You start on higher ground but end up crawlin'
Back in the halcyon days of … oh, early April… I asked those of you who frequent this space to offer up a prediction on how the Indians would finish.
As I sit here in eager anticipation of the season’s final game, which will feature a lineup that would have been considered second-class even in the Cactus League season, I thought I’d take a trip back in baseball time to see how those predictions shook out.
Here’s the rundown:
- One of you (and I say “you” in the most general sense, in that readership of this blog has, I’m sure, decreased exponentially in these waning weeks of the season) said they’d finish with 101 wins.
- Twenty-one of you predicted the Indians would finish with 90-99 wins.
- Eight of you said they’d finish with 80-89 wins. (I was right with you there, so, should I make any future predictions in this space, please consider the source.)
- Two of you said they’d finish with 70-79 wins.
- On the extreme side, one of you made the bold prediction (proven wrong, sadly, on Opening Day) that the Tribe would finish 162-0. (This guy also thought Chicago would land the 2016 Olympic Games.)
But we play by “Price is Right” rules here, and reward the closest without going over. So step on up and take a bow, henryscott35, because you’re the big winner with your incredibly not-as-inacurrate-as-you-might-have-suspected guess of the Tribe finishing 32-130.
I have a feeling that prediction will be much closer to the norm next year.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- The beginning of the end of the Eric Wedge era took place in this ballpark, when the Indians lost Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS. And the era comes to its official close here today. Alanis Morissette — oh, no, wait… it was a reporter — asked Wedge if he believes in irony, and his response was rather cryptic. “Irony can work both ways,” he said. “There’s the kind of irony you’re talking about. But I think you’ll probably see some irony beyond this, too.” Nobody in the room knew what to make of that. “I’ll let you chew on that for a while,” Wedge said. Consider it done, Wedgie.
- All irony aside, the appropriateness of Tomo Ohka, of all people, making the final start of the season was pointed out to Wedge. In a season in which nothing has gone to plan, Ohka getting the final nod seems just about right. “I figured we’d have a day-night doubleheader today to really top it off,” Wedge said. “I’m glad I’ll be home tonight.”
- General manager Mark Shapiro will meet with reporters Wednesday at Progressive Field to discuss, among other things, the managerial search and what it will entail. According to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, John Farrell has pulled himself out of the running. If that’s the case, then the most obvious candidate for the job is taken off the board, as was the case when Bud Black pulled out in 2002. But it could also be that Farrell is merely trying to get the focus off of him as his team gets ready for the postseason. We’ll see as the next few weeks evolve.
- Shin-Soo Choo’s 20th homer was an opposite-field shot over the Monster. “He did it in style,” Wedge said. With that blast, Choo became the first Asian-born player to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in a single season. “A lot of players have done it, but no Asian players,” he said. “And I did it in my first full season in the Majors.” Choo hopes to reach 30-30 someday. “Every year, I want to get better,” he said. “Maybe some years will be worse, but I hope better.” Choo had 13 homers in the first half before slowing down considerably. But he’s hit six homers in the season’s final month.
- Wedge felt it was important that Asdrubal Cabrera work his way back from tightness in his hamstring to play Saturday. Cabrera will finish with a .308 average — .309 against right-handers and .306 against lefties.
- Chris Perez will have surgery Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic to remove the extra bone that formed in the back of his left ankle. It’s not considered serious. It only affected him running, not throwing.
- As I’m typing this, Luis Valbuena just hit the first leadoff home run of his career.
- The Indians are 30-50 on the road this year — their worst road record since going 30-51 in 2003.
Well, that about does it for the 2009 in-season minutiae, though there will still be plenty of other blog posts throughout the winter. Still, I want to take this occasion on the last day of the season to once again thank all of you for your support of the blog over the last couple years. It’s been fun watching it develop. We’ve had some good dialogue, broke a few news items and, I hope, had some fun, even in a lost season such as this one. See you next year… and next week, for that matter.