It was just my imagination, running away with me
Plain Dealer beat reporter Paul Hoynes and I spent a lot of time in the Red Sox clubhouse before tonight’s game. We were lost dogs in search of scraps.
We were waiting out Victor Martinez, who seemed excited to see us, but pleasantly informed us he’d have to talk to us later, after he sat in the hot tub, stretched and took batting practice. After we stood outside the Boston dugout during BP, freezing our you-know-whats off, Martinez pleasantly told us he has to go into a meeting, so he’ll get us first thing tomorrow.
No worries there, because we were also waiting on Red Sox pitching coach and potential Tribe managerial candidate John Farrell.
Unfortunately, Farrell, as expected, was nowhere to be found. He was tucked away in the Red Sox coaches’ room, which is on a separate floor from the clubhouse and inaccessible to the media.
Even if we had the opportunity to speak with Farrell, it’s obvious he would just say something like, “While I would like to manage someday, my responsibilities and focus lie with helping the Red Sox win a world championship” — or words to that effect.
Our brains fried from a season of watching bullpen implosions, chasing down trade rumors and, most recently, waiting for the gauntlet to fall on Eric Wedge, Hoynes and I began to invent a dream scenario — the type of scenario that, if you spent 100 years covering Major League Baseball, would never take place. It goes kind of like this:
Us: “Hey, John.”
Farrell: “Hey, great to see you guys! Since you’re here, I might as well tell you that I’m 100 percent interested in the Indians’ job. In fact, I just got off the phone with Mark Shapiro. I start Tuesday.”
Us: “Awesome. What’s your Opening Day rotation?”
Farrell: “Westbrook, Carmona, Laffey, Masterson, Huff.”
Us: “Great! Anything coming down the pike this winter?”
Farrell: “We’re trading Wood on Dec. 10.”
Us: “Good to know. Any word on the Press Tour schedule?”
Farrell: “Yep, I’ve got it right here. I’ll see you Jan. 15 in Ashtabula.”
Us: “Sounds good.”
Somehow, it never works out this way.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- That was, without question, a bizarre press conference that took place at Progressive Field yesterday. It’s not often you see a guy discuss getting dismissed while wearing the uniform of the organization that dismissed him. When it was over, Wedge walked through the hallway that leads from the press interview room to the Indians’ clubhouse and passed a few White Sox players. They all had a look on their face that read, “What is he still doing here?”
- I’ve had several fans tell me they’ve never seen Eric Wedge quite like they saw him in yesterday’s press conference. They were impressed with his demeanor, his grace under pressure and his overall respect for the game. It made me wonder if fans would have been so vehemently against Wedge if he had showed this side of his personality more often. Most fans’ only view of Wedge was borne out of what they saw from him in his bland postgame pressers.
- Regarding the fans’ general distaste for Wedge, here is what Mark Shapiro had to say: “I don’t know why. I thought they would [like him] when we hired him. He’s very consistent with the values of Northeast Ohio. He’s a blue-collar worker, a hard-nosed guy, extremely honest and extremely consistent. In the end, this is an entertainment business. Maybe he wasn’t flamboyant enough and kept his feelings internal at times. Maybe fans want to feel the frustration and emotion. Eric, to protect the players, didn’t always do that. But believe me, those emotions were there.”
- CC Sabathia had this to say about Wedge (and why do I feel like I’m writing an obit as I type this?): “He was big. He was a tough guy. He was a tough guy to please. He always seemed to find something wrong with what I did. It made me a lot tougher, him not being satisfied. He made sure that I was working hard and trying to get better every day.”
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wedge is one of just seven Major League managers to guide a single team to at least two 90-win seasons and at least two 90-loss seasons. The others are Bruce Bochy (Padres), Bill Carrigan (Red Sox), Bobby Cox (Braves), Bucky Harris (Senators), Tom Kelly (Twins) and Connie Mack (Athletics).
- More from Elias: Justin Masterson became the first Major Leaguer to lose a complete game by a 1-0 score while pitching at least nine innings and striking out a dozen or more batters since May 6, 2000, when Pedro Martinez was beaten by the Rays at Fenway Park in a game in which he struck out 17. The last Tribe pitcher to lose a game in this manner was Sam McDowell in 1968.
- Masterson’s 12 strikeouts were the most by a Tribe right-hander since Bartolo Colon struck out 13 on Sept. 18, 2000, against the Yankees.
- Asdrubal Cabrera is out for the second straight game with a sore right hamstring. It’s still not considered a serious injury.
- Jake Westbrook is on this road trip to continue his long-toss program. He’s throwing every other day, and he last threw out to 75 feet. He’ll head to Goodyear on Oct. 18 to begin throwing bullpen sessions, and he’ll decide if he’s going to pitch winter ball based off how he feels in the bullpens.
- While Martinez was hard to pin down, I did get a chance to catch up with Paul Byrd (you can’t spit in the Red Sox clubhouse without hitting a former member of the Tribe), who said, “These guys still tease me about the ALCS [in 2007].” Good to see Byrd back in the big leagues.
- The Indians enter this final series with an 11-game road losing skid.
- Second-round Draft pick Jason Kipnis, was recognized as the fifth-best prospect out of the New York-Penn League in Baseball America’s rankings. Kipnis batted .306 with eight doubles, three triples, a homer, 19 RBIs and 19 runs scored in 29 games for Mahoning Valley this season.
- I’m pleased to report the Indians’ newest Community Outreach endeavor, “Fill the House for Charity,” raised more than $600,000 in donations for 13 Northeast Ohio non-profit organizations.