"Once I made you rich enough, rich enough to forget my name"

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

witness.jpgTrust the art, not the artist.

Don’t wear another man’s name on your back, and don’t assume a multimillionaire athlete, no matter his birthplace or public sentiments, really knows or understands your plights or truly appreciates your passion.

To some degree (for some, impressively infinitesimal, and for others, enormously incalculable), we’re all looking out for ourselves. Unfortunately, a select few have the platform to do so on the grandest scale, with millions at the mercy of their erraticism and ego.

These athletes you follow and I write about? Many of them are good men and women with moral virtue and correct convictions. And, as in our world beyond the ballpark or stadium or arena, many are not. They all spend their adult lives playing a child’s game. Applaud those who do so dynamically, and respect those who use their platform for some greater good. But don’t fall in love. Don’t ever assume your loyalty will be returned.

Love the game. Love the experience. Share it with your kids, and celebrate or commiserate with your neighbors. Trust the art, not the artist. The art will endure; the artists come and go.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • What impact will LeBron James’ departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers have on the local sporting economy and, specifically, the Indians? As you might have guessed, it’s way too early to tell. The Cavs’ season-ticket holders had to make their first 2010-11 payments long before James decided to, as he put it, take his “talents to South Beach” (which can only mean he’s taking up sand volleyball). But if James’ departure dictates a significant step back in competitiveness for the Cavs (and how could it not?), it only stands to reason that the Indians could be in a better position to vie for the average local sports fan’s entertainment dollars.
  • General manager and soon-to-be team president Mark Shapiro hasn’t given any of the above a great deal of attention. “I think we’ve got to stay focused on our efforts to accelerate our timeframe back to contention and put the Indians in a position to bring a championship here,” Shapiro said. “We don’t spend a lot of time focusing on things we can’t control. Certainly, that’s something outside our scope of control.”
  • The upcoming Trade Deadline is within the Indians’ scope, but not much is developing at the moment. Once the Cliff Lee situation is settled, the other dominoes will start to fall. Eventually, they’ll fall for the Indians, though keep in mind that both Jake Westbrook and Kerry Wood have the potential be dealt up until the final day of August, considering their salaries.
  • Cliff Lee in pinstripes? This town’s survived worse.
  • Can’t stop peeking at Jared Goedert’s numbers in Triple-A and wondering if the Indians will find a way to give him a look this season, knowing Jhonny Peralta’s $7 million option does not fit into the big picture. Goedert hit his 14th home run for Triple-A Columbus. Not bad when you consider he joined the team a month ago. That’s 14 homers in 30 games, along with eight doubles.
  • Shapiro on Goedert: “He’s having a breakout year. You always want to have some real pleasant surprises in the Minors. He’s certainly been an overwhelming surprise of this year. He’s been a prospect at times, but injuries have kind of prevented him from getting consistent playing time. It’s certainly a breakout year for him offensively. Going forward, his defense is going to need to improve, particularly with us and where we are with our sinkerballers in rotation. But he’s put himself on the map and is firmly on our radar.”
  • And what about Peralta? His .245 batting average is second-lowest among qualifying AL third basemen, while his slugging percentage (.383) and on-base percentage (.307) are third-lowest. Jayson Nix has been here two weeks and has the same number of home runs for the Tribe as Peralta does. Hard to imagine there being much of a market for Peralta’s services this summer, unless he gets extremely hot. I asked Peralta about his power (or lack thereof) earlier this week, and this is what he said: “I don’t worry about home runs too much. I concentrate on scoring position. RBIs. When I see guys on base, I try to be more consistent.” Jhonny, for the record, is batting .282 with a .410 slugging percentage and 30 RBIs with runners in scoring position.
  • Fausto Carmona pitching tonight means he should be good to go for whatever assignment Joe Girardi gives him in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Shapiro said Carmona’s composure has stood out more than anything else this season. “He has the ability to separate from the previous pitch, play and inning and stay in the moment,” Shapiro said. “When bad things happen, he has the ability to separate and distance from those things and focus on the pitch at hand. That’s allowed him to stay in his delivery. His delivery has broken down in the past because of hyper-competitiveness and intensity and emotions.”
  • I’m going to do a little separating myself. From this blog. While the team’s in Tampa, I’m working on some All-Star preview content for MLB.com, then living up to the “break” part of the All-Star break. But by all means keep using this space to keep the Tribe banter going, and I’ll be back soon. 

