This one's all right, Jeff. Nothing too special, but worth a click if you've got a few minutes to kill.

By Anthony Castrovince/

apt.jpgWas sitting in my friend’s overpriced Wicker Park apartment during Tuesday’s off day when a 16-coach train came rumbling through the basement of the unit.

Wait, upon further review, that wasn’t a locomotive. It was a laundry washer finishing up its spin cycle.

Then I heard the sound of a grenade being set off in the courtyard outside.

No, wait, upon further review, that was merely the sound of the unit’s main door slamming shut.

Then I heard the sound of bells — like Santa’s sleigh passing overhead, jingling all the way.

Turns out that was just my friend’s wife carrying her set of keys. There are six of them for the apartment — one for the outside gate, one for the main door to the unit, one for the deadbolt on their door, one for the main lock on their door, one for the back door and, of course, one for the mail. She had duplicates of these keys made at Home Depot. The bill was $36.

In Cleveland, $1,200 a month buys you the peace and prosperity of a penthouse suite.

In Chicago, $1,200 a month buys you the soundtrack that slowly leads to insanity.

Looking forward to getting home.


  • Some links for you: Luis Valbuena made his 2010 debut and is targeting more time against lefties, Russell Branyan hits the rehab trail Thursday in C-bus, Manny Acta says Jake Westbrook’s Opening Day wild pitches weren’t the fault of rookie catcher Lou Marson and the Indians still can’t believe that Mark Buehrle flip.
  • It was a miserable day in the Windy City — cold, rainy and dreary. But the groundskeepers here at U.S. Cellular Field told Acta there was a “window” in which tonight’s game could be played, and they were right. “I don’t know if it was Windows ’98 or Windows 2000,” Acta joked.
  • Acta called White Sox ace Jake Peavy (who insisted on Buehrle getting his now-traditional Opening Day nod) a “tough hombre.” The Indians made him work tonight. He threw 106 pitches in five innings.
  • The goal for the Tribe batters this season is to work the opposition for at least 150 pitches per game. The thinking is that if they work into that range, they’re going to exhaust the opposing starter early on a regular basis. That’s what you saw tonight against Peavy.
  • Until the Indians erupted with a three-run fourth inning off Peavy, they had spent the first 12 innings of the season batting .146 (6-for-41) and hadn’t reached third base. Asdrubal Cabrera had three of those six hits.
  • Reason No. 38,497 why Spring Training stats are meaningless: Fausto Carmona walked two batters in 26 innings in Arizona. He walked six in six innings of work tonight. It was a weird one-hitter. 
  • Team Marketing Report, based here in Chicago, does an annual Fan Cost Index (FCI) for all 30 MLB teams. The FCI comprises the prices of two adult average-price tickets, two child average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps. Taking all this into account, the Tribe’s FCI of $180.49 ranked 15th in the game, falling below the MLB average of $195.08.
  • That average, for the record, went down 0.6 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to TMR’s research. The Indians’ average ticket price of $22.12 (league average is $26.74) and average premium ticket price of $61.62 (league average is $88.38) did not change from last year.
  • The Minor League season gets underway Thursday, with Triple-A Columbus, Double-A Akron, Class A Kinston and Class A Lake County all having their openers. Let’s take a look at their respective rotations, shall we?
  • Columbus: RHP Carlos Carrasco, RHP Hector Rondon, RHP Yohan Pino, RHP Jeanmar Gomez, LHP Scott Lewis.
  • Akron: RHP Zach Putnam, LHP Scott Barnes, RHP Connor Graham, RHP Paolo Espino, LHP Ryan Edell.
  • Kinston: LHP Kelvin De La Cruz, LHP Nick Hagadone, RHP Alex White, LHP T.J. House, RHP Alexander Perez.
  • Lake County: RHP Trey Haley, RHP Joe Gardner, RHP Danny Salazar, RHP Austin Adams/RHP Marty Popham, RHP Clayton Cook.
  • Speaking of the Minors, SportsTime Ohio will air two Clippers games this month: April 13 against Louisville and April 29 against Charlotte. Both games are at 6:30 p.m. ET.
  • And speaking of STO, tonight they debuted a “Web Wednesday” segment on the pregame telecast featuring yours truly. I’ll be on each week to discuss goings-on with the Tribe and promote the content. So tune in and watch me try to figure out where to put my hands.



