and Rafael Betancourt against the Phillies and Cliff Lee. I really like how the Rockies fought back to earn the wildcard spot. However, as much as I don’t like the Phillies, I do love Cliff Lee. Cliff Lee gives a franchise so much hope. His leadership and presence on the mound are hard to write about in so many words. His leadership is so valuable. It does not surprise me why he leads off the NLDS series in Philly attempt to repeat last year’s success. Good luck Cliff! I like the Phillies in this series.
The Dodgers have Manny, Jim Thome and of recent Indians’ past, a man named Casey Blake while the Cardinals have Mark DeRosa. Two former third basemen for the Tribe. I love the matchup here. Where do I begin? So much to write about just about this series alone. We could start with the fact that Hall of Fame managers and players on on both these teams. (At least I think this to be the case) I like the Cards to edge out this series even if it is taken to the limit. Due to time deadlines I have set, I will end the talk here.
The Red Sox have Victor now. Boy I still am upset about this. He will go up against the Angels. I sure want Martinez to do well here. However one would believe the Angels would have enough to pull out this series. However, I have said this so much before and the Red Sox still pull it out. I want the Angels to win this series. Personal reasons. Sorry Vic!
Oh the Yankees and the money they spend for a man named C.C. I like to say these initials stand for “choke choke” I will be cheering for the Twins. After all, of all the former Indians, “Choke choke” is my least favorite. Perhaps it was the way he treated the fans when we asked for an autograph. He always acted so standoffish. After my experience with A-Rod in this same fashion, I can see why New York fits for C.C. Go Twins, be the David to their Goliath!
I may win, I may lose with these choices. However, I will definitely have fun watching while I steam about what the current owner had to let go in talent!
There have been many who have been concerned, e-mailing me, wondering why I have not responded in blog format about the Indians since July. I understand. My parents taught me if I had nothing good to say about someone, then I should not say anything at all. My anger has been intense toward the organization since the trades of Lee and then Martinez. After all, while so many want to move on from Cleveland, Martinez, at least it appeared wanted to stay here. Still the owner approved these moves to save payroll. He also said it will be hard to keep Sizemore here whom I always wanted to be a Robin Yount or Tony Gwynn-like figure staying with the organization throughout his career.
The back of my mind thinks that the owner wanted Sizemore to sit and see that we can still win without him, never mind that he needed surgery. Mr. Dolan, Grady is the best CF this organization has had since Kenny Lofton.
This season, it is hard to look forward to anything knowing this owner’s track record of threatening the fans to trade players away if we do not come to the games. I work them. I go to others. Times are tough, Mr. Dolan. You punish us, the fans when you traded away Mr. Lee and Mr. Martinez. Your loyalty to Shapiro and Wedge are mind-boggling. However, in the poorest city in America, with a badbaseball team, a worse football team, one can wonder what Mr. Dolan wants.
After all, he only hopes that we go to the playoffs once every five years and wishes we can make it to the World Series and win it at the next big opportunity. Well some of us dream big, some 61 years and some like myself, all our lives just to say Cleveland:World Champ. When you have World Cheap as an owner, things just do not look bright for 2010 and beyond. They look bleak and gray and cold like this late September evening where there is still an long shot to make 70 for a win total.
So will I write more? I’m sorry to redstatebluestate for letting them down. I will write more. I am still so mad at Dolan though for what he has done as an owner.
A gentleman who is not on Facebook wrote me this letter. It read
“You deserve hazardous duty pay for withstanding that crap the Indians call baseball every time you have to work at Progressive Field. You have my sympathy! Calling them a class A team is a compliment to them and and insult to real class A teams.”
He is not alone. You see Cliff Lee was given away for up and comers. Prospects are just that. Some pan out, some do not. Right now the sentiment I get from others is NEVER in this town, rather than perhaps. The thought is that Victor Martinez may go now also. Then what? This town deserves respect. We got a BIG slap in the face with this trade because it said to me “Management does not care that you worked 50+ games and then reinvested and brought your family down to see 10-15 games for the past year for a team that is close to the cellar.” We traded away your reason for coming. Thanks anyway!
I keep thinking this team is like a bus whose driver has no clue where they are going and has no real destination for where they want to go. They want us fans to pay for the gas and repairs and we do because we have the dream to get to the top of the mountain. Now the driver still can’t see and lost the map for how to get us to contend.
