Open to pain and crossed by the rain
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.
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.