By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
My last name, as listed above, is Castrovince.
This causes an inordinate amount of trouble for people. The guy checking my credential as I pulled into the parking lot at Kauffman Stadium yesterday looked at it quizzically and said, “Anthony what?”
“Castrovince,” I told him, pronouncing it “Castro” as in Fidel Castro and “Vince” as in Vince Vaughn.
“Wow, I would have never guessed that,” he replied.
Never? Really? Given an infinite amount of time to sound that out in your head, you would have never figured out the spelling C-A-S-T-R-O-V-I-N-C-E equates to “Castro” as in Fidel Castro and “Vince” as in Vince Vaughn?
When I checked out of my hotel this morning, the woman at the front desk said, “Thank you, Mr. … Cas… kranowich?”
Really? This is what you came up with? You read C-A-S-T-R-O-V-I-N-C-E and hear… Caskranowich?
This has been going on my entire life. And often, when people ask me how my last name is pronounced and I tell them, their response is, “Oh, exactly how it’s spelled!”
Yes. Exactly how it’s spelled. You know, just like… most words.
The ability of people to make something more complicated than it needs to be never ceases to amaze me. But what do I know? I’m just Anthony Caskranowich.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- Before we move on to less-important matters, it bears mentioning that talk about cartoon characters dominated Manny Acta’s pregame interview with the beat guys. Last night, Acta said that, in a perfect world, he would have Superman and Flash on his team to get to every ball hit in their vicinity. Today, that remark prompted discussion of other superheroes, including one of Acta’s personal favorites, Birdman. Now, I’ve heard of the Birdman of Alcatraz and Birdman the rapper, but I’ve never heard of Birdman the cartoon. I promised Manny I would Google it, and sure enough, here’s Birdman.
- Acta did more than just discuss Birdman pregame. He called the Indians together for a team meeting. The adage that good teams win games and bad teams have meetings applies. But while little is expected of these young Indians at this stage, Acta has still been unhappy with the recent results. He called the meeting to get them refocused on the task at hand, which is to show progress at this level before everybody heads home in October. Acta wants to go into the offseason knowing what he can expect from these guys next year. “They need to take advantage of this opportunity,” he said. “We’re not going to be rebuilding forever, and this is not a September callup.”
- Jason Knapp lives. And not only that, but he’s going to pitch in an actual game. Knapp, for the uninitiated, is the guy who was considered the key acquisition in last summer’s Cliff Lee trade. But we’ve seen little of him since. He was injured at the time the Indians acquired him, but because the Indians were not in a position to request an MRI on Knapp from the Phillies at that time, they didn’t know about the loose bodies in his shoulder. He had shoulder surgery last September and has been pitching in Arizona Rookie League games the last few weeks. Now, he’s been deemed ready to join Class A Lake County, and he’ll make his Captains debut Friday night at Classic Park, against Dayton. Knapp posted a 1.46 ERA, 18 strikeouts and four walks in 12 1/3 innings in Arizona. Keep in mind, Knapp is turning 20 on Aug. 31. So while the injury was obviously a setback, he has time to get his career back on track and become the guy the Indians hope they acquired.
- The bolded note announcing the above news on the Indians game notes tonight is titled, “Knapp Time.” Well played, Bart Swain.
- This is as good a time as any to give you an Adam Miller update. He lives, too, and he’s been throwing bullpen sessions at the Arizona complex the last couple weeks. The Indians hope to get him in a game environment before the end of the calendar year. That could be in the Fall Instructional League or in winter ball. Miller has had four surgeries on his right middle finger over the last two and a half years, and his hope of reaching the bigs is a major longshot. But he’s still out there pitching, trying to overcome the odds.
- As Miller proves, not all highly touted Draft picks pan out. Therefore, spending $9.3 million on a bunch of unproven kids won’t silence the critics who consider the Indians to be… shall we say… frugal? But for those paying attention, what the Indians have done the last couple summers is significant. Knowing the Major League free agent market (and, for that matter, the high-end international market) is completely out of control and out of their budget, the Indians have chosen to invest heavily in amateur talent, hoping for a major payoff down the line. The Royals and Pirates are two other small-market teams that have gone this route. “The teams that are ahead of the curve, the teams that have, quite frankly, figured out the inefficiencies in this part of the market, have been super, hyper-aggressive,” said John Mirabelli, the Indians’ vice president of amateur scouting. “There isn’t a slot system in place. There is a talent acquisition system in place, and your job as an organization is to get the best out of it.”
- Some wonder if a hard slotting system might be good for the game. But it would be almost impossible to pull off, because so many different players are coming from so many different situations (be it senior year of high school, junior college, junior year of college, etc.) and, therefore, different amounts of leverage in negotiations. The Indians had a 10th-round selection this year, outfielder Tyler Holt, who was adamant about returning for his senior year at Florida State if he didn’t get half a million (three times more than the slotting recommendation). He got his money.
- Courtesy of Dan Mendlik, here’s a photo of Drew Pomeranz signing his deal with the Indians, with his parents and scouting director Brad Grant looking on. Some serious faces in that room. But at least Chief Wahoo is smiling.
- One of the more entertaining plays of the year happened last night, when Chris Gimenez caught Shin-Soo Choo’s bullet throw from right field up the third-base line, just ahead of the plate, and absorbed a collision with Mitch Maier to complete the back end of a 9-2 double play. That was Choo’s Major League-leading 11th outfield assist this season. “He continues to play hard, regardless of whether his offense is up or down,” Acta said. “It’s been a pleasure to watch him this season.” And give Gimenez credit for holding on.
- Gimenez said he was a little sore from that collision, which caused his catcher’s mask to fly off his head and pushed him into a backward somersault, but he enjoyed watching the highlight. My friends were texting me and calling me and saying stuff like, “That’s what happens when you stand on the tracks.” Maier apologized after the play, but it was a solid, clean baseball play and fun to watch.
- When Buck Showalter was announced as Orioles manager earlier this month, he said part of the rebuilding process is finding g
uys who are “pile-jumpers” – i.e. guys who will jump on the pile on the mound after winning Game 7. Gimenez is far from the most talented player on this rebuilding Indians team, but he’s definitely a pile-jumper.
- See if you can point out the non-pile-jumper in this 2009 photo.
- Acta said he views Joe Smith and Rafael Perez as his primary setup men to Chris Perez these days, but he’s still relying heavily on specific matchups.
- Speaking of Chris Perez, he’s been keeping tabs on his alias, @PureRage_Perez, on Twitter. He’s impressed that the fake Chris Perez has nearly 400 followers. “I had a Twitter last year and never used it,” Perez said. “I didn’t even have that many followers.”
- Some of you have asked and, as much as I would like to take credit, no, I am not @PureRage_Perez. I am also not @Caskranowich.
- The Indians are trying to decide when to place Carlos Carrasco into the rotation. Acta said he is not ruling out a six-man rotation in September.
- This Indians team hasn’t been all that great, well, anywhere, but the struggles on the road are particularly profound. The Tribe is 23-38 (.377) on the road this year, thanks in large part to a team ERA of 5.00 away from home, versus a 3.99 ERA at Progressive Field.
- Connor Graham, the guy the Indians got for Rafael Betancourt last year, converted to relief work at Double-A Akron, as anticipated, and has a 2.10 ERA in 32 games in that role. He has a 0.93 ERA in 12 games since the All-Star break.
- One thing I’ve learned this week, other than the existence of Birdman? Typing Kila Ka’aihue on deadline is not fun. I’d much rather type Castrovince.