Open to pain and crossed by the rain

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

When you pay your hard-earned money for a sporting event in support of your favorite baseball team, and your favorite team, say, strands 13 runners in scoring position and gives up four home runs, en route to an 8-0 loss, you might walk out of the ballpark disappointed and, basically, in a surly mood.

I get that.

What I don’t get, and what I have not personally experienced, is walking out of a rock concert in such a mood.

But last night, as a friend and I grabbed a postgame brew on East 4th Street, a horde of angry, embittered Down fans passed by on their way out of the House of Blues.down.jpg

Who or what is Down? Well, it is, of course, everybody’s favorite “sludge metal” group, which rattles off such happy-go-lucky numbers as, “Rehab,” “Pray for the Locust” and “Bury Me in Smoke.”

Having never seen or previously heard of Down (or their equally upbeat opening acts, Weedeater and Evil Army), I can only speculate upon why this band’s fans — 50 percent of whom were shirtless, while the other 50 percent wore T-shirts covered with skulls and crossbones and said things like “Scum of the Earth” on them — leave their shows muttering expletives and yelling at random strangers.

Perhaps Down uses a portion of its show to read everybody’s 401(k) returns aloud, and, in this current economic climate, this little ritual inspires anger in the audience. Or perhaps their song “Beautifully Depressed” just isn’t as gleeful in concert as it is on CD.

Whatever the case, it seems to me that Tribe fans who attended last night’s game at Progressive Field had more to be down about than Down fans. But hey, what do I know?

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • I’m not exaggerating when I say there is next-to-nobody here tonight.
  • Matt LaPorta is out of the lineup with that left hip inflammation. No real word on how long he’s been dealing with it, but obviously it flared up on him while rounding third in the second inning last night. Eric Wedge said he believes the inflammation is a product of moving from the outfield to first base. “You’re using different muscles at first base,” Wedge said. “It’s a lot more squatting and bending.” Wedge said there’s not much that can be done about that, because, “it’s important that he’s able to play over there [at first], moving forward.”
  • Why is that important? Because it’s become abundantly clear that the Indians don’t view Andy Marte as an everyday answer for 2010. Wedge has made his feelings on the matter clear with his lineups and in pinch-hitting for Marte with the bases loaded in the eighth inning last night (and using Jamey Carroll, no less), and general manager Mark Shapiro has indicated to Marte that he’s not guaranteed to be on the 40-man by the start of Spring Training.
  • Marte is back in the lineup tonight, with LaPorta out, but his playing time took a drastic dip on the last road trip. He is 4-for-his-last-38. “I need to play more consistently,” Marte said. “When I’m not playing, I lose everything.”
  • Fausto Carmona is improving. Or, at least, his stats from his last start have improved. The Elias Sports Bureau has changed the A’s five-run second inning on Sunday to three earned runs instead of four. So Carmona’s earned runs allowed in that start go from eight to seven. Much better.
  • Luis Valbuena was back in the lineup last night after a three-game/four-day break. Wedge felt the rookie Valbuena benefited from the late-season time off. “It’s a long road,” Wedge said. “I don’t think many people, himself included, thought he’d have over 300 at-bats up here this season.”
  • Jhonny Peralta gets a break tonight. He certainly seems to need it. Peralta is 2-for-32 and 0-for-25. Wedge said he didn’t want to make excuses for Peralta, but he feels his inconsistent season is partly a product of Peralta making the move from short to third in the middle of the season.
  • Travis Hafner also has a seat aboard the struggle bus. He’s 3-for-30.
  • All six starters will continue to be used down the stretch. The increased time off between starts allows David Huff, in particular, to finish the season without maxing out his innings cap prematurely.
  • The Indians began their second Instructional League in Goodyear yesterday with a 9-1 win over the Rangers. Cord Phelps went 2-for-4 with a triple, and Tim Fedroff and Karexon Sanchez both homered. Kelvin De La Cruz and Rob Bryson combined to pitch the first three scoreless innings. Both of those guys are coming off injuries that cost them the bulk of the ’09 season.
  • No. 15 overall pick Alex White will make his Instructs debut Saturday. White had been building up arm strength while at Double-A Akron the last few weeks after a summer off from throwing.
  • It’s Bruce Springsteen’s 60th birthday today. Happy birthday, Boss. I expect all of you to pay your proper respects. Only 48 days until Bruce and the E Street Band rock the Q. Here’s hoping we all leave happy.

~AC

11 Comments

Down KILLS. Their NOLA album is a classic. But you’re a Springstreen groupie, so I’d suggest you stick to that.