~AC

22 Comments

I agree kevin. Nice work Castro! I’m not a Lebron, Cavs, or even basketball fan… but I really do feel for the city of Cleveland today. Not because they lost their “hero,” but in the way they lost him. It should have been handled better by the “James Gang.” But, the way Castro puts it…. the only party at fault is the myriad of fans who worshipped the “King” like a god. “Trust the art, not the artist. The art will endure; the artists come and go.” That phrase may actually change the way I view the sporting world. Thanks again, Castro. Keep up the great work!

Bring Goedert up, let him play 3B, let Peralta play SS for a couple weeks. Boost Peralta’s “versatility,” get Jason Donald’s horrific glove off the field (he can split time at 2B with Nix), get a look at Goedert. Then move Peralta, slide Donald back in, wipe the tears from crying at the infield singles and errors with dollar bills saved by trading Peralta. And once Cabrera is back, the crying will stop.

Regarding your introduction: that is the realest piece I’ve read in a long time.

Your introduction reminds me why I am in school for journalism. That was one of the most profound and well-written pieces I’ve ever read.
Thanks for your writing, Anthony. I have always enjoyed reading your work, and I look forward to reading what you have to say in the future.

I never comment on MLB blogs but this time will be an exception. AC, right on.

Bravo AC…now how do we get Gilbert to buy from Dolan?

yeah, nice piece AC … If the Dolans were smart, they’d see the Cavs loss as their potential gain, and go after someone next year to try to make the Indians competitive. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Dolans are very smart … Have to say, both the Phillies and Indians look pretty stupid for trading Lee, with the returns they received. Either Smoak, or Montero from the Yankees would seem to be a huge upgrade over what the Indians and Phillies received. We got a catcher who might be able to back up Carlos Santana, and a second baseman who might be the 4th or 5th best second baseman in the organization. Knapp better turn out well. Because I have to say, even though he hasn’t done too well this year, Smoak at 1st, Laporta in the outfield would look pretty nice for the future. Or I’d have even been fine with Montero, who they could’ve just converted to 1st base.

I ‘am a die hard Indian fan since i was a kid, they are out of it this year, why not trade Peralta, Hafner,Wood,Kearns and Westbrook and let young players get some time. To me Hafner is to scared at the plate. just take what they give us. in trades my team. c- Santana ,1B LAPORTA,2NB NIX, SS- CABRERA,3B- GOEDERT, OF- CROW,BRENTLEY,SIZESMORE ,DH CHOO OR ROTATE.

Goedert with another HR tonight, ridiculous. Jordan Brown a HR and another double, hitting .307 now. Again, let’s compare to Crowe’s awesome .244/.281./.319 he put up in AAA. Huff pounded, Stowell continuing his awesomeness, that guy hasn’t given up a run in forever. I’d like to see Stowell or Judy when they trade Wood, but they’ll probably call up Todd.

ST, I think you hit the nail on the head and I wonder if Shapiro’s “efforts to accelerate our timeframe” speak to it. I mean, that sounds like a guy who’s saying “we need to get good fast so we can snatch up some fans.” If they even manage to get some quality from LaPorta, Brantley, and Masterson, a big free agent signing in the off season could be enough to make them competitive and bring people back.
Someone (AM? ST?) wondered if Donald’s issues at short wouldn’t transfer to 2B, and given the way he’s been hitting, it’s worth considering. He’s got the highest avg on the team. That’s kind of crazy. He’s 5th in doubles and two of the guys ahead of him have twice as many ABs! He’s also scoring once a game. There definitely looks like there’s potential there.
ST, you’re comparing apples and oranges w/ Crowe and Brown. It was a matter of timing. Crowe got the call because we needed a center fielder. I’m sure we’ll need Brown soon enough.

Very well put Anthony. I totally agree Peralta needs to be traded as we watched him lead triple A in batting three straight years behind Visquel before he came up his best years are behind him as well as Westbrook and Woods. I used to think when we had Woods he would be the ideal closer for us but come on he has been terrible ever since we signed him. Nix is a breath of fresh air he is hitting well and hustles . We need a good defensive club with lively bats ….and then maybe the pitching can be retooled before next season. As far as LeBron James I am sad to see him leave. But perhaps a more balanced team will emerge after Mr Gilbert’s pledge to the fans of Cleveland…..many a great player hath no championship rings… Barkley, Malone and Stockton, just to name a few and who knows maybe James will be another Miami still has holes to fill…..injuries are always a possibility and for me when it became the KING James show a couple of years back I felt it was all about LEBRON not the Cavs or the city of Cleveland . in his interview he claimed that HE did all the things that took a team effort to achieve inCleveland … then in Miami he quickly stated that it was an organizational process from the players to the coaches to the ticket salesman to the janitors to win a title.

Anthony, sir, you are so right. Oh, and you have the “write stuff” so when does Indians.com lose you to the New York Times or the Tampa Tribune?