The 6 walks notwithstanding, I actually thought Carmona threw the ball pretty well. There seemed to be a Peavy strike zone and a separate, smaller Carmona strike zone. He threw one right down the middle of the plate to Konerko in the 6th that the umpire was apparently too lazy to lift his arm on. But, I don’t know why Carmona throws 1st pitch sliders all the time. Hitters have obviously told themselves they are not swinging at anything Carmona throws to the outside part of the plate unless they have to. That’s a good 2-strike pitch (and then they throw an inside fastball 1-2 to Konerko), but why not just throw the fastball 1st pitch? No one swings 1st pitch against Carmona … And not much to show for it but Hafner looks like a different guy up there. He’s been robbed twice and just missing some other pitches … good game across the board, other than walks. I thought the Marte for Laporta move was odd, but that worked out nicely with Marte snagging that ball for the final out.

AC, you think $1200 doesn’t get you much in Chicago, head out here sometimes…
As frustrated as I was with Fausto at first, he obviously started settling down, so I’ll just chalk it up to the cold.


$1200 in the bay area would get you a studio with street parking.

But with the game on WGN I enjoyed being able to catch the Tribe play. Will try to be at atleast one of the games when they make it to Oaktown.

on another note, what’s so special about Peavy? Never saw him pitch before. His numbers outside of SD were good but not great, I didn’t think he looked like anything too great in this game. Seemed like he had a pretty average fastball. Two things you should never do: sign a pitcher from San Diego or a hitter from Texas. You’re bound to overpay.

man, that Kinston rotation 1-5 has some serious upside to it. Granted it could just as well flop as succeed but it’s fun to follow the kids. Well respected young pitching prospects we have in the minors throughout the league. You could say the same thing about Columbus’ 1-4 and Akron’s 1-3 + 5 (don’t know Paulo Espino, sorry).

ST, Tom Hamilton suggested that the home plate umpire was terribly inconsistent for both Peavy and Carmona but he did say that Peavy got the low strike whereas Carmona did not.

and another point ST, while I wouldn’t totally agree with your “what’s so special about Jake Peavy” line, I would adamantly agree with you that a case could be made about his numbers being deflated having pitched in the NL (no DH to worry about) and in Petco specifically. He IS a special pitcher albeit coming off an injury but his NL roots and home park are significant reasons to entertain that perspective. Kinda like a Colorado pitcher that has above average-to-league elite stats with a slightly elevated ERA/WHIP simply b/c of the stadium, ala Ubaldo Jimenez.

yup, the Kinston team should be interesting. Figure some of those guys in the rotation will (hopefully) move up to Akron quickly, de la Cruz and Hagadone, but Knapp should be stepping in there at some point. Also interesting about Kinston is our lone right handed hitting prospect, Abner Abreu … I think last night’s game is an example of one they may very well have lost if Wedge were still manager. I figure Wedge would’ve pulled Carmona after the 5th, he would have turned to Rafael Perez in the 8th instead of having Laffey come out to get the first guy, and no way would he have subbed Marte for Laporta

while I don’t want to turn this thread into a Wedge-bashing theme I would agree with the idea that the changes Acta made would not have been done by Wedge.

I was a little surprised that we haven’t seen R. Perez yet. I expected to see him last night but it seems obvious that Acta wanted the win, hence Laffey for 1.1 innings and then Smith but only to the righties. Darn near perfectly scripted.

This is Jeff B in Pittsburgh, and I approve of this Blog headline. Awesome change to CastroTurf, AC.

As a side note, I have to say that I’m not sure which I liked better about watching last night’s game (on WGN), the fact that we won, or the fact that Hawk is a lot more humble when the Sox are losing.

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