April 29th, 2011

“Today, the Royal Wedding of Princess Vespa to Prince Valium. Tomorrow, Bingo.”

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com

Prince William and Princess Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (or Billy and Katie, as those of us who know them best like to call them), exchanged their wedding vows today, and I celebrate them not just for their nobility but also their frugality.

Having fairly recently gone through the matrimonial process myself, I can attest to the sweet savings the royal couple encountered as a result of having their wedding on a Friday, rather than a Saturday. The reception hall probably gave them like one or two pounds off per person for the open bar. That really adds up.

It’s interesting that the Indians completed a sweep of Kansas City on the eve of Will and Kate’s wedding. With the loss, the Royals’ winning percentage dropped to .480, which I believe is the same percentage chance the royal couple’s marriage has of lasting. (Hey, don’t get mad at me. I’m just listening to the Chinese fortunetellers.)

Difficult as it might be, it’s time to put the royal ceremony in the rearview and return to baseball. And what a team to return to. The first-place Indians have won 10 straight home games – their longest home winning streak since a stretch of 13 straight from April 6-May 17, 1996, when little William was but a prepubescent prince and Kate was still a commoner (albeit a fairly wealthy one).

But I’m back in my former second-row seat in the Progressive Field press box tonight and tomorrow, filling in for Jordan Bastian, which can only mean the Indians are doomed. As a small consolation, Tribe fans, I am pleased to bring you the…

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • About two billion people watched the royal wedding his morning. About half as many are expected to watch Alex White’s Major League debut with the Indians at 6:05 p.m. ET on Saturday night. White’s debut is significant, not just because he was a prominent Draft pick two summers ago, but because the Indians’ willingness to start his arbitration clock and make a 40-man move (more on that in a sec) to get him up here now speaks to how far this club has come in the contention cycle.
  • I think this is a point the Duke of the DiaTribe, Paul Cousineau, articulated well in this post. No matter how he fares in his debut, White’s arrival is certainly more exciting and encouraging for fans than some recent homegrown ho-hums that have been trotted out there. The Indians revamped their Draft focus a few years back, and White is the first byproduct of that improved approach to reach the bigs. Good on ya, Tribe, for giving the kid a shot this soon. He’s earned it.
  • The Indians haven’t yet announced who will be removed from the 40-man to make room for White. Just speculating here, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the name rhymes with Bless Sod (that doubles as a great lawn care tip, too, by the way).
  • Travis Hafner’s out a second day with right ankle inflammation. As of Manny Acta’s session with reporters, the Indians were still waiting on results of the MRI, but Acta said the injury does not appear serious and Pronk’s available off the bench. “We just want to make sure everything is OK,” Acta said. “We’d rather be on the safe side and give him an extra day off.”
  • As expected, Jason Donald was activated off the disabled list and promptly optioned to Triple-A Columbus. Things are going too well with Jack Hannahan to shake it up at third, and at this point, Donald might be best-served to prove his worth as a multi-position player in the infield.
  • Speaking of Hannahan, here is an excellent note from David Cameron.
  • Meanwhile, that Columbus infield is awfully crowded, as Josh Rodriguez is also back. The Pirates, who claimed him from the Tribe with the first overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft, designated him for assignment earlier this week. When he cleared waivers, the Indians got him back for $25,000, half of the fee the Pirates paid the Tribe when they drafted him. Rodriguez was 1-for-12 with the Bucs.
  • Former top prospect Adam Miller has been cleared to pitch in the bullpen for Class A Kinston. Great story. His career looked as good as done when right middle finger issues forced four surgeries, and Miller hasn’t pitched in a professional game since May 2008. “I don’t think many individuals could have endured the series of injuries and rehabilitations as well as he has,” farm director Ross Atkins said. “The fact that he’s pitching again at this level is truly a testament to his ability to stay focused on what he could control and not once feeling sorry for himself. It truly has been inspirational for us to witness.” Atkins said Miller has been clocked at 95 mph and has flashed an above average slider.
  • Check out the column I wrote for MLB.com today on “Big League” Choo and the other elite outfield arms in the big leagues.
  • I mentioned Cory Snyder’s old “Gunsmoke” poster in that column. Scene magazine’s Vince Grzegorek tweeted me to note that somebody really needs to put an image of that poster on the Internet, and I concur. It’s nowhere to be found. Now, I know one of you out there must still have this poster somewhere in storage, in your memorabilia collection. So won’t you please take a picture and let the rest of us bask in the glory of ‘80s cheesiness at its finest?
  • Speaking of Choo, a reader tweeted me to ask if Choo plays the computer game Starcraft, which is apparently huge in Korea. Choo does, indeed, partake. So now you know that.
  • “Big League” Choo is obviously an inspired nickname. The Plain Dealer’s Dennis Manoloff is a big nickname proponent and has tried to come up with one for various members of the Tribe. Some of his ideas are better than others, but allow me to use this space to publicly vouch for Shelley “The Dunc Tank” Duncan. Justin Masterson has been referred to as “The Big Masty,” “Bat Masterson” and “Mastodon.” He said when he was younger they called him “Thankles,” because his leg was basically one solid mass from thigh to ankle. Given these choices, I’d have to side with “The Big Masty.”
  • It is often pointed out that everywhere Orlando Cabrera goes, he wins. Acta clarified that. “Everywhere but Montreal,” Acta said. “I was with him there for three years, and we didn’t win anything.”
  • Grady Sizemore has 12 extra-base hits in 44 plate appearances, if you need him.
  • Raffy “No Comment” Perez hasn’t allowed an earned run in 20 appearances, dating back to last year, if you need him. I wonder what he has to say about that…
  • The Tribe did not win its 10 game at Progressive Field last season until June 10. And the Indians’ 16 wins this month equal the club record for April (reached four times, the last of which was 1999).
  • Oh, and barring some amazing, mathematically impossible collapse, the Indians will escape April with a winning record – something that’s happened just two other times in the last eight years. What does a winning record in April mean? Why, I happen to have a story for MLB.com on that very topic. In the last 10 years, from 2001 through 2010, 59 of the 80 teams (or 73.8 percent) that reached the playoffs had at least a .500 record in April. In that same 10-season span, of the 78 teams that finished the season with 90 wins or more, 61 (or 78.2 percent) at least broke even in April. So… there’s that.
  • Always good to see Victor Martinez and Little Vic. V-Mart’s on the DL with a groin strain but on the trip with the Tigers, and Little Vic was, of course, in full uniform on the field before the Tigers stretched.
  • Acta’s Song of the Day was “It’s a Beautiful Life” by Ace of Base. I’m afraid the Song of the Day feature has truly taken a turn for the worse.
  • My Song of the Day is “Why in God’s Name is It Still in the Low 40s on April 29?” by Scritti Politti.

~AC

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