We want someone to get fired but still this has not happened. The owner want to put in cheap parts to help us get to compete, yet cheap quality is going to get us crap. No one really wants crap and no one is going to reinvest in crap. They want to spend money on quality, talented quality that is a proven winner or at least wants and is able to compete.
These players that the Indians have left have to wonder how could something so close in 2007 become so horrible in 2009. We will be lucky to get anyone to play for or watch this team with these types of deals.
Yet I still will go to work for them, perhaps being more alert for frustrated fans who may or may not come.
I love someone who does not quit. Unfortunately, this management has betrayed its fans and its players. The players have not quit. Why did the management?
Post Script: Some have the sentiment, this town has always been a loser, never a winner. The beat goes on….no major winner since 1964. Excuse! This city needs to stop enabling and allowing themselves to be labeled as the victim. This country did not become free by being a victim. It fought hard to be free. Freedom is not free, nor is a dream to be a champion. I guess fans, what we must do is fight hard to find opportunities to survive, to overcome, to find work, to help ourselves and stop waiting for governments and team managements to bail us out and bring us our opportunity for success on prospects and expensive dreams.
Whatever your beliefs about life and success, persevere and just don’t quit! True champions are ones who work hard to perservere and not make excuses. Lee did that! So have most of the players that have played or are playing for the Indians.
Many like myself in Cleveland don’t ask for bailouts or free health care or promises of championships. We want opportunities to earn respect, work hard, persevere, and overcome, to be a champion, with our own blood, sweat and tears.We want to earn our way to pay our own way. We want to be told no way and then show others the one unified team way. It may not be popular but it will be made right. Cliff Lee showed this with his determination. When everyone said no way, he stayed focused and made his way to the Cy Young and his team benefitted!
I say “Good Luck Cliff Lee” I will miss you and never forget what you tried to teach the team and fans.
This week has been one where I was either working or watching ballgames live at a ballpark or playing the game or trying to catch up on rest. Whatever you may think, it has been a busy time.
Since I last wrote a blog, my thoughts were focused on Pavano pitching like the ace of the staff this year. What happens? He gets shelled. It was a night I wish I would have taken off early when working at the gate. Instead, I stayed and saw the worst game of the year so far performed by the team. The team gave up early and the effort given was inexcusable.
The next night, it was clear on paper that we were going to outdueled by Zack Greinke, a candidate for the AL Cy Young What happened? We got to him late and pulled off an upset thanks to Jhonny Peralta key hit to tie the game up with a shot that almost went off the left field wall. Shin Soo-Choo later hit a bird that was well publicized. It caught the attention of one of co-workers the next day saying they were a good luck charm. Also, he thought, it might be a sign that we need to change the name of the team to the Lake Erie Seagulls instead of the Cleveland Indians. Whatever results from this suggestion, the team more importantly won another series.
Friday was a spectacular night. The sun was shining. The atmosphere was buzzing. In were coming the St. Louis Cardinals. Someone told me without naming the source that nationally, the Cardinals were the third or fourth most followed team in the nation as a whole behind the Yankees and Dodgers at least. Although, I think the Red Sox are above the Cardinals in popularity, nationally. Anyway, scouting the Cardinals as I was, (Mind you, I am an amateur) I found the Cardinals to be a team where Pujols is the only one to worry about on that team. Hey he hit 2 homeruns and drove in a third to help the Cards score 3 runs while our team approach was good enough Friday to score 7. Game 1 of the series belonged to the Tribe.
Saturday I went to the game with my children and my wife. We sat in the upper deck to see Albert Pujols hit another two home runs. Someone please tell Wedge, the manager that it’s okay to walk Pujols. Quit pitching to him. No one else seemed to hit that much. To solve the bird problem, the team kept shooting fireworks to keep the birds off the field and it worked. The effort offensively was not there this day and it resulted in a loss.
After the game, the birds were everywhere on the field as the fans including my family were treated to Major League. For Cleveland Indians fans, this will always be a classic.
Sunday afternoon, my family again attended a minor league game at Classic Park to see a game between the Lake County Captains and the Phillies affiliate from Lakewood, New Jersey. Lakewood is on their way to winning the first half of the South Atlantic League. The Captains fell behind early yet scored 4 in the bottom of the ninth to make it interesting and almost pull off a solid comeback. Wow, what a finish! Unfortunately it was not enough as the Captains fell short losing 9-7. Hey we were down 9-3 and were able to make it interesting at the end.
