"That's the way you do it! That's the way you debate!"

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

I had an inkling the “tortilla” vs. “wrap” discussion would inspire thoughtful debate, and I humbly accept the fact that the vast majority of you (including my fiancée, who is now on shaky ground) sided with Jason “The Master of Self-Promotion” Stein on this one. I shall hereby cease referring to tortillas wrapped around fajitas as wraps.

But I think my dad best articulated my feelings on the “Jungleland” saxophone solo and the Bob Dylan vs. Willie Nelson debate:

“Stein’s lack of understanding of the nature of said sax solo is a result of his inability to grasp the meaning behind this musical masterpiece. It is the ballet that is danced, the opera that is sung, the plaintive cry of youth yet to be understood.

joed.gif“Dylan vs. Nelson is like comparing DiMaggio to Kaline. Both Hall of Famers. But one a master of the sport, a brilliant performer, a class act who married the most beautiful woman in the world. The other a very good ballplayer.”

Amen. I’m up 2-1, Stein.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Russell Branyan was supposed to make his Cactus League debut today, but he was nowhere to be found. That’s pretty much been the case since the Indians signed him two weeks ago, as I have yet to see Branyan, who has a herniated disc in his lower back, take any batting practice. Manny Acta said Branyan has been taking groundballs and some swings (probably in the indoor cages). But it was Acta who announced that Branyan would play today, and, following the game, it was Acta who announced that there is now no such timetable for Branyan. “This is what we knew when we signed him,” Acta said. “He’s still finishing his rehab. We have a lot of time left. We’ve got to take care of this guy.” Branyan didn’t play the last month of the ’09 season with the Mariners.
  • So far, the Branyan situation reminds me a little bit of ’07, when the Indians signed Trot Nixon, and he arrived to camp barely able to move following back surgery. Nixon slowly eased his way into action and, of course, was able to assume his position as the Tribe’s regular right fielder at the start of the season. The Indians obviously expect Branyan to be ready, as well, though I wouldn’t classify Wednesday’s change in plans as a great first step.
  • Matt LaPorta, on the other hand, did manage to make his Cactus League debut today, playing three innings at first base and going 0-for-1 at the plate. He’s still seeing all his time at first but will eventually transition out to left field.
  • I profiled LaPorta on the Indians.com site today. A collection of quotes has been kept in the clubhouse this spring, and the “LaPortaisms” that have been chronicled have been hysterical.
  • The highlight for the Indians today was a nine-run fourth inning in which 14 guys came to the plate, all nine guys scored a run and Grady Sizemore smacked a grand slam off Jackson Quezada. That pretty much sealed the game, which improved the Indians to 5-0 this spring season. “Guys are pounding the strike zone and playing good defense,” Acta said. “[In the big inning] they took advantage of a little wildness by [the Padres]. That’s what we tell our guys is you have to pound the strike zone [to avoid those innings].”
  • If you’re wondering where Carlos Carrasco’s been, he pitched in Monday’s intrasquad game here in Goodyear, while the Tribe was in Tucson. I’m told LaPorta took him deep.
  • Speaking of action that goes beyond the Cactus schedule, the Indians will have a “B” game against the Reds here on Sunday morning.
  • From the alumni department, Josh Barfield entered today’s game at second base in the bottom of the sixth. After being cast off by the Indians last fall, he signed a Minor League deal with the Padres last month and was not given an invite to big league camp. This guy was once supposed to be the Tribe’s long-term second baseman. Today, he was wearing No. 99 for the Pads. I root for Barfield because he’s a great kid and a hard worker, but he obviously has a long climb ahead of him if he’s going to get back to the bigs.
  • I talked a little with Hector Ambriz about his spring so far. Rule 5 situations are inherently awkward, because the odds are generally against the guy sticking with the club. They come in, get acclimated to a new staff and new teammates, then get shipped back to their old team if they don’t make the Opening Day roster. But Ambriz found the acclimation process here to be pretty easy. After all, he joined a club that’s experienced a ridiculous amount of turnover in the past year. “I didn’t skip a beat there,” he said.
  • Ambriz has a real opportunity here, given the state of the Tribe ‘pen, but he knows he’s going to need to rein in his adrenaline a bit if he’s going to make the most of it. He’s turned in two scoreless innings, but he’s been a little wild in the process. Ambriz is converting from starting to relief work, so he’s working with Tim Belcher, Scott Radinsky and Charlie Nagy on refining his pitch selection. “I throw a curveball, slider and split[-fingered fastball],” he said. “It’s a matter of focusing in on one to get first-pitch strikes.”
  • Tribe owner Larry Dolan was in the house today.
  • Not too many other people were. The Indians announced that 2,271 tickets were distributed for today’s game, and there were definitely fewer than that actually in the seats. The weather has not been ideal, and it’s not quite spring break season, but, from my vantage point the past week, Cactus League attendance has been hurting so far.

~AC

16 Comments

Not sure where that came from, but it’s been corrected. Thanks.

I thought Branyan passed a “rigorous” physical before signing with the Indians? Why did the deal go through if his back is still giving him problems?

