Talk to me, until the night is over
As you might have read on the main site, Manny Acta held a Town Hall session with season-ticket holders at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School last night. The event was moderated by Matt Underwood and filmed for use on SportsTime Ohio next week.
A few pieces of Excruciating Minutiae that aren’t in the article but are nonetheless worth passing along from the Q&A…
- Acta reiterated the Indians’ insistence that Shin-Soo Choo’s military obligation in his native South Korea is nothing for fans to be concerned about. He said this was one of the first questions he had for Mark Shapiro and company when he interviewed for the job, and he was assured it will be taken care of.
Acta said Choo is in the process of becoming an American citizen.I spoke with assistant GM Chris Antonetti about this today, and he said Acta misspoke here. He said Choo has not begun the process of acquiring citizenship, but the Indians remain 100 percent confident Choo will not have to leave the team to fulfill his obligation.
- The Indians are not ruling out the possibility of Rafael Perez starting by season’s end, but, initially, he will pitch solely out of the bullpen. “From a health standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to have a guy go from [pitching] 80 innings to 180,” Acta said. “You only want to raise your innings by 30 percent. He’ll pitch out of the bullpen in Spring Training. If we feel he can step in and build some innings as a starter [later in the year], that’s a possibility.”
- On Jeremy Sowers’ chances of making the team in either the rotation or the bullpen: “Spring Training will tell that. The guys competing against him are going to tell us whether he belongs in the rotation or the bullpen.”
- On his coaching staff, which he gathered in Goodyear last week for a series of meetings: “I feel so much better after spending four days with those guys. They have passion and love to teach, and they care. I think we brought the right people in here.”
- On first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr.: “You guys know him as a great player, but let me tell you something. This guy’s going to be a tremendous coach, too.”
- On pitching coach Tim Belcher: “He’s not only intense. He’s smart. He brings a lot to the table. Tim has done it all. He’s a very organized, prepared guy.”
- Acta didn’t bite when a fan vented his frustration about Eric Wedge occasionally benching guys when they were hot. “I have a lot of respect for Eric,” Acta said. “There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that you don’t know. There are things we can’t tell you, because we don’t want to tell the other clubs. Sometimes a guy needs a day off and we’re not going to make it public, because you’re going to question his toughness.”
- On Jake Westbrook’s winter ball stint in Puerto Rico: “It takes a lot for a veteran guy who is set financially to go to winter ball and take his family over there. … In his last outing, I could see in his facial expressions that he’s feeling good. He’ll come into Spring Training with no restrictions.”
- On 38-year-old backup catcher Mike Redmond: “He’s going to be great for this ballclub. I don’t look at his age. He’s coming in fresh. Not too many backup guys hit at the clip he’s hit at. When you’re backing up Joe Mauer, you don’t get to play that much.”
- On attempts to sign Jamey Carroll: “We did offer Jamey a good contract. We did try very hard to sign him, because who wouldn’t want to have Jamey? I know he’s already married, but Jamey’s a guy you would want to marry your daughter.”
- Underwood asked Acta which Fausto Carmona he expected to show up in 2010 – the one who dominated in 2007 or the one who had a disastrous 2009. “The good one,” Acta said, drawing a big laugh. “You weren’t expecting me to say the one from last year, were you?”
HAFNER HELPS OUT
Also on Monday, Travis Hafner and his wife, Amy, visited SouthPark Mall in Strongsville to shop with about 20 youth (ages 16-18 years) from the Beech Brook foster care adoption agency. When foster children reach their late teens, Beech Brook prepares them for independent living, and these young men and women are nearing their emancipation.
Pronk and his wife gave each kid $300 to spend at the mall and tagged along for the shopping excursion. Yes, I know Pronk makes a ton of money, but this was one of those gestures you love to see from a person in his position. The Hafners didn’t have to do it, but they did.
THE GOOD OL’ DAYS
The June 4, 1974 game between the Tribe and the Rangers was a real riot. In case time or the number of suds consumed has erased your memory, that was the game in which the infamous Ten Cent Beer Night promotion was held, and it, uh, didn’t turn out so well. But for those who wish to celebrate the shenanigans through cotton, the good folks at Homage Clothing have just the shirt for you.
WARM UP THE BUS
The annual winter Press Tour officially kicks off today. Acta, Michael Brantley, Jensen Lewis and Ross Atkins will be at Tangier Restaurant in Akron at 6 p.m.; David Huff, Aaron Laffey, Chris Perez and Chris Antonetti will be at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Youngstown branch at 6 p.m.; and Sandy Alomar Jr., Tony Sipp and Trevor Crowe will be at the Barber National Institute in Erie, Pa., at 6 p.m. Full info on the Press Tour, which runs through Thursday, can be found here.