That’s a chicken/egg question, AC. Are they mad because they listen to Down, or do they listen to Down because they’re mad? Probably a little bit of both.
And, AC, there’s no way I can’t jump on this bit:
“Wedge said he didn’t want to make excuses for Peralta, but he feels his inconsistent season is partly a product of Peralta making the move from short to third in the middle of the season.”
??!!
I mean, come on. Haven’t we been saying that ALL year? And isn’t Wedge the one who called Peralta out in public? And who was at least involved in flipping Peralta around for the first part of the season when they could have just made the move from the start?
Wedge should go into politics; he’s fantastic at talking without actually saying anything.

My goodness can’t this season be over with already? Good gravy, 11-3 right now, and I just think this team is well on their way to lose 20 in a row so they can lose 100 games. If this doesn’t write the wall for Wedge, nothing will.

I would say that going .500 next year would be a good goal for this group. Heck, I’d probably be happy with that.
And, no, AM (who asked elsewhere), I’m not paying for MLB.tv, even though you can now stream it through Roku and watch it on TV. Sporadic employment forced me to drop that subscription a while ago, so I guess something good came out of this lost season — the fact that I didn’t miss anything.

I view this losing streak as nothing but a positive, it will a.) get them a higher draft pick and b.) force Wedge out the door. Hopefully we’ll see a wholesale coaching change. I’d love to see them bring in someone like Farrell, whoever it is should have a pitching background since that’s where they need the most help … LACF, you really buy the “Jhonny moved to 3b and that’s why he’s been inconsistent” argument? I don’t see where Jhonny’s been any more inconsistent this year than he’s been the past three years. The only thing consistent about Peralta is he always hits terribly in April and September, and hits well in July. How come Marte doesn’t get this excuse, since he’s been playing a position that as far as I know he’s never played before in his life? For some reason all we get are excuses for Peralta. I don’t know why they’re so married to him. Hopefully a managerial change will bring some common sense into this organization and they will trade him. With the attendance they’re going to get next year, there is no way they’re going to afford the $7 million option on Peralta for 2011, so he’s going to walk as a free agent at the end of next year anyway

I know I’ve made this comparison before but I will reiterate my sentiment that Peralta could have learned something from Michael Young in Texas. The Rangers moved a Gold Glove shortstop to 3B for a 20 year old rookie (whom Vizquel has been tutoring). It leaked out that he wasn’t happy initially and his response a week after that report was something in the neighborhood of “if it makes our team better then I will move and be the best man at the hot corner.”

Considering Peralta played winter ball almost exclusively at third base I do not buy into Wedge’s after-the-fact argument (a EW specialty by the way) that Peralta’s problems at the plate carried over from the field. Mental stability IS a big part of any game so I will entertain that conversation. But it seems as if Eric Wedge prefers to deny and/or ignore such questions ‘in the moment’ only to heavily lean on them as his explanation for undesired results.

Case in point: Sizemore’s abdominal surgery that lingered from spring training and Sizemore’s lack of SB totals this year. I know AC told us that he asked this question more than once throughout the season to no avail. After Grady was shut down, Wedge used the injury as an excuse for Grady’s subpar SB numbers.

ST, AM does a good job of explaining what I was talking about with regards to Jhonny. Many of us wondered if not knowing where he was going to play each day was messing with his head, but Wedge never bothered to address that possibility — until now. If it really WAS a possibility, something should have been done about it, aside from calling Jhonny out in public for the billionth time.
But I think it’s the fact that it’s even a possibility is what bothers me. AM mentions Michael Young, but he’s a guy who was told BEFORE the season that he’d play third and adjusted accordingly. Even after being told to play 3rd in winterball, the Tribe still jerked Jhonny around, and I can’t imagine it improved his attitude, particularly towards Wedge.
It should never have come to this. DeRosa has played second most of his career. He should have started the year there. Would Peralta have been inconsistent this year even if he’d spent all year at third? Possibly. But at least there’d be no second guessing about it — and no excuses.

I wonder when we’re going to hear the excuse for Hafner hitting .200 in September … that his shoulder was bothering him? I loved how Wedge pointed out that he and/or Shapiro was responsible for injuring Laporta by having him move around from the outfield to infield. Could’ve accomplished their goals of getting the young guys a look without moving them around had the DH spot been made available. I can’t wait until Hafner comes into spring training next year unable to play every day because he still needs to spend some time building up strength in his shoulder.

So are the instruction league games open to the public? If so what is the schedule or where can I go to get more info. I tried searching ” Arizona instruction league” with next no results on current details.>

I can’t wait until Hafner comes into spring training next year unable to play every day because he still needs to spend some time building up strength in his shoulder. Online education degree

And I saw the performance of this group on Bytesland search engine and was quite pleased with their performance. I adhere to the idea that all have bad days, competitions, performances. But we should not draw conclusions on a single failure.We all have the right to make mistakes and just have the right to correct our mistakes.

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