"It's by an unknown 20th Century poet"

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com

poetry.jpgSome woebegone Tribe fan e-mails Akron Beacon Journal beat reporter Sheldon Ocker with a daily poem about the Indians. The worse the team performs, the better this guy’s poetry gets. Today’s submission began, “20,000 leagues under the sea / Is where the Tribe ought to be.”

They’ll have to settle for being 20 games under .500.

Bad baseball, it seems, brings out the creative side in people. My friend Jeff sent me some suggestions for blog headlines that could have been used when the team was in Philadelphia. Keeping with the Springsteen lyric theme I employ so consistently here, he wanted to pull lines from, of course, “Streets of Philadelphia” that sum up the state of the club.

Among the options…

“I was bruised and battered, I couldn’t tell what I felt”

“Oh brother, are you gonna leave me wasting away?”

“I can feel myself fading away”

(Aside: There’s a Justin Bieber concert going on next door tonight. I’ve never heard any of his songs, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that none of them contain such downtrodden lyrics.)

Speaking of downtrodden, what a bummer of a road trip this has been for this ballclub. All of their flaws — and there are many — have been exposed in this NL environment.

But as bad as it’s been, one guy not writing snappy poetry or citing Springsteen’s less-uplifting material is Manny Acta. He said his current situation doesn’t begin to touch what he experienced in Washington last year.

“The difference is we have more pieces here,” Acta said. “We know the farm system is starting to produce the players we were anticipating to be here. There’s going to be a light at the end of the tunnel.”

That’s a little more of a traditional Springsteenian speech. The gospel of the chorus that offsets the blues of the verses.

Right now, however, the results are reading like bad poetry. For the good of all involved, even the bards, here’s hoping it turns around soon. 


  • Trade Deadline season is just about upon us. But it would be unwise to expect the Indians to make any major splashes, in terms of salary unloaded or prospects acquired. You need tradable commodities to make those kinds of rewards happen, and the Tribe isn’t going to move Fausto Carmona (contrary to rumor and speculation) or Shin-Soo Choo.
  • There has been only marginal interest in the likes of Austin Kearns, Russell Branyan and Jhonny Peralta (Kearns probably tops the list). There has been minimal to zero interest in Jake Westbrook and Kerry Wood. They’re making too much money and performing too inconsistently. Teams aren’t willing to absorb much in the way of salary, and teams value their young talent more than ever in this climate. The Indians, though, have great incentive to move Kearns and/or Branyan to make room for Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, so I’d still expect something to get done, one way or another. Just don’t expect much in the way of returns.
  • As I type this, Shin-Soo Choo just drew a walk, stole second, then scored on a Carlos Santana double in the first inning. I talked with Choo the other day about his statistics, and he said the number he pays the most attention to is his on-base percentage. As the No. 2 hitter in this lineup, he knows the importance of getting on to set up RBI opportunities for Santana, Austin Kearns and Russell Branyan. Choo has not put up dominant numbers this year, but his .389 OBP, entering tonight, does rank 12th in the league.
  • Choo figures to be the Tribe’s lone All-Star representative when the rosters are announced July 4. Acta listed Fausto Carmona and Mitch Talbot as two other guys he feels are worthy, though Acta acknowledged that none of those guys have the numbers to match up with some others in the league. Choo said it would be a dream come true to be an All-Star, but he wishes his numbers were better so that he would be earning the opportunity, if selected, rather than just filling the Indians’ All-Star quota.
  • The domino effect of Jayson Nix coming aboard and Luis Valbuena going to Columbus was Josh Rodriguez getting transferred back to Akron. This is somewhat significant, as Rodriguez was batting .341 with a 1.031 OPS in 26 games for the Clippers after torching Double-A pitching.
  • While Aaron Laffey was getting beat up at Great American last night, Carlos Carrasco allowed three runs on eight hits, including two homers, with two walks and eight strikeouts in a win over Gwinnett to improve to 6-3 with a 4.26 ERA.
  • Nice to see Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh, as good a guy as you’ll meet in this game, pick up his 500th career regular season victory with that win. Sarbaugh has won three Minor League championships (in the New York-Penn League in ’04, the Carolina League in ’05 and the Eastern League last year). He was also selected to be a coach for the USA team at next month’s XM All-Star Futures Game.
  • In Akron, Alex White took his fourth defeat despite not allowing an earned run in a 5-3 loss to Binghamton. White has a 1.77 ERA in seven Double-A starts, but he’s 2-4. He’s struck out 23 and walked 13 in 40 2/3 innings.
  • Our old buddy Brandon Phillips was in the Reds’ lineup tonight after an eventful night Friday. He was arrested in northern Kentucky for reckless driving after police clocked him at 72 mph in a 35-mph zone. His mother was in the car with him.
  • The D-backs’ Edwin Jackson became the fourth pitcher to toss a no-hitter this season (five, if you count Armando Galarraga… which I do). This is the first time since 1990 that as many as four no-hitters have been thrown in the Majors before the All-Star break. We’ve also had 12 no-hitters taken into the seventh inning before falling apart. This has, of course, led to the question of whether this trend has any significance or if it’s just coincidence. Acta, for one, is adamant that it’s a “pure coincidence.” His contention is that, at the beginning of the season, if you picked the names of guys you’d expect to toss a no-no, you might have been right on Roy Halladay but you never would have guessed Jackson or Dallas Braden. So to him, it’s all a coincidence.
  • I’d be inclined to argue the opposite point, which is that because guys you never would expect to throw no-hitters are throwing no-hitters, something strange is going on here. But I’ve been wrong before.
  • A bunch of players and coaches holed up in the lounge in the visitor’s clubhouse to watch Team USA get beat in the second round of the World Cup today. And Choo’s fellow South Koreans fell to Uruguay earlier in the day. Not a good day for soccer-supporting Tribesters, unless there’s a player from Ghana that I’m unaware of.
  • But a great day for Justin Bieber fans.


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