Sunday night, I needed a break from baseball. Yet I still wanted to watch to scout the Indians hitters since I needed to perhaps pick one to continue my streak from Beat the Streak. Here I was surprised to find how easily our team was getting to Chris Carpenter. On paper, I was thinking again that a loss might be ours. Why? Cliff Lee led the league in hits allowed and Albert Pujols was a hitting machine. Yet, this is not what happened. Instead, Mark DeRosa hit a two-run homerun and Kelly Shoppach hit a solo shot and had a double. This alone was enough to beat the Cards. Pujols and the rest of the Cards were almost no-hit by Cliff Lee. A three hit shutout was thrown by Lee on the second consecutive national television audience. What it meant was a third consecutive series win by the Indians. All I can say is WOW!
One nice thing to see from the Cardinals’ series was the amount of Cubs’ fans with DeRosa on the back of their jerseys amidst all the Cardinal fans that showed up. Way to go Tribe and way to go, fans!
Tonight, the NL Central leading Brewers are in town. Its’ again time for Pavano to erase the poor start he had against KC. He will be going up against Dave Bush who lost his last four starts. Hopefully this series winning mentality will be continued. We shall see. Go Tribe!
Another day in the AL East neighborhood. We are coming off beating the Rays 4 games and 17 games at Progressive Field since 2005. Woohoo, I am dreaming of being out of the cellar and back to .500. Hold on what’s this.
Me: Oh great! You again! The big bad bully from the dark side!
Yankees: Yeah its me. I take the players I want when I want. I took your former ace and now your team suffers for it sitting there in last place trying to survive.
Yankees: I will take Grady, Ryan Garko, Cliff Lee and any other star I feel is worthy to fit the Yankees because that is what I do! I would buy your team if I could and move them back to New Jersey if I could and leave you with nothing. After all I plan to do this with LeBron in 2010.
Me: You, you bully you. Why do you hate Cleveland so?
Yankees: You Clevelanders don’t know how to win when it counts. I do, 26 times, make it 27 after this year! Ha! Ha! You can’t even win with LeBron, the greatest athlete you have left. Still I hate you because you ruined my party and beat me up on Opening Day in my new pad. You send bugs to make me fire a great man like Joe Torre. You caused Joe D. to end his 56 game hitting streak. I will not have this from you or your team. You embarrass me. Now bend over and take your whipping!
Me: We have pride and will fight you to the death, you bully. By the way LeBron still is alive until Saturday, at least. As long as we have a pulse, there is still hope.
Yankees: Fine then I will send you the best bought talent ever and force you to submit and lose. After alI, I have Mark Texieria, Derek Jeter, A-Roid, I mean Alex Rodriguez, CC, your best pitcher for several years, Joba. Also Posada is back. Robinson Crusoe, I mean Cano, and Hideki Matsui, just to name a few. Tonight I will send Andy Pettitte to give you your first loss. Now get on that basement floor and like it.
Me: How about I just meet you at Progressive Field and fight you with my team?
Yankees: Fine, we will see you at 7 p.m. and try to blow you out by 7:30. You will have no chance. After all, I have all the benjamins and lumber and arms to make quick work of you.
Me: Mr. Cliff Lee, its on you tonight. I hope you and the rest of Cleveland can win tonight. The Yankees think they can just walk into here and beat us to a pulp. Let’s support Cliff, offense and strike first. Beat these self-proclamed prima donnas who always think they are entitled. Respect is earned when it is given. (I have to remind myself of this.) PLAY HARD! RESPECT the Yankees’ talent, yet win anyway! EARN SOME, starting TONIGHT!
The White Sox series was a start. However, we need to continue. Currently, thanks to Choo who is a triple away from hitting the cycle, the Indians won 11-7 and I will reflect upon it later. Sorry I don’t blog as much as I’d like to. It is hard coming home from being or working at the game after working two jobs at one location and another in security at Progressive Field, and try to balance a family. However I am doing well and look forward to blog some now.
Game 1 of the White Sox series was one I watched in the comfort of my own home. What I saw was a combination of solid hitting by multiple players. (Finally, a team approach) and solid pitching by Carl Pavano. I was glad to see line drive swings rather than “trying to swing for the fences” over and over again. It was great to see a solid win. By this, I mean lots of hits, lots of runs, and solid pitching with few runs given up. Thus, a 9-2 result and a much needed win. As Melissa pointed out on Twitter on Monday, the Indians must win tonight. That is exactly what happened.
