"All that you have wished for, I know will come your way"

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

The truth, when you get down to it, is that baseball is a job for me. Yes, in the grand scheme of life, it’s just a game. And sure, there are days, like today, when the sun is shining down on a pristine field, and typing a few sentences about how Fausto Carmona looked in mowing down the Angels in the bottom of the fourth is certainly an easier profession than digging ditches or performing surgery.

But it’s a job all the same. I report to a ballpark, interview players and managers and GMs and scouts, throw a bunch of words at a screen and see what sticks. And sometimes, I’ll admit, I forget how much this game means to the people sitting in the seats below. You get so used to watching Carmona that you don’t fully appreciate what it means to pay to watch Carmona, or to live and die with his successes and failures and those of the team.

For that reason, reading the winning submissions for the Indians’ 12-Pack Essay Contest was a treat, and a much more emotional experience than I bargained for. In many cases, I was stunned by the depth of meaning attached to those tickets. As expected in this economic climate, the Indians received a ton of entries from families dealing with job losses or pay cuts who can no longer fit Major League Baseball games into their budget.

But I didn’t expect to hear such compelling stories from such devoted fans. This is a cynical society filled with endless negativity, and that’s too often evident in the comments posted on the Indians.com site or the Facebook wall where all these blog posts land. But these essays came from real fans who aren’t so caught up in whining about the Cliff Lee and trade to remember that a night at the yard can still be a wonderful thing, whether you’re rooting for a rebuilding ballclub or a juggernaut.

DSCN6537.JPGNone of the essays struck me more than the one submitted by Amy Hendershot. I had tears in my eyes as I read about her daughter Ashley’s bout with the H1N1 virus, and how the complications from the virus lead to Ashley’s untimely and unexpected death last month. Ashley’s little sister, Katie (that’s her on the right, with Ashley on the left), reads this blog every day. She’s a huge Tribe fan who loved nothing more than going to games at Progressive Field with her big sis/best friend. And though nothing in this world could possibly fill the void left by her sister’s death, the Indians gave her something to smile about, something to make her summer a little bit warmer. And it warms my heart to know that while I’m up in the press box working this summer, she’ll be down in the seats and smiling.  

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Asdrubal Cabrera left today’s game with an injury, shortly after hitting a leadoff triple in the fifth. He remained on base for several pitches, but he injured his upper left leg on a headfirst slide back to the bag on a pickoff attempt. The Indians had no further information, though Cabrera did walk without a noticeable limp when he left the field to catch the shuttle back to the Player Development Complex. They’ll have an update Saturday, but it doesn’t sound serious.
  • The numbers weren’t pretty, but Jake Westbrook felt much better about today’s outing against the Angels than he did about Monday’s outing against the Diamondbacks. Westbrook gave up four runs on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings today. He started off the game by giving up a double to Reggie Willits, an infield single to Jeff Mathis and a three-run blast to Mike Napoli. He was charged with another run in the third.
  • Said Westbrook: “I gave up four runs, but I feel 100 percent better than when I gave up one run the last outing. I feel so much better, confidence-wise.” Why? Because Westbrook was in and around the zone much more consistently in this start, and he feels he’s getting good action on his sinker. Plus, his arm feels great, which is obviously a plus. “It starts with getting my mechanics solidified,” he said. “What I’m hoping is to get stronger and better each time out.”
  • Carmona made his 2010 Cactus debut tossed three scoreless, allowing just one hit and striking out a batter. “He pounded the zone and was able to use all his pitches,” Acta said.
  • Joe Smith coughed up a three-run lead in the ninth. He got two quick outs against right-handers but struggled against the lefties in the Angels lineup. Smith is a side-armer, so he’s often pegged as a situational righty. But he’s hoping to get more chances against lefties, and he struggled with this one. That’s what Spring Training is for. “Left-handers gave him a little bit of trouble,” Acta said. “This is a good time to see if guys can handle situations.”
  • The Indians and Angels didn’t bother to play a 10th inning today, even though the score was knotted at 7. This was a split-squad day for the Angels, and they ran out of pitchers.
  • The Tribe’s cumulative ERA of 3.11, coming into this game, was the lowest in the Majors this spring. A far cry from last year, but, then again, it’s early.
  • Shin-Soo Choo is the first guy in the indoor cages, nearly every day. Choo told me he wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and is in the cage by 7:30 a.m., at the latest. He likes getting one-on-one time with hitting coach Jon Nunnally, so the early wake-up call, he figures, is the best way to make it happen. Choo is in bed by 8 p.m. most nights.
  • Choo doesn’t just lean on Nunnally for advice about his swing. He’s also turned to veteran Mark Grudzielanek, who he feels has a similar swing. “I hit the ball well when it’s middle-away, but not so well when it’s inside,” Choo said. “He told me to try hitting off a tee, and set the tee up inside. I’m learning to hit that way, more toward the middle, and I’m not rolling over on the ball [and hitting groundballs].”
  • The schedule for the 2010 Cleveland Indians Charities High School Hardball Classic presented by MinuteMenJobs.com has been announced. The event will take place Friday, April 23, and Saturday, April 24, at Progressive Field, with all proceeds benefiting CIC. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the participating schools or online at Indians.com for $5. They can be purchased at the gate on the day of the game for $7.
  • Here’s the schedule: On April 23, Gilmour Academy and University School will play at 3 p.m., St. Ignatius and Avon Lake will play at 5:30 p.m. and Holy Name and Padua Franciscan will play at 8 p.m. On April 24, Berkshire will face Cuyahoga Heights at 10 a.m., Midview will face Amherst Steele at 12:30 p.m. and Midpark will face Berea at 3 p.m. For more info, visit this site.
  • That’s all for this weekend. The blog will be back up and running on Monday. I’ve got a Flip Cam coming in the mail, so hopefully I’ll be able to start posting some videos here, assuming I can actually figure it out.

