As I write this entry, I am headed into New York City to see David Wright and the Mets go up against Tampa Bay and the Rays. I need to take a brief break from the Tribe as I tried to get tickets months ago for the Cubs’ series and found out it was simply SOLD OUT!
That being said, I will get to see David Wright, my sister in-law’s “heartthrob” put his top batting average up against the man Ben Francisco loves to see any time of the season.
This past week, I saw some of the worst bullpen action to date for the Tribe and boy am I frustrated. I cheered so hard these past three games trying to stay positive, yet each time, the team fell short.
Monday I thought back to my childhood and the local softball beer league games where the scores were outrageous and pitching was horrendous. There you would love to see all the runs and hits all night long. However, with the Tribe and two five run leads, giving up all these hits and runs was UNACCEPTABLE! It was like I was watching a campfire and the pitcher poured more gasoline on the mound and now should be charged with two counts of aggravated arson for the performance on Monday.
Tuesday, Jeremy Sowers proved he can only throw five innings tops and with the gasoline induced bullpen that brings more gas to the fire instead of putting fires out this season. Another blown lead and another loss
Wednsday, I went again. The Tribe fell behind early. There was a sarcastic lady near us in the ninth smack talking saying “We swept you” before the game was over. After hearing her, I just kept repeating under my breath, “God, please teach her a lesson” It was amazing how we were able to fight back to a tie. Yet when Ryan Garko drove in the runs that tied it up for us, I was so excited. Yet, just like the season, when we tend to get on a roll, someone significant goes down to an injury. Garko appeared to twist an ankle on the play. UGH! Eventually, we lost—–AGAIN!
Now the two teams whose fans often believe they are the most cursed as of 2009 meet in Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Right now, they are in a delay as I write this.
The New York City traffic is busy as normal and its great to be back here. I look forward to seeing a National League team again. I often laugh that I always tend to see the National League during Interleague. Back in 2005, I saw Pittsburgh face Tampa Bay. I now will see the Mets face Tampa Bay and report my experience hopefully over the weekend. Happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there. I know my father and grandfather have influenced my love for the game. I try to do the same for my son.
I previewed the National League Western Division for 2009 and where I thought the teams may finish. You can find it here if you care to add your two cents as to where you think the teams may finish.
Now I will take the time to analyze where the National League Central Division will end up for the year 2009.
It will be a cruel summer for the Reds this year. They lost too much offense and really need the pitching to pick up in order to compete. They will be competing with the Pirates and Astros to stay out of the cellar this year. It will be a long summer for the fans. Yet some might say in the team’s defense that the offense will receive their spark from Jay Bruce and Joey Votto. I just don’t see a team that is ready to be a threat to the top three in the division. Let’s just say the shocker will have the Reds replacing the Bucs as the sixth or last place club in the division. I challenge them to prove me wrong in 2009.
The National League Central has me hoping that when I go to see how Neal Huntington has improved the Pirates that they will be competitive for 2009. However being competitive and consistent can mean two different things. I just hope they start to fill a nucleus of players to build around again. According to some sources I have heard, the Pirates have coaches from other “winning organizations” to infuse winning back into the Pirates organization. From what I know, Neal should build the organization up through the farm system wich is what the Tribe’s goals have been also. With such a beautiful ballpark and an enjoyable time when I make the trek eastward and will again to see the Indians in the coming year as well as other games like the ones against the Mets perhaps, I hope to hear much enthusiasm from the fans as they rally behind the Bucs for another year. I just hope this means that the team on the field is closer to playing .500 and will be closer to contending once again. As for now, fifth place is still in the plans unfortunately. Hopefully the record will improve nevertheless.
It will not surprise me to see the Astros in fifth place this year. It will not surprise me to see them in third. The bottom three teams will be log jammed in this division battling to keep out of the cellar, so there is definite hope for the Pirate fans to possibly end up in third. Like the Pirates, I think .500 will be hard for the Astros to find also. the reason is that I think the top two teams will be that dominating in this division for 2009. Fourth place will be my call for the Astros for this year by default.
I really think this team is a weak third place team. Losing former Indian CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets really did not help this team. Yes they were able to get Hoffman. However, the rest of the pitching is weaker. I believe the offense will feel pressure to compensate for the loss of star pitchers especially if the offense gets into a slump. Luckily they have a quality manager in Ken Macha who will keep them competitive hopefully. He was able to keep the A’s teams in the race with him at the helm. Still, I will not be surprised to see them closer to fourth than second in this division in 2009. This team will see third place yet I believe it will be a disappointing third at that.
The only team that will put up a fight to the Cubs this year may be the Cardinals. With Carpenter coming back, and Pujols always a threat along with former Indian Ryan Ludwick, the Cards may be in contention and make the Cubs sweat a little. Still, they may be closer to the Brewers and the rest of the NL Central rather than the Cubs in 2009. I really think with no big name closer and missing out on Fuentes, the Cards may take a step back to third and have the Brewers at a weak second. Still, I pick them a weak 2nd place rather than third based merely on reputation.
When I see the Cubs this year, it reminds me of the division the Indians had in 1995 when they won by double digit games. The Cubs, I believe will be dominant in this division winning it also by at least 10, possibly 20 games leaving everyone in the dust. Former Indian Lou Pinella will have his team ready to win and conquer this division early. The depth on this team is tremendous and will have the Cubs in the driver’s seat of first place and in the playoffs once again in 2009.
I have no doubt about the Cubs this year at least going to the playoffs. Their depth is far greater than any other team’s depth in this division for 2009.
Thank you one and all for your support for me in keeping me at #48 on the latest leaders list for fans of MLBlogs.com. Today I want to dedicate this ranking to a player on the Tribe the year my wife was born and the year I was born. For us, baseball is a family affair. That person was Sudden Sam McDowell.
Sudden Sam McDowell played for the Cleveland Indians from 1960-1971. For the Tribe, he was a 20 game winner in 1970, He was a six-time all star. He is second all-time in strikeouts to Bob Feller for the Cleveland ballclub with 2159 strikeouts. He also played for the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. He is current #34 of the Top 100 strikeout pitchers of all time with 2,453 K’s all-time.
His greatest achievement happened off the field as he was able to admit he had a drinking problem and checked himself into rehabilitation. He then earned a degree to be in sports psychology and addiction and went on to be a sports addiction counselor with the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers. He even earned a World Series ring while working as part of the 1993 Blue Jays.The character of Sam Malone, the alcoholic ex-Red Sox pitcher portrayed by Emmy Award winning actor Ted Danson in the television program Cheers, was based on the baseball life of McDowell.
This information is inspiring to me because he is a man that was caught up in fame, admitted and overcame his addictions and has lived a productive life. We all can be inspired by Mr McDowell to overcome our present situations and strive to make the best of what seems like impossible odds by turning our lives over to a higher power and trusting that life can and will improve for all of us no matter what life holds. Thank you Sam for your example on and off the field.
Interestingly enough, his last playing year was 1975, the year my sister was born. Like his nickname Sudden, I received some sudden but exciting news as my sister announced she is engaged. I hope and pray for her life ahead and welcome her fiance as part of the family.