Game 2 of the series was the one I worked. I was placed in an area of the ballpark where it is hard to know what is going on in the game unless one is listening close to the call of Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan because the location was away from the action on various monitors in the park. The only thing relaying any sign of the game is a radio speaker in the vicinity. If I was in the fan’s shoes, I would have been down in my seat screaming “Wake up out there. Let’s stop the insanity” Especially against Thome, a former Indian who we should definitely know how to handle, no excuses! Now one can see why Sowers was sent down before the game tonight when Luis Vizcaino was signed. During the game, I had a chance to talk to a co-worker close by me. We shared thoughts about who might be Wedge’s replacement. His opinion was Mike Hargrove. I thought it should be a former manager or coach whose team actually won the World Series.
After the game, I ran into Mark Shapiro. I saw his face all red, as if embarrassed scratching his head as he was walking out yet he remained professional and courteous wishing me a good night after I said “Good night, Mr. Sha-peer-oh, I mean Sha-pie-row” The rest of the way out to my car, I was embarrased for botching up his name. That is not how I wanted to make my first impression upon him. I kept asking myself, “Why can’t we win two in a row, for goodness sake?”
Game three was in the silence of the building management office I work in. It was nice to watch Gameday seeing the Indians doing well behind the power of Martinez and Garko to lead the offense and the superb pitching by Cliff Lee to help win the series over the White Sox. A series win for only the second time all year is great. We need to keep this up. It was also nice to see the rain hold off until the game was over on Weather Education Day sponsored by WKYC Channel 3.
Tonight I returned to work security at the “Jake” again tonight. Upon arriving I saw Placido Polanco tonight before the game. He was talking with another teammate as he passed me and looked like he just took serious batting practice prior to the game. He looked pumped as he passed me as I said “Hello.”
I worked at Gate A tonight although I was originally scheduled for Gate C tonight as a security checkpoint. It was constantly busy for like 4 innings as people were streaming in. Tonight was Cliff Lee “2008 Cy Young” Bobblehead Night. This item clearly ran out early and rain checks were issued.
Here is a telling sign of most Clevelanders in 2009. I who want to watch baseball whenever I can had to remove myself from the breakroom as LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were on throughout the break and assumedly the night as they easily won to take a 3-0 lead in the second round of the 2009 NBA Playoff Second Round. To find the Tribe I had to go down by the locker rooms to watch the game. UGH!
I returned to my post and was asked to handle the gate and watch people leave. It is getting harder and harder to wish people to have a good night seeing the team the way they are. If looks could kill, I’d be dead to some fans as they gave this cold stare that saw right through me as I wished them a good night. It has not been pretty.
It was Faith night as there was a postgame concert for all fans in the Gateway Arena. It was music I could not really understand as it sounded like a lot of noise and nothing else. This was no Kumbaya. I was there until 2300 or so adding some security for the event. The concert was still going on when I was asked to be off-duty. Okay by me, I was getting a headache. Little did I know the players were still having a closed door meeting alledgedly. I was just happy to leave. The shutout variety was getting to me two nights in a row.
I hope all mothers had a wonderful Mothers’ Day. Today my wife and kids and myself spent the day together trying to cheer the Tribe to victory. NO SUCH LUCK! It was a bright cool Spring Day. Usually when I go to Progressive Field these days. There is not a buzz at the old ballpark among the fans or the players these days. Thus 11-21 is not a surprise. Howver, I admit I expected and still expect so much more. Watching this effort whether in person or not is exhausting from my perspective and it is not from exhiliration, just pure frustration.
I was happy to see three runs score in the ninth. However, my exhausted self and the fan in me was saying where was this effort for the previous eight innings. I mean all the hits without runs scored will lose it for you every day and night every time if you let it happen.
Still something about the closed door meeting had me thinking this losing streak is going to end is a big way soon. Call me crazy, very crazy but the White Sox will be paying for our latest mistakes in a big way, I believe starting Monday.
A further note: I thought it was interesting to see a bunch of ladies of all ages holding a giant Pink ribbon to help bring awareness to MLB’s commitment to fighting breast cancer prior to and during the National Anthem.