"Everybody knows that Peanut BUTTER is a dairy product!"

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://castrovince.mlblogs.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

To the genius who first combined peanut butter with chocolate, I offer a teary-eyed thank you. You, my friend (and I do consider you a friend, though we’ve never met) made Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups possible, so your prodigious role in American culture has long been cemented.

But the good people at Pierre’s have added to your legacy with their Nuts About Buckeyes ice cream. They’ve taken those Buckeye candiespremium_buckeyes.jpg (again, peanut butter covered with chocolate… the most important pairing since Adam and Eve), placed them in vanilla ice cream, tossed in a peanut butter-flavored swirl and created, possibly, The Greatest Ice Cream Known To Man.

This ice cream was available in the press box last night, and I ate roughly half a gallon of it. It’s an edible work of art, and a perfect use for a set of Buckeyes who, unlike their Columbus counterparts, don’t run the risk of getting trounced by USC tonight.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • David Huff is going for his 10th win tonight. If he gets it, he’ll be the Tribe’s first 10-game winner this season. The Indians are rooting for him, because they haven’t faced the ignominy of not having a 10-game winner since way back in 1987, when Scott Bailes, Phil Neikro and Tom Candiotti all shared the team lead with seven wins.
  • Last night, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Royals left fielder David DeJesus became the first outfielder in 17 years to throw out the potential winning run at home plate in the bottom of the ninth inning or later twice in one game. The last was the Cardinals’ Bernard Gilkey at Houston on Aug. 25, 1992.
  • The issue of third-base coach Joel Skinner sending the runner twice (with one out in the ninth and with two out in the 11th) was already addressed in my game story from last night. But Eric Wedge was asked about it again today, and he said essentially the same thing. “You try to win the ballgame [in those situations],” Wedge said. “If you look at the norm, that’s not the norm, to throw him out twice. So many things can go wrong [with the throw and the catch] and so many things have to go right.” Michael Brantley tried to jar the ball loose when he collided with Miguel Olivo in the 11th, and the ball snow-coned in Olivo’s glove but did not pop out.
  • Joe Smith, recovering from a tweaked left knee, was on a mound Friday, but he didn’t have a ball with him. He did what was called “dry work,” getting accustomed to making his pitching motions off the mound. “I got a little bit sore,” he said, “but that’s to be expected.” Smith expects to throw off a mound for the first time since Aug. 29 when the Indians get to Minnesota on Monday. He’ll probably have to throw off a mound a couple times before the Indians consider bringing him into a game.
  • Wedge reiterated that his decision not to use Kerry Wood in a tie game at home had nothing to do with Wood’s health. He said Wood would have pitched the ninth if the Indians took the lead in the eighth.
  • It’s been suggested by some that Travis Hafner might as well be shut down to open up at-bats for others. But Hafner has already had a limited number of at-bats this season, as it is, and Wedge sees no point in him not finishing the season. “His at-bats [lately] have been as good as he’s had all year,” Wedge said. Pronk is 19-for-his-last-56 (.339) with four homers and 11 RBIs in his last 15 games. He’s still playing no more than three games in three days. He only played four games in four days once this season.
  • Andy Marte is 3-for-29 with a homer. What happened here? “He wasn’t missing pitches for a short period of time,” Wedge said. “He’s strayed from that. He needs to be in a better position to square up the baseball.”
  • Michael Brantley’s career-opening eight-game hitting streak came to a close Friday night. As reported previously, he was just the second Tribe player in the last 50 years to hit safely in the first eight games of his career (Josh Bard, who hit in nine straight in 2002, was the other), according to Elias.
  • At the Cleveland Indians Charities Golf Outing last month, a fan by the name of Gary Taylor bought a package at the live auction that included four tickets and a limo ride with Slider to the game. Taylor generously donated the package back to the Indians, who offered it up to the Boys and Girls Club. The West family of Cleveland was awarded the package, and they were here tonight, taking in batting practice pregame and loving every minute of it. Congrats to them.
  • Progressive pitchwoman Flo threw out the ceremonial first pitch again tonight. She’s a lefty, and she can work on short rest. Sign her up.

~AC

17 Comments

So Brantley has an 8 game hitting streak, he gets the day off (Wednesday) and his hitting streak stops Friday. Coicidence? Hmmmm, I’ll say this and let you all decide, but if I am a manager and my hitter has any hitting streak going (4 games or more), he doesn’t sit until he breaks that. But what do I know? I’m just a fan.

