The morning brought news that made me smile.
The news broke that Choo and his Korean team would be part of the second round in the WBC as they won 1-0. Not only are they a rivalry with the two countries, there is a part of me that thinks the rivalry continues when Ichiro return to the Mariners and Choo to the Indians. the reason for this is listed here. Also was the news that last night De Rosa and the USA advanced to the second round with a win against Venezuela reviewed here. So, all in all, the Tribe’s week was starting off well. However these results were not going to help at a place called Camelback Ranch.
Enter some potential and former WBC participants to pick up the slack. Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez helped lead the tribe with other great performances from Andy Cannizaro, Tony Graffinino and Michael Brantley, the same one I thought of highly when he first arrived. Now we are on a winning streak. As meaningless as these Spring training games are, a win is a win is a win.
Looking forward to games this week and who to watch for, Tribe fans have to be eagerly anticipating the debut of some Wood on Tuesday followed by a Smith on Wednesday. I wrote about them here.
There is much riding on these contests. With God’s help and grace, these games can be a tuneup to an opportunity to shine like the sun for 2009, much like it does in the Arizona sky, mostly every day.
Here are my pictures from the Indians game and practice as promised!
Goodyear Ballpark 2009
This team is unified so far!
Let’s run boys!
Time to practice tag ups!
Proof I was there
If you build it, Ohio will come.
Warming up for fun is my daughter
Mr. Dolan appears before the local Cleveland media to talk about the team.
Its a fun time down here. I encourage all from Ohio and throughout the USA that are Indians fans to venture down to this wonderful town to have a wonderful time.
Greetings from the Grand Canyon!
Yesterday my family and I went to Goodyear for the first time. One thing you notice is the Indians complex seems to be the only thing in town. One wonders what the residents of the town did before Cleveland came to play baseball here. The weather has been spectacular for those who have had 40’s for a long time. (Now that I am at the Grand Canyon, those Cleveland, OH temps have returned.) Anyway, prepare yourselves with plenty of sunscreen if you come down here to Goodyear.
When we got here, two fields were being used by various members of the team. We caught the last bit of running drills. I never was able to get an idea of how each player did. Hopefully, I will have another opportunity to watch this more carefully. When you have a family with you however, no matter how much I like to watch baseball, they always come first.
We did see some excellent fielding drills. One position I focused on during these drills was third base. The players there performing groundball drills and cutoff drills were Jamie Carroll, Mark DeRosa, Tony Graffinino and Andy Marte. Grounder after grounder were fielded cleanly by all. Yet I was looking at something that most reporters may not cover when reporting a story. That issue is heart.
Andy Marte seemed to be going through the motions. He did not seem to care. Everything was just routine and there was no passion. Its like he’s there to take up space. This is something that I would think he would change seeing that he might want to impress another team. Oh well, I wonder if he even enjoys the game by what he showed today.
Jamie Carroll really showed a different intensity. Even though he was not going to play in the game, he still treated the drills like he cared, fielding and throwing crisply and showing me that he is a winner who wants to win.
Mark DeRosa started for another day and was showing the leadership that was needed in these drills telling the others that he had the play, yelling out commands to the outfielders where to throw the ball. It was great to see.
Tony Graffinino was also showing intensity making sure that balls were caught and balls were thrown in the direction of the plate. I was really impressed with his way of practicing.
These evaluations carried over to the game. When we got there, it was $5 to park on grass. When we arrived, Arizona was completing batting practice. It was nice to see former Indian Matt Williams giving instruction with some intensity to the Arizona hitters. I always enjoyed his play when he was here in Cleveland.
Anyway, back to the game. We sat in the right field area right by the foul pole. Mark DeRosa started once again and had a nice double. He looks really focused and ready to play well for Team USA. We shall see. The person that really caught my focus in between trips to the various parts of the park with family was Tony Graffinino. He really showed me that he wants to be a part of this team. For example, as I recall, he carried over the intensity from practice cutting off this ball from left field and threw to the shortstop covering third. Even though he did get a hit, he walked and came home on a wild pitch once he moved to third.
One thing I also was able to recall was three of the four errors. It was what happened after that really made me happy. Remember, Anthony Castrovince said the sun was intense. He is not lying. There was a lazy fly ball between Matt LaPorta and Grady Sizemore that was simply missed played by LaPorta. Yet in true “Wedge team ball fashion”, Matt LaPorta made up for it by hitting a homer to the grassy area behind the fence. The ball was crushed.
Laffey pitched well despite misfielding a play at first. He pitched out of trouble and really showed me that he wants to be that fifth starter. One thing about the pitchers. At least for Laffey and Jensen Lewis, whom I observed directly. It was interesting to see these pitchers continue to do running drills on the playing field even though the game was still going on. To avoid problems, they tried their best to run in between batters.
Another error I observed was done by Steven Head, who was playing right field at the time. It was upsetting to me at the time. However, he also made up for it by hitting the ball with an “excuse me” like swing. Yet he ran it out with such intensity that he was safe. I really think my intense yelling “Run it out” helped.
Yes, the score resulted in a loss but the intensity and ability to work through mistakes gave me great hope that things are going to get better just in time for the marathon to begin on April 6th.
For those that were expecting pictures, I must explain that I have nowhere to download the pictures from the camera onto the current labtop I am using. Don’t worry, pictures will be shared hopefully after I go to the game next Monday. Now onto the canyon with my family.