You know, I would follow your advice and trust the art, not the artist. But I’d still be p@ss@d off!

The life of the Cleveland fan-the team either stinks, or gets this close. Maybe if the Browns and Indians could be at least average or better than average for a few seasons, it would help. Just remember the Indians are not the Pirates, or the Orioles. At least the Indians have some players that might be decent to watch…if no one watches are they really there? I’m grasping here folks.

Are you ready for the return of the Chris Gimenez experience? Weird move, letting Redmond go and calling up Gimenez. I guess it gives them…versatility? I just don’t know when he’d ever play. I mean, sure, you could play him in the OF every once in a while, but don’t they then run the risk of having no back-up catcher if something happens?
His offensive numbers are surprisingly similar to Brown’s (aside from avg). Perhaps we’ll see Santana get a few more starts at DH to give him some rest.
I also wonder if this is the first of a few DFAs that we’re going to get. Honestly, even if no one takes Kearns, Duncan, and even Peralta, it might be better in the long run to just let them go. Kearns and Duncan didn’t really cost us much.

I don’t think it’s weird at all. Weird would be keeping Redmond on the team. The guy couldn’t hit, teams basically played right field like a really deep second base against him, and he couldn’t throw anyone out. Gimenez could still conceivably be a serviceable backup catcher. He could be more useful than your standard backup catcher, since he can backup some other positions as well, if he hits. If he doesn’t, no big deal, since Redmond couldn’t hit either. Lets them get Toregas out of single A purgatory as well. I’d still question whether Marson is actually a better player than Toregas

One thing I’ll give the Indians credit for is sticking with Rafael Perez against all logic. He’s been a serviceable pitcher the past month and a half or so

Yeah, it seems like the Indians’ questionable guys always start performing when there’s no where to go but down.
The bullpen in Columbus seems to get better and better. If his confidence is high, maybe it’s time to see if R. Perez can be stretched out (I realize it would be odd to do that at the major league level, but he’s got no options, soooo…) instead of waiting to try it in the spring.
But I just kind of want more of a handle on our pitching for next year, so I’m probably rushing things.

the whole Rafael Perez as a starter thing would never work. For one thing, there are a lot of good bullpen arms at Columbus, but Stowell, Judy, Pestano and Todd are all right handers. The only left handed reliever they have is in Kinston, other than Sowers who isn’t exactly a guy who shuts down left handed batters. The other problem is that Rafael Perez only throws two pitches. He doesn’t have the repertoire of a starting pitcher.

To me, the Giminez move makes perfect logic. Redmond could only play one position, and was not getting any playing time once Santana got the call. A DFA meant we freed up a roster spot that wasn’t being used for us, and it meant that Redmond has the opportunity to play somewhere else, albeit only a little more.
But, to me, the reason he got the call because he can serve as backup catcher, while being a super utility guy on all the corners. If Peralta or Kearns, etc., get dealt, he could serve as a temporary replacement for either, while also fulfilling the role as a backup catcher. With the moves that are bound to happen, it inevitably means that people are going to get called up. Having Giminez (other than Peralta/Redmond or Kearns/Redmond or Peralta/Kearns/Redmond) offers more roster flexibility for scores of people that will likely be making the trek from Columbus to Cleveland….and probably back again.

Hard to imagine a better wrap-up of the LeBron situation. An ideal example of how to write about him without ever once mentioning his name or the names of the teams. Hats off to you, Carcovince. One request: when your career does elevate you to greater prominence, please keep your fairness, your thoroughness, your interest in words (and music!).

Given that the numbers that made us think Perez was back were from his stint in winter ball as a starter, and that the front office has already mentioned they’re considering, it’s pretty clear that it could work.
They’ll never play Gimenez anywhere but catcher; they can’t take the chance that he’ll get hurt or tossed out or anything like and they’ll be down to one catcher. But maybe now they’ll take this opportunity to decide exactly what they want to do with him. And I’ve got no problems with him catching twice every five days if it means Santana gets to DH.
Watching the All-Star coverage. It’s amazing how everyone outside of Cleveland seems to think that the Tribe once had this amazing rotation of Sabathia, Lee, and Carmona and are amazed we didn’t win the World Series with those three.

If only Lee were healthy in ’07 – his ’08 season in ’07 would have easily put us over the top. As far as things that are still Indians-related, I love the idea of this lineup for next season: Cabrera-Choo-Santana-Sizemore-LaPorta-Hafner-Goedert-Donald-Brantley.

AC – The whole Lebron thing only leaves me with one word – Karma. In the end she always wins, and she never forgets.
I just hope that I’m around when she knocks on his door.

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