“You’re gonna love it, Pierre’s!”

I live in TX now, and there are still a bunch of things I miss about Cleveland. Pierre’s is high on the list. So is Great Lakes Brewing Company, the Polish Boy at Hot Sauce Williams, and University Circle. And the Tribe, of course. There’s a Dairy Queen on every corner here, and they currently offer a Tagalong Blizzard, but that Buckeye ice cream looks great.

Back to baseball. I was in front on the Marte bandwagon, and I still think he can be a productive major leaguer. I hope they continue to give him playing time (though it’s not like they have anyone else). But I do recognize that he’s flawed, and that he still has a lot to prove. Who knows what’s up with Brantley – he clearly seems mature enough to fit on next year’s opening day roster, but CF is his most valuable position. He just doesn’t seem to have the pop for a corner. And as long as Grady’s on the team, Grady’s our CF. It’s a lot like Franklin Gutierrez and Coco Crisp before him, though I bet Brantley’s not going anywhere for now.

I don’t think Brantley’s lack of power’s a problem, since Sizemore has quite a bit of pop himself. He has exactly what this, slow, strikeout-prone offense needs, speed and contact.

exactly, let’s be real here, even if Brantley isn’t going to break camp next season, he WILL be in the same lineup with Grady, that’s a guarentee. Who cares if he doesn’t have pop, he knows how to put the ball in play. Plus the last time I remember, Coco Crisp did fine for us in 2005, with Grady there and he didn’t have any pop either. Laporta will compensate that, so will Choo, Grady, who could go back to 30 Home Runs again next season, Jhonny has 25 HR potential, as does Carlos Santana, when he is ready.

Brantley is hitting very good now,

and cantonguy:

You are spot on.

What sense does it make to sit a guy on an 8 game hitting streak?

Let him keep playing til he breaks the streak.

and on the other hand, Brantley “is” an every day guy regardless.

He wants to go out and play every day and help his team to victory.

Stuff like “this” that Erice Wedge does, just don’t make sense.

He “will” be fired at the end of the year guaruntee it.

Brantley with another 4 hits and a SB last night,

this kid ignites the offense.

Go Michael

and go Tribe.

My latest post questioning the “front office” at:

http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

–Ted “TTW/T”

First, 2005 was clearly Coco’s career year, and he was still in the middle of the pack in the AL in offense for LF. He helped make up for it because of his excellent defense, but we also had Jhonny, Pronk, and Victor giving us above-average to outstanding offense elsewhere. Victor is gone, Pronk is cooked, and who knows where Jhonny’s head is.

My point was that sometimes a guy’s value to another team is higher than to ours. Coco brought us Marte and Shoppach. Gutierrez brought us Valbuena and Joe Smith. I’m not saying we should trade Brantley, I like the guy. As long as Grady patrols CF in Cleveland, though, Brantley will be playing out of position.

Our best OF next year is LaPorta, Sizemore, Choo. You could move LaPorta to first, I suppose, and it looks like they’re experimenting with that. Otherwise, next year Brantley’s here as a 4th OF, riding the pine. He’s only 22, why not leave him in Columbus and let him play every day if you’re considering that?

Then what Exposition? You want to trade Grady after the 2010 season? It might be possible they will keep Brantley in Columbus next season, but if I was the management there, I would make sure he was playing in LF too, regardless because that will be his position when he gets the callup in the Major Leagues, and if Wedge is fired, which he should have been two months ago, then Jhonny can do better. I truly think part of Jhonny’s problem are the times Wedge has thrown him under the bus through the media. Some guys you can do that to, and they respond, others, like Jhonny hears it more than two times, and it gets to them. I guarentee you or anyone else this, Eric Wedge is not one of Jhonny Peralta’s favorite person. If he had the right manager to motivate him, he could be an All Star player.

Exposition, the Coco trade isn’t exactly one I’d point to for results, either. Shoppach’s production came during a lost season, and we still don’t know what we have from Marte 2.0.
I’d also like to take a second to — and I’m a shocked by this as anyone — defend Pronk, who is very much NOT cooked. AC keeps making glancing comments about it Hafner’s return, but it’s true. Pronk only has 291, but if you play his numbers out over regular ABs, say 510 (like Jhonny has now), then he’d have 73 RBI, which would make him 3rd on the team. He’d also have 27 HRs, which would lead the team.
In other words, given his limited ABs, Hafner IS hitting. His big problem, like most hitters in baseball these days, it seems, is his K/BB ratio. But I wouldn’t say Pronk is cooked, considering what he’s done in limited time — and that’s not taking into account that he’s never been put into a position to get a rhythm going. If we can get a full year of the numbers he’s put up this year, that will help a lot.

