It was May 15, 1981. I remember going to a grocery store with my dad, mom and sister in Westlake, Ohio. As we were loading the groceries into the car, my dad restarted the car and put on Herb Score. His voice said something like “No runs, no hits, no errors and no one left. After 1/2 inning of play, its Toronto nothing and Cleveland coming to bat.” A typical Indians game was starting. We went home to watch what was going on. We got home and turned on the television to see Joe Tait, now voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers announcing the game with Bruce Drennan, now host of All Bets are Off with Bruce Drennan on SportsTime Ohio, the Indians television network. However, then, it was all about WUAB Channel 43 in Cleveland.
Anyway, I remember sitting in front of the set with the rest of my family finding it simply amazing that Len Barker, with his high leg kick where I thought his knee hit his forehead could get out hitters like Danny Ainge, Damaso Garcia, Buck Martinez and Ernie Whitt among others. However he did. He had the help of outstanding defense from players like Toby Harrah at third base and Duane Kuiper at second base. And who could forget the homerun by Jorge Orta. I know I could watch this on MLB.com but when and if you saw it live, you wanted to be there and many would say they were if they lived in Northeast Ohio.
May 15, 1999 started out like any other day. I remember how it felt so much like summer. It was awesome. Sunny, warm, and here I was going to be in a tux. I went to clean out the car and get it washed. Today, I was getting married to my wonderful wife, Kathy. She and I today celebrate the day 10 years and counting. Even though, I cannot reproduce the weather, the warm and wonderful memories live on each day we are together. HAPPY 10th ANNIVERSARY SWEETHEART!
May 15th, 2009 The Cleveland Indians are going for win 15 and their 3rd in a row. They will have to play in a dome, sweet dome against Scott Kazmir. The Indians are 20-5 in their last 25 games against Tampa Bay. Hopefully, after tonight the Indians will be able to guarantee a split in the series. They will have former Cardinal Anthony Reyes on the mound.
I hope for the best. Just like I made a promise to my wife for better or worse, I too strive to make a promise to my team, the Indians to root, root, root for them for better or worse also. I can only hope that they will come through for me tonight and the rest of the Cleveland Indians fans.
One word about last night. I was very impressed with our team focus, drive and overall effort from especially the offense. Choo, A-Cab as I like to call him(Asdrubal Cabrera) and Victor Martinez really impressed me with their approach. This was a team effort which I hope continues. After all, when you get married on 5/15, your team has a perfect game on 5/15 and is now on a 2 game winning streak, going for three, continuing to strive for luck, blessing and perfection is the name of the game, I would say.
Welcome to Rogers Centre.
Top of the first: Joined with two already out. Sizemore grounded out and Asdrubal flew out. First sign of life: Martinez walked. Choo got nailed on the elbow with a fastball. DeRosa now up. Bad looking swing on a 2-0 count. Full count. Fights of a pitch out in front. Swung at Ball 4 with 2 on and 2 out.
Bottom of the first Marco Scuturo leads off and struck out looking. Nice start. Aaron Hill broke his bat on the 1st pitch. Fausto had the ball go off his mitt. Despite Asdrubal’s efforts, Hill made it to first safely. Sloppy defense by Mark DeRosa.Now Rios makes it to first. Hill on second. What a mess, so far! Nice play by Grady to catch the ball and get Wells off the bases. 2 out and still 2 on Peralta threw it low and what a dig out for Garko to get out of the jam. Same old Tribe after one inning We can’t hit in the clutch and we are lucky to get out of the jam caused by our defense. Still it is 0-0.
Top of two. First pitch Jhonny gets out quickly grounding out to short. Ryan Garko now up. Pops up to second base. LaPorta hits first pitch to Lyle Overbay. Patience so far has not crossed the border. Pressure by Billy Joel would fit well here. 0–0
Bottom of two. What a hit by Rolen to hit the gap in Right center off Carmona to lead off the inning. Lyle Overbay does his job to advance the runner and grounds out to Asdrubal Cabrera One out. Infield in. Can we stop the run from scoring? Barajas up now. Hit deep to LaPorta to score the run. 1-0 Jays. 2 out. Travis Snider grounds out to 3rd base. 3 out. 1-0 Jays.
Top of three Ben hits a lazy fly ball to right fielder Rios. Three pitches and Grady goes down with a strikeout swinging. Indians hitters swinging at balls out of the zone. (Bye Bye Derek Shelton-hitting coach) Strikeout again by Asdrubal swinging. 1-0 Tribe is still down.