Trot Nixon at third base? How quickly we forget. Trot was, of course, a right fielder and pie-ambusher extraordinaire.

Has Grady lowered his hands in his stance? If so, is this an adjustment to cut down on the strikeouts since he is now slotted in the two-hole?

Jungleland is without a doubt one of Springsteen’s most cinematic songs. That being the case, the sax solo is the background music for the climax of the film that is playing out in the lyrics. Depending on what you visualize during the song, the solo is either tragic or romantic, but it is perfect. Picture a West Side Story setting and storyline, or a Scorsese plot and the solo is even more perfect. If you don’t get it then go listen to John Mayer or some other junk.

AC, I don’t think using your dad as a judge gives you a 2-1 edge — I think he might be biased.
Good to see Josh Judy throw a scoreless inning. He’s definitely going to be one to watch.
I’m glad we’re going to face the White Sox tomorrow. I realize the Mariners are much improved, but it’d be nice to get at least a little more of a challenge, even if it is spring training. I mean, I know it’s still early, but for the life of me I can’t get any kind of a read on this team. Maybe we need to carry 15 pitchers and use 5 a game for 1-2 innings each.

while reading Paul Hoynes’ latest article I found only one piece of that garbage to be interesting and something that I did not know or realize. It’s a filler piece and doesn’t deserve to be hyperlinked. As he states, “the Indians play 26 of their first 50 games against division foes. They play the White Sox eight times and the Twins and Tigers six times each.”

I hadn’t looked at the schedule in depth so I will give him credit for that observation. Make no mistake about it, I do not think the Indians have a legitimate shot at the division this year. NONE. Too many hopes, ifs, buts, candy and nuts.

As for Tony Sipp having a rough spring thus far I would have to imagine that based on his performances last year and not wanting to have Raffy Perez as the only LHP out of the bullpen (yes, I am assuming that Sowers is dismissed) then he is almost assured a spot.

Indians:

I think that he has done so to do just what you said. He wants to cut down on strikeouts.

I think that the multitude of strikeouts he has poses unconventional to our offense.

But that’s just an opinion.

And amseeley: That isn’t good that Sipp is having a rough spring, he was a great contributor to the bullpen last year, and hopefully is this one. :)

Ted

http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/03/contention-time.html

Actually, I would give Sowers the nod over Sipp, depending upon how he performs when he finally returns. I think we’re in more need for a long relief person than we are a situational lefty, as we have R. Perez (in theory), but who is our long relief guy? I don’t see anyone in our bullpen going more than two innings, if that.
I realize Sowers doesn’t really have the make-up of a reliever, but he could have value — and he could make spot starts if necessary without the Tribe having to make a transaction.
I’m also of the opinion that Sipp — like Huff — could benefit from time in Columbus, as both of them were called up well before their time table had them getting promoted, but we were desperate for arms. I’d hate to see us keep Sipp on the major league roster if he continues to have problems when he still has time in AAA.

wow dude, that’s pretty quick that you’re counting Sipp out of the game. 2 bad innings of work at the start of spring training? Pitchers are supposed to struggle in spring training. What’s weird is the rest of the guys pitching so well. The Indians have allowed 13 fewer runs than everyone else so far. Which means after 5 regular season games they’ll have allowed 13 more runs than everyone else. Spring training is the bizarro world of baseball. Or we’ve vastly underestimated the talent of Saul Rivera. The ones who make me nervous are Laffey, Rafael Perez and Huff. They need to quit trying so hard. Sipp will be fine. And I think that Sipp by definition was not called up early, since he had a 2.93 ERA last year. The guy lead’s the team in ERA the year before and K’s 11 per 9 innings and you want to cast him out because he gives up a couple runs in spring training. Too funny.

“I’d hate to see us keep Sipp on the major league roster if he continues to have problems when he still has time in AAA.”
Thus the word “if.”

My comments were more in response to, “Actually, I would give Sowers the nod over Sipp” and “I’m also of the opinion that Sipp — like Huff — could benefit from time in Columbus”. I didn’t respond to “I think we’re in more need for a long relief person than we are a situational lefty,” but if I had, I’d have said that right handers hit .179 off Sipp last year, so he is not exactly a situational lefty.

ST, everything in my original post was written in the hypothetical, one example being the rest of the sentence you quoted: “depending upon how he performs when he finally returns.”
So, to break it down, I said that Sipp should go to AAA IF he continues to have problems, IF we keep R. Perez on the roster, and IF Sowers pitches well when he returns, given that he’s out of options.
So, yes, clearly I’ve written off Tony Sipp, the poor guy.

Just busting your balls, buddy. But I seriously wouldn’t be worried about Sipp, as long as he pitches good in the last week of spring training he’s fine. I’m pretty sure Sowers is going to open the year on the DL. That way they have a couple weeks to see who falters, and then Sowers can step in and replace that guy.

Maybe he’s using the Aaron Laffey ’09 plan for spring training!

I hadn’t looked at the schedule in depth so I will give him credit for that observation. Make no mistake about it, I do not think the Indians have a legitimate shot at the division this year. NONE. Too many hopes, ifs, buts, candy and nuts.
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