"Due to our policy of overselling flights, this flight has been oversold."
I am back in the Spring Training saddle after a few days back in the Cleveland tropics. And it's worth noting that my Continental flight from Phoenix to Cleveland was overbooked, as was every other flight between the two destinations that day.
As is the case with, well, most things in life, this puzzles me. What does an airline gain by overbooking a flight? Those who were left without a seat -- or those who were willing to give up their seat -- were put up in hotels, placed in first class on another flight and given vouchers for free meals. This can't be a money-making proposition for the airline, can it?
I know this much: It's certainly not an inviting scenario for the passenger. You buy a ticket to one flight and end up on another flight on another day. In what other business does this sort of thing occur?
I have never bought Bruce Springsteen concert tickets, shown up to the arena and been told, "I'm sorry, but someone else is in your seat. But we'd be happy to give you front-row seats for tomorrow night's Nickelback show." I have never gone to McDonald's, ordered a cheeseburger, paid for it, then been told that they are currently out of cheeseburgers but I can come back the next day for a free one.
Well, not yet, anyway.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY...
Naturally, the rotation battle was settled in my absence. As much as the word "competition" is thrown around, so much of these supposed spring battles are decided upon long before the team even arrives at camp. So it was refreshing to see a guy like Lewis come into camp and win a job the old-fashioned way. Back in January, Lewis' name was something of an afterthought. I remember Mark Shapiro listing the candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation and almost forgetting to include him.
Well, Lewis won the job yesterday, then proceeded to go out and get rocked today. He allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in three innings against the Angels. Bobby Abreu, Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter went back-to-back-to-back with solo shots off him in the third. And though it was a windy day at the Big Chipotle, none of these were what you'd call wind-assisted. "He wasn't able to get a feel for the baseball," Eric Wedge said of Lewis. "You look at the way he's pitched, and he was probably due for one of those days."
Adam Miller will throw a bullpen session Friday. It will be his third bullpen since being cleared to throw with decreased range of motion and strength in his right middle finger, and it will be his last bullpen before the Indians decide whether to let Miller pitch with the problem or to have him undergo season-ending surgery. Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff will update the media on the situation, but that update might not come until Saturday. We shall see. For what it's worth, Miller is telling people that he feels pretty good.
Masa Kobayashi is showing improvement and not a moment too soon. He worked two perfect innings today, striking out four batters. He's mixing up his pitches better, working in his split-finger fastball more often.
Rafael Betancourt stepped off the mound and got looked at by the trainer in the midst of his inning of work. Still not sure what that was all about, but he went on to finish the inning without any problems.
For those wondering if the talk about the "dry heat" affecting the flight of the ball in Arizona, PR guru Bart Swain passed along some stats comparing Grapefruit League ERAs to Cactus League ERAs, and there's a discernible difference. The bottom line is that, through yesterday's games, the overall ERA was 4.42 in Florida and 5.68 in Arizona. Also, 10 of the lowest 13 qualifying ERAs among pitchers belonged to guys in the Grapefruit League.
Progressive Field press box attendant Joe Corrado is retiring. Corrado spent 59 years with the club at old Cleveland Stadium and the ballpark formerly known as The Jake. He started out as an usher in 1949. He's a good man, and he'll be missed.
It's a busy night in the Phoenix area. You've got the Billy Joel-Elton John show at the U.S. Airways Center downtown and the Sweet 16 going on at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale. I just hope nobody gets confused and shows up to the concert in their Mizzou gear or the West Regional in their tattered "Storm Front" tour T-shirt.