Bottom of the third. Marco Scutaro back up as he hits a fly out to Choo in right field. Aaron Hill takes a strike, and another. Now down 0-2 and a ball outside. 1-2. Nice hit to left field by Hill. Alex Rios bangs a hit to right field. This is looking bad for the Tribe. Wells hits the ball hard and again chases Grady to the wall to make the catch. 2 out 2 on. Adam Lind with an 0-2 count smacks it down the LF line opposite field to score a run 2-0 Jays. Rolen now up. 0-1 with a smash foul down the third base area, 3 straight balls now. What is going on? (Willis now to be fired!) Walks the bases loaded! It is a broken record or carousel for the Tribe. Overbay now up with the bags juiced. This type of play has got to stop. 3-1 count. Count now full but even the fouls are hit hard. Pops out to LaPorta. Finally 3 out. Lord have mercy and thank you that it is only 2-0 Jays at this time.
Top of 4. Can I write a long paragraph for the Tribe with some crooked numbers please? Martinez leads off. Ball one, Strike 1 looking. Low Ball 2. Strike 2 looked inside. Fly out to Rios. 1 down. Choo is up, hits the first pitch to Rolen flying out. 2 down. DeRosa up almost hits it out with a loud line drive foul to left field. Hits a lazy foul to deep right. 2-2 count Swung on and missed 10 in a row retired by Tallet. Yuk! Get someone fired quickly! 2-0 Jays.
Bottom of four. Barajas up and smacks a line drive to DeRosa. Quick strike out to Travis Snider. Marco Scutaro hits a shallow fly to center 2-0 Jays. Finally a quick inning for Carmona. 2-0 Jays.
Top 5 Jhonny leads off and actually works a walk. Yeah Jhonny. There is hope.Garko now up. Chopper to third but Jhonny makes it to second without getting out because Rolen throws high. Rolen gets the foce at second Now 1st and third 1 out. Taking break to help kids Part of being a father. Unannounced needs and call to help. Pop up by Francisco No run scored. Groundball to first and a broken bat. 2-0 Jays. THE PROBLEM IS NO RUNS WERE SCORED!
Bottom 5. Easy fly out to Grady 1 out.Rios now up. Back to helping kids for real.Vocation calls. Deep fly to Grady 2 out and a strikeout to end the inning. No runs scored. 2-0 Jays.
Top 6 Can we get a key hit? Asdrubal hits a groundout to SS. Back to helping kids. Line Drive smash to Rolen for 2 outs hit by Victor. Man is he frustrated Iwish I could give you a live picture. No technology here to match those out there. A walk on 4 pitches. WTG! DeRosa hits a long lazy pop to CF. 2-0 Jays.
Bottom 6. My kids keep me hopping but they don’t want to interfere I guess. I told them this blog stops if they just ask. So far I am able to keep up rather well.Adam Lind hits a high HIGH popup to DeRosa as he call off Martinez. Next Scott Rolen hits a grounder two bounces to Peralta. A single by Overbay is next. Back to the kids.
Top 7 Best hit of the night. A smash by Garko up to CF. Peralta struckout prior. LaPorta hITS ONE DEEP WAY BACK AND GONE! 2-2 Its a brand new game! The kids told me we needed to watch a game together to have the Tribe win. Francisco gets on with great hustle by beating out a grounder. Now Grady smashes a double to RF. Back to helping my daughter with a report on the Grand Canyon. Before this Francisco beats out a throw to home as he beat the throw and escapes the tag. 3-2 Tribe
Bottom 7 I came back to see the Tribe back down 4-3. Why does Wedge seem to leave Carmona in there too long? Kids are keeping me busy. Ah the joy of fatherhood. I mean that! Nice job Sipp to get the Tribe out of the inning with no further damage. 4-3 Jays.
Top 8 Any team want Jhonny. Grounds out into a 6-4-3 DP after DeRosa leads off with a nice line drive single. Scutaro gets the third out by throwing out Garko. 4-3 Jays
Top 9 Game rejoined Two out and Asdrubal hits a smash to right field. Martinez hits an RBI DOUBLE 5-4 TRIBE WOOHOO!!!! Choo hits another hit and another run scores 6-4 Tribe. The pressure is off! Aggressiveness is the key! End of Inning! Get Kerry out here!
Bottom 9 What a catch by Grady. Scutaro who reached advanced to second. Kids are in bed and now I can hope for a WIN! Kerry getting ball down 2-1 count to Rios currently. Ball hit in front of Grady 1st and third 1 out and All is Wells up! Freeswing Wells went after two outside balls offspeed Thanks Wells! second and third on a stolen base. Two and two on two offspeed balls. Barfield lets a ball in front of him. What was the reason for putting him out there? 6-6. Man I am frustrated! I wanted an early bedtime!
Top 10 Jhonny hammers one to center but it is caught by Wells. One down. Garko up. He keep fight off bad pitches which is good. He gets the one out bloop single to Right Center Field. Now Barfield is up. Josh Barfield hits a lucky smash right past as it hits the pitcher and cannot be thrown out. Line drive right to Vernon Wells Two out. Time out for a relief pitcher as Grady is due up. GRADY LETS GO! Two on two out. Wells with a hip high catch. Still 6-6!
Bottom 10 New defense: Jhonny at third. Valbuena at second Asdrubal at SS and DeRosa at 1st, Betancourt on the mound. Here we go. Betancourt with a gold glove stop to get the first batter Overbay. Barajas up. 2-1 count. Get him out Raffy right! Nice breaking ball. 2-2. Popped up to Jhonny 2 out. Kevin “Mil-lar” gets a double down the line. Former Indian Johnny Mac pinch runner on second and Scutaro at the plate. 0-1 on a nice fastball. Fastball 0-2 fouled back. High pitch that Marco wouldnt chase 1-2. Slider outside 2-2. Nice contact. Thank God its foul this time. Hopefully we get him out. Popped in foul territory to Choo. Going to the 11th.
Top 11 Score now Tribe. It would be in your best interest and mine. HAHAHAHA! Rick Manning saying Asdrubal looks so much more relaxed this year so far. Single slapped the other way. A-Cab is on 1st. YES! Kelly Shoppach is the only man left on the bench for the Tribe. The Jays are really paying close attention to A-Cab on 1st. Pitch ripped foul by Victor.2-2 count. 4-6-3 DP. OUCH! 2 down. Choo now with 2-1 count hits routine ground to second, 3 down. Still 6-6.
Bottom 11 Jays will bring Aaron Hill up to lead off. Why is Betancourt still in there? This coaching staff keeps me baffled. I keep thinking they play at 12:30 tomorrow afternoon. Beautiful strikeout to get Hill. Alex Rios now up. This is a must win for the team’s psyche by us tonight. Stay focused Tribe. Breaking ball gets Rios. Awesome! 2 down. Rick and Matt are commenting about someone having an umpire’s jersey (Brian Runge) Joking about selling umpire jersey in team shop. Nice hit to center by Wells. Bautista up. Struck out him with some HEAT! Still 6-6
Top 12 DeRosa has a lead off double. Way to go! AGAIN NOT MOVING RUNNERS, JHONNY! One out. Loss of Input signal on satellite. Still no picture but I hear the play by play. Ball 4 to Valbuena as there are now 2 on with Barfield now up. 0-2 Single up the middle and the tiebreaker is there 7-6 Tribe. Barfield you owe Wood! WTG! The next batter Francisco pops out. Sizemore now up with two out. 1-6 on the night. BASE HIT WTG GRADY! Two out two run doubkle for Sizemore and he goes to third on the overthrow. 9-6 Tribe! All that and they get Asdrubal to groundout! Bring out Raffy left!
Bottom 12 Raffy Left has given up 1 run and three hits and was taken out. Asdrubal gets the lead runner. Out 2 I lost the blog feed. Aaron Hill the batter, Jensen Lewis the pitcher. 0-2 to Hill as he went too far. SWUNG ON AND MISSED! J-Rod shuts them down. WE FINALLY WIN #10! 9-7! Player of the game Josh Barfield! WTG! Betancourt wins and J-Rod gets the save! I’m off to bed! Time locally 23:10
This is a letter I wrote to myself after 25 games following the Tribe in 2009.
The Indians, whom you proudly picked to be in first place are currently 9-16 and in last place in the American League Central and tied for the worst record in the American League with the Baltimore Orioles, an organization that you picked to lose 100 games. You do remember that, don’t you? Now you are going to have to eat crow or else it looks that way.
The clubhouse seems to be down. One game the offense struggles. The next the pitching struggles. Sometimes the defense struggles. What is going on in that Cavalier town of yours? The struggling economy is bad enough. Now after the Cavs are done, it will be a long rest of the year for you Cleveland fans (or so it seems). Are you going to blog anymore if the team continues to stink up the joint?
Frontrunning Self (Currently a Dodger fan)
In response, I wrote this:
It is true I am frustrated with the team but I still will watch, read about and blog about this team to the end of 2009 and hopefully beyond. It is hard to watch this team, I will admit. However, they are in the right division if they want to have a comeback and figure out how to comeback.
Everyone on the team has to understand that to play in the majors, one is not entitled or guaranteed anything. They have to execute and perform every night better than the other team. Every night the possibility is there to lose or win. The team must execute to reach their goals and do all they can to make this a winning season. Tonight they face the 1st place Blue Jays. This is no easy task. We shall see how they respond.
As for after tonight, they must win series. Once one series is won, they must get on a streak. It sounds easy, yet can be so difficult to acheive. I made a promise to myself that I would stand by this team for better or worse. Right now, its worse! Hopefully, not for much longer!
P.S. Good luck to your current team. Wish you stayed faithful to the Tribe.
The AL East will be the toughest division in 2009 to predict. At least three quality teams will be fighting for two playoff slots. The result will find perhaps the third best team on paper out of the playoffs altogether in October. That being said, these picks could go any way depending on which group of fans you ask.
It is my strong belief that the season may end before May 1st for the Baltimore Orioles in 2009. Even though, they have locked up 2B Brian Roberts and RF Nick Markakis to well-deserved long term contracts, the rest of the team seems to be named later in the package marked “potential”. One of the prospects that may make an impact sooner than later is Catcher Mark Wieters. He should make a splash by mid-season if not sooner. Exciting times are coming, just not in April.
The pitching for the Orioles is not too promising. Although, with former Indian Jeremy Guthrie and newcomer Koji Uehara, things could be interesting. The rest of the rotation is shaky. George Sherill is a solid closer but getting to him will be a problem. With this division, the Orioles may be headed for 100 plus losses early and a fifth place finish.
The Toronto Blue Jays will still have Halladay. However, without A.J. Burnett whom they lost in free agency to the Yankees. I can’t see this rotation doing much to keep this team competitive for 2009. Halladay will feel the pressure to go out and win each and every time he takes the mound. The rest of the rotation will be around .500 or below in terms of wins. With this combination, I can see the team losing 90 plus in this division. The bullpen must improve to keep the team in games. Hopefully B.J.Ryan will reemerge as a top closer to keep the Blue Jays close. However, most likely, the offense with the emergence of Travis Snider, the return of Aaron Hill and the aggressiveness of Cito Gaston. Hopefully, the Blue Jays can stay healthy and put up a good fight. However, in the AL East, 4th place is the best they will do.
The next three could all finish first depending from which perspective and angle you cover. I myself pick the teams this way and will probably look back as with the other divisions and say “What was I thinking?” This happens every year.
For third place, I select the Tampa Bay Rays. I just think the Rays are young now with the pressure added to repeat as American League champions. Everyone won’t see them as the underdog anymore. The addition of Pat Burrell does not do much for me to say this team is legit for a title when the Yankees and Red Sox did much to improve their chances this year through free agency. I think therefore they will crack under the pressure, not play so loose and finish 3rd in the division as a result.
The next two will be represented in the playoffs as the AL East Champion and the Wildcard. Either one could win. However, I will share some personal thoughts here. I think CC and A.J. are talented and will add sincere depth to the already talented rotation. Mark Texieria is typically a slow starter. CC chokes under pressure and I have seen A.J. lose close games before also. It will be interesting how CC will respond to the pressure of New York and being the ace of this staff. I see their bullpen as the weakness.With the loss of A-Rod for awhile, the distraction of Joba and the lack of Joba in the bullpen may play a part in seeing the Yankees battle with the Rays for the second place Wildcard spot. I don’t think they will win the division for 2009.
The Red Sox will be challenged, no doubt about it. I think the rotation was boosted with great depth and this will definitely benefit Boston down the stretch. I like Beckett to have a rebound year. Also Brad Penny and John Smoltz will add great rewards for the Sox rotation at low risk. They addressed any issues in the bullpen with Takashi Saito and Ramon Ramirez. Then there is the offense which is stocked full of both young talent and viable veterans as well as the addition of Rocco Baldelli. All in all, although it will be tight, I think Boston will prevail as 2009 AL East champs. What do you all think?
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.