~AC

UPDATE: Seriously… how about those Ohio University Bobcats?

13 Comments

Carmona looked good, I don’t think he had any 3-ball counts, but the guy who looked the best was probably Rafael Perez. I forgot he had a decent fastball after last year, I think–looked like vintage Perez out there. Trevor Crowe seems to be swinging the bat well and made a great catch–I think he’s the best 4th outfielder option, it would be good to have him to plug into the outfield late in games. And I bet Hafner wishes he still had the batting eye that Weglarz has. Hafner’s been taking a lot of strikes in the games I’ve seen … What’s the deal with Branyan? I don’t get why they went through with that deal if he was in bad enough shape that he can’t even DH in spring training. Healthy Branyan has enough trouble making contact with the ball, I shudder to think what an injured Branyan would do.

Yeah, as disappointing as it was to see Jake’s ERA, it was his BB stat that I was focusing on. That’s also good news about Smith. Personally, I’d be perfectly happy if he gives up 3 runs every time out against lefties if he mows down righties. We’ve got enough guys in the bullpen mix that I don’t think having a strikeout, situational right hander would be so awful, even if he’s awful against left handed hitters. That’s what we’ve got the rest of the bullpen for.
Speaking of which, is R. Perez fixed? Does it look like it? Yeah, yeah, I know it’s early, but I think he’s one of the big storylines for this team’s future.
Is the 1-6 we saw to start the game the one we’ll see to start the season?

Padua Francisco….that’s fun to say!

Oh, and “Hi!” to Katie, if she ever reads the comments! I think AC said exactly what we’d all say, so I won’t attempt to add to it.

Oh, and they started showing the game out here at 4 PM, so I just saw Trevor Crowe’s diving catch. I’m with ST on this one, if he can hit even a bit, he’d be a real plus for us coming off the bench.

Asdrubal’s gonna be fine, if you stub a toe in Spring Training they take you out due to precautions.

I wasn’t too pleased by the way Smith pitched against the Angels, but who cares.

It’s spring training, and at least these games don’t count..

Ted

http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

No, seriously, how ABOUT those Bobcats!
As one of my friends (and fellow OU alum) mentioned, between the win today and day light savings, it should be crazy on Court St. tonight.
(Although the day light savings riot is actually an urban legend — it was a riot, yes, but it didn’t really have anything to do with day light savings…does anyone even remember that? I’m old.)

From Cleveland.com: “I hope to play some catch on Sunday,” said Branyan. “We’re going to do a few more baseball-related activities.” Questions: How did Branyan pass his physical, when he’s not able to do anything more than play catch? Why did they give him $2 million when he’s clearly still injured? What sort of offensive production can we expect from an injured, 34-year-old Russell Branyan? (I’d guess .150 and striking out 50% of the time) I’d come around to not hating the Branyan signing, but now it sounds like he’s in bad shape physically, in which case this deal tilts more towards crazy. How’s he going to field the ball? How much better would the Indians’ be on defense if they opened the season with Crowe in the outfield and Laporta at 1b, if they are allergic to going with Brantley?

I know we have that “arbitration clock” to think about when it comes to Brantley. But, he’s really having a good spring. I know it’s not likely he’ll start the season topside, but, I’ll be honest, I’m really excited about him. To me, Branyan’s “value” isn’t really relevant in the first half of the season. Yes, I would imagine that he will get his at bats somewhere, if he is healthy. However, as I mentioned a while back, his value is insurance. He can “play” 3B, 1B, corner OF, and DH. If he could pitch, he could fill all the holes we might have at some point this season. This will really come in to play after the All Star break. Although, I must admit, I’m getting a little nervous about his back as well. I really don’t see how he is going to be fielding any ground balls if he is still hobbled.

so i was not only the one who dealt with that essay price Thanks for sharing your ideas here

What sort of offensive production can we expect from an injured, 34-year-old Russell Branyan? (I’d guess .150 and striking out 50% of the time) I’d come around to not hating the Branyan signing, but now it sounds like he’s in bad shape physically, in which case this deal tilts more towards crazy. How’s he going to field the ball? best ab workout for men

I love watching all kinds of different sports but especially baseball and football. I read through all sorts of sports blogs and this one is a great one to add to the list. I can’t wait for the playoffs this year. pittsburgh steelers merchandise

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