I agree on Hafner, he’s actually slugging better than he was in ’07, and his OPS ranks 2nd on the team. Hopefully his shoulder will improve even more with the coming offseason. Regarding Brantley, it’s unwise to get too caught up in how a guy fits into preconceived notions of what offensive production a particular position requires. You have to look at the balance of the team as a whole, as it actually exists. In the Indians’ case, Sizemore doesn’t hit like the prototypical CF, he’s pretty much the best power hitter on the team. Choo, his 2nd half notwithstanding, hits for quite a bit of power. The problem with both of those guys is they strike out a lot. Sizemore strikes out WAY too much for a leadoff hitter. Brantley, at least in the minors, and so far for Cleveland, puts the ball in play. Sizemore hits like a corner outfielder and Brantley hits like a CF, so what? If Brantley can bat leadoff, all he has to do to improve this offense dramatically is hit .270 or above, because he’ll have a good OBP and steal 40+ bases. Sizemore can then move down in the order where he belongs, so his HRs come with a man on base. So as far as balance goes, a productive Brantley, Sizemore and Choo is the best you’re going to get, you could get 100 SB and 65 HRs out of that … as far as Laporta goes, as long as Sizemore and Choo are around, he’s the 1b of the future.

Amen, ST. I know there are a lot of “if’s” involved here, but IF Brantley is the real deal, and IF Sizemore recovers from surgery, and IF Hafner continues to trend upward, picture a 1-6 consisting of some order of Brantley, Cabrera, Choo, Sizemore, Hafner, and LaPorta — that’s some solid offensive potential right there, and that’s not counting a (hopefully) matured Valbuena and whoever ends up at third after the off-season, not to mention the eventual addition of Santana behind the dish.
Contrary to today’s showing, I have high hopes for our offensive over the next few years. We just need a rotation that’s going to match it — it’ll be interesting if Rondon and Gomez (who you have to assume will start next year in AAA) will be able to step into the line-up in 2011.

LACF, I agree with your lineup for the most part. However, I would switch Sizemore and Choo. It would look like this: Brantley, Cabrera, Sizemore, Choo, Hafner and LaPorta (although, I’m willing to switch Hafner and LaPorta, depending on each of their production). I think that Choo is technically the more “by the book” number three hitter, but I think I would still prefer Grady there.
What especially excites me about this lineup, is that the top four hitters are very quick, and very good base runners. Other than Tampa Bay, I don’t know of any other team that could tout that sort of lineup. I think Valbueana could develop in this area as well. If he stays fit and alert, I think he could have some more success on the base paths. If I haven’t mentioned it before, a more athletic team has been my wish for a while. The fact that the possibility exists excites me. Now, if only we could solve some of our rotation woes, I will be that much closer to being happy.

Sounds like a recipe for a lot of 8-6 losses next year … It doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of faith in Gomez, they think he has stuff that can dominate in the minors, but not so much in the majors …. It seems every day that Cliff Lee trade looks worse and worse, Carrasco looks like the 2nd coming of Jason Davis, i.e. good “stuff” but misses a lot in the strike zone, two injured players and a catcher who might start half of a year before they call up Santana. Way to get “blown away” by that offering from the Phillies, Mark …. I still think if they are serious about 2011 they need to trade both Marson and Peralta at the winter meetings this year, either separately or as a package. Roll the dice with the young guys at 3b, get something for Marson, Toregas can back up Santana just as well as Marson can … the money they save by moving Peralta they can use to pick up one free agent before the start of the 2011 season. It could be a 3b (which is why the downside risk of trading Peralta now is minimal, they can likely pick up someone as good or better for 2011 if neither Marte, Hodges, or Chisenhall works out), could be a starting pitcher, whatever they need the most … 11.6 million is what they’d save over the two seasons, correct? That’s money for a pretty decent one-year rental player for a playoff run in 2011

Of course, peanut is a good dairy product and you can use other products with it as well which would